The Islamic Garden
Questions and Answers –
General session October 2009
Answered by Selma Cook
Answered by Selma Cook
My problem is how to get rid of my laziness?
Salam alaikum, many thanks for sending in your question. When we talk about laziness, we are really talking about what motivates us; what excites us into activity. People are often de-motivated (or seemingly lazy) because they do not see the fruit of their efforts or because they do not expect to see any positive results. Some others may not enjoy what they do and so find it a chore; boring. The problem arises if you must do something that you do not like doing or feel that it will not yield anything beneficial for the effort you exert. But, many times we do things today and yet we do not see their results until some time in the future, then at that time, we are very pleased we did it!
There are other times when we know there is something important to do but we feel down and depressed and unable to gather the strength and inner resources to get on with the job. In this case, the problem is not the thing we have to do, but the way we feel. If you feel a sense of tiredness and apathy about things that usually motivate you, first of all, you should take a look at some practical aspects of life.
It is very
important that you get enough sleep. Try to go to bed
and get up at the same time every day and make sure you set aside time
something you enjoy doing at least once a day. Then, there
is diet. Our state of mind is greatly affected by our state of physical
be a good
idea to go on a detox program and get some advice from a
nutritionist about the foods that you should be consuming. When your
health is good and you are exercising regularly and
getting fresh air and sunshine, and you still feel de-motivated, then
time to move on to
We are social
beings and can not live in isolation. A sign of a
‘healthy’ individual is that he/she is able to mix easily with people
an open heart
others with compassion and interest. It is very
important that you mix with people who are engaged in the same kind of
have to do;
people who are like-minded. In this way, you will be
able to share your feelings and experiences with people who understand
you are doing
and why. In this community-like setting, people tend
to motivate and support each other. And, they tend to draw each other
to find people’s abilities and potential and
encouraging each other on.
Then, there is the secret! The best way to spur on the soul and get it moving, focused, and interested in life. But you usually find it in the depths of the night when most people are sound asleep. You find it in prayer and deep contemplation; the times when you get to see yourself more clearly and the direction your life is taking. This special quiet time helps you to see the context of your life in a clear and honest way and when you do that, you usually see the gaps in your life; the things you should be doing. And, if you continue in this nightly exercise you will also find, not just the understanding of what you should be doing, but also the power and inner strength to drag yourself up and do them!
All the best.
I have a complicated job in which I often have to do many things in one day, and be very focused. But My concentration level often is low. I find my mind wandering off to other things a lot, and I don't do as much in a day and as good as I would want to. Can you help me?
Salam alaikum, many thanks for your question. Isn’t that the time we are living in! So many demands, so m/uch pressure and the boss will still complain.
Human beings are so often expected to behave like machines that just keep on running. No wonder people suffer from negative stress and depression!
I want to
emphasize the importance of sleeping well, eating well
(healthy, low fat, low carb diet), periodic detox, and regular
exercise. If you
are not taking
care of your
body, how can you expect your body to do all the work
you expect it to do?
At the same time, you have to allow your mind to rest and relax. It is vital after a hard day’s work that you spend time for yourself to relax. It is also vital that you do this so you remember who you are. That may sound very strange, but we can really get lost in our work and after a while, it is easy to define ourselves according to what we do. If you ask most people ‘tell me about yourself?’ they will inevitably say ‘oh, I’m a teacher, a professor, a doctor, or a secretary’… these are jobs, they are things we do. They are not what or who we are. If we focus on our work and make it the most important feature of our life, we are losing out on the beauty, the joy of life as well as getting to know ourselves.
To do this; to truly unwind is not just watching a program on TV or reading a magazine (although that can help), it is spending a quiet time with yourself meditating. Sit somewhere beautiful and quiet or go for a walk or ride a bike (whatever you like doing) and let your thoughts pour over you; let them crash into each other and do their worst! It’s like just letting your mind go; letting it unwind. Then when that passes, you will feel a sense of peace and awareness, you may even feel calmness (a rare commodity in today’s world). Many people sit in beautiful quiet places, go for a walk, or ride a bike but they keep their mind busy with thinking, planning for the next day, remembering painful things and so on, and so they come home feeling the same amount of stress or even more! Try doing this the other way and I am sure it will help.
