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Allahdoesnotburdenasoulexceptwiththat

withinitscapacity.
(Quran2:286)

TABLEOFCONTENTS

I. Introduction
II. WhydoesAllahTestUs?
III. YoureNotAlone
IV. PropheticHealing
V. No one Understands Me, How will Talking to a Counselor be
anyDifferent?
VI. HowdoIKnowIfINeedCounseling?
VII. IsntCounselingforPeoplewithSeriousMentalHealth
Problems?
VIII. IsCounselingCompatiblewithIslam?
IX. HowCanCounselingHelp?
X. IsSeekingCounselingaSignofWeaknessinFaith?
XI. IFeelShyDiscussingPersonalProblemswithOthers,amI
AllowedtoDiscussIntimateandPrivateInformationwitha
Counselor?
XII. WillCounselingSolveMyProblemorProblems?
XIII. HowLongWillCounselingTake?
XIV. IKnowIWanttoGetCounseling,butamStillSkeptical.How
doIKnowifCounselingwillHelp?
XV. WhatResourcesareAvailableforMe?

I. Introduction

Alotofushavedealtwithdifficultiesinourlives.Itsanaturalprocessinlife.Allahtestsus
andthroughthesetestswelearnaboutourselvesandlearnaboutourrelationshipwithAllah
andothers.ThroughthesetestswearetoldtodrawclosertoAllahandnotrunfromHim.
Heisthesourceofpeaceandtranquility.

However,manyofuslosesightofthisandtendtofalldeeperintohopelessness,depression
anddespair.Itisoktoadmitweaknesswithoutthefearofridiculeorshaming.Wealldeal
withdifficultiesinourlivesandmanyofushaveourownuniquewaysofdealingandcoping
withthem.WemustknowthatwhileAllahistheultimatesourceofpeace,tranquilityand
successthereareresourcesinourcommunitytohelpyounavigateyourdifficulties.

WithtrainedandqualifiedMuslimprofessionalcounselors,therapistsandsocialworkers
youcanworktoovercomethedifficultiesinyourlife.

II. WhyDoesAllahTestUs?

Oftentimeswhenwefacedifficultiesweaskourselves:Whyme?WhatdidIdowrong?
AmIbeingpunishedforsomethingIdid?DoesAllahhateme?Hasheforsakenme?While
thesequestionsarenatural,knowthatAllahtestsusindifferentanduniquewaysandthat
Allahdoesnottestuswithtestsordifficultieswecannotbear.

Allahdoesnotburdenasoulexcept[withthatwithin]itscapacity.(Quran2:286)

Wealsomustremindourselvesthatwearenotweakornecessarilyresponsibleforthe
difficultiesinourlives.SometimesAllahteststhebestofusevenifwerethebestof
Muslims.Peoplemaynotshowit,buttheymaybefacingsomeextremedifficulties,yethave
asmileontheirface.Knowthatyourenotaloneinyourstruggleandothersarefacedwith
differenttestsandchallengesintheirlives.

Also,knowthatyourestrongandcanovercomeanyobstacleordifficultyhascomeinyour
path.HereareacoupleofayahsfromtheQurantobetterunderstandhowAllahtestsus
andhowAllahtellsustoovercomethem:AllahandMan:TrialsandTribulations.

III. YoureNotAlone

Attimesyoumayfeellikeyouretheonlyonegoingthroughthedifficultyyouregoing
throughbutknowthattheProphetMuhammad(peacebeuponhim)wastestedaswellas
weremanyoftheProphets(peacebeuponthemall)andtheyweretestedateverylevelof
theirbeing.Allahcomfortedthemwithwordsofpeace,tranquilityandhopeandtoldusnot
todespair.

