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Youth Counseling Live Session

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

Thank you for participating in the counseling session 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.

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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.

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general. They are purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Question 1. Emotionally and physically abusive father

My father is a 47-year-old man with anger issues, he hit me on multiple occasions when I was a child, not a teenager. Just recently I got punched in the jaw. Also recently found out that he hit my mother when I was still an infant. I don’t know what to do anymore, should I call the cops?

Answer:

Salam Aleikom dear brother!

I am so sorry for the trauma that you and your mother have been going through. You are not alone dear brother, there are so many teenagers like you, and children and adults, who have been through such traumas. Abuse of any kind is NOT okay, it might cause tremendous problems later on, so yes, you must take steps before you get even more injured.

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I am not sure where you live as you have not stated it, but you could make a quick search for domestic violence helplines in your country. They might be a bigger help than the cops. Please talk to them as soon as possible, but please make sure of your safety. Your father might check your conversations and phone calls.

In the meantime, make sure you keep close tights with Allah. He is the One everything depends on, so ultimately, He is your helper, He gives you guidance. Take your time with the prayers, read Quran or do anything that makes you feel close to Allah. Find your peace and silent moments with Him, complain to Him, tell everything that is in your heart. He loves those who turn to Him, He will inshallah guide you to the tools you need to get out of this horrible situation.

Dear brother, you need to know that your father in his core is not a bad person as we all are born with the fitrah. Rather something is going on with him that causes him to behave in this unacceptable way.

What is sure is that this is not happening because of you. It is not your fault, and in no any circumstance you or your mom deserve to be hit. You can love your father for whatever good he has given you such as giving you shelter, your life, or your education, but just because you are the child / or your mom the wife – there is no any justification that you need to endure this treatment. You need to protect yourself.

It is a very horrible situation when the closest person who supposed to love and protect you projects his problems on you by violence. Shield your soul from this please brother, for your health and happiness.

So please seek help brother, from the domestic abuse hotline as well as Allah, and also seek assistance from a psychologist to move on your trauma. I advise your mom the same. After you have moved on from this situation and you feel safe, you will need to process this trauma inshallah by a face-to-face therapy with a psychologist. Please, do not underestimate the consequences of such a trauma.

In the meantime, take the time to have some fun, recharge yourself with doing things you enjoy.

“So, surely with hardship comes ease” (Quran 94:5)

Remember this brother often. We all go through hardships; this one is now yours. But Allah does not burden anyone more with what the person can solve. So be brave, trust Allah, and act.

May Allah open your way to safety and happiness, amen.

Question 2. How to Deal?

Is it normal to feel empty, and useless most of the time? and to feel that you could do more but it would be worthless, so you get unmotivated and feels like you living without a purpose, but then when you pray it’s amazing but afterwards the feeling of amazing goes away and comes back the cycle. i don’t know how to deal and i tried to search on google what to do but of course it won’t help, i have positive thoughts and hope and faith but feeling like this is awful, alhamduillah for everything and djazakaallah. 

Answer:

Salam Aleikom sister,

Thank you for writing to us. I am so sorry to hear that you experience feelings of emptiness, and feelings that you could do more, but it would be worthless, and demotivation.

Sister, everyone experiences these feelings from time to time. Life has its ups and downs, just like the waves of the sea. As Allah says: “So, surely with hardship comes ease” (Quran 94:5)

So, hardship and ease are working in a cycle; one changes the other. The problem is when these feelings you just described stay for too long and interfere in your everyday life. How long do you feel this way? Has any kind of change happened to you? A new school maybe, or maybe some kind of traumatic event after which you feel you live without a purpose? This might be one of the reasons of your feelings.

Track your thoughts and feelings. When you feel empty and useless, what is going on around you and in your mind? What other thoughts are running around that makes these conclusions: you are empty, useless, and unmotivated?

Further possible reasons that might cause these feelings are:

1, hyperthyroidism. You should check an endocrinologist and have a blood test that gives a glimpse into how your thyroid functions. Oftentimes, due to stress or other reasons, this very sensitive organ over or under functions that cause depressive symptoms like the ones you have.

2, Depression. These feelings you describe can also sound like depression – feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. Symptoms must last at least two weeks and must represent a change in your previous level of functioning for a diagnosis of depression. You can only be diagnosed with a psychologist and get the treatment you need, so please seek a one-to-one therapy with a psychologist as soon as possible. The earlier you act, the earlier you can heal.

3, At your age, it is completely normal to feel this way. This is the age when you search for the meaning of life, when you are trying to find your personal identity. According to Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, “During adolescence between the ages of approximately 12 and 18 sets the identity vs. role confusion conflict. During this stage, adolescents explore their independence and develop a sense of self. Also, “As they transition from childhood to adulthood, teens may begin to feel confused or insecure about themselves and how they fit into society. As they seek to establish a sense of self, teens may experiment with different roles, activities, and behaviors. According to Erikson, this is important to the process of forming a strong identity and developing a sense of direction in life.” So sister, in a way, what you describe can be also normal.

