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Question 1- Alogia:
Salaam unto you. I am looking towards marriage and in fact I have been engaged to a good sister. I however have a problem with conversation which is making me unable to meet the emotional need of companionship with my future partner. The sister is disturbed about it and has mentioned it to me to improve. It is obvious she is not happy with my inability to converse with her adequately. I am naturally a quiet person, with little words. I have a very poor sense of humor. It seems as if I suffer from Alogia. I have poor memory, which I think contributes to my inability to talk. I understand very well the need for conversation and companionship in a relationship but it is a limitation I have. I generally cannot talk well with everyone; my friends, family and colleagues. I am disturbed that I cannot meet my future partner’s emotional need. Please, kindly advise. Also, from Fiqh point of view, does it mean that if I cannot meet the emotional and companionship need of a future partner, then I should not marry? Salaam Muhammad
Assalam Alaykum Brother Muhammad,
First, I want to look at your fear that you might have alogia. Alogia is often caused by a disruption in thought processes. It is usually a result from injury to the left hemisphere of the brain. Have you ever had a brain injury? Also, do you slur your responses and/or fail to pronounce the consonants clearly? These are also possible signs of alogia. Alogia is a disability of speech that is caused by a mental disability in which an individual has difficulty grasping the correct words in their mind as well as difficulty in formulating thoughts.
When you say that you have problems with memory, do you mean that it is difficult for you to remember what word to use when putting together a sentence in your mind for a verbal response? Basic memory problems are not in and of themselves a symptom of alogia. If after reading this, you still feel that you have this disorder, you should be seen by a neuropsychologist and have a thorough evaluation completed and then follow up with the doctors recommendations.
I will first respond to your desire for Fiqh regarding whether or not you are permitted to marry in the case that you cannot meet the emotional and companionship need of a partner. I must first remind the readers and humbly explain to you that I cannot give Fiqh because I am not a scholar of Islamic jurisprudence. However, this is a very good question. Onislam.net has very knowledgeable and skill scholars who can answer these questions in a more specific manner. You go to “Ask the Scholar”.
I am a psychologist, and I would like to address your concerns about your qualification for marriage from the psychological, emotional, and spiritual perspective. There are two possibilities as it relates to your predisposition to have few words. Perhaps you are simply a naturally quiet person and this is just how you are made as a human being. Or, perhaps your worries are correct and you have a condition that prevents you from being able to find words to use and this is the cause of your quite nature.
Either way, this does not mean that there is a woman who cannot find fulfillment from being with you. What is important is that you find a woman that can understand you and who can feel connected to you in other ways. If you have a woman who needs to share herself with you by being verbal herself, and you are able to listen and reassure her that you understand and hear her-and she is able to understand that your use of few words in response is not indicative of your ignoring her or not caring about her, then you can very likely work this out and bond on an emotional level.
So, my response is not to tell you what a correct Fiqh response is, but to let you know that a better way to consider your situation is to seek a woman who can accept you for who you are and to settle down with a woman who is willing to work with you on finding ways to bond emotionally that are congruent with how you are made, and how she is made.
I am wondering, if you are able to talk to your fiancé about what I have discussed with you and to ask her if there is a way that she can support you to mutually find ways to connect. I would also like to suggest that you both see a marriage counselor for premarital counseling as you might be able to develop some communication skills that will work for both of you. You will also be able to explore if you are going to be compatible. I believe that rather than worrying if you are “good enough: given your style of relating, it is better to learn more about yourself and then seek a companion that will work with you in forming a bond using the skills and abilities that you have, and the skills and abilities that your companions has.
I want study Islamic psychology.
This is a beautiful ambition. Currently I do not know of any type of specific "Islamic Psychology". However, you can learn Islam, and psychology. The requirements are very different for a doctorate in psychology depending on which country you are in. You might consider seeking a combination of a doctorate in Islamic studies and a masters degree in psychology. Some countries allow a person at the master's degree level to provide psychotherapy as a psychologist. Some countries only have doctorate programs for psychologists. My suggestion is for you to explore what educational tracks are available in the universities that you feel you can attend. Again, combining a doctorate in Islamic studies and masters in psychology-or the other way around, would be a very solid foundation for you.
