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Questions and Answers- How to Cope in Times of CrisisQuestions answered by Sony Pathan.

She can be contacted at sony_heat@hotmail.com

Some information about Sony
In Thailand in the early 1990s the AIDS epidemic had already reared its ugly head throwing individuals and families into chaos. The stigma attached to AIDS drove mothers to abandon their babies, families to ostracize their relatives and individuals to isolate themselves and die alone. In the atmosphere of the AIDS epidemic during the early 1990s in Thailand, Sony Pathan became more than curious about this desperately sad phenomenon that she was witnessing. She spent much of her time with such patients, watching them grapple with their reality. This, she says, was a turning point in her life. She committed herself to helping people through traditional medicine.

Sony Pathan is a Thai Muslim. She has been living in Egypt for six years. She studied Thai Massage and Reflexology at the Thai Traditional Medical School and has fifteen years experience in Thai massage and Reflexology and six years experience in Acupunture.

Raised in a family that practices Islam as a way of life and that also embraces traditional healing methods, Pathan became passionate about the interconnectedness of the body, mind and spirit in terms of healing.
“Traditional health is a part of Islam,” said Pathan, “there is no contradiction. When I’m treating patients, I make Du’aa and ask Almighty Allah to heal this person through my efforts. In the end, the healing and comfort come from Allah.”

Question 1
: As salamu `alaykum.

I used to date with a girl for 4 years. We wanted to marry, but our relationship was in secret. We made some haram things, we used to be alone. Two months ago I split up the relationship, I just could not go on making haram things. But now I'm depressed, I thing I need support from her, and although I don't think about her so much, I think this has affected my heart. I am not happy now, it is like my light has switched off. At the same time, I'm so stressed about my degree, I have lots of exams and essays to do, every week.

I feel I'm disconnected to the world, just as If I cannot be concentrate, as if I were so far away. At the same time, I have problems to sleep, because my head doesn't stop to think while I'm trying to sleep.

What can I do to change all these things that are affecting me a lot? It's just like there is no cause, and at the same time, all the things in my life are the cause of this unease.
Answer: As salamu `alaykum, many thanks for your question.

First of all, you should be very happy that you broke off a relationship that was haram. You should be proud of yourself for awakening and doing what is right with fear of Allah.

The best solution is to repent to Allah. This is the first step. Have you done that? To do this, you pray two rakats</I<

At the same time, is it possible to marry her?
Are you suitable for each other?
This would prevent you from haram and in Islam there is no problem for a couple to marry even if they are still studying.

If this is not going to happen, you have to move forward and find good Muslim friends who will encourage to be better and stronger in Islam. You also have to concentrate on your studies because this is your future and the way in which you can support your family later.

You said that your stress is preventing you from studying and that you feel lost and depressed, and that perhaps the solution would be to have support from this woman; however, the only support is from Allah. If you realize this deeply you will know that the source of your problem is the wrong things you did knowingly, so repentance and changing your thinking and lifestyle is the answer.

To become strong and to stay strong you need to make remembrance of Allah (thikr) all the time. Don't miss your five daily prayers and fast often as this helps to overcome desires.

If a person does dhikr, it helps to relieve stress and depression and helps us to think and feel on a higher level of consciousness; in this way we will be able to find solutions.

It is very important to remember that as long as you are seeking help (by asking this question today) it means Allah is guiding you, so you should be hopeful that you can turn to Him and He is there.

May Allah forgive you, and lead you to do your best in everything in your life. May He make things easy for you.

Question 2: I've been married for 3 years, and we have one child. I never thought I would contemplate divorce with a man I once was so happy with, but we seem to have lost the feelings that we had for each other. Perhaps no one is to blame, a baby, our jobs, problems with in-laws all contributed to the state we are in today. I feel very sad, but I don't think the marriage is working. Would it be totally repugnant for me to request a divorce under such circumstances? It's not on the grounds of domestic abuse or mistreatment or other strong grounds, there is just a lack of love and compatibility.

