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Depression and Sadness.

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I feel very sad because of my past sins.

I find it hard to forget my past because I have been struggling with this for a long time. I’m only at the age of 16 so I’m about to pass halfway through my teenage years. I feel like I have wasted the past three years of my life.

I struggle a lot when it comes to pure intentions, especially when it comes to doing deeds in public.

Another issue which I have is when I see other people excelling me in good deeds, especially the righteous predecessors. I look at them, and then I look at myself, feeling hopeless and demotivated. I lack self-discipline. I suffer very serious waswasa with regards to my purity of wudhu and salah.

I want to have this love for Islam but I do not have it. Sometimes I actually wish I did not want to live. What can I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Suffering

Dear questioner, you sound like you are in a tremendous amount of pain. Please know that you are beloved to Allah, and that He wants eternal good for you. No matter how terrible you are feeling right now, please know that what you are going through is part of your journey towards Him.

The role of emotion

All emotions are a signal for us to take some kind of action. Feel them, and then let them go. You always have a choice in how you respond. Right now, your choices are not helping you.

You sound very caught up in the past. I urge you to practice staying in the present. Please begin a daily dhikr practice to help ground yourself in this present moment. For example, you can select some duas from here: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Please also consider starting a short, daily meditation practice. You can find many examples online or use Dr Kristen Neff’s or Tara Brach’s.

Mistakes

“So will they not repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Qur’an, 5:74]

Allah created us weak, so we can return to Him in repentance, over and over again. He did not create us like angels – incapable of sin.

Rather than believe that your sins are enough to send you to Hellfire, believe that Allah has the Mercy to forgive you, and turn your bad deeds into good deeds. Choose to have a good opinion of Allah, instead of giving up on Him already.

Worry

There is an app called Worry Box, which I recommend that you download. Use this app as a way to limit your worry to a specific time a day, for example, for 10 minutes after you eat lunch. Try to avoid using this app before bedtime.

I hope that this strategy will prevent you from allowing worry to consume your entire day.

Feelings of inadequacy

I encourage you to read the Seerah and reflect on the lessons within it. So many of the Companions struggled with physical, emotional and spiritual pain. They leaned on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and drew strength from him, and Allah.

Not feeling good enough is a common struggle. I encourage you to read up on the work of shame researcher, Dr Brené Brown. Her TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability, could be helpful for you.

Repentance

“Surely I am the Most-Forgiving for him who repents and believes and acts righteously, then follows the right path.” [Qur’an, 20:82]

Every day, and in every moment, you have the opportunity to repent, and make good on your Islam. No matter what you have done in the past, when you repent, then your slate is clean again.

Please trust in the Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah. Make your repentance, and then move on. Practice moving on. The more you practice taking action, then inshaAllah it easier it will be.

Love for Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him)

To love Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), then you need to get to know them, through learning from trustworthy sources.

I recommend that you read the beautiful text, Shama’il, as a way to attain closeness to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Please consider listening to podcasts such as Content of Character.

Self-care

Write down a checklist of daily self-care activities, and ensure that you tick them off, daily. Consider the different aspects of your well-being: physical, emotional, spiritual, and so on.

Seeking help

If you still feel stuck, then perhaps you need professional help, especially in regards to your struggles with waswasa. Do you have a school counsellor you can speak to? I recommend that you contact Sidi Zuhair Girash of Aafiyah Healing.

I pray this has been helpful.

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

Being a Daughter, a Woman, and Living This Life

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil counsels on the role and duty of daughter toward parents, being a woman, feeling isolated overwhelmed by expectations.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am tired. I don’t feel like I understand my purpose anymore. Especially when I see so many of my sisters in Islam living a life of independence. I am confused about exactly what Islam says on the matter – it has been my long held belief that a girl or woman doesn’t leave her parents home except by marriage.

Am I wrong? I was under the impression that this is based upon a hadith. What happens if she doesn’t get married? Is she forced to leave and find her independence?

I am one of three sisters. One who has gotten married, one who lives independently of us, and me. I do not wish for marriage. But I see myself as being responsible for my parents as they get older. I have no mahram other than my elderly father. No other family here. I do work, part-time alhamduliLlah.

Should I leave the home and leave my parents alone? (I don’t want to, because I am afraid to lose them in any sense, even by their own natural end).

I sometimes feel like nothing I do is right before my father. I feel like I studied and obeyed them in this regard. But now, I am so tired with how pointless everything is. I studied two degrees, trained for a long time, and all for what?

