Thoughts & Feelings (Counseling Session)

Salaam `Alaikum dears brothers and sisters,

We would like to thank you for joining us in this Counseling Session.

We would like also to thank our counselor, sister Hannah for answering the questions.

Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 | 09:30 - 10:30 GMT

Session is over.
DISCLAIMER
Views expressed by hosts/guests on this program (live dialogue, Facebook sessions, etc.) are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent.  

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Question 1

Hi. I’m a new muslim I were a hijab my children say they wont been seen with me if I were a hijab what should I tell them?

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

masha Allah on your reversion to the path of the truth. Living as a Muslim in the West comes with many challenges, including wearing a hijab in a country where it isn’t normal practice. For your children, having been raised in this environment it is also something that they probably see as not ‘normal’ too. Depending on their age there are different ways you can approach this issue that they come to accept you wearing hijab.

Educate them in an age appropriate way on the reasons behind why you wear a hijab and the beauty behind it. On a deeper level, encourage them on the path of Islam so that they come to accept the acts that are encouraged to fulfil as something that is commanded by the one who created us. A firm faith in Allah will make it easier to accept the wearing of the hijab as an obligation. Explain to them and educate them on the concept of hijab as a whole, beyond the simple covering of the hair. Explain the concept of keeping oneself covered not only physically, but also in our acts too. Explain that the head covering you are wearing now is just a part of the hijab that we are all expected to observe; men and women both. This will also help them as they grow older in that of your children are girls they will come to appreciate the purpose of hijab and choose to wear it themselves, or if they are boys, that they will accept and respect women who wear hijab and go on to encourage their wives and children to wear hijab too.

You can also be taking them to gatherings in the local Muslim community so that they can be exposed to other sisters who wear hijab too. This way they will be able to see that other people observe hijab like you do too and it might become something more ‘normal’ to them as they are exposed to it more generally. Usually when something is new, we have a heightened sense of awareness of it. So, in this case your children will be particularly conscious of you wearing the hijab and probably be conscious of others outside who are staring or looking at you. Like with anything that draws such attention, it is probably making them feel uncomfortable to be with someone who is being looked at, without considering that they are not likely all looking in disgust, but just out of curiosity because it is something different in their community. In time, this is something both you and your children will get used to. Being exposed to others who wear hijab like you do can help to ease this process by becoming more accustomed to it. This will also have a secondary purpose of forgiving new friendships with other Muslim children and families too which will serve as a means to strengthen their connection with Islam.

Additionally, let them see you talking to and interacting with others with you hijab on so that they can see that just because you wear it, it doesn’t make you any different, and on the most part, means people won’t treat you any differently to others who don’t wear the hijab.

On a more practical level, you could get them involved in your own hijab wearing by asking them to help you out in picking which hijab you should wear. Perhaps if they feel that they have been a part of the process and picked out what you are wearing they will have an easier time in accepting you wearing it in public. Additionally, just wearing it around the house, whilst not an obligation if there are no non mahram men around, will help them to get used to seeing you wearing it which will help when you wear it outside.

May Allah reward your efforts for His sake and may He make your children of those that will come to accept your choice to wear hijab and guide them on the path of Islam.

***

Question 2

I got married one year ago.

I love my husband very much, but still i am amazed to see my ex in my dreams very often.

Thats totally not in my control.

I dont want to betray my husband.

Please help me to overcome from his dreams and tell me the reason of dreaming about him even after marriage.

 

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

Dreams can come from both Allah or Shaytan and they can also just be a result of random other things and as you say, regardless of the source, we have no control over them. This can make things very difficult when they are quite distressing such as in your case where you have dreams of an ex when you are happily married to your husband.

Whatever the source, or meaning behind these dreams there are ways that you can make them less distressing and stressful to you.

The best thing you can do is to always remember to make your evening adhkar and du’as before you go to bed to ensure that Allah will protect you until the morning. If these dreams are indeed from Allah then perhaps, they are serving as a reminder to you that you should do these things if you aren’t already. Perhaps they could also be a means to remind you of your love for your husband too. If this is the case, then even though these dreams are causing you hardship through distress then they are actually a hidden blessing for you in that they will cause you to remember Him and turn to Him for protection. We tend to seek protection during tasks that we are conscious of, but can often forget that we also need protection when sleeping too. You can use this as a reminder to you that it is necessary to seek protection with Allah even during the times when we are not consciously present.