**From the editor:
As-salamu `alaikum dear brother,
We pray Allah you are in the best of health and iman.
Thanks for your question and for your trust in OnIslam.net.
Answering your question, there is the Islamic Online University, the brainchild of Dr. Bilal Philips. It gives a Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Studies in English completely online. This Bachelor provides Islamic studies in addition to other courses like Islamic Psychology, Islamic Management, Islamic Economics, Islamic History and others.
You can browse through the website and if you have any concerns or queries regarding how the study will be conducted, contact them here. ( Asst.Dean@islamiconlineuniversity.com ) Hope you find this useful and of course you are most welcome to write us back.
Question 3- Worrying about the future:
Peace be upon you.
I am a student, currently studying my bachelor course. The thing that makes me sad is worrying about the future as will I get good job to support my family as they are investing at me, will I be able to make them happy in both life; such kind of matters every time come at my mind and make me worried. In addition, whenever I am alone I can remember Allah by zikr but when I see my friends or country mates I talk with them too much. Most of the time such kind of talks lead in gossiping and using bad words. Any suggestion to overcome such situations? May the Almighty recompense you with goodness.
Peace Be With You Also.
Thank you for writing in. It is so much easier to suggest to a person not to worry-- the questions is, how do we stop worrying? And yet, the best way to ensure that you will be able to help your family after you complete your education, is to stop the worrying so that you can focus on your work. The bottom line is that no one can predict the future. We just cannot know if you will be employed well enough to support your family or not. So much is in the hands of ALLAH. But if we focus on what we can do, this will ease your mind and stop your worrying. You will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have done your part. You can leave the rest in the hands of ALLAH and work on increasing your trust and faith in our Lord and learn to find a desire to do His will.
So, what can you do? You can change your social group. Colleges usually have clubs or organizations that you can join that require you to put your energy and focus into constructive and productive activities. There is almost one for every type of major. For example, if you are studying journalism, then the college will have a college newspaper and you can work on that. You can likely even get some credit for participation in a vocational type of committee or group or organization that is on campus.
In addition to joining a committee or campus organization where you will be able to meet new people who are more focused on healthy activities, you might be able to find work on the campus as well. These kinds of activities will put you in a milieu where there is little time for gossip and you will be able to begin to develop professional network connections. If you do this, you will have more connections when you are ready to begin to look for work.
While you are in school, seek out professional advice from your instructors and look for mentors in your field. Let them see your enthusiasm for work. Seek out small jobs so that you can begin to build your reputation and have something to put on your resume. If you shift your focus from the current group that you are with who are busy with gossip to one that is more constructive, productive and focused, you will likely have a good network to work with by the time you graduate.
While you are doing that, use the social media networks also. Linked In is a very nice one for people who want to network professionally. Make an effort to seek people to network with in this manner, and keep it professional. You will do very well if you stay focused In sha’ Allah.
My name is Jibreel Suleiman. I had been a Christian till October 11 2012. On October-11-2012 I proclaimed the Shahada and accepted Islam as my faith to get relieved from all my sins. My present name Jibril Suleiman is only known to me and a friend of mine.
I reverted to Islam secretly as I fear my parents and the society around me who are Christians because last years when I told my family that I want to convert to Islam they opposed very strongly and my mother even threatened that she will commit suicide if I do so. So on October-11-2012 I secretly proclaimed the Shahada and accepted Islam.
I want to know that whether I am right to keep it a secret. I have no fear of anybody other than Allah, but my only concern is my mother who will not hesitate from doing what she had threatened to do as I accepted Islam.
Please guide me with your opinion and what i can do to become a good Muslim and get closer to Allah.
Wa Alaykum Assalam,
Thank you for writing in. This is an issue that we need to bring to light. It is difficult for many reverts to find support in their practice of Islam. Some areas have Muslim Community Centers that provide counseling and they might provide support for you. If there is one close by and you can attend without upsetting your family, I would suggest attending and asking to talk with someone.
I can only give you my opinion. If you seek to know what is allowed in Islam, please be aware of our Ask the Scholar section of Onislam.net. You will find very good guidance from the highly educated men who are experts in Islamic Jurisprudence.
