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Youth Counseling (Counseling Live Session)

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

Thank you for participating in the previous counseling session about hardships and struggles with your questions!

Due to the counselor’s limited capacity of answering questions, here are the 4 questions that our counselor has provided an answer for.

We apologize for not responding all the other questions.

If you have not received an answer below at this time, please submit your question to one of our upcoming Live Sessions. Thank you for your understanding.

Question 1. How to overcome fear

How to overcome fear I have no control i am taking medicines tooo but no help

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Answer:

Salam Aleikom dear brother!

Thank you for writing! I am so sorry that you have been suffering from fears to the extent that you need to take medicines. Usually, medicines prescribed are to decrease the intensity of your symptoms, but they won’t solve the causes of your problems. Therefore, I highly recommend you seek help from a clinical psychologist in a one to one therapy besides your medicine. Also, you should mention your doctor that the prescribed medicine does not help you controlling your fears.  

About the fear of loosing control, Psychology Today writes: “One of the most prevalent fears people have is that of losing control. This is the fear that if you don’t manage to control the outcome of future events, something terrible will happen. People who are chronic sufferers from such losing-control anxiety keep themselves continuously in a heightened state of stress with only brief, unsatisfying intermissions between fears.”

You are not alone brother with these fears; the problems of our past years such as covid and inflation have brought immense anxiety in many of us, even in the most stable parts of the world. If you think of our history on earth, people have been always living in uncertainty: illnesses, wars, economic crisis. Life has never been stable. In the past decades, we were living kind of in an imaginary world thinking that creating our comfort will never backfire. It did and this is just the start. Now we are to learn again how to deal with the natural uncertainty of life..   

I love this example, that life is like the EKG of your heart: if the heart lives, the curves of its line on the screen has its ups and downs. If the heart is dead then it shows a straight, static line. So hamdulillah that we live and hamdulillah for all the up and down of this life for they always teach us something. And remember brother:

Undoubtedly, along with hardship there is ease….94:6

Dealing with anxiety

Psychology Today further states about anxiety:

“People with losing-control anxiety are perfectionists. They demand perfect certitude—or near perfect certitude—and when they don’t get it, they worry and ruminate about it. This is a formula for a rollercoaster ride that never ends—until, of course, you die.

So, the key to controlling your losing-control anxiety is letting go of your demand for certainty—in other words, giving up your unrealistic perfectionism about reality.

Also, attaining serenity is possible only if you face the uncertainty of the future with courage. This means refusing to cave to the fear of uncertainty, forcing yourself to walk away from your rumination and worry, and to do something constructive with your life.”

To overcome your fear of losing control, you can:

  • push yourself to act on the evidence, without demanding certainty, or in spite of your fear of the uncertainty
  • make a habit of this—not always and perfectly, but for the most part
  • resign yourself to live by probabilities, not by guarantees
  • accept yourself as an imperfect being who is inherently subject to making mistakes about the future
  • stop worrying and ruminating now, not later

These things really are in your control.

As we are Muslims, we have a very strong weapon against anxieties: trusting in Allah.

Believing that

“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…” (Qur’an, 2:286)

Because He also says:

 “And put your trust in Allah, and sufficient is Allah as a Trustee (Disposer of Affairs),” (Al-Ahzab, 33:3)

“O, you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he verily has got a great success,” (Al-Ahzab, 31:70-71).

So brother, I highly encourage you to have strengthening the relationship with Allah your top priority.

How?

Say your morning and night duas, these are many nice app that help you read.

Ibn Qayyim said about these azkars: The morning and evening adhkār play the role of a shield; the thicker it is, the more its owner is protected. Rather, its strength can reach to such an extent that the arrow shot at it will bounce back to affect the one who shot it.’

Recite the Quran every day, learn its tafseer and contemplate on its words.

Pray with concentration.

Study any aspect of Islam that you feel brings you closer to Allah and strengthens your trust in Him. AboutIslam has many beautiful articles on trusting Allah. Read them and get inspired inshallah, here are some:

How To Trust Allah’s Plan?

Trust Allah; Know Your Creator

Trust in Allah Doesn’t Just Happen! Here is How to Develop It

4 Ways to Boost Your Trust in Allah

I hope my answer was of your benefit brother. May Allah make things easy for you.