Don’t forget that as you detox your body from time to time, that you should also detox your mind. You do this by consciously getting rid of negative thoughts and concentrating on being positive with yourself, what you do, and what you hope for.
Also, when you start to feel worn down and tired, ask for a day or two off work. Talk to your boss and explain that if you give yourself this time to reguvanate you will come back to work fresh and active. If he/she is a clever boss, he will make sure his employees take time off from time to time to get themselves back on track!
All the best…
Nezha – US
my question is regarding parents. I was raised in a strict way especially my mother. I grew up w/ a lack of affection towards her, i just respect her (i dont have love honestly) my problem is I married twice and divorced twiced because of unstabled emotions. Also, I do not feel like having kids, i am afraid not to love them, to hurt them. I stayed away from my parents in a different country for their well being bec i was getting tough and i would always lose control of myself (screaming, shooting, depression..).
I have hope in Allah, how can i find my well being. Soubhallah, when i am away from them i love them, make duaas for them, send them money etc...but when i am in front of them it's emotionally disturbing. Please can you advise
alaikum, many thanks for your question. So much of what we
feel is made up of our memories; our perceptions of things that
happened to us.
We can spend our whole lifetime circling around ‘bad’ memories, until those memories and the feelings that accompany them became an important part of who we are.
When someone is raised without love he or she often feels unlovable and sets a cycle in motion of attracting people into your life that do not love you or understand who are you, because you have not yet discovered the real you. It is a mistake if a person identities himself/herself as a victim because it affects the way you think and tends to draw negative people toward you.
The first step is to acknowledge and accept the fact that you passed through a very difficult time when you were young. Accept the fact that you did not have all the love, kindness and nurturing that you would have wished to have had. Accept that this happened to you and look at yourself and your reality and accept that too. It is like having a positive talk to yourself. It might sound strange, but it does help to change the way we think.
For example, you could say to yourself: I had a difficult childhood but I like the woman I am today. I have had some unsuccessful relationships, but I like the woman I am today.
Why should you like the woman you are today? You might think there is little to like, but the fact that you wrote this question today means you want to overcome your problems and that take courage and initiative. That alone is a good start.
People often do not like speaking positively about themselves and they prefer to be negative thinking that is all they deserve. This is a road to negativity and depression.
It is very important that you learn to love yourself and see the good characteristics and behavior you have. A good friend can really help you see this in yourself.
At the same time, in order to be balanced you need to also identify your weaknesses and the things you should change. An important start would be to focus on being positive in your thinking, especially when you are thinking about yourself and your life.
If you can learn to love yourself more, your fear will subside. If you can learn to trust in Allah; that includes accepting your life and the state you are in now and using that as a first step development. If you know deeply that Allah is there and that you can call on Him anytime, you will never feel alone. This will give you courage to face your fear, your feelings of inadequacy and rise above them. There is a saying that if you can imagine it, you can do it! So try to visualize the woman you want to become and make sure you focus on qualities like confidence, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, strength and not on material things like money, car, clothes and so on. Keep this positive image in front of your mind and ‘live’ toward it.
Your mother has made decisions in her life and those decisions have impacted on you. But you are your own woman and you are making decisions too that are independent from hers. The more you love yourself, the more able you will be to forgive her and let go of the past. If you can do this, you will eventually be able to go and visit and see the same behavior they have (the same behavior that harmed you in the past) and you will be able to see them as separate from you; that they no longer affect you, that you lean toward them with mercy and forgiveness because you are living your own life and becoming your own woman.
I pray for your success. All the best.
