Unpack Your Feelings with Sr.Hannah

Salamu alaykum dear 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.

Feel free to send your questions to [email protected]

The service is completely anonymous!

You can find the answers below:

Q: Salam alaykum,

Me and my husband met on a religious matrimonial website in September 2017, during the course of the year he visited my family and we visited him (we don’t live in the same country). Alhamdulillah we seemed to match very well, so soon after meeting him I was ready and eager to marry him, he seemed to be the personification of the dua I made to Allah swt. However, he didn’t seem to be as much into me as I was into him. Although we got very well along, I felt some kind of distance, which I thought was normal since we were indeed complete strangers seeking marriage from another country and another culture.

It took him 2 years to finally ask my hand. We married in august 2019 (nikah) and started living together in March 2020 Alhamdulillah. Everything seemed OK until the day I made a mistake by using his laptop, I discovered pictures and videos of him being intimate with another woman. These were taken during the courtship phase (from November 2017 to early 2018 – while we were visiting and getting to know each other). I was devastated, completely shocked. I lost trust in my husband as I feel like he lied and hid this aspect of his life while we were in this crucial step of getting to know each other.

I confronted him and he told me it was the biggest mistake in his life, it is the past and he changed and moved on since. The problem for me is not the sin itself as he made tawbah and it’s between him and Allah. My ego is deeply hurt knowing he loved another woman but I think I can heal and move on from that. However, the main issue for me is knowing that he was in a relationship while we were planning to get married. We chatted/FaceTimed/called very regularly, my feelings developed quickly so I kept telling him I was ready to proceed to the next step (nikah) but he kept postponing it so I waited thinking he needed more time to make a decision not knowing it was because he was in an relationship!

We discussed it several times, he explained to me his reasons and how he fell in this trap. I really feel sorry for him as he went through harsh times which made him weak. However, he doesn’t understand I feel betrayed, played with and disrespected. He was not truthful but he said he never lied nor disrespected me. I found many things he said to me during the courtship were untrue or slightly different. When I ask him to explain it seems like he’s playing with words to not cause himself to lie. He says he stopped the affair but it seems she broke up with him and he wanted her back.

He said he terminated this relationship before marrying me and he wanted to approach marriage with me correctly. But he still has these pictures, he kept contact with her till the last moment (right before nikah- June 2019), he still regularly checks her social media. I cannot trust him anymore, I’m not sure who is the person I married. I feel completely unsafe and vulnerable. Driven by these feelings, I became extremely suspicious, I searched his laptop and phone, I know I shouldn’t have. I found out he still has several active dating/matrimonial profiles, he talked to many other women during our courtship, he created new ones 1 month before nikah and he used them even after! When I ask him about it, he either gives me the silent treatment or tells me it’s to help a friend. He doesn’t understand why it hurts so bad. 

My husband feels disrespected with me trying to find his whereabouts and it’s building a wall between us. He says he cannot trust me anymore with what I understand and apologised for. I told him I need transparency because my trust has been shattered. He refuses stating he has the right to have his privacy, he changed his password and kept his belongings away from me, which makes me feel he’s hiding something even though he says it is to protect me from myself. The irony if i lose his trust trying to build over mine. 

I love my husband, I don’t want to draw a bad picture of him as he’s a good man, he has great qualities, he’s really good to me, very caring and loving which makes me feel even more confused and guilty. I noticed he became even more affectionate after this big blow up and he told me it’s because he feels guilty to put me through this.

I feel very depressed, my self esteem is very low, I try to keep on living as if nothing happened, but it’s always on the back of my mind, I randomly feel like crying with no explanation, I wish I could disappear and stop feeling anything. I avoid talking about it, I fear bringing up that topic again because our discussion leads to nowhere, I’ll keep hearing hurtful things like, I’m addicted to drama, It’s not even my problem in the first place, it’s not my business. And I know I keep hurting him by bring this story over and over. We don’t seem to understand each other at all. I feel deeply hurt and unheard. I also feel guilty because other than that i have nothing else to complain about, he’s a good person and i think i’m ruining our marriage.