Say,"OMyservantswhohavetransgressedagainstthemselves[bysinning],do
notdespairofthemercyofAllah.Indeed,Allahforgivesallsins.Indeed,itisHe
whoistheForgiving,theMerciful."(Quran39:53)

TheProphetMuhammad(peacebeuponhim)wasfacedwithextremedifficultyinwhatis
calledtheYearofSorrow.AllahcomfortedhimwiththewordsofSurahInshirahand
SurahadDuha.CheckoutthisresourcetohelpunderstandhowAllahlovesusand
providesforusinourtoughesttimes:SurahadDuhaKhutbah

HowSurahAdDhuhaCanChangeYourLifeShTawfiqueChowdhury

WealsomustkeepinmindtheProphetMuhammad(peacebeuponhim)neededtoseek
helpandsupportfromnotonlyAllahbutthosearoundhim,hisCompanionsandhisbeloved
wives(mayAllahbepleasedwiththemall).Weallneedfriends,familyandthosearoundus
tosometimeshelpusthroughourmostdifficulttimes.

IV. PropheticHealing

WhiletheProphetMuhammad(peacebeuponhim)wastestedinhisownuniquewayhe
alsohelpedotherswhosoughthishelp.HeplayedmanyrolesfortheMuslimcommunity
whichhewasinchargeofasastatesman,leader,general,husband,scholar,andalsoa
counselor.WhatmanyMuslimsmayforgetisthattheMuslimsduringthetimeoftheProphet
Muhammad(peacebeuponhim)notonlycametotheProphetMuhammad(peacebeupon
him)forreligiousadvice,butalsopersonaladviceandsoughthishelpandcounsel.Some
questionswerebasic,somewereintimateandbothmenandwomencametoseekhishelp
intheirpersonalmatters.Henotonlyhealedindividualsphysicalhearts,butalsotheir
spiritualheartsandsoughttohealtheirsoulsaswellthroughbeautifulwords,adviceandthe
wordsofAllah.

TheProphetMuhammad(peacebeuponhim)cameasaMercytoMankindandsoughtto
makethelivesofMuslimsandnonMuslimsalikeeasierandnotmoredifficult.Muslim
womenandmensoughthisadviceforthemostintimateofmattersandheadvisedthemand
gavethemcounseltosolvetheirproblems.TheProphetMuhammad(peacebeuponhim)
gavepracticaladvicetoeachandeveryMuslimwomanandmanwhocametohimforhelp
andadvice.Notonlydidhegivepracticaladvice,hegaveuniqueadvicetoeachpersons
situation,theircharacter,personalityandstrengthsandweaknesses.

Likewise,weshouldseekthoseofknowledge,experienceandskillstocounselshelp
whenwearefacingdifficulties.Sometimeswecantnavigatethestormywatersoflifeand
needsomeonetobethelighthouseforustoguideusoutofthestormywatersandbringus
safelytoshore.Sowhenyouneedadviceorhelpseekitfromthosewhoaretrustworthy,
qualified,andknowledgeableabouthowtocounselandadviseyou.

V. NoOneUnderstandsMe,HowwillTalkingto
aCounselorbeanyDifferent?

Youmaybefeelinghelplessandthatnooneunderstandsyouandcanmakeadifference.
However,seekingcounselingcanhelpyoufixtheprobleminamoreproductivemanner.
Youmayhavespokentofriends,family,teachersandothers,butatrainedcounselorcan
assistyouinmakinganeffectivestrategyandplantoovercomeyourproblems.

VI. HowdoIKnowIfINeedCounseling?

Nowyoumaybeaskingyourself:Idontneedcounselingmyproblemisntthatbadand
ImnotcrazyIcanhandleit.However,aswediscussedbeforeMuslimsduringthetime
oftheProphetMuhammad(peacebeuponhim)soughthishelpandtheywerentcrazyor
abnormalinanyway.TheywereaverageMuslimswitheverydaytroubles,challenges,and
personalproblems.

KnowthateventheProphetMuhammad(peacebeuponhim)sownwivesandclosest
companionsaskedhimaboutintimatemattersandaskedforadvicefortheirpersonal
problems.

Sotheanswertothisquestionis:getcounselingassoonasyoufeellost,confused,helplessand
feeltherearenooptionsleftonthetabletopursue.

VII. IsntCounselingforPeoplewithSerious
MentalHealthProblems?

TheProphetMuhammad(peacebeuponhim)counseledhisentirecommunityandthe
individualsproblemsandtheirownemotionalandpsychologicalbackgroundsdiffered.
Whatcounselingseekstodoispromoteselfawarenessandisnotforcrazypeople,butfor
individualswhoallindividualswhoneedhelpnomatterwhattheirproblemis.