If it is that they are from Shaytan, perhaps as a means to try and get you to remember your past and tempt you back to what you had before your husband then you can fight this by seeking refuge from Shaytan with Allah. Make this something you do as a matter of routine remembering Allah in all the all that you do so as not to let Shaytan into your life in any way. Not only could this be a means to protect from dreams that come from Shaytan, but it will help you to get closer to Allah more generally too. This will be good for your wellbeing, bringing you a sense of on going contentment over the will of Allah.

Do also remember that just because you dreamt about this, oit of your control, you are not betraying your husband. Just because you are dreaming about your ex it doesn’t mean that you have committed any type of fornication or adultery. However, it is understandable how you can feel that it is an act of betrayal to some extent because dreams can feel so real so when you wake up you are probably left feeling that same sense of guilt as if you had actually betrayed him.

Ruminating on the content of the dreams may actually be what is causing you to keep dreaming about him. If this is the case, then remember what was mentioned above when you wake up from these dreams. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty over something that hasn’t happened and that you don’t have any desire for it to happened, seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan and swiftly move on from the matter without giving it anymore thought and attention.

In sha Allah these dreams will eventually pass and cease to cause you any further bother. Whether these dreams are from Allah, Shaytan or if they are just random dreams then you can take them as a lesson to get closer to Allah, remembering Him at all times even during the times when you feel you don’t necessarily need to, such as before you sleep.

May Allah make things easier for you and protect you from the work of Shaytan. May Allah let these distressing moments pass quickly and uneventfully for you.

***

Question 3

Assalam o alaikum.. One day i got scared and the thing that i saw i thought of it as ALLAH.. Astaghfirullah.. I asked for Allah’s forgiveness and i prayed but the thing is i m unable to forget that whenever i try to offer prayer i remember that memory i m really worried… I m unable to do anything i can’t eat i can’t sleep.. I can’t forget that i have lost interest in everything n i really want to die.. I even tried to attempt suicide. Plzzzz help me i m the only daughter of my parents n i m jst holding myself because of them.

 

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

That must have been very distressing for you that it has placed you in a situation where you have lost interest in everything, including eating and sleeping and have even tried taking your life.

Given this last point I would strongly suggest that you seek some ongoing support and counselling for this. Perhaps there are other issues that you have going on as well as this present issue that have caused you to reach this very low point in your life. Ideally, this counselling and support will come from someone who is able to offer you their support from an Islamic perspective with an understanding of the current situation and your fear having feeling that you saw Allah. Beyond this, they will be able to support you with, or at least refer you in to someone else, who could help you with other potential issues that are causing you to feel this way.

Alhamdulilah that you have had something in this life that has kept you striving to hold onto yourself; your parents. Do continue to hang on to them as a means of remembering one of your responsibilities in this life that you must fulfil. This may be the thing that keeps you grounded in what really matters to you right now, giving you something to keep focused on.

It may be that your consistent rumination in the matter is not allowing you to give up what happened and move on. There are 2 different ways you could approach this matter of rumination and will require a process of working out which techniques work best for you in moving on successfully in conjunction with whatever other treatments you may receive for your issue.

Sometimes the mere fact that you are constantly thinking of something and trying to push it away consistently can be the reason for continued rumination. Instead of trying to push it away, you could try allowing yourself to experience the emotions and feelings that come with thinking about what has happened. By giving your thoughts and feelings the time, you can then allow them to pass having given them your time. This works for some people, but not others. If you find that this technique only raises your levels of arousal then perhaps this is not the most appropriate method for you right now and you can choose another approach.

Another such approach is to ask yourself questions about what happened. If it were the case that you did see Allah, what was and is the worse that could happen? Alhamdulilah, you are safe now and even if it was Him you have not faced any consequences for it, except those in your mind. How likely is it that it really was Allah? What would you say to someone who said they saw Allah? What is the evidence that you really saw Him? Is it even possible? What is the evidence that you didn’t see Him?

Additionally, you can find ways to distract yourself from such thoughts when they enter your mind. For example, you say that the image comes to mind when trying to pray. So, when praying you can distract yourself from such thoughts by trying to maintain khushoo through techniques such as remembering the meaning of the surah you are reciting and try to create a mental image of this.

In top of this, especially when it comes to matters of worship, such as prayer, seeking refuge from shaytaan with Allah is very important. Remember, shaytaan will do all he can to distract you from acts of ibaadah as a means to push you away from the path. You will be making him very happy by being distracted in prayer and he will take advantage of this by using this as a means to gradually take you away from everything. This will leave you feeling spiritually empty as well as empty in all other ways also. By seeking refuge from shaytaan and getting yourself back on track spiritually through acts such as prayer you will find this will gradually spill over into other realms of your life too.