I don’t want to be suspicious, I don’t want to track him or watch every step he makes, I feel extremely guilty for my behavior but I can’t take it anymore. I don’t know what to do. 

Wa alaikum salaam sister, 

After a good start to your relationship keeping things in line with Islamic values by meeting together amongst the 2 families with mahrams present and then finally making the nikkah, your marriage has unfortunately gotten off to a bad start. 

It must have been a huge shock for you to find these images in his laptop indicating what had been happening in the gap between your marriage to him. Naturally you feel that your trust has been betrayed and you are feeling deeply distressed by this situation. As a result of his actions you felt suspicious of him and searched through his phone and laptop. This then made him feel like his trust in you had also been breached and now you are both in a situation where you lack trust.

Trust is a greatly important component of a successful marriage and without it there can be ongoing problems. It is a shame in this case that trust has been lost from the very beginning, but if you are both willing to work on this, there is a way out to a successful and even stronger marriage, in sha Allah. 

Whilst you are both feeling hurt by each other’s actions right now there is clear hope since you are both feeling remorseful for your actions. That feeling of remorse will surely be a motivating factor to not slip into such betrayal again to avoid the uncomfortable feeling that comes with betrayal. Not only this, but with a focus on what Allah says about the same, the motivation to avoid such will be heightened even further. This goes for both of you.

Whilst it might feel like he is the one who was the one who started these difficulties this shouldn’t stop you from approaching him with an apology for your part. This will be easier for you if he is also making a sincere apology to you too, but even if he doesn’t you will feel a sense of lightness and relief in yourself to know that you have done your part.

Also repent to Allah for your part in the scenario too. This will humble you in the presence of Allah and will contribute to making it easier for you to avoid betraying your husband again.

Now, just because you are being the one to actively apologize and seek forgiveness from him and Allah this does not take away the blame from your husband for his actions, because they are also of concern too and he should be doing the same.

But only you can be responsible for your actions and you will be accountable for the same, as will he for his actions. As you rightly mentioned earlier, the matter of his actions is between him and Allah. 

Apologizing and seeking forgiveness on both parts deals with the matter of any sins committed, but you have mentioned that even with this aside, your ego has been damaged as a result. It is this damage that is the factor that would be more likely to lead you to fall into suspicion again so as part of the process of moving on, you can help yourself by managing this aspect of the situation.

Perhaps one of the most useful ways to manage this is to consider your thought processes and the facts of the situation. For example, his actions occurred before you were married at a time when you were not yet committed to each other. Whilst this might not be comfortable for you to think about because it felt like you were but he wasn’t actually committing a sin against you, but against himself and Allah and this should give you less reason to feel offended by his actions.

Additionally he has been a good husband to you otherwise which is clearly a sign of his love for you. You say he is remorseful and he says he has stopped such actions since you have been married and although his actions of setting passwords is making you suspicious, you also need to understand that he is justifying this action as being a result of feeling betrayed by you.

You say that he is otherwise a good man and you do want things to work and in which case if he is a good man he will also be willing to work together with you to overcome this difficult start. You both need to realize that this is something that will take time, especially when it comes to matters of trust, but it is so important to nip things in the bud with this before they reach a point where it is no longer possible to fix.  

An open and honest discussion between you about your feelings could be useful right now, with or without a mutual this party present such as a counselor or imam. It sounds like as it is you are both comfortable with each other despite difficulties to do this.

The next step in this discussion is to decide where to go from here. For example, it may be that you agree to be accepting of him to have a password for now until the situation has eased a bit and then he will promise to remove it but he must understand and appreciate that that makes you feel uneasy.

Another option is to put these things aside and for him to remove his passwords and for you to make a vow not to look through his phone and laptop. This is a big step to take, but if successful can go a long way in repairing your relationship. 

In the meantime, you can be working on other things together aside from this to strengthen your marriage. Nurture the love between you by doing things together such as going out for dinner or walks together, pray together, read Quran together.. Etc.. These are all things that will also have a secondary effect of building the trust between you. 

May Allah make things easy for you during this difficult time and may He make you and your husband the coolness of each other’s eyes in this life and the next. 