From the perspective of a spiritually oriented Psychologist, I would suggest that you do not share this information with your family if there is the possibility of this causing them or you harm. I have a consistent rule that I use when I have to make judgments about what to do in any given situation. This rule is "Do no Harm". I weigh all of my actions and decisions against this rule.
I am concerned that your mother would threaten suicide. There are a lot of places in our world where fear of Islam exists. There are a lot of misunderstandings about Islam. This is very sad indeed. With that said, the extreme threat of suicide alerts me to the possibility that there is something even deeper going on with your mother and your family system. Consider talking with a therapist face to face about your family system and what you are experiencing. I am genuinely concerned.
Question 5- Homosexuality:
Assalamoalaikum, I am a male who is fighting with same sex attractions all my life. I am at the breaking point now. I have tried professional counseling and even got married but it did not make any difference. I am not attracted to her and no feelings at all. I tried everything from touching to praying but no results. Please help me become a straight normal man. Please don't advise me to get psychological therapy as it is very expensive and I can't afford it. Jazak Allah.
Wa Alaykum Assalam Dear Brother,
Sexual identity and sexual orientation are very complex. Unfortunately, it is not possible to offer a simple "how to" process that will change how you feel and what you are attracted to via this type of communication. The process of self-exploration will require determining if you have any trauma in your life that might have changed the course of the development of your sexual identity and orientation. If you have, then regardless of whether you identify as a homosexual or as a straight man, you will want to work on healing that trauma.
If you have not experienced trauma and you feel your sexual orientation and identity is homosexual, it is possible that you were born with hermaphrodite traits (evidence of both sexual organs at birth) or a hormonal composition that would be similar to this condition. If this is the case, then it may be very difficult to change your orientation.
It is better to accept yourself the way you are and seek ways to explore how your life experiences have affected you. Identify any trauma that you have had, and if you cannot afford therapy, seek out support groups to attend that have people with similar issues as you have. You are not alone and there are men like you who need support also. If you cannot find a support group, consider starting one. I’m sorry I don’t have more to offer you in this response. I pray that you will trust Allah's love for you. You were created by Allah, and the Creator always loves His creation.
Dear Dr. Bachmeier,
Again, I would like to thank you for the reply & help you gave me on last week's counseling session. I am continuing on the same issue this time, there were certain general questions you asked me and my reply is here:
Well, I have met her mom and she has met my mom too, but we never discussed about how many children we want to have, at least not that seriously. I have proposed her to live in the apartment I have that I rent & she seems to agree about it. She always tells me that "I am the guy that fits her expectation", therefore I never emphasized on that. Even when I raise those kinds of things she gets annoyed and she shows me that "you are the perfect guy for me" kind of look.
It's been almost a week since we communicated now; I am not that needy right now. Because I am the one that's getting hurt when she doesn't answer my phone or reply my messages. Whenever she replies or calls she tells me that she was busy & I really couldn't take that. Therefore, I have convinced myself not to call or send any messages; I am just waiting for her to call. Alhamdulillah, I am feeling fine now. I really get angry when I don't get what I want & this time I am so fine because I have stopped wanting.
What do you advise me & what do you say on the decision I made about "stopping to want her eagerly" and wait for her to call or send message?
The decision I made is helping me but will it help the relationship to flourish or vice versa??
Thanks again Dr.
N.A. From East Africa
Wa Alaykum Assalam Brother,
You are on the right track. She might be feeling overwhelmed if she is working and feeling like she needs to respond to you at the same time. You certainly don’t need to worry about her running off with someone else while she is in Saudi Arabia. Perhaps you can agree to a time when you can talk about your wedding plan, but don’t push. Give her some space, then in about three weeks ask her if she can set aside a time for the two of you to talk about what needs to be addressed on a practice level for a wedding in the future and how you can decide upon a date. Then, wait for her response. You are doing the right thing. If 4 weeks go by and your fiancée does not respond, I then consider the possibility that she is not interested in you and perhaps she is appeasing you. This way, if she does respond, you will be delighted, but if she does not, you will not be so attached to having her become your wife. Trust Allah. Trust that Allah will unfold your life for you in the perfect way and in the perfect time.