I am worried about wether I am a good mother or not. My daughter is six and I find myself frequently being angry or raising my voice to her. She is very naughty but nothing abnormal. She is an adorable kid and although very naughty and active she does listen to me and her father.Yesterday we were studying her homework and she wasnt concentrating so I called her father. when i called him she cried like crazy as if she was afraid of him although neither him or me have ever done anything to make her afraid of us.we dont fight in our house el hamdulila or at least not in front of her. her father adores her and they have a beautiful relation. Have we done anything to make her afraid of us and we haven't noticed? or is this respect or normal fear of kids?Am I over reacting? also she is our only kid and was the only kid in both families until 3 weeks ago when her newborn cousin came and this seems to have bothered her a lot. She told me yesterday after seeing the newborn "i feel you dont love me anymore".And when i get angry with her she is always asking me do you love me? do u love me? This is very strange to me because we have all given her and give her all the time so uch love and affection.I told her no honey you know i adore you and I hugged her and stressed on this a lot. I also work and during school days i feel extremely exhausted due to waking up very early, taking her to school,going to work, preparing lunch studying...Since schools started i just seem to run al the time and have no patience. I want to be a good mother to my child. I do not want to cause her any psychological scars. At the same time, we are trying for a second baby but it has been difficult although no specific fertility problems seem to exist el hamdulila. Today I am having my first artificial insemination. Hope it is the last. I am very stressed. KIndly advise me. Thank you.
Salam alaikum, many thanks for your question. Yes, life is very stressful with work, family, and a host of pressures pulling us in many different directions. At the same time, we want to be good parents, good husband/wife, good friend, good colleague. We want miracles it seems! But, we must remember that we are the ones, many times, who put these pressures on ourselves because of how we have defined ourselves, and our expectations from life.
It is very important that you set priorities and number one, is yourself. You have to take care of yourself. You can’t give what you do not have.
You can not give time, care, nurturing and love when you are stressed and exhausted. It is just not possible. We are living in a time when women Are expected to be ‘superwoman’ – I call this the superwoman syndrome. If we aren’t doing a multitude of tasks, looking beautiful, feeling confident, The perfect housewife, the perfect mother, the perfect wife, we are a failure. How foolish the world has become. So set realistic priorities and take care of yourself. Do the work you can do comfortably. Have a good routine for your household and get all hands on deck! That means every family member should have chores and responsibilities. After you take care of yourself, the next focus should be one husband and children. They are the joy of life; the essence; the blessing. Love them and nurture them and make time for them. Give them the best of yourself and your time; not just the leftovers.
As you feel pressure and disturbance in your life, so do the children. They have their own little world and see things differently from us but we must take their fears and perceptions seriously. If your daughter feels unloved, that is how she feels. You obviously love your daughter and try to show her your love but you have to love her how she needs to be loved. Perhaps you are saying the right words, but because of your stress level and the fact that you are raising your voice and getting nervous with her, you are not showing your love. Your daughter might be getting mixed messages.
If she has been the only child in the family til her cousin came along, then she obviously feels left out and no longer the center of attention. Then you are talking about having another child and she might be thinking ‘oh no, what will happen to me then? They are already shouting at me all the time!’
So, first, stop raising your voice. If you can’t speak quietly and reasonably then leave the room for a little while til you cool off. Whatever the problem was, can wait. Get rid of the mixed messages and make sure you show her your love. Ask her what she would like to do. It might be as simple as reading a nice bedtime story or helping you cook dinner or go grocery shopping; just you and her. Tell her stories about when she was a baby and how happy you were when you had her. Show her photos of when she was a baby until now and talk about her; focus on her. Let her feel how important she is to you and the family.
All the best.
are partnerships in business a good way or islamically is it better to open ones own business.which is the more barakah option??
Salam alaikum, many thanks for your question. Perhaps it is better to send this question to the fatwa section of Islamonline.net in order to get a detailed answer.
But just a note about businesses in Islam; we should remember that everything belongs to Almighty Allah and that whatever money or resources we have are trusts given to us. So, when we invest the goodness from that investment should spill over onto others and onto the society at large. We should always be looking for ways to develop the people and place around us and give opportunities to others to utilize their talents and become financially stable.