May Allah make things easy for you and help you out of the dark place in which you are at present. May He guide you on the straight path and protect you from shaytaan.

***

 

Question 4

about a few years ago, I fell in love with a Muslim girl. Once we both confessed feelings for each other we both ended up promising each other that we both would marry soon as we knew dating was haram .

but since we were students and we knew our parents wouldn’t accept we ended up dating each other

and loved each other deeply. but as time progressed our distance made it really difficult for us to stay in touch(I had moved abroad for my studies) and we ended up breaking up, though the exact details are quite messy.

this whole incident was very traumatizing for me, so few years back  right before I met this particular Muslim girl by the grace of Allah i was very famous in high school, all the students knew me, in fact i had been approached by many girls to date but i refused only fearing allah. Allah had also blessed me with leadership qualities and used that to spread allah message. but after my break up i was heartbroken it took me months to recover. just to put on a smile on my face. I prayed all 5 salah on time, started praying tahjjud and never missed it. i read the Quran everyday, i try to fast as well to control my self.

but despite all this i miss the one i had felt for dearly. after our break up i prayed for them dearly, at first my payers were against them because i was angry and then i started to pray for them in their favor after my anger had calmed down. there were so many time where i would sit in my room and cry begging to allah. one of the biggest reason we both broke up was that we both felt we were displeasuring allah and that killed the both of us from the inside. its been almost 1 year since my break up. i tired cutting off all my connections with this girl but i cant seem to forget her. i have read alot on about Islam page but my heart still aches. recently i came across this girls picture on social media and tears just rolled down my cheeks and i couldn’t breath and it took me an hour to calm myself down. so as you can read despite Having close to 0 contact i still cant forget her.

since the break up and even before all what i did was for sake of allah , living abroad i never did anything haram , never drank alcohol, nor do drugs, I didn’t even go to any club all for the sake of allah and never do displease him. so my question to you is.

since the break up i have learned many things and thought a lot about what happened. i need have become a more of a stronger Muslim now then i ever was. but i still miss this girl from the bottom of my heart and she has most of the qualities that i would have wanted in a wife. i know this is sounds stupid but i still hope to approach this girl “through the right way” and marry her. should i still think like this and again i am writing to you from a very sound mind and i am not infatuated by her. but the issue is i am still a student in terms of situation it is pretty much the same, if i approach my parents to talk to her parents they won’t agree stating that i am too young. but i am youth living abroad and taking care of my self like an adult.

The bottom line is I am still confused if I should think about a future with this girl or forget her. I tried everything but I just can’t forget her. When do I know I should just stop trying and I also don’t feel  confident that my parents will take me seriously nor do I think her parents will take me seriously.

 

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh brother,

This is a very common situation for people of your age to be in, at least to some extent. You have a natural desire to get married, but you are a student which can be a bit of an obstacle, and on top of that you’re not sure your parents would even allow you to marry as a result of this. You did meet someone who you would like to marry but knowing that dating is Haram and having called things off and spent some time apart after living away, but you now unsure of whether you should try again with her in the correct way in line with Islamic principles, or whether you should just move on from her especially since you’re not confident of the support of your parents at a time when it would be ideal. This is a very difficult decision to make and one that could have ongoing consequences in your life.

Alhamdulilah, you say you have used this time to become a stronger Muslim and in sha Allah this will put you in a good position to make the decision that will. Be best. Of course, you should always remember with whatever decision you take to take it to Allah through istikhara. If this marriage is meant to be, He will facilitate it and if not, He will place obstacles in the way. However, do keep in mind that since you have already developed feelings towards her then perhaps your feelings resulting form the istikhara will have some bias towards pursuing marriage towards her.

Regarding what happened in the past with her, even if you didn’t officially date each other, you were close enough to have been in a position to form such strong feelings for each other. This is the reason why dating is Haram, as is being alone with someone of the opposite sex without the presence of her mahram, or for purposes other than what is necessary in the interaction. In shs Allah this has served as a reminder to you as to why such interactions are not acceptable as they can lead to the development of feelings that can cause complications and confusion and the heartache that is faced as a result. Since you were unable to move on from her without thinking about her a lot, you are familiar with this experience. Do make sure to turn to Allah in repentance for this, even if your actions were unintentional, and do all you can not to end up in the same situation as you have been in already, although it would certainly seem that you have come to realise this already as you have become a stronger Muslim over this last year.