I remained confused about my faith, I have lost friends, and become more isolated. I genuinely believe women need a mahram to travel randomly around the globe if for pleasure and not for purpose.

I’ve become disheartened, disillusioned, for clinging onto things that others maybe don’t consider important. Please advise me.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Living Alone

Dear sister, please know that Allah knows the deepest contents of your heart. If you do not want to move out from your parents’ home, then please, by all means, remain there.

Please do not compare yourself to your sisters, as tempting as that may be. Three of you are completely different individuals, with unique strengths and challenges. Your responsibility is to measure yourself against the yardstick of what is pleasing to Allah, in this present moment.

Please refer to these links to clarify your confusion about the permissibility of an unmarried Muslim woman, living alone: Can I, as a Woman, Live on My Own? [Shafi’i] and Can an Unmarried Young Woman Live Alone?

Exception

The only scenario in which I would encourage you to move out from your parents’ home is this – if staying with your parents were harming you, in some way.

It does not have to be outward abuse, but if you feel that staying with your parents is contributing to feelings of stagnation, then perhaps it is time for you to make a change.

Caring for Parents

It is praiseworthy for you to take on the main responsibility of caring for your parents in their old age. However, please know that goodness to your parents remains a personally obligatory act for all of your sisters. Your commitment to caring for your parents does not lift the responsibility from their shoulders.

I suspect that because you live with your parents, then your sisters take you for granted. They know that you are there every day to be of service to your parents, so perhaps they do not try harder to be there for them, too.

I encourage you to complete this transformative course: Excellence With Parents: Muhammad Mawlud’s Birr al-Walidayn Explained: Your Parents’ Rights and How to Fulfil Them.

Father

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Sura al-Dhariyat 51:56)

You describe that nothing you do is right by your father. I am sorry – this is deeply painful, for any daughter. Please know that when a father is chronically displeased with his children, it actually reflects his own chronic displeasure with himself.

I encourage you not to live your life for your parents, especially not your father. This can be very hard to do at first, because it has become an ingrained habit. Live for Allah, and within the realms of permissibility, please do things that bring you joy. Find ways to nourish your heart, body, mind and soul.

Please know that perhaps creating some physical distance between you and your father may help you realign with your values, instead of always being drawn to what is pleasing to him.

You were created to worship Allah, and your journey to that includes working on your weaknesses and harnessing your strengths.

Life Coaching

I suggest that you look up one of the many Muslimah life coaches online. Find someone who resonates with you, and commit to exploring ways to improve your life. What are you passionate about? What are you good at? What do you want to get better at?

Marriage and Possible Depression

You describe that you do not want to be married. Is this because you have been hurt before, or because you genuinely are not interested in marriage?

You have also described yourself as losing friends, feeling lonely, and being exhausted. Could your low moods and lack of interest in marriage be something you could explore, within the safety of a culturally-sensitive counsellor’s office?

Travel

Please refer to this link for clarification: Can I Travel by Plane Without a Mahram?

Spiritual Nourishment

Dear sister, your soul is yearning for relief. Please feed your soul with the the cool, sweet waters of dua, the Prayer of Need, reciting and listening to Qur’an, and other acts of nearness to Allah.

Clarify your confusion about your faith through seeking out healing knowledge. SeekersHub courses are in abundance, alhamdulilah, so decide which ones resonate with you most, and strive to complete them.

I pray that this has been helpful. Please keep in touch.

Please see: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long.

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Nasheed Hub: Talama Ashku Gharami

The Nasheed Hub, an initiative of SeekersHub Global, aims to showcase the traditional Islamic art of nasheed, or Islamic devotional songs.

Talama Ashku Gharami

Talama Ashku Gharami, or “How Long Will My Heart Ache,” is a heartfelt Nasheed that may can relate to. One of the less-appreciated poems, it speaks directly to the soul.

The author is experiencing heartache. However, it is not a wordly or romantic pain. Rather than wishing for a loved one, he is longing for the ultimate goal; to attain unto Allah, and see the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace.