So please sister, if these feelings are for a couple of weeks, I would highly encourage you to seek professional help. The earlier you start working on your own issues – which we all have so you are not alone -, the earlier you will feel relieved. Please sister, do not hesitate a lot.

In the meantime, keep close relationship with Allah. He is the sustainer, the one you can always turn to, and the only one who loves you like no one else. Deepen your prayers, connect with Him in silence, complain to Him, and ask Him to open your heart and heal your wounds.

May Allah help you in your journey and make you happy in every circumstance,

Q.3. Halal or haram relationship?

Asalam walaikum, my name is Ishmael and recently I’ve entered into college. Although I try to refrain from being involved with women on the campus, I’ve recently gotten into a boyfriend, girlfriend relationship. Which over time included pre-marital relation. All though I love her, I soon realized that this aspect of our relationship was completely haram. With that being said, I’ve been making effort and setting boundaries such as not being in in closed spaces with her alone, limiting physical touch to: a greeting hug, hand holding, and occasional kisses. I’ve also refrain from sexual talk of any sort. Although I know her family, I plan on getting them more involved within our relations, as well as my own family, in order to regulate and supervise to a degree. Do these efforts make our dating halal or still haram?

Answer:

Salam Aleikom brother,

Thank you for writing to us.

Indeed, college life is not easy in regards to male-female interaction. Sexual hormone levels peak in your early 20’s, so it is completely normal to feel a VERY strong attraction toward women, and especially in the west when a boyfriend-girlfriend type of relationship is completely normal and even encouraged. You need a very strong belief AND support system that helps you to have a healthy control of your emotions. Because simply knowing (and often being scolded) that it is haram to have a pre-marital relationship of any kind in Islam does not help you to actually deal with your emotions.

Although I am not an Islamic scholar, so I cannot state anything that what you do is halal or haram, as a counselor I think apparently you are making good steps to stay on the right path. Involving the family shows your seriousness of getting married with this lady inshallah.

My question is: what makes you not getting married now with her? In Islam, writing a marriage contract and actually consummating the marriage and living together are two different things. Even there are rules what to do when the couple “just” got married with the contract but have not actually consummated the marriage yet, but divorced. If you are interested in the details, please check it with our Ask about Islam section. It is a completely accepted practice in the Middle –East to get married first and then have the wedding a few months or even year later when you are ready to move in together.

What I am only trying to do is drawing your attention to other solutions than just suppressing your emotions and wishes, and eventually risking of doing haram with a girl. You might want to “legalize” these physical touches and private conversations with her by making a marriage contract in the mosque, which your parents know about as well of course, but you do not necessarily move together. You do everything as you have been doing so far, but in the eyes of Allah it shows your (and her) seriousness. It is just like a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship technically, but it helps you to get to know that person well so that you can decide whether you actually want to form a family with her and consummate the marriage.

But you might even want to get married and consummate the marriage right away. There are many young couples who are collage students, live together in the campus and are married. I know some, but you can find stories like this on the internet, if not in your own campus.

In Islam, marriage and family are sacred that should be dealt with utter respect. However, Islam also allows people to divorce and chose someone else. Divorce is not a shame, especially not if you “just” wrote a contract but have not consummated the marriage.

My point is: maybe older generation feel you cannot get married at an early age, you cannot divorce, you cannot do many things that they think it is “unethical”, yet Islam teaches otherwise because Allah knows our nature better. Yes, having self-control right now is an option, and for many reasons, it might the best option as at this age your focus should be first on your own self: what YOU want to do in life, who you are, what are your core values, what triggers you and why. A certain level of self-knowledge is really important in order to be able to choose the right spouse. BUT getting married now – with contract only or with consummation – are also options! I do not know you, so I cannot advice further, but I have met many young people who were 16 or 18, and knew themselves and what they want more than some people in their 30s.

I know parents often dislike this idea of getting married during collage. But it is your life, and you need to start taking the responsibility for it. I advise you to carefully think of all your options in silence and peace. What do you want, in your core? What is your gut feeling? Then FEEL and think of the actual steps you need in order to achieve that wish.

Remember also that Allah is your only true supporter in life. His teachings are for your own well-being. He says:

“If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you; but if He should forsake you, who is there that can aid you after Him? And upon Allah let the believers rely.” (3:160)

If you chose waiting with marriage after collage, you might need more than just what you listed. You might need to completely stop talking to her as you already have physical touch with her, which might lead to even more. Or you say, “I know that what we do is not purely halal, but I take the responsibility for my own life and my heart is pure in front of Allah. He knows my intention and weakness.” This can be an option too. It is your life at the end.