Amen,

Question 2. Husband is not ready to take care of my financial expenses

I got married 6months ago. I am a Doctor. I live in a different state in the US away from my husband. So I earn reasonable amount of money as I’m still under training residency. My husband forcefully asks about my bank details and he says I should take his permission while using my own money. He is not ready to give any single penny from his side. He has his business there and he takes care of his entire family. But when it comes to me, he says now that I’m earning I should take care of my self. He is a good person, he’s not able to realise this. He prays 5 times, reads quran daily. The reason I got married to him was his deen. But I’m so lost that where is Islam now in this matter? Please suggest me what I can do about it.

Answer:

Salam Aleikom sister,

Thank you for writing!

Regarding what Islam says about the expenses, I copied our scholar’s general answer to you:

“In Islam, it is the duty of the husband to provide for the expenses of his wife according to his means and ability and his own personal circumstances. Allah says,

{Men are leaders over women, because of the fact that Allah has favored one over the other, and because of the fact that they spend out of their wealth upon them.} (An-Nisaa’ 4:34)”

Please read the full article here.

However, we should not ignore reality and the circumstances we live in. Particularly in the West, we can state that most families are unable to live on one salary. If you want a fairly good life and good education for yourself and your children (for example making them study in an Islamic school), very few couples can afford that the woman does not work to a certain extent – and Muslims are of no exception of this.

You mentioned that your husband also takes care of his mom financially, which is also part of our duty as adults. As I am not aware of your exact circumstances, how much sends for his parents, whether he is the only one who helps his parents or he has other brothers to help him in this, therefore I am unable to advice on this issue. You may want to write our scholars about it what is Islamically right.  

Marriage Dynamics

About reality, one of our writers has written the following in her article The Economic Dynamic of Muslim Marriages:

“Your spouse, no matter how righteous you are, will always come with certain qualities that you will dislike.

And one of the factors about your future spouse and/or in-laws that you might end up disliking, could be their wealth and their family mindset regarding money, which is a result of their past economic status, lifestyle and standard of living.”

She suggest: “While factors like money, owning other forms of wealth, and the couple’s standard of living do affect the happiness of their marriage, keeping low expectations regarding future economic prosperity helps sustain the bond in the long term.”

And I fully agree with her.

Discussing money matters

Many Muslims, I believe, fall into the trap that they only focus on the person’s religiosity, or at least what we can conclude from the person’s behavior. This is a big mistake because there are many other matters that can make a generally good person simply not being a good match to another generally good and pious person.

Allah says in the Quran: “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you The Quran 49:13

If you read about the Prophet’s time, you will also see how the Muslims of Makkah were different from those of Medinah. How the personality of Prophet’s wives differed. How, for example, Umm Salama, refused to marry to Abr Bakr or Umar ibn Khattab, and was hesitant even when the Prophet has approached him.

We need to be careful when getting married: is this person’s ideas and values matches mine? Can I deal with them in a peaceful manner in the end?

Here are some Aboutislam articles that helps you get prepared for marriage, or in your case helps you to get through the disputes every couple goes through in the first one or two years of their marriage. Educate yourself about marriage matters is a good way to solve your conflicts with your husband. I highly recommend the podcasts and articles of dr. Haleh Banani! Or you might want to go to marriage counseling as well to strengthen your relationship.

Choosing Your Spouse: 3 Things to Look for & 3 Things to Avoid

Before You Say ‘I Do’ :10-Step Pre-Marriage Checklist

Mutual Agreement

So, going back to the topic of finances sister: you wrote that “My husband forcefully asks about my bank details and he says I should take his permission while using my own money.”

This is a red flag to me. As the husband is the main maintainer of a household financially, he cannot force you to do such things. It is your own money. He has no any right on it. But again, you might want to check this up with our Ask the Scholar or Ask About Islam sections.

What is probably happening here is that there is no mutual agreement of how to deal with the expenses. You have probably never talked about it properly, you and he have different ideas about the distribution of money which let the both of you fuel emotions and harsh words.