*****

Q: Assalamu Aleikum,

There is this man who is interested in marriage for myself and I guess also interested in me. He looks very serious in his character and intentions. But there is one problem: thus he is a muslim , he is part of a kind of sect (tidjaniyah) from my country where they consider their leaders as“Saints” and put them in high ranks. Also, they have special rituals like saying a particular name of God for a specific number(which I am not sure but I think it’s Bida’ah). Therefore, we have different opinions about these things on the religion. Is it bad to consider it as a condition for marriage or should I ignore it and try to get married to this person that I think have special beliefs and get along with that. 

Thank you in advance for your answer.

Wa alaikum salaam sister, 

In this case I think the best thing to do to begin with is to seek scholarly advice regarding this particular sect and whether the practices of this sect are considered to be out of the fold of Islam and therefore deeming what they practice to not be Islam. This will be the factor that should largely influence the next part of your decision-making process.

In case you are not aware, it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to marry a non Muslim man so if it is deemed that due to the traditions he follows he is not actually considered a Muslim then it most certainly is not a marriage to pursue. However, if according to scholarly advice he is still classes as a Muslim then to marry him is an option you can consider 

Firstly, if you are serious, then make sure you seek marriage to him in the correct way by perhaps arranging a meeting between the families. This will not only give you a chance to keep matters in line with Islamic values, but it’ll give the families to get to know one another too.

It might be easier in such gatherings to get an idea whether things could work between you despite him following a different sect of Islam to you as well as getting wider family input on the matter who will be able to advise you from an alternative perspective to your own.

Another thing to consider is how well attached he is to some of the rituals that are part of the sect that he follows. Is he so attached that he can’t part himself from the seemingly bidah acts? Or does he even follow them anyway? Or if he does, is it something he is aware is not OK and is willing to make changes.

The important thing to remember here in particular is that if you are to marry, he will be the father of your children, in sha Allah and as the responsibility of the father the children take the religion of their father, and as they’re role model they will be susceptible to following his own actions, which if haram or bidah could be a big problem for him and for you too. 

You should also consider if this difference of opinion could cause other difficulties for you further down the line of it seems your beliefs and practices are not compatible with his own and this can lead to difficulties in the marriage.

Part of what will make this part easier is as mentioned early in arranging for the 2 families to meet will allow you and them to see how much the rituals associated with his tribe are a part of him, or if he is not serious about these things, but is serious in his deen otherwise.

It will also give you the chance to get to know him a bit more to know how closely he follows Islam as well as just getting to know him to know if he will be a good match. Having been through this process with significant others, such as your parents, they will be able to advise from an outsider’s perspective, but with your best interests in mind. 

Getting married is a really big step regardless of the background that leads towards it so it’s very important to consider matters carefully. You could take some time to create a table and write the strengths and weaknesses of choosing to pursue marriage to this man. This will also help with the decision making process as you contemplate these things without distraction. 

May Allah guide you to make the decision that is best for you and most pleasing to Him. May He grant you a righteous spouse who will be the coolness in your eyes in this life and the next. 

*****

Q:Assalamu Alaikum,

I am a 26 years old female. My family wants me to get married soon and they also have one proposal in hand currently which is already being discussed. The thing is I am 5 feet 7 inch, the guy is also of the same height. I always wanted my husband to be taller than me. Information till now we got about the guy is good. He is also religious. Now I am really not able to convince myself to get married to the guy who is not taller than me. Another thing I don’t want to get married now. I am not in a mood to see myself married. I want to be independent. These confusions are affecting my mental health. I am falling into depression and also having suicidal thoughts. I have prayed Istikhara Salat two times but didn’t get any direction. My family is also not that understanding. I know they wish good for me but they keep hiding events of the proposal party coming at home to see me. I am also losing my trust in my family. I don’t know what to do. Please help me. Should I get married to the guy?

Walaikum salaam sister, 

Alhamdulilah that you have a supportive family who want to support you in finding a good man to marry. However, unfortunately it seems the whole scenario is putting you under a lot of stress. There are a few things that you should consider moving forward and making a decision in what to do. 