VIII.IsCounselingCompatiblewithIslam?

YES!ThereareseveralmisconceptionsaboutcounselingandIslam.However,manyof
thesemisconceptionsstemfromculturalandtraditionalbeliefsandideas.Somemay
discouragecounselingbasedonthebeliefthatpersonalandprivatemattersshouldstay
withinthefamilyormaysaythattoseekhelpfromoutsideonesfamilywillbringdisgrace
uponthefamily.Othersmaydenythattheproblemisthatserioustoseekhelp.This
probablyisthemostdangerousbeliefisthataproblemisnotthatserious.TheProphet
Muhammad(peacebeuponhim)himselfhadcommunitymembersinMadinahandMakkah
approachhimregardingtheirpersonalissueswhichrangedfromfamilyissues,tofinancial
issuesandmarriageissues.

Thefirststeptowardssolvingaproblemisidentifyingthereisone.

VIII. HowCanCounselingHelp?

Counselingcanhelpyouinmanyways.Sometimesitsgoodjusttohavesomeonetovent
yourproblemstoandhavesomeonelistenwithanattentiveear.Yourcounselorwilldohis
orherbesttolistenattentively,takenotes,evaluateyourproblems,issuesandchallenges
andhelpyoufindasolutionandalsoempoweryoutoovercomethechallengeorproblem
youhave.Counselingsimplyisntaquickfixlikemedicationyoucantaketocurea
sickness.Rather,counselingwillhelpyouunderstanddeeperlevelsofyourproblem,identify
waysyoucanovercomethemandalsohelpyoulearnmethodsandstrategiestoimplement
inyourownlifetohelpyouliveamorehealthierlifestyleandbecomeastrongerandmore
confidentperson.

Also,havinganoutsideperspectivecanhelpyougetafreshperspectiveabouttheproblem
andalsohelpyoucomeupwithconstructivesolutionstoyourproblem.

IX. IsSeekingCounselingaSignofWeaknessin
Faith?

Absolutelynot.ThestrongestMuslimsduringthetimeoftheProphetMuhammad(peacebe
uponhim)hadmajorproblemsintheirlivesandsoughtthehelpandadviceoftheProphet
Muhammad(peacebeuponhim).Faithwaiversintimesofdifficultyandthatsnormal.
However,whatmattersiskeepingstrongandrememberingwearealltestedinuniqueways
byAllah.

X. IFeelShyDiscussingPersonalProblemswith
Others,amIAllowedtoDiscussIntimateand
PrivateInformationwithaCounselor?

Aswasdiscussedbefore,theProphetMuhammad(peacebeuponhim)heardthemost
intimateofinformationandprivateofinformationfrombothMuslimmenandwomen.He
kepttheinformationconfidentialandadvisedthemprivatelyaccordingtotheirown
situations.Somearguethatyoushouldnotexposesomeonessinsandcoveronessinsand
shortcomingsandabusethehadithaboutthesebytheProphetMuhammad(peacebeupon
him)todiscourageindividualsfromseekinghelpandcounseling.However,inamatterof
oneswellbeingitisabsolutelynecessaryandpermissibletodiscloseallinformationwhen
youseekhelpfromacounselor.

XI. WillCounselingSolveMyProblem?

Counseling,justasanymedicalprofessionrequirespatience,timeandeffortonthebehalfof
theoneseekinghelp.Thus,totrulymakethebestofyourcounselingitisbesttokeepup
withcounselingsessions,betruthful,clearandhonestwithyourcounselor.Findacounselor
whoyoucanworkwithandifyouhaveanypreferencesofhavingamaleoffemale
counselormakethatrequest.Whateveryoudo,findacounselorwhoyoucanworkwith,
stickwiththecounselingsessions,followtheprescribedadvice,behonest,beclearand
dontfeelshyaboutanytopics,informationorissuesyourehaving.

Trainedcounselorsareeducatedandpreparedtohelpyouandhaveaconfidentialityclause
inwhichtheycannotshareanyofyourprivateinformation,soyoucanrestassuredyour
informationisconfidential.