Assalam A. I need help. My mother is the sweetest, most beautiful, gentle woman and mother on earth. Someone even once told me how envious they are that I have an angel for a mother. But for the past year or so I have been nothing but cruel to her with no reason at all. I seem frustrated with life and I take it out on her. I shouted at her. Can you imagine that? I even hang up my phone on her. What cruel person does this? After that she would apologize even though I am this evil person. She would beg me and I even made her cry. How evil am I? I know I am definitely going to be punished by this but I can’t help myself and seem to do it more knowing that I am already doomed. I love her to death and I am scared that I would lose her. She has reached old age and even though I know I should be kind, I do the opposite. I just don’t know why I am doing this and I can’t stop myself from being this cruel person. But Wallah I love her. I sometimes pray that I die before her just because I don’t want to feel the pain of losing her. I feel so much guilt. But I love her. I love her so much. Please help me.
Wa Alaykum Assalam,
Here is what I want you to do. First, we are going to stop the cycle of you feeling doomed and evil. This is only contributing to your unstable mood and frustration and making it harder to be kind to your mother. Trust me on this.
Next, write down all of the mean things you have said and done to your mother and be specific. Then, write down how doing and saying these unkind things made you feel, and then apologize in writing for each of them. Rewrite this in a letter form several times until you get it the way you want it to be. Include what you said to me here and how much you love her. But exclude the part about you wanting to die before her. Be aware of what will help your mother to feel better. This will help you connect with her.
Your frustration about life also likely includes a feeling of not being connected to your mother. This will help with that. Additionally, it is sometimes difficult when we become acutely aware that our mother is human and not Allah. We have a part of us that just wants to be a little child again, so that we can feel safe and supported by our mother. Unfortunately, life gets rough sometimes when we become adults and the hurdles that life throws us as young adult women and men must be addressed by us and our mothers are powerless to change the world for us. Coming to terms with the limits that your mother as a human being who, like all of us is less than perfect will help you to find compassion for her. Once you put yourself in her shoes, and learn what life has been like for her, you will no longer blame her even on an emotional level for things that go wrong in your life that she is powerless to control or fix for you.
The next step after that is to transfer your dependence that you feel and that you have on your mother, to Allah. This is key. Realize that everything that happens to you in your life from this day forward is in the hands of Allah. Not your mother. Only Allah. If you can achieve this, you will no longer become angry with your mother, and you will be able to tolerate her human frailties. You will then be able to use your relationship with Allah to be present for you mother, and begin to care for her now, for the cycle of life is such that when our parents become aged, it is our turn to care for and to nurture them. Seek out friends who have parents and develop a support system for your emotional needs and for networking in this way. Allah is there in all of our relationships. This will help you to become a stronger person also, Inshallah.
So, in summary, shift your focus, knowing of your own good intentions, to seek out friendship and support systems and network with other people. Don’t put this all on your mother. Develop your spiritual awareness of your relationship and your total dependence on our Lord. Write a letter and make amends with your mother. Allah will be with you through this process.
About Dr. Bachmeier:
- Dr. Bachmeier is a Psychologist who has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years. She is also a published researcher, former adjunct professor at Argosy University, writer, and consultant to her Muslim community in the areas of mental health, cultural, family and relationship issues, and more.
- Dr. Bachmeier currently writes for OnIslam.net and also works for GUAM DMHSA (Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse) as a clinical psychologist providing general clinical services, consultation, and teaching Behavioral Management system wide.
- She previously worked at Napa State Hospital which is both a forensic hospital and a hospital for non-forensic patients providing a wide variety of services, assessment, and consultation as a clinical psychologist. Over the years she has provided both individual counseling in the areas of Family Issues, marital counseling, drug addiction, anger management, family consultation to those who have elderly family members, many with Alzheimer’s, end of life counseling to both those making their transition and their family members, and women’s issues.
- She previously worked in private and outpatient settings as well as in a woman’s shelter providing counseling to those who were suffering from domestic violence.
- Dr. Bachmeier also taught Positive programming for parents and facility program directors of children who have Autism and/or mental retardation as well as in home consultation to the families of such individuals and has provided consultation to a variety of organizations/institutions.