First and foremost, continue to take the matter to Allah and ask for His guidance. This will also provide you with some comfort amidst the distress you are currently facing. 

Regarding the man himself, we all have or had ideals of who we would like as a spouse and the qualities they would ideally have. In many cases this includes their physical characteristics too. In your case you had always hoped to marry a man taller than you. However, the man you have received a proposal from isn’t so.

But, he does have good qualities, particularly in terms of his religion. It might be disappointing to you that he doesn’t meet the criteria that you had hoped for, but he does possess a characteristic that will contribute to a happy married life. More so than a physical characteristic. A man who is firm in his Deen will treat you well and afford you all your rights.

This is something you couldn’t be sure of solely from the quality of his height. With this in mind, do think about what qualities are best in a man over and above your preferences and how this will have an impact on your future. 

It is unfortunate that despite their support, your family have been going behind your back. On the surface it seems like they may just be doing this out of excitement and to encourage you to accept the proposal from a man with good qualities who they feel will be good for you, but at the same time this also seems to be discouraging you further. Do always remember among this, whilst they may have your best interests at heart, they cannot force you into marriage. 

The thought of getting married can be quite daunting. It’s a life changing event and such a big decision to make. It marks the start of a new life shared with someone else. It marks a time of great change and this can be scary. It is possible that this is what is putting you off it altogether.

With this, in combination with the fact he doesn’t meet your criteria and the way your family is treating the situation it might seem like quite a normal response to feel so overwhelmed and even depressed. This feeling may be being exacerbated by your thoughts regarding losing your independence following marriage.

However, you should also keep in mind that whilst to get married means to share your life with someone else, it doesn’t mean you cannot also lead an independent life too. Getting married doesn’t have to take this away. 

I believe that your feelings of depression and suicidal thoughts are likely a result of your overwhelming circumstances at present, but I would also urge you to seek help from a mental health professional in order that you get ongoing support for your current state of mind. 

May Allah guide you to what is best for you and most pleasing to Him. May you find continued comfort in His remembrance. 

*****

Q: Assalamalikum,

I actually liked an artist and followed her on every social media site. I once attended her concert and missed two of my salat. I feel so bad because I feel like I have committed a shirk and I feel so depressed because it is a huge sin. Moreover, what makes me feel so bad is that if I read a hadith or any islam saying related to people, i think of her first and I feel really bad because i feel like I’ve been spending so much time on her than my creator. Lastly, I feel like I have done so much sin because of how I liked that artist. What should I do? 😭😭😭 Please help me.

Walaikum sister, 

The fact that you feel remorseful for your behaviour is a positive sign and go is hope that you can overcome this. You are reaching out for help on the matter which is the next step to successfully beating this. 

The first piece of advice is to turn to Allah in repentance. The sins you have committed are against Him, so take all this energy of remorse to Him and repent. Find solace in the remembrance of His mercy and ask Him to continue to guide you on the straight path. In accordance with this, you should make sure to be gradually increasing your acts of ibadah as a means to get closer to Him as well as purifying yourself too.

Doing so will keep you busy in more meaningful activities as well as strengthen your fear of Him that you will be deterred from turning to harm and committing further sin. You can help yourself with this by keeping in good company with other sisters who will encourage you in the Deen as well as engage you in activities that will be more conducive to you in this life and the next. 

The nature of Social media can easily get people sucked into things like this which is a very big twat for us as Muslims especially when alot of these things that they seem to be guiding us towards are haram, such as music events.

However, at the same time social media can be used for positive things too so it’s not like it’s a must to delete it altogether, but there are ways of moderating and managing how and when you spend your time using it and for what purposes. There are a few ways you can do this. 