All the best.
if an aethiest said there is no god because no body in history who has lost a hand or leg has ever prayed and got another one by praying.
Salam alaikum, many thanks for your question. Yes, arms and legs are important and people do pray to have them, especially once they have been lost.
But the fact, that they exist as well as the need for them, and the fact that we can think and comprehend that need and have the ability to choose to ask or not, is evidence that there is a Creator. And, the Creator made these arms and legs so perfectly that such a question could be raised.
We do not always get our prayers answered on the spot. But the power of prayer sets things in motion and one of the marvels of life is that we might ask for something today and it will come to light long after we have left this world. Look around and see how
many wonderful developments have been made in the world. Perhaps in the past, there was a mother who could not contact her child and worried for a long time where he/she was. Perhaps she prayed ‘Oh God let me be able to communicate with my child’… now we have mobile phones. Maybe someone, somewhere had a loved one dying of liver failure, or heart failure, and prayed for a miracle, and now we have liver and heart transplants.
The Creator will not be rushed. He decides when and how to answer the calls of us humans, but it is we who want everything now!! While it is we who are collectively and consistency destroying the world where everything is happening. We are surrounded by miracles. What stops us from seeing them? All the best.
I have great difficulties in allowing myself to fail. When I do something, like a project for work, and things don't go smootly or I get criticized, I sometimes feel like a failure, and like giving up. It's a big problem since in my complicated job I often make mistakes or things go wrong. It's an eternal empotional struggle for me to keep going on. Can you help? Thanks!
Salam alaikum, many thanks for your question. Many people are experiencing what you are going through. Very often families and society dictate to us what it means to be successful and this is often equated with work, money and status and so on. But these are superficial definitions of success and if we buy in to them, we will experience the feelings that you described. You, as a person, are much more than just the job you do to make a living.
You have a spiritual life, a personality, and you give and share and impact on the world in uncountable ways. If you think about the effect a smile or a Kind word can have on a person and how such simple things can uplift the heart and make that person change and affect someone else positively And so on. And the effect of that person started with you. Perhaps you said the word or smiled or cared just in passing; you didn’t even give it a thought.
What about if you focused some of your attention onto doing good in the world and helping others, boosting them up when they’re feeling bad and generally Being a power of good? How much impact you would have! Such behavior is a reflection of the real person inside. That smile, those words, that calm And wise reaction and so on, tell us so much about the real person. And these things have nothing to do with our daily work!
So if the people around you are trying to make you feel bad because you are a human being and make mistakes, try to think about it all in another way.
Give yourself a little pep talk and remind yourself that Allah does not expect us to be perfect. He wants us to try and then make mistakes, then try Again and so on and that is how we grow and learn. If you react negatively each time you make a mistake you will draw yourself in to a cycle of negativity that will keep you occupied so you won’t have the time or inclination to get on with the important things in life.
Accept yourself as a human being who makes mistakes, and learn to love and appreciate the real you. Acknowledge your strengths, recognize your weaknesses And work on overcoming them, and when people criticize and try to spread their negativity onto you, let it fall off you and not affect the real you that Is growing and developing inside.
All the best.
Jazak allah khairan for answering my question.
Im 22 years old and alhumdullah have been recovering from depression which lasted 2 years, although i no longer feel down i feel as though i dont have any social skills and cant really empathise with people....
Any advice on how i can improve ?
Salam alaikum, many thanks for your question. And, congratulations on coming so far in your recovery from depression. That is indeed a struggle and shows you have a lot of strength and courage. May Allah grant you a full recovery.
When the heart has suffered a lot of pain, sometimes it closes down for a while so it can heal. If you feel you can’t empathize with others Maybe it is because you have been so busy dealing with your own pain. But insha Allah, as you heal more and more and all those gaps close up one by one your heart will start to open again and those natural feelings of compassion will return.
It is important that you do not worry about it because when we resist things, they have a tendency to stick even more. So accept the fact that your heart is in this state now and let it go. But at the same time be confident that it will heal and that you will be able to empathize again, insha Allah.