One of the reasons which has lessened my love for him is his inability to lead the family. So I take the lead in spite of having a full job and motherhood responsibilities. I lead in almost every aspect, from finances, to household issues, to religion. Although I have asked my husband many times to be the leader of the household, he has not stepped up to the plate. I am the one teaching my child du`aa's, reading Qur`an in front of her, telling her about Allah in simplistic terms. I am the one who is slowly introducing Islam to her.

My husband also does not lead me. I really feel very sad. I have tried talking to him so many times, in so many different ways, even being guided by Hadith and religious articles about how to lecture a husband gently, but he becomes very defensive, and starts raising his voice, and we can never properly talk things out. I feel really distressed that I am in this situation, and I feel responsible for my child, and cry at the thought of her having to put up with divorced parents, but I am just so unhappy and want to give myself another shot at happiness in the future with Insyaallah another good Muslim man. Am I wrong to think this way?
Answer: As salamU `alaykum sister, many thanks for your question.

What you are doing right now should make you happy because you may be getting a double reward! You said you are leading the family and this is a charity from you. You also said that you are introducing Islam to your child and this is part of your role in being a Muslim mother - may Allah reward you - and you should be proud of your efforts.

It seems that your problem with your husband stems from his weak personality. You also said that when you married you were both happy initially, and this is an important point because what brought you both together, is still there - you just have to find it again or rediscover each other. You can only do this if your hearts are open to each other.

It is very important that you talk openly with your husband, and discuss how to make life better. Be sure he is also not happy. It is not right to think about divorce until you are sure that you both did your best to make your marriage work. You both have to think about your child and one day look at this child and say honestly that you did your best to keep the home together.

You both have to identify what the real problems are - many of the behaviors people manifest are secondary to the real problems.

Find specific points, and jot them down and discuss them rationally, one by one. Then write down the framework that you will both live within. For example, if there is a certain behavior he doesn't like from you, then you should promise him that you will try to stop that and vice versa. Try also to change the mood in the house. Take a holiday and try to spark up the relationship. Try not to discuss your problems at home, otherwise it will inevitably end up in an argument. You could make an appointment to discuss any issues one week ahead and go out somewhere nice to talk. Planning a date ahead of time will give you both time to think clearly what you want to say and prepare yourself to say it in a proper way. If you are in a public place, like a restaurant, you will control yourselves better, and insha Allah you will have a much better and more positive result.

If you are honest with yourself you will know in your heart when you have tried your best. I believe, from your quetsion, that you still have other things to try.

May Allah give your marriage baraqah and guide you both to live in peace and happiness. May He help you find the loving feelings you once had and revive them. May He clear your hearts from bitterness, disdain, grudge and pride and help you to find what He wants you to find.

Question 3: Salam

I'm currently going through episodes of depression, and I have lost total focus on everything, I absolutely have no idea what I'm doing and why I'm doing it, and in the process I'm hurting the loved ones around me. I'm married, but marriage hasn't been going very well. My Marriage was an arranged marriage to my second cousin from Pakistan. Initially everything seemed fine, but as time went on flaws started to appear. We had nothing in common, our intellect levels were too apart, the way we were raised was too different. We couldn't agree or compromise on anything. It came to a point whereby we didn't talk at all. And the fact we didn't have any communication made it seem pointless and hateful to perform my marital duties.

It felt like I was being used, and then discarded. It made me feel worse and worse. My fears grew around what would happen next. Because my marriage is so intertwined between our families and relatives, to walk away from it is to break the whole family apart. I became so depressed, starting praying that I wasn't alive anymore, started harming myself every time I had perform my marital duties I couldn't take it out on anyone else so I took it out on myself.

My husband pretty much accused me of having an affair, with a guy that I had befriended over MSN (this guy is studying to become a doctor, and I am also friends with his female cousin. (Mostly I seek medical advise from him).

I told my husband about him, but he never said that he didn't like me talking to this guy or had any objection at the time, but a year or so later he accused me having an affair with him. Similarly, he's done the same with other situations where I've confided in with something and he didn't confront me about it at the time, but months later he'll bring it out in a total different context as to what I said. He didn't seem to understand much of anything I had to say, at the same level as I was saying it at or the in the same context that I meant it as.