  • Unfollow and unfriend anyone who might be encouraging you to a path of sin either directly or indirectly. 
  • Follow beneficial Islamic pages. This way your social media page will see a reduction in posts relating to Islam and important issues according to the same and away from posts that are not beneficial. 
  • Set a time limit for how long you can spend on social media each day
  • Have a dedicated day off (at least) once a week where you do not access social media at all. You might gradually increase the amount of days where you don’t use social media until you feel less of a need for it and are less vulnerable than succumbing to its powers to attract people. 
  • Don’t allow yourself to use it until you have completed certain acts of worship, such as reading a set amount of Quran pages.. Etc.. This will also be a way to strengthen your imaan that you will feel less inclined to use it following engaging in an act of worship. 
  • Have a set time each day that you use social media that falls at a time that doesn’t not interfere with salah. This way you can satisfy your desire to use social media, but at a time that does not lead you to miss prayer. 

May Allah forgive you and guide you to what is best and most pleasing to Him. 

*****

Q: Assalamalikum,

My husband is amazing. He is not the typical strict desi guy. I love his intellect, his patience, wisdom and kindness. I love his extroversion not just that he is popular but that people have nothing but kind words for him. And the thing is there is no grudge against. Even my in-laws are amazing (they are back home). Instead, I find myself having daydreams about crushes.

I am not satisfied with him sexually as he releases too fast before I get to even build up my pleasure. We are working on this. We research and try different methods now so just waiting to go see a doctor. I don’t hold a grudge on that. But I don’t know why, I just crave others’ attention instead. Someone to fall madly in love with me. Esp his friend. My husband is cute. I am attracted to him but I seem to crave that his friend likes me back. I know I need to move on from this ocd and I will.

That is not the issue as I have had crushes and I move on and feel relief. I don’t plan on cheating and I am modest and practice haya. I don’t talk to my friend or etc. I either spend my time with my husband or my family or with my hobby (podcast, cooking etc). But the main issue is I want to fall in love with my husband and I cannot. And I want to stop craving other people’s approval to feel my self worth.

(I am reading Dr David Burns Feeling Good which is ton of help and keeps me sane) but I do feel like unless the friend or whoever else I crave approval of gives me the approval, I can’t enjoy anything.I am not on social media, I don’t have parties or etc where I can show off. But I just feel so jealous and insecure whenever I hear about his friend or his other friends’ and their partners. I feel ugly esp since I am the only hijabi in the circle. I even got a job to feel more confident. Yet still I feel I am not good enough.

This thought prevents me from being present with my husband as I am constantly ruminating on a better life where I am pretty and guys are head over heels for me and I am happy with my husband ignoring everyone else. I shared this with my husband too and he counsels me, he is so patient and understanding yet I cannot get over this.

I have tried and still am trying. How do I feel good and not just temporary satisfaction from my own life without feeling like his friends are having better lives? (Like I want his friend and other guys to be in love with me. Even though I don’t like them.” I just want to feel validated by them. Please help. I was never the girl guys chased. My friends were beautiful and I got commented on cute instead. No one ever had crushes on me. The ones that did were not good looking. No good looking guys ever fall for me. I feel insecure and inadequate

Walaikum salaam sister, 

Masha Allah, it sounds like you have a very wonderful husband who is incredibly supportive. Alhamdulilah, that you have been able to be open with your husband about this too which will be helpful to some extent, but it would seem that you are still having a hard time despite an ideal level of support from your husband. 

One of the issues that stands out amongst what you are saying is your desire to please others and how in your mind this is what equates to success. Without a belief in Allah or the Hereafter everyone would be stuck in this frame of mind, and alot of times they are, even amoungst the Muslim community.

However, as Muslims we must remember that actually the one who we should be seeking to please is Allah. To keep this in mind this will re frame your idea of what it is to be successful. To draw on an example you have provided here; the hijab. Alhamdulilah, you state that you do wear hijab despite no one else in your circle wearing one. Whilst they may or may not be prettier than you, or have husbands who are or are not more handsome than yours, who have jobs that are far high flying than your own and in this world, without belief in Allah, such people may be viewed amongst the successful, yet in the eyes of Allah the one who is following His commands and wearing hijab is more successful and will reap the benefits of the same in sha Allah.