There is some kind of fear that makes your husband say these words. While talking to him, try understanding this fear and then see how to deal with it. For example, maybe he is afraid that you will be too demanding, that all his money will go on the household and he will not get to spend on things (like a hobbi, or working on his own company) that would make him happy. Maybe he fears that his mother will live in bad condition if he was not helping her financially. And these are relevant fears, sister. That is why a fair mutual agreement is needed here.

What I strongly suggest is that first you clarify in yourself what you think of your marriage, how you wish to handle the expenses. Then consider his side as well, his happiness as well that requires money. Then you sit with him when he is in his good mood and discuss this topic in a calm manner. Who pays what exactly?

If it turns out to be a fight any time you two discuss this topic, then maybe you should involve a third party, preferably a good marriage counselor who can mediate between the two of you.   

Last but not least, always turn to Allah with any concern you have. Ask Him to guide you on making the best decisions with your husband, ask him to open your and your husband’s heart to the best solutions, and help you create a beautiful marriage together.

Amen,

Question 3. What am I suffering from?

I cannot believe anymore. I have been going over the Quran and the Hadith but nothing is getting accepted. In fact the exact opposite is happening. I cannot even force myself to do good as my heart always goes the opposite direction. In fact it is almost if someone is pressing on my chest when I do any good or see any good. Same is the case when I read the Quran, or say the shahadah. I am trying to find reasons to believe but nothing is getting accepted. I have committed sins upon sins including sins that will get one out of the religion and earn him the wrath of Allah (SWT). I am so lost. I cannot even differentiate between good and bad anymore. This is not waswas because waswas are thoughts and they don’t impact intentions or decision making. I have zero Iman and as I said no belief. I want to think this is OCD but OCD wouldn’t impact one’s belief would it? Repentance is a way out but how can I ask for repentance with sincerity when I cannot believe?

Answer:

Salam Aleikom,

Thank you for sharing your concern.

Faith goes up and down

Dear brother, it is completely normal that you feel your faith is sometimes weak. This is why we ask Allah in a powerful dua: “Allahoumma ya Muqallib Al-Quloob, thabbit qalbi ‘alaa Deenik – O Allah, Turner of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your Religion.”

We all struggle with this from time to time. We sometimes pray, but it feels like just a routine. We hear the Quran, but it does not touches our heart.

Our scholar says about weak faith and what to do about it:

“If your faith decreases, this is normal. You cannot maintain the peak moments of worship all the time as everybody goes through times of weakness and lassitude. What you need to do is to be sure you do not deviate from the right path when slackening or leaving worship or going beyond the minimum requirement.”

Brother, do not despair in the mercy of Allah. Do you remember the story of the man who killed 99 people? It is a very famous one, you can easily find it with a Google search. If He has forgiven him and gave guidance, then make sure Allah will also guide you back to the straight path where you enjoy being a Muslim and your faith is strong.

Differentiate between good and bad

You mentioned that you feel you cannot differentiate between good and bad. Well, hamdulillah our religion has been preserved in a way that right and wrong are crystal clear. You just have to learn and follow the guide.

Brother, take things step by step. Do not overload yourself so that you sink into confusion and lack of motivation, thus sinning again.

Take one topic at a time that is not clear for you. Aboutislam has tons of articles about different topics. Also, our Ask the Scholar, Ask About Islam and Ask the Counselor services are here to help you clarify your confusions. Do not worry, you will find your answers, just search. If you are active, Allah will eventually open your heart and you will feel.

Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah Almighty says: Whoever comes with a good deed will have the reward of ten like it and even more. Whoever comes with an evil deed will be recompensed for one evil deed like it or he will be forgiven. Whoever draws close to Me by the length of a hand, I will draw close to him by the length of an arm. Whoever draws close to Me the by length of an arm, I will draw close to him by the length of a fathom. Whoever comes to Me walking, I will come to him running. Whoever meets Me with enough sins to fill the earth, not associating any partners with Me, I will meet him with as much forgiveness.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2687

Thoughts and actions

You said brother, “This is not waswas because waswas are thoughts and they don’t impact intentions or decision making.”

This sentence is actually incorrect for more than one reasons.

Firstly, the concept of faith in Islam includes thoughts, actions, and feelings.