Now with regards to how to move forward, this is something that does require a lot of contemplation from your side. As you are aware, if you would like to marry her, it is important that you do so in the correct way and seek her parents’ permission, ideally through your own. Whilst it is not necessary to have their blessings in seeking marriage to her, you can do it off your own back, but of course it is very helpful to have the support of your parents in such an important matter and it could cause difficulties with them at some point if you went ahead without their support; support that will be very important especially given that you are still a student. Also, given your history with her they would be in a better position to judge her more mutually with your best interests in mind without being clouded by intimate feelings towards her.

If at the end of this contemplation and istikhara you decide that marrying her is what you would like to do you could take the matter to your parents and try and seek their support. Perhaps of your istikhara is not to be answered then they will be the ones to put the obstacle in the way by disapproving of the marriage. On the other hand, perhaps they will have changed their thoughts on the matter since a year has passed and they have seen how you can live as an adult and they will be the ones to facilitate it. If they don’t want to support you, perhaps you could at least convince them to meet with her and her family without having to actually agree to a marriage at this point, but just allow them to meet her family as a means to decide for themselves. Perhaps they would be more likely to come on board with your choice given that you have sought their permission and get them involved with the process highlighting your respect for their decision on the matter.

Give yourself time to really consider your options. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of either pursuing a marriage with her, or abandoning it altogether and moving on. Write these things down and set them aside for a short while and then come back to them again in a few days. Seeing things written down and giving yourself the opportunity to consider all options over a course of time will help to make things clearer. Take the matter to Allah and ask Him to guide you. Consider your opinions again and think of which outcomes are most pleasing to Allah as the most important deciding factor.

May Allah guide you to what is best for you and most pleasing to Him. May He forgive you and guide you on the straight path and grant you a spouse that will be the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next.

***

Question 5

AOA! I am engaged with my cousin . One of my other cousin loved me so much and asked for my hand too but my parents rejected their offer due to their home place which is too far away from us and also not so much famous family and low income status but they are good for me for their character and religious point of view and i liked them too but as my parents didnt liked them so i couldnt accept their proposal and at that time my cousin told me that he like me so much and that i could help him but i unfortunately i couldnot besides my liking for him too. We are not in any type of contact since 6 years but he still loves me . As my marriage date is fixed now and i know he  was uneasy by listening to it. As i am not in nikah yet so i thought if once i am married i would not be able to text him so i only sent him a long dua to him so that he may feel easy . He also replied me with a dua and he just told me that you will be always in my prayers and i expect it from you as well. My question is that is it permissible to remember him in my duas if even i am married and should i just answer him that ok i will always pray for you . ? Kindly help me. I will eagerly wait for your early response. Thank you

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

This is a difficult situation to be in where you have been promised to one person with the support of your parents, yet you would prefer to marry another who has good character and religiosity, although lives far away and is someone that your parents don’t like. This is a testing situation to be in for you with your nikkah fast approaching, however, whilst you are still not married to him there is still the option to pull out and change your mind if you wanted. Although, it does sound like you have come to accept your current proposal so it doesn’t look like this is something that you are considering, but just so you know that you are not committed to him at this point.

I cannot advise on whether it is ok to remember this other man in your duas, you would need to seek counsel from a scholar on this matter. However, I believe that it should be ok to make du’as for him as it is to make du’as for others, after all, he is your brother in Deen above all and we should pray for good for our brothers and sisters around the world regardless of how they are or are not related to us. However, I would advise against making such du’as via text message regardless of whether you are married to him or not. It might seem quite innocent since you are not alone together, or in face to face contact, it can have exactly the same consequences, if not worse. Talking to someone from behind a screen can caus the people to lower their inhibitions and lead to Haram in a much more discreet, yet seemingly harmless way. This goes for sending du’as someone’s way to having a regular, or even intimate chat with someone else. Receiving duas from someone can soften their heart towards the offerer which as innocent as the first interaction may seem, can make the journey to further conversation and Haram interactions even smoother. As you are soon to be married, now would be a particularly bad time to be in this situation as it may make you question your choice to go ahead with this marriage, especially when you have some doubts. It may also lead to regrets after entering marriage for perhaps not following your heart against your parents’ wishes. Otherwise, you may be left with feelings of guilt towards your spouse for having some feelings towards someone else and having

May Allah grant you a righteous spouse who will be the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next.

***

Question 6

Salam o alaikum Sis Hannah Morris,

Thank you for taking your time to answer my previous question which was very helpful. My question basically had two part but I only sent one. I will appreciate again if you can answer this bit also. As in my previous question I wrote about the start of my matrimonial life and my Mrs behaviour and her involvement into watching porn.