We just became bitter towards each other, and he told everyone in his family about private things that I'd confided in him. He said some horrible and absurd things about my parents which I couldn't tolerate, I could tolerate him saying things about me, but not my parents. Eventually it became too much, and my parents noticed that I was unhappy, and we separated.

It has been nearly six months since we have separated. My parents haven't spoke much about the situation since, and hope that I'd come to my senses, and go back to my husband. My father is considered like he head of the family, and since my marriage is so intertwined it'll mean, like I said before that the family will break up. My husband is grandson to two of my father's brothers. Obviously he wants to avoid that. But then I don't understand where that leaves me.

I don't want to be in this marriage, to be in it will mean that I'm being a hypocrite. My family won't talk about the situation in front of me, and it hurts to overhear a conversation about yourself when you're walking up to a room. I absolutely don't know what to do in this situation. I am constantly depressed, and I can't think straight. If I stand up for me then I'd be called selfish, but if I consider others, and stay in the marriage then I won't be happy myself, and I won't be able to make my husband happy and then I would be sinful all my life.

I don't have any peace of mind at all, and I'm praying for a better outcome, I'm trying to seek Islamic knowledge to obtain some sort of justification or even peace in my heart and mind, but I'm not having any luck.

Please help me! Thank You...

As salamu `alaykum sister, and thank you so much for your question.

It seems that you know and understand very well what is going on, and that you also understand why you are depressed - that is half the battle.

So now put in your mind what is good about your marriage, what is good about your husband and what is good about you, and write them down. Then write down what is negative about your marriage and your husband and you yourself and write that down too. So you will have two pieces of paper; one with the good qualities and another with the negative qualities. Then see which is more.

This will help you to see the problem more clearly and you will be able to think more consciously. Be sure that Allah gives you the capability to deal with whatever you have to face in this life. So that knowledge should make you feel stronger and more hopeful.

Is it possible that you sit with your husband, and let him make the same list about you and then you both talk about it? If this is not possible, then you will already have (in these papers) the means to make a balanced decision. You must have a pure intention and a clean heart and be fair to yourself and to him and be honest as you write. No one is all bad. Ask Allah to open your mind and heart to trust in Him and be guided by Him to make the correct choice and to make that choice for the right reasons. Meaning, any decision you make must be because you want to please Allah - not human beings. You will never please everyone, so please Allah.

If you are sincere and determined Allah will open the way for you. Pray Salat-ul Istikhara everyday for a long time, and the way will become clear, and you will know in your heart what you should do.

Ask yourself:

Be open minded about what the solution might be and then search your heart.

May Allah give baraqah to you and guide you to what is best for you both; to a decision that will satisfy the hearts of all those involved in this sad situation.

Read Also:
Salatul Istikharah: Any Sign of Response?

Question 4:

As salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

I have been married for 3 years. I had a normal delivery, but the child did not survive. Later, I gave birth to another child but it was a caesarean birth.

To allow for a gap for the next pregnancy I tried all methods, but they are affecting my health. Hence doctor advised me to plan for the next pregnancy, and then have a family planning operation (sterlization). What to do help me.

Answer: As salamu `alaykum sister, many thanks for your question.

In Islam you have to live while trusting in Allah. Whatever happens in your pregnancies is destiny and since we know that everything from Allah is good, we have to be hopeful and trust in Him. Sometimes it is difficult for us to see the good, but be sure it is there.

Even though you lost one child, this baby is waiting for you in Jannah and on top of this, Allah gave you another child. And you still have the chance to have one more and retain your health. You are truly blessed.

You can get the opinion of another doctor to be sure which advice to follow concerning how many more children you can have. After you have your next baby, insha Allah, then you can think about having more or not. Finish one thing at a time, and don't worry about the future - take life one step at a time. Be sure that Allah will take care of you all. You should focus your attention of taking care of your family, don't forget your husband! - and take life day - by - day.

May Allah give you the best provision in this life through your children, your husband and through your own peace of mind. May Allah enable you to see the blessings He has given you.