Islamqa writes:

According to Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, eemaan (faith) is “belief in the heart, words on the tongue and actions of the body.” This includes three things:

 1.Belief in the heart

2.Words on the tongue

3.Actions of the body 

This idea is supported by the science psychology as well: “Our thoughts create our feelings and our feelings drive our behavior. Let’s take a simple example. If I like being outside near water and enjoy swimming, the thought of going to a pool makes me feel happy.  These thoughts and feelings are going to lead me to plan activities that include swimming.  However, if the thought of being near water scares my friend, she will avoid swimming.” 

So, brother, although we are not responsible islamically for our thoughts, meaning we will not be punished or rewarded for the thought itself, it immensely influences how we act and react in certain situations. The fact that you are discouraged to do Islamic practices, and you sin, as you say, means Satan is strongly whispering to you.

How Satan works and what waswasa means

Discourage in islamic practices and faith always comes from Satan who whispers to us. Here is a short video about how Satan works.

And here are two steps to defeat him.

Also, do not forget to say the morning and night prayers.

Ibn Qayyim said about these azkars: The morning and evening adhkār play the role of a shield; the thicker it is, the more its owner is protected. Rather, its strength can reach to such an extent that the arrow shot at it will bounce back to affect the one who shot it.’

Religious ocd

You mentioned that you feel you might have OCD. This is a diagnosis only a well-qualified psychologist can give you. However, there is something called religious ocd that occurs among Muslims as well.

Research studies found that Muslims had twice the rate of OCD than their Christian counterparts.  Ritualistic upbringing and scrupulosity was a hypothesized reason for the difference.  However, if the proposed environmental factors are taken into consideration, one must also look at the socio-political stressors and traumatic events that are going on worldwide concerning Muslims.”

If it concerns you, please read the full article.

How to increase your faith

Dear brother, if you feel your case has not been improving by yourself, please never hesitate to contact a psychologist for one to one therapy. There is no any shame in that.

In the meantime, you can work on your faith alone. Find what opens your heart to Allah the most. Find ONE thing that you will do differently from now on.

For me, when I had been through hardships with my faith, I found two things that really helped me:

  • Connecting with Muslims,
  • Listening to the tafseer lectures,

So join programs with Muslims, learn about Islam in more depths with them. Socialize.

In any case, never give up praying! Even though you feel like not praying – which all of us feel sometimes – , “fake it until you make it.”

“The Messenger of Allah () said: ‘The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is prayer; so whoever leaves it, he has committed Kufr.’”

I hope I was able to help you with your concerns,

Question 4. CUTTING TIES WITH SIBLINGS

Assalamualaikum dear councilor I have a junior brother who is 16yrs old and he misbehave towards everyone in the house including my parents especially my mom he doesn’t have any respect for her and he speaks to her rudely and she always rain curse on him almost everyday and sometimes I can’t help with it I get very angry about it until I lose it with him but this night we had a fight because of the way he was talking to my mom so we fought like exchange punch and I will be very happy if I can not have anything to do with him he should be on his own and I be on my own he feels big and he his just 16yrs he is very very very annoying he doesn’t listen he speaks to our parents ruduly but I only fear one thing which is what prophet Muhammad (SAW) said about kinship ties and what the Quran said about the relationship of the womb if not for that I could cut him off as my siblings for life and Don’t want to displease Allah and disobey the prophet so I seek your advice. Jazakallah khairan

Answer:

Salam Aleikom brother,

Thank you for writing. You mention in your letter that you have many problems with your younger brother: he misbehaves with your mother and speaks rudely. You also expressed that your mother “rains curse on him every day”. Your brother’s behavior annoys you to the extent that you wish you could cut ties, but due to the Islamic teaching that forbids this, you are wondering how else to solve this problem.

Why he behaves disrespectfully?

Being a teenager is a rough period of time when one is transforming from being a child to an adult. It comes with lots of hormonal changes. Therefore, I am not sure what kind of a teenager you were, but this kind of behavior your brother displays is kind of normal.

RaisingChildren.net writes: „Disrespect is a common part of teenage development, although not all teenagers are rude or disrespectful.

It happens partly because your child is developing, expressing and testing independent ideas and values, so there’ll be times when you disagree. Developing independence is a key part of growing up. It’s a good sign that your child is trying to take more responsibility. But your child is also still learning how to handle disagreement and differing opinions appropriately.”