XII. HowLongWillCounselingTake?

Dependingonyourproblemthenumberofsessionswilldiffer.Youandyourcounselorwill
createastrategyandascheduleofsessions.Sticktothescheduleandfollowdirectionsthat
yourcounselorgivesyouwhenitcomestosolvingyourproblem.Yourcounseloristhereto
helpassistyoueverystepofthewayandhelpyouempoweryourselftosolvetheissues
usingyourownstrengthswhileworkingonstrengtheningyourweaknesses.

XIII. IKnowIWanttoGetCounseling,butam
StillSkeptical.HowdoIKnowifCounseling
willHelp?

Ifyoustillfeeluncomfortableaboutcounselingsimplysetupanintroductorymeetingwitha
counselortovoiceyourconcernsandgetallofyourquestionsanswered.Onceyoufeel
morecomfortableyoucandiscussfurthersessionswithyourcounselor.

XIV. WhatResourcesareAvailableforMe?

WhileduatoAllahisimportantandessentialtoovercomingdifficulties,itsimportanttofind
helpfromqualifiedindividualswhoaretrainedincounseling.LuckilythereareMuslim
counselorswhocanhelpyouornonMuslimcounselorswhocanhelpyouaswell.No
matterwhereyoufindhelpitsimportanttofinditwhenyouneeditmost.

Hereareacouplecounselingresources:

1. SakinahMuslimCounselingServicesUK
2. MuslimFamilyServices(ICNA)US
3. SakinaCenterOnlineCounselingforMuslimYouthviaFacebook
4. MCABayAreaCounselingServicesSanFrancisco,California,inpersonorbyphone
5. IHWPersonal&FamilyCounselingMichigan
6. IdrissMosqueCounselingServicesSeattle,Washington
7. ZentrumfurIslamischeFrauenforschung(ZIF)Germany
8. CenterforIslamicCounseling&GuidanceJonesboro,Georgia
9. StonestoBridges(OnlineResource)
10. CenterforIslamicCounselingandGuidance
11. MuslimCounselors.org(ListofMuslimCounselorsinDC,MD&VA)
12. MentalHealth4Muslims(OnlineResource)
13. MuslimWellnessFoundationAtlantaCommunityResourceGuide
14. NaseehaMuslimYouthHotline
15. TeenCentral.net(OnlineResource)

ThisSalamNotesselfhelpguidewasreviewedbythefollowingtherapistsandcounselors:

SalmaElkadiAbugideiri(LPC)

SalmaElkadiAbugideiriisalicensedprofessionalcounselorinprivatepracticeinnorthernVirginia.
Shehasworkedextensivelywithrefugees,immigrants,andMuslim&MiddleEasternfamilies
providingabroadrangeofmentalhealthservices.Ms.Abugideirihasauthoredseveralpublicationson
theissueofdomesticviolenceinMuslimcommunitiesincludingachapterinCounselingMuslims:
HandbookofMentalHealthIssues&Interventions.Shehasalsocoauthoredabriefguidefor
helpingprofessionalsentitledWhatIslamSaysAboutDomesticViolence.

SheprovidestrainingandconsultationintheareasofmentalhealthanddomesticviolenceinMuslim
communities.Shehasalsopresentedatnumerousnationalandinternationalconferences.Sheisa
FoundingBoardMemberofthePeacefulFamiliesProject,anationalnonprofitorganizationdedicated
toendingdomesticviolenceinMuslimcommunities.

SabeenShaiq(LCSW)

SabeenShaiq,LCSWisarelationalpsychotherapist,somaticpractitioner,supervisorandtrainer.She
viewshealingfromaholisticperspectiveincludingmind,bodyandsoulandutilizesalternativehealing
modalitiesasanimportantpartoftreatment.Sheincorporatesanunderstandingofoppressionand
intergenerationaltraumainthewaysheworks.Sabeenhasaninterestinteachingandworkingwith
peopleofcolor,immigrants,youthandwomen.AsaMuslimandaproductofafamilywho
immigratedhereshealsoispassionateaboutissuessurroundingspirituality,religiosity,andimmigration.
Wehopethisshortselfhelpguidehelpedyou!

Feelfreetoreachouttousat:salamnotes@gmail.comforanyquestions,comments,concernsor
resourcesyouneed.

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