In any case, prepare for marriage. Please read books about how to have a happy and long-lasting relationship with a lady. Read books or attend pre-marital course, possible together, in the mosque. Know what needs to match, study about relationships and marriage as you study math or history for your career path. It is as – if not even more – important than any other subject you study.

May Allah help you brother, I hope I could give you some advice that you can go on with. May Allah help you with your studies, and also with your marriage whenever it might be.

Question 4. Emotionally and psychological abusive, controlling and overbearing parents

What to do about my unreasonable, controlling and overbearing parents?

Answer:

Salam Aleikom dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us. I can truly feel the frustration you have been going through. At your age, well even before, I had the same type of problems with my parents: I felt they are unreasonable when it comes to making a decision over my stuff. They want to control me and are overbearing in their communication. Looking them from my own 17-year-old world, they were like this – in their own “adult world”, they did not agree to any of these. They felt they just do what every parent must do: protect their children from anything they assume as danger, and teach them to have self-control and focus so that I can become a responsible adult. Both you and your parents are actually right – the glasses through which we look at things are very subjective. We can look at the same apple, yet one thinks it is red, the other thinks it is rather green. One thing I have learned well in my 31 year is that EVERYTHING is subjective.

What you can do is calming down, putting your anger and frustration away and see your parents from their own eyes, not yours. Understand first their world. Why do they do or say what they say? Where is this information come from?

For example, my mom used to be an outgoing person herself – because her father was an outgoing person. (Mind, we are talking about a non-Muslim family in Europe). Lucky to her, because at that time even more the father was the head of the house. If he had been an introvert father, most likely he would have let her go out. So, she was more willing to empathize with my initiations to discover the world and experience as much as possible, yet she was still fighting with me at times because she knew exactly that I can find myself in trouble. My dad is an introvert person, so he could not deal with my personality at all because he never wanted to do at the age of 17 half of what I wanted. Eventually, I proved to them that they can trust me, and we found a common ground that we were both fine with. After 18, things have changed anyway – I was an adult on paper. So, just because we are of the same blood, we are not the same personality, we do not speak the same love language.

Life changes to a crazy fast space: what was abnormal a few years ago now can be completely normal, and it is not an easy task to accept. Have you experienced when you thought that something is completely normal, everyone can agree to it, and find a person who disagrees with it? Seeing something that is not your norm can cause “cognitive dissonance” – mental discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes. This is how your parents might feel too.

So, parenting is a real struggle, especially when the child is at the age of 17. What shall I do to protect my child, but at the same time help him or her grow and find his or her own path? Parents have their own weaknesses and flaws as well that effects their communication with you such as work stress, other conflicts and many fears. May Allah make it easy and help you find common grounds.

Islam teaches us to respect our parents for all the crazy hard efforts they have done to us financially, emotionally, anyhow.

Allah says in the Quran: Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. (17:23)

However, it does not mean they can dictate our life. Part of being an adult means that while showing respect to your parents and hear them out, you make your own decisions, inshallah wise choices.

So, none of you is in an easy position, but life is full of challenges, isn’t it?

What I would advise you is to first understand their world, how they see life and most importantly WHY. What kind of feelings and fears are behind their words and actions? This will help you deepen your connection with them, inshallah. Once you understand them, you can better keep calm at times of disagreement, you can form your request in a way that they will hear more inshallah. By understanding each other’s world comes love and win-win solutions, instead of disputes. At times of conflict, try keeping your heart open to the other’s world.

Secondly, I already mentioned the term “love language”. I recommend you read about it; it can really turn hearts toward each other. The core of the concept is that we differ in how we love and feel loved THE MOST. So, try identifying what your parents appreciate from you the most: when you send quality time with them? When you surprise them with some present? When you do something instead of them? Or if you compliment them? Try to switch your focus from yourself to them first: show them in their own language you love them. Just focus on them for a few weeks, and then see how this changes them. Inshallah it will result in that they keep their heart open to you at times of conflicting issues. They will be more willing to trust you that you know what you are doing.

Take care of your approach to them as well. Explain why you want to do this or that so that, and ask them in a calm way “what is the reason?” if they disagree with you.

Try to find common ground: see what you can change in your original idea that more matches their wishes? For example, you want to buy something and they say they cannot buy it. Tell them to start giving you pocket money so that you can buy things that you want. Or you want to go out somewhere: would it relieve them if they came to pick you up by car?

Look at these challenges as preparation for adulthood. In marriage, at a workplace, everywhere, you will have conflicts. You need to learn how to deal with them in an effective way that both sides’ wishes are considered, not only yours. Inshallah I was able to give you some useful tips for this journey of yours.

Most importantly, keep close to Allah. Work on having quality prayer. Read the Quran, do anything that you feel make you keep closer to Allah and thus calm in any circumstances. Complain to Him, ask Him for guidance and help, ask Him to open your parents’ heart and make you find win-win solutions.

May Allah help you,

Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2022 | 10:00 - 11:00 GMT

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