Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I became depressed after my cousin broke off our unofficial engagement, and my parents forbid me from working. I am extremely frustrated by my parents’ controlling behaviour. What can I do?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for the delay.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, then you must seek professional help.
Please seek out a compassionate and culturally-sensitive counsellor to help you deal with your overwhelming emotions. You are under a lot of pressure, both internal and external, and you need to find healthy ways to cope. Without guidance, you are likely to sink further into despair and anger.
When registration re-opens, please complete Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life.You need to educate and empower yourself with a sound Islamic understanding of how to approach the process of getting married. You must give consent in order for your marriage contract to be valid.
I urge you to reach a point of emotional health and stability before even considering marriage. Many women from unhappy homes rush into marriage thinking it will make them happy, when it only makes things worse.
Start doing regular acts of self-care – reading and listening to Qur’an, a daily cup of tea, writing in a journal, catching up with friends who care about you etc.
“And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls [another] to [carry some of] its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer. And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for [the benefit of] his soul. And to Allah is the [final] destination.” [Qur’an, 35:18]
As for your cousin – it is permissible to break off an engagement. Please refer to the following links: I Got Engaged to My Cousin to Please My Parents.How Do I Break off My Engagement Without Being Harsh? and Advice on Breaking an Unwanted Marriage Engagement.
However, it is impermissible for him to backbite and/or slander you or your family members.These are major sins. [Reference: Reliance of The Traveller]
You will not be taken to account for his sins, nor anyone else’s. Each of us are responsible and accountable for what we do. May Allah have mercy on all of us.
It sounds like your relationship with your parents is very troubled. You cannot control your parents behaviour, but you can strive manage yours.
Even though they frustrate you and try to control you, your responsibility is to still treat them with respect. When registration reopens, please enrol and complete the course Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents.
Please perform The Prayer of Need and ask Allah to heal you and to heal your relationship with your parents. Again, I urge you to speak to a culturally-sensitive counsellor so you can learn how to better cope with your difficult family dynamics.
I am sorry to hear that you are continually being taunted your family members. Please learn how to assert yourself so that you can respectfully tell them to stop. Look up resources on assertiveness, such as books and articles, or speak to a culturally-sensitive counsellor. It’s natural to feel awkward when you first start to stand up for yourself, but trust that over time, it will get easier.
Your dignity and peace of mind matters to Allah Most High.
Please read Surah Al-Waqiyah as regularly as you can, with the intention of asking Allah to increase your provision. Please read, reflect on and implement the lessons in this excellent article: Bringing Barakah Into Your Wealth and Life.
Think of ways you can earn money online. Speak to your parents and ask if that is a viable option. Work with them and earn their trust.
There is no doubt that you have been unfairly treated for a long time. I am concerned that this has caused you to internalise a victim mentality. When you feel like a victim, it becomes easy for you to blame others around you for the problems in your life.
I encourage you to think of ways you can empower yourself. Reflect on what you can do to make things better. Ask yourself what you’re doing to make things worse, and change that.
I pray that Allah heals you, soothes your heart, and grants you a loving and righteous husband when the time is right.
Please refer to the following links:
Difficulty Getting Married Leading to Resentment and Depression
How Can I Be a Dutiful Son While Maintaining Independence from Controlling Parents?
VIDEO: How To Develop Meaningful Relationships With Parents (Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Zahir Bacchus & Shaykh Rami Nsour)
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
[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.