Question 5: Salamu `alaykum...

May Allah (SWT) reward you for such excellence in helping muslims. I have a very important question. I've been married for 6 years now to a man from a different cultural upbringing, and a different approach to religion. I come from a secular upbringing where people are mostly Muslims in name only, but feel pride in being "muslims".

My husband comes from a very conservative culture, and is very religious and is from a strict family. What unites is our religion. We consider ourselves moderate Muslims, mainstream if you will.

I started to wear hijab soon after our marriage, and that was my own choice. I explained to my husband before marriage this is what I will do, and it was important for him as well. However, I was young and very enthusiastic, and might have done it in heat of the moment.

In the last couple of years, I have started more and more to regret my decision about hijab, but admit that it is obligation towards God. However I would like to feel happiness in my heart again about wearing it. Since the burden of hijab is getting heavier on me, I am starting to loosen my iman; I am starting to wear tighter clothes, and I am less punctual in my prayers. I am wondering if I can stop wearing it, to gain back my spirituality and to start feeling confident again.

My husband has a problem with this solely because he feels that he will be accountable for my decision. If he expressed his dissaproval , will he be responsible for my action in the Hereafter? What should he do if I stop wearing hijab, for the time being.

We do have children and otherwise are in the main happy in our marriage, a part from the few cultural differences...

Jazaka Allah
As salamu `alaykum sister, many thanks for your question.

First of all, al hamdu Lillah that Allah guided you to wear hijab which is the right way. If your faith is weak you don't strengthen it by disobeying Allah.

In Islam, we get rewards according to our intentions and the extent to which we struggle. You have to admit that you are struggling now, right? So, be sure that in your current struggle you are being rewarded. You are engaged in a fight -- Who with? You are fighting with shaytan and with your own desires. Who will win? That is entirely up to you!

Be sure that wearing hijab is a part of Islam and we should do it. You should wear hijab because when we sincerely obey Allah we draw closer to Him and when we disobey Him we go far from Him. Can you imagine that you live your life without the mercy and help and guidance of Allah?? Your struggle now is just like you are engaged in jihad - the greater jihad is struggling against our own desires.

So dear sister, make sure you win this battle and draw closer to Allah just one step and He says that He will come to you ten steps. So don't step away from Allah - step closer to Him.

Ask Allah to keep the guidance with you that he gave you all those years before. Because if we are not grateful for His blessings, He may remove them and we don't want that.

Ask Allah to give you strength of purpose and find good pious friends who will encourage you to be better and stronger. Your husband sounds like a good man, so together if you both practice Islam you will give each other pride and dignity of being Muslim for the sake of Allah and an example of being Muslim in the modern world.

May Allah calm your heart, make your footsteps firm and guide you to be stronger and wiser.

Question 6: I am 22 years old and will be getting married soon.I am facing a problem at home. Since I was a child my parents have been fighting and arguing for the pettiest of reasons.I have seen arguments which turn to hitting and cursing.Although the hitting has stopped, from the time I gained maturity my parents still do not get along with each other in almost everything.I feel my personality has been hugely affected by their fights, and I feel I have acquired some of their traits - I fear arguments & anger now. Sometimes I I don't trust myself, and hate myself if I make mistakes.I have low self-esteem sometimes.

Frankly I am facing an identity crisis, and I am trying to identify what kind of person I am. I am so frustrated and clueless. My mom suffers from cataract, high blood pressure & diabetes, and dad has a heart problem. I don't want their fights to affect their health. I am an only child.

The guy whom I'm getting married to is also an only child. Currently we are residing in UAE, and I will return to UAE after marriage. Please tell me what should I do.Is it better if my family and I return to India to solve these problems or is UAE better? I desperately want a solution to my problems.I have no one to confide with right now.

Thanks.I would appreciate if i would be able to talk to you in more detail. Thanks again.

Salamu `alaykum sister...

Thank you so much for your question. If we are to look at all this in a positive way, we could say that you have valuable experience about marriage through what you have observed from your parents. You know how to behave in a better way, and you know how to balance family relationships. This knowledge is within you because of your experience, you have to find it.