He asks when his pain will stop, saying, “How long will my heart ache for my Beloved?” He addresses the Prophet as the one from Tiham (an area that includes the cities of Mecca and Medina). He goes on, speaking about his utmost desire to attain the vision, and see the door of Paradise. He concludes by asking Allah, to grant goodness with goodness.
[pdf-embedder url=”https://seekersguidance.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/talama.pdf”]

About Nasheed Hub

Throughout the decades and civilizations of Islam, the vocal tradition, sometimes known as nasheed or devotional songs, were penned as a way of celebrating and giving thanks to Allah for the message of Islam, as well as for the Messenger himself.
These nasheeds were a way for people to turn towards their Lord in joyful celebration, rather than stringent routine. They were also tools to spread the message of Islam in a non-confrontational way. These nasheeds were able to reach out to those who were alienated or indifferent to the religion and the Muslim community, as well as to teach children who were too young for academic study.
These nasheeds originating from all corners of the Muslim world – from West Africa to Malaysia, from Turkey to Great Britian – mirror their own culture but all carry a common thread: love of Allah and His Messenger.
This series will explore the different nasheeds, penned by some of the great historical Muslim figures, poets, and scholars.


Resources for Seekers

 

Ours Is Not A Caravan of Despair: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

True joy lies within the heart, and it is unshakeable. Every breath, heartbeat, and moment is a gift from Allah.not a caravan of despair

Knowing that happiness comes from Allah, we should keep in mind that suffering and hardship come from the same Lord.

An Alternative Perspective

But how can there be joy in hardship? This is where the believer sees things differently. We know that there is a Hereafter, and that we find mercy in the response. When we find oppression, difficulty and distress, we know that is it an opportunity to turn to Allah.

With any situation, our question should be; “How can I be a truly grateful servant? What is the response of gratitude?” Through prayer, charity, advocacy and gathering with others, we work to find a solution. Rather than be a social commentator, we should connect with those who are suffering, and work to improve their lot. Through action we can truly express our gratitude.

The question we need to ask is not, “Why are things the way they are?” Rather the question is, “What is the response required from me?”

See Allah in Everything

One of the poets said, “If you see God as the actor in everything, you behold all creation as beautiful. But if all you see are the traces of His creation, you turn something dazzlingly beautiful into something ugly.”

In the Qur’an, it has been revealed that, “For indeed, with hardship comes ease. Indeed, with hardship comes ease.” (94:4-5). Rather than being told that ease comes after hardship, we are told that it comes with hardship. Allah is not telling us that ease is coming; He is telling us that ease is here.

May Allah grant us to see the opportunity for mercy, good, gratitude, direction, and positivity in every situation. After all, ours is not a caravan of despair.


Resources for Seekers

The Unconditional Rejoicing of the Believer, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

One of the most important Prophetic traditions of our religion is to always rejoice. A believer isn’t happy because nice things happen, because this life and all that happens in it, is fleeting. We rejoice because of our connection to Allah, the Everlasting. Listen on in this brief reminder from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Are You Pursuing Happiness?

Are you pursuing happiness? How do we pursue it in the modern world? Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad discusses the meaning and pursuit of happiness in our lives. He eloquently describes the role of religion and specifically Islam in defining and pursuing happiness.

Shaykh-Abdul-Hakim-MuradShaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, also known as Timothy John Winter, is one of the most influential and highly regarded Muslim scholars in the world today. He is Director of Studies (Theology and Religious Studies) at Wolfson College and Shaykh Zayed Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Cambridge University, United Kingdom. He is Dean of the Cambridge Muslim College, which trains imams for British mosques. He has translated a number of books from the Arabic, including several sections of Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya’ Ulum al-Din. He is a frequent international speaker and writer and also a regular contributor to the prestigious BBC Radio 4’s prestigious Thought for the Day.

Resources on happiness:

Cover photo by Muhammad Irfanul Alam.

My Heart Feels Uneasy After Divorce – What Can I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I married my husband due to family pressure. We have been separated for almost a year. I do much more worship but sometimes it still feels like this is a horrible test that just isn’t ending. Does this mean that I am supposed to return to my husband?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatahullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah ease the distress from your heart.

Istikhara

It sounds like the answer is already unfolding in events in your life. Allah makes easy what is good for you, and Allah closes off what is bad for you. If after praying istikhara, your relationship with your husband becomes worse, then that is a sign that this marriage is not for you.

Feeling unease during difficulty is part of being human. It’s not a sign that you must return to your husband.

Patience

Dear sister, you are going through an extremely difficult time. Please be gentle with yourself, and please give yourself time to heal. The nature of pain is that it will run its course, for as long as Allah wills. Pain
comes out sideways if you try to suppress it. Feel your sadness, loss and anger, and see a therapist if you need help processing your emotions. There is no shame in needing help. Reach out to loved ones who support your decision. Grieve the loss of your marriage for as long as you need to. There is no timeline on these things, and remember that Allah tests those whom He loves.

Doing more ibadah is praiseworthy, and inshaAllah over time the sweetness of ibadah will eclipse your heartache. Allah is the Turner of Hearts, so keep asking Him to relieve your heartache.