Other reasons a teenager might misbehave:

  • Privacy issue: the teen might feel that their parents are too interested in their life.
  • Brain development: due to which at times he is unable yet to handle changing of emotions or unexpected circumstances. This is the age when they start thinking deeper of things.
  • He might be anxious or depressed for something.
  • At this stage of life, the connection with friends become more important than with parents. Thus, he might have learned this behavior from his peers at school.

So, as hard as it might sound, such behavior can be expected at this age.

What parents can do about it

Remember, no one was born to be rude. There is always an other side of the coin. There is a reason your brother gets nervous at times. Do you see a pattern that occurs in such conflicting situations? What are these fights about? What is the side of your brother: how does he feel, and what are his needs that he is trying to fulfill unconsciously with this behavior? It would be important to understand his part as well to solve conflicts in the future.

The other thing that caught my attention is that you wrote your mom curses him.

Children’s primary teachers in life are their parents. A child’s behavior reflect what happens at home. I would be curious how your parents handle a conflicting scenario in general – because this is what children might learn as well. It seems for me that it is not only your brother who loses his temper and can’t deal healthily with certain issues, but your mom as well. I am not saying this to blame your mother, I am certain that she does really her best to raise her children up! However, she might try other, more effective ways to deal with a teenager that misbehaves. Arguing, cursing, bad language, being defensive, lecturing, nagging and sarcasm should be avoided.

RaisingChildren.net gives some very good tips to parents:

“Stay calm. This is important if your child reacts with ‘attitude’ to a discussion. Stop, take a deep breath, and continue calmly with what you wanted to say.

Use humour. A shared laugh can break a stalemate, bring a new perspective, lighten the tone, and take the heat out of a situation. Just avoid putting your child down or being sarcastic.

Ignore shrugs, raised eyes and bored looks if your child is generally behaving the way you want.

Check your understanding. Sometimes teenagers are disrespectful without meaning to be rude. You could say something like, ‘That comment came across as pretty offensive. Did you mean to behave rudely?’

Give descriptive praise when your child communicates in a positive way.

Set clear family rules about behaviour and communication. For example, you could say, ‘We speak respectfully in our family. This means we don’t call people names’. It’s a good idea to involve your child in discussions about the rules.

Focus on your child’s behaviour and how you feel about it. Avoid any comments about your child’s personality or character. Instead of saying, ‘You’re rude’, try something like, ‘I feel hurt when you speak like that to me’.

Talk about, set and use consequences, but try not to set too many. At times, it might be appropriate to use consequences for things like rudeness, swearing or name-calling.”

I advice that you have a discussion with your mom about these points. She should choose ONE tip that she would implement.

Remember, you cannot force anyone to change his behavior (that is why lecturing does not work), but you can change something in your own communication and behavior that might have an impact on the other.

Also, after understanding your brother’s side the possibility of anxiety or depression raises, or after changing your and your mom’s behavior he still misbehaves, it might be a good idea to seek help from a professional; his school counselor or a psychologist. It is not shameful to seek help when things seem to be too hard to handle. You need to take care of your own mental health as well.

What you as your brother can do about it

Hamdulillah that you are aware of the severity of cutting ties with blood relatives in Islam.

Allah says in thr Quran:

“… and fear Allaah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of ) the wombs (kinship)…” [al-Nisa’ 4:1]

“And give to the kindred his due and to the miskeen (poor)…” [al-Isra’ 17:26]

So, cutting ties is not an option.

I think I have written enough about your brother’s case that might have changed your own feeling toward him by now.

As I adviced to parents, you might want to also try something new in your behavior toward your brother. Try befriending him: do something together that both enjoy. Show him as his older brother, interest in his problems, emotions. Talk to him about his difficulties, be there for him. If you maintain a good relationship, he might be going to be more willing to listen to you.

If not, there is no shame if you also seek help from a professional to help you deal with your brother in an appropriate manner. Your mental health is also important.

Most importantly, make dua to Allah that He helps your brother deal with his issues in a healthier way. Make dua for your brother as well as your parents and you that you can stay calm and deal with conflicts in the best way possible.

I hope I could help you with your issue,

Friday, Aug. 26, 2022 | 13:00 - 14:00 GMT

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