This knowledge and wisdom is very likely buried underneath your fear, and frustration, along with the hope you have to make your own life better than that of your parents. It is not automatic that you will be just like your parents. Experiences, even negative ones, can make us wiser if we consciously decide to look at this positively while trusting in Allah.

When you pray and make du`aa' trust in Allah, and do your best with a good intention. Ask Him to help you to learn from all this and to change your heart, and your thinking for the better.

I suggest that you get a piece of paper and write down all the things you know about marriage and how to make it work. I believe that you will be surprised at how much you do understand.

The physical illnesses of your parents are, to some degree, due to the decisions they have made in their lives, and this has nothing to do with you. We say, 'the sweeter the poison, the more bitter the medicine'. So don't make the mistake of thinking that your life will follow the same pattern as your parents.

To remove your fear and frustration, you must first think positively, and know that everything that happens in life is good, even if we can't always see it. And believe that you have the capability to deal with whatever Allah allows to happen to you. Second, accept your situation and act positively meaning make a conscious decision not to behave like your parents did.

Sometimes it is better to try to get what you want indirectly, in a gentle way rather than confronting harshly. You know this from your experience and if you make a conscious decision to behave like this, you will change.

You asked about going back to India to solve the problems but it seems that these are your parents problems, and now you are embarking on your new life and this is where you should be spending your energy.

May Allah give you baraqah so you can find joy amidst all the problems. May He lift your heart that you value yourself as He values you and may He guide you to see HIs guidance in your life.

Question 7: Alhamdu Lillah...

I am very happily married with a daughter, and I am pregnant with my second child. I have a wonderful pious righteous husband. We have performed Hajj and 'Umrah several times. We are blessed.

I have difficulty as I am unable to find peace with my looks. I am very hairy on my entire body and face, and it makes me feel ugly. Whenever I remove the hairs, I get ingrown hairs which are painful, and leave scars that don't come out. I can't seem to come to grips with this problem, and it interferes with my daily existence and happiness. I love my husband, and my child, and I am so looking forward to my new baby; yet I am constantly unhappy and conscious.

I want to feel free, calm and relaxed yet I always have these hair worries. I tried laser hair removal on my face, and had to stop due to the pregnancy, and now I am getting ingrown hairs on my face from threading. I feel like I just can't cope anymore with my body difficulties. I just want to find peace and happinness, and I want the ingrown hair problem to go away. I don't mind removing the hair, but the ingrown hairs are the issue. it is very hard living with this problem every single day. please help me to find peace so that I may enjoy the remainder of my life with my beautiful family. Shukran... sam.
As salamu `alaykum...

Thank you so much for your question, and I'm sure you do have inner peace, but you are looking too much at your external characteristics. How do I know you have peace? Because of the way you love your husband and children and the way you are happy with your marriage.

This issue is a relatively simple even though you see it as huge. This problem is common among many women around the world, and so you have to find a way to remove the hair with less side effects.

Have you tried waxing? The Arabs use a kind of home made wax made from sugar (they call it caramel). The Arabs also have a technique of hair removal with a thread and this is especially good for removing facial hair. The laser can be very harsh and harmful to the body. After laser treatment you must avoid sunlight for some time. Perhaps bleaching the hair will help?

If none of the above works, then you must accept this as a part of you. If we continually resist our state, we can become ill because of the stress we put ourselves under. So try to stop resisting it as long as it doesn't harm your physical functions.

In terms of an emotional response, you are the one who will decide whether or not to make this a problem. I mean, if you deal with this positively, and accept what you have, you will find it much easier to cope.

You didn't mention that your husband has a problem with this. This means he accepts you as you are. So why don't you just accept yourself as you are. Don't harm yourself, because if you over react this will affect your emotional balance. As you said you have a happy family - try to find joy in what you have.

Finally, if this is the biggest problem in your life, I believe you are truly blessed. Try looking at people who have less than you or worse problems than you and then, insha Allah, you find more peace and you feel truly blessed.

May Allah grant you a cure and a solution to your problem and let your heart find joy in His blessings.

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