Sis when I found out then she was pregnant, in fact it was the first trimester. As I was depressed and shocked but I controlled my anger and tried to have an amicable discussion after few days of this incident when we both were calm. I didn’t want to stress her so tried to console her by having open discussion. Though she promised by that time that she will never review adult stuff again which I believed her. The life went on normally but still I wanted to ask her if she has any temptation. As she was not open to communication I still observed her. After few days I came across with new revelation that she started reading hindi adult stories on YouTube. I felt like it was the trial of my patience. When I confronted her, she goes it came up on tv screen whereas some of those videos were fully watch. This incident happened at 2 different times despite my warnings but she kept onto this behaviour. I had no other option just to have last trimester and delivery back home. I sent her back with good faith that might be due to loneliness she is behaving this way. Alhamdulliah Allah has blessed us with a daughter. I brought this issue with the elders of her family with the intention that she could rectify her behaviour and start a new clean life. Now again we are apart with each other. 

When I came back to UK, she called me one day and was angry that whatever I said to her family is not true and she will continue doing whatever she did before. Her phone activities are the same and she doesn’t listen to me anymore. Please advise for the best course of action.

 

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh brother,

Masha Allah, tabarakAllah. Congratulations on the delivery of your daughter. May Allah guide her on the path of Islam to be a pillar of the community and ummah.

It certainly seems like she has an addiction to porn and that she is having a hard time breaking free from it as all addictions are. There are a few things for you to consider during this trying time.

Whilst what she is doing is wrong, she needs support from her loved ones in overcoming her addiction. You know what she is doing and she knows that you know so there is no need for you to be going through her phone and search history to look for evidence anymore. This is probably making her feel very disrespected and uncomfortable and is a breach of trust too.

Along with this, whilst you felt that telling her family about the matter might help as a means to break her addiction, it seems this is only made the situation worse. She is coming across as angry towards you as a result of this, but this is most likely a manifestation of the embarrassment that she is feeling that her secret is now out to the elders of her family.

One of the best ways you can help her at this point is indirectly. It seems that the talks that you have directly with her about her addiction is not working to stop her so perhaps you should try a different approach. Since she is clearly not making any changes and feels embarrassed and angry about other people knowing what she has been up to, you could try a less direct approach. With this indirect approach instead of talking to her about her behaviour you should encourage her to get closer to Allah so that she will fear Allah to the point that she will no longer with to engage in actions that are disliked by Allah. As a result of this approach also she will feel less like you are preaching to her about her behaviour and therefore feel less like you are trying to embarrass her or force her to stop her habit. Instead, this approach will encourage her to make the choice to stop of her own accord. This will also mean that she will be more likely to keep up with the change in her behaviour because she is going it by herself, for her herself and for the sake of Allah, more so than if she felt forced to do it by others for their sake.

In order to encourage her in her Deen this should also be done in such a fashion that she also doesn’t feel forced also. Make it a habit that you pray together as much as possible, or if you are not together just casually ask her if she has prayed zuhr, asr, etc. Or so on.. Likewise wish things such as fasting and reading the Qur’an or studying an Islamic studies course. Take it upon yourself to perform extra fasts and invite her to join you. Fasting is a particularly good act of ibaadah to encourage her in since it is an act that helps to control urges that can lead to porn addiction. If you are fasting and encouraging her to join you that will let her know that you are supporting her. This may also eventually have the secondary effect of strengthening your relationship too which will make her more responsive to you as well as less likely to engage in acts such as watching pornography that could ruin your relationship. By inviting her to join in all these acts of ibaadah with you her level of imaan will increase as well her fear of Allah that she will make the choice to leave her current actions for the sake of pleasing Allah.

Once she has reached a level of connection with Allah as well yourself you will be able to have a more direct conversation with her about her addiction again. You will also have a better idea of how to approach her in a way that she will be more responsive to. You should also have a refrain from checking her phone and search history, even if you suspect something, as a means to build the trust between you again. When you reach this stage, you will be able to openly discuss things like why she does it, what started it and what need she is searching to have met. Perhaps it is a result of loneliness as you expected, but once she can talk about it with you like this then you can work together to ensure that she is consistent in breaking her habit and finding alternative and more appropriate ways to meet her needs.

On your part you must understand that these changes won’t occur overnight. They will take lots of time and patience and may even come with various setbacks along the way sometimes bigger than the others, but with your support and your prayers she will be able to find a way out of this long-standing addiction, in sha Allah.

May Allah forgive her and break her free from her long-standing addiction. May He assist you in supporting her in finding a way back to the straight way away from her addiction.