In the meantime, always be positive and the first one you should empathize with is yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be positive with yourself and always be hopeful.
Do something good for someone else every single day. even if it is just opening a door for someone, smiling, forgiving, saying something nice when you felt like being a bit tough, or staying silent when someone is being unreasonable. If you develop this behavior it will direct your heart in the direction you want it to go.
All the best.
selam wa;alikum sister,
I have a problem, im in my early 20s and have a very dysnfunction family, my parents havnt spoken with each other for 5 months, my older brother just escaped going to prison, my younger brother almost got expelled from highschool and things are not good for me, although, im a universiry student ive began to feel very down, eating less, and alwayss sleeping.
How can i detach myself from my family ? I want to help them, but i think its bringing me down
Salam alaikum, many thanks for your question. Sorry to hear you are going through this difficulty. But you know, you are a part of your family but at the same time you are your own person. They make decisions and sometimes those decisions impact on you, but at the same time, you are free to make your Own decisions and steer the course of your life. If you define yourself according to your family and their behavior you will obviously feel depressed and hopeless because there are so many complex problems. But you will feel stronger and more hopeful if you keep in mind that you are free. You can get up and live your life. In
So keep studying, but interact with people, meet new people and reach out. There is a whole world there beyond your family and its problems and you are a part of that world. And I’m sure you have much to give. As you interact with others and learn about other people and their lives you will see that you are not alone in your suffering. This will make you feel better because you will see that people do cope with life, that they do move on and find a way.
One thing I know for sure! No one ever solved a problem by lying in bed worrying. That is a dead end street. So come on, get up and make a plan for yourself.
List some places you’d like to visit, things you’d like to learn, people you’d like to catch up with and value yourself enough to do that. At the same time, Do your best to help your family but don’t forget your own life. Because when you are strong and developed you will have more to give to your family and you will understand more ways to help them.
All the best.
Abdul Kalam -
i have completed bbm recently..i would like to do mba this year insha allah...my problem is am not able to concentrate on anything......i believes in allah very much.....i feels that some sickness i hav..Anxiety is my main problem....whenever am reading quran n all i feels dat some s saying me not to read quran and allah wont help me....am so worried about dis thing...and also am not capable to take any decision now a days....please help me to get rid of my anxiety
Salam alaikum, many thanks for your question. We all experience negative thoughts and different kinds of fears but the mind is a stage and can only Have one thought at a time. So if you are having negative thoughts, replace it with positive ones. If you try to resist the negative thoughts they will Only come more and more and this will end up making you feel anxious and helpless. So let them enter your mind knowing they will also leave.
And tell yourself that you like to read Quran and that you will do so at such and such a time and keep your appointment! Perhaps it would make things Easier if you read Quran for a certain amount of time everyday and don’t make that time too long. Even 5 or 10 minutes is enough because Allah likes us to do things consistency, even if they are small things. Consistency is the key. Do not overburden yourself and give yourself very high expectations because this will serve to increase your anxiety.
Also, take a good close look at yourself and see if you have put yourself under too much pressure. Maybe you need some time off from studying and do something relaxing. Give your body and mind a break! When we get ourselves into a high level of stress, the mind can play tricks on us and do all kinds of things to get us to reduce our work load and get the hint, that we are just doing too much! So take the signs that you body and mind are giving you and go through this check list:
- Make sure you are getting a good night’s sleep. If you’re not, take some natural herbs to help. If you search on the internet you will get a lot of ideas for this.
- Make sure you are eating properly. That means a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, low fat, low carbohydrates, and lots of healthy grains and cereals. Take special care that you are getting enough B complex vitamins and omega 3,6, 9 to help with concentration and anxiety.
- Make sure you exercise regularly because exercise is great at lowering stress levels and helps the body produce hormones that actually make you feel happy.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t put high expectations for yourself and also don’t let others do that to you. You are making decisions that steer the course of your Life, so listen to the advice of others but in the end you have to turn to Allah and ask His guidance and make that final decision yourself.
All the best.