Self-care

Please look after yourself in this time. Eat nourishing foods, get enough sleep, go for walks in the sunshine, drink herbal teas, get massages – whatever you need to do to help you feel better.

Surviving divorce

Divorce is not the end of the world. Some days, you might wonder if the pain will ever stop. Hold the remembrance of Allah close to your heart, and seek comfort in the knowledge that Allah knows how much pain you are in.

I pray that Allah grants you a loving and righteous husband when the time is right. Please keep turning to Allah during these difficult time. InshaAllah, one day soon, this time will be a distant memory.

Duas

There are many, many beautiful duas you can read to get you through this painful period in your life. Slowly build these supplications into your daily life.

What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Please refer to the following links:

How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

As a Married Woman, Can I Long For Another Married Man—At Least as a Mate in Paradise?

Answered by Ustadha Umm Umar

Question: I am married to a man that I do not love. I work hard to be a good and faithful wife to him. I love another person, but do not see him and avoid anything that might lead to haram. I am a practising Muslim and spend much of my time doing dhikr, qiyam and fasting. However, I am unhappy in my marriage and in my heart I so wish I was married to the man I love and who loves me.

Is it permissible to make dua and ask Allah to let me marry the man I do love?

Answer: Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

I pray this message reaches you in the best of health and iman.

It would not be permissible for you to long to be the wife of someone else. It may be that the shaytan has not been able to lure you away from your dhikr, qiyam and fasting, but he has found this door from which to toy with your heart and mind, to distract you from a path pleasing to Allah Most High. To get out of this situation, I would advise you to:

(1) cut any ties with the second brother, such that you do not see or speak to him

(2) look at the good of your own husband, learn from his good traits and strive to be more pleasing to him

(3) remember that divorce is of the most hated things to Allah Most High

(4) in making dua, ask for the path and actions of those most pleasing to Allah – don’t ask for what you think is good for you, as ultimately you do not know what is best for you – only Allah Most High knows that, so put your complete trust in Him in what he has destined for you

(5) whenever you think of the second brother, just make dua that Allah the Exalted gives him the highest ranks of Paradise (this will discourage the shaytan from reminding you about him)

Please see also: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and: Why Has Allah Allowed Me to Fall in Love With Someone I Can’t Marry?

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to email me anytime insha Allah.

Umm Umar (Shireen Ahmed)

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Guidance of the Prophet Muhammad on the Virtues of Patience (and Thankfulness) in Tribulation and Hardship

muhammed_arabicThese are a few hadiths of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk) on the great honor that trials, hardships, and tribulations can represent for a true believer, and how these are opportunities to exhibit one’s patience, trust, reliance, contentment, and thankfulness to Allah Most High.

34. Anas said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘Allah the Mighty and Exalted says, ‘When I test My slave regarding the two things he loves and he shows fortitude, I repay him for them with the Garden.'” He meant his eyes. [al-Bukhari]

35. ‘Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah said, “Ibn ‘Abbas said to me, ‘Shall I show you a woman who is one of the people of the Garden?’ I replied, ‘Please do.’ He said, ‘This black woman came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, “I have fits during which I expose myself. Pray to Allah Almighty for me.” He said, “If you wish, you can show fortitude and you will receive the Garden, and if you wish, I will pray to Allah Almighty to heal you.” She said, “I will show fortitude.” She said, “I expose myself so pray to Allah that I do not expose myself.” So he prayed for her.'” [Agreed upon]

36. Abu ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said, “It is as if I could still see the Messenger of Allah talking about one of the Prophets, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon them, whose people beat him, making his blood flow. While he was wiping the blood from his face, he said, ‘O Allah, forgive my people. They do not know.'” [Agreed upon]

37. Abu Sa’id and Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his mistakes by it.” [Agreed upon]

38. Ibn Mas’ud said, “I visited the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he had a fever. I said, “Messenger of Allah, you have a very high fever!’ He replied, ‘Yes. I have the fever of two of you.’ I asked, ‘Is that because you will have two rewards?’ He said, ‘Yes, it is like that. No Muslim is afflicted by harm, whether it is a thorn or something worse, without Allah expiating his evil deeds on that account and his sins fall away from him like leaves from a tree.'” [Agreed upon]

39. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When Allah desires good for someone, He afflicts him.” [Al-Bukhari]

Source: Chapter on Steadfastness (sabr) from Imam Nawawi’s Gardens of the Righteous (tr. Ayesha Bewley)