Instead of focusing on success in the Deeny sense, instead take some time to consider the types of successes that you have and are achieving in terms of succeeding in pleasing Allah you could even write them down to have something to refer to in those moments where you are feeling particularly low and worthless. Consult this list as a means to remind yourself of the most important successes you have had 

Another way you can help pull yourself out of such feelings is to set goals, particularly those related to your Deen that will be favoured by Allah. For example, having a goal of memorising a certain amount of ayats each week as an example. As you accomplish these goals you begin to feel alot more accomplished and worthy. It will do wonders for your self esteem as you achieve new things. It will keep you occupied in positive activities that are those linked to success in the eyes of Allah. 

This could also have a knock on effect in improving your self esteem also. It will also strengthen your connection with Allah that in time, in sha Allah which will in turn reinforce the belief that success lies in the eyes of Allah and not man which will make it easier for you to be content with your own successes without the need of approval from others. Likewise, this could even have a positive impa t on your relationship with your husband as you grow more confident in yourself and therefore have nothing to hold you back in terms of strengthening your love for him as well as potentially overcoming the difficulties you have faced in the bedroom. 

May Allah guide you in the straight path to the successes in Islam that will surely lead you to Jannah a. May He increase the love in your marriage. And make you the coolness of each other’s eyes in this life and the next. 

*****

Q: Assalamalikum,

I am trying to lose weight to be able to find a suitable husband. I am in my final year at University, about to be a dentist. I have everything alhamdulillah but my weight is a big concern. I liked someone but his parents didn’t agree to the relationship as they wanted their son to get married to someone from the family. I am always upset, and praying for someone to be in my life. I feel lonely and want to marry.

I recently have been feeling depressed after spending more time on social.media and wishing I had a relationship or body like other people. I was never like this. I was always a very confident individual and didn’t care about what I looked like. Now I am always sad and upset. I also get angry at silly situations as I vent my anger out on family when indeed I am just overwhelmed. Please help

Walaikum salaam sister,

Masha Allah, you have many blessings in your life as you now complete your final year of university. You are now at a time where you are ready to get married but your self esteem doesn’t seem to be in a good place right now despite it once not being an issue to you. You mention that weight is an issue for you and that you recently been turned away by the family of a man you had wished to marry. These factors are clearly not helpful for your self esteem and confidence, but Alhamdulilah there are ways to deal with this to give you a boost as you move on to eventually find a spouse, in sha Allah.

You might also like to take some to think about what other factors have happened in recent years that have changed the way you feel from being someone who was very confident in herself, to someone who now seems to be suffering with depleted levels of self esteem. It may just be a passage of time, especially now you have reached the stage where you are ready to wed and now these things matter more than they did before.

Perhaps now you are feeling the pressure more to look good and of a healthy weight in order to attract a spouse. If your weight really is at an unhealthy level then you can look at ways to lose weight for the sake of your health if nothing else. Otherwise, if it is just an esteem thing and you are not truly overweight then you just need to continue your healthy lifestyle but work on your mentality by doing things that make you feel good and positive about yourself.

Things that are not necessarily attached to finding a spouse, but that make you happy and content. Things that will also keep you away from social media, or at least less affected by what you see due to an increased confidence in yourself. Do also keep in mind that a good man will not be looking to marry you entirely based on your looks, but your piety and personality should play a larger role.

This is where working on your esteem issues by contributing and engaging in things that you are good at and make you feel happy will radiate into your personality and make you even more appealing to a potential suitor. 

You also mention feeling overwhelmed and I wonder if this is perhaps more likely a product of the fact you are in your last year of university. You probably have a significant workload as well as feeling anxious about what the next step and future hold in terms of your career. This would also get you thinking about other matters important in your future such as marriage and given your current self esteem issues this may only be adding to the anxiety.

On top of this having just been rejected by the family of the man you had hoped to marry it is only natural to be feeling a huge sense of overwhelm which can often be expressed in the form of anger and frustration, to those close to you as they are the ones who love you unconditionally and are more likely to endure it and respond kindly than anyone else you direct it to.

Again, whilst this is preferable, it is not uncommon. Just remember, regarding your past potential marriage situation, there was nothing about you personally, they just wanted him to marry from within the family. This is common in some cultures and no insult to others, that is just their way of life.

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

*****

Wednesday, Jun. 24, 2020 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

Session is over.