Question:

Dear MM,

I am a young Muslim man living on my own away from family. I get very lonely. I recently started talking to a sister with intention of marriage (with my parents permission). I grew very attached to her and she had even told her parents that she wanted to marry me. A week later she told me that I wasn't for her and so I cut off contact.

I am finding it very difficult to get over her. This is the first time I have ever felt like this about a woman. I can be a bit shy and don't usually talk to women. When I use to speak to her I felt so calm and it felt right. I understand completely that Allah only does what is best for me and He will give me something better. But I am still getting very down and depressed.

I miss her a lot and am starting to question and doubt myself. I am constantly making du'a for Allah to bring her back to me. I have always had a problem with loneliness. Always been the one apart from the crowd. She made me feel fulfilled and less strange.

Could you please give me advice of what actions I need to take to move on or anything I can do that will help. I have tried increasing duas and my prayers. It's not really helping.

Jazakallah Khairan,

Away From Home and Alone

 

Answer:

Your attitude is very positive and I ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to reward you.

The loss of any relationship is very difficult and your approach to it is very praiseworthy, masha'Allah. This brings to mind the instance when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) lost his son and, when asked about the tears streaming down his face, he said, “This is mercy.” Then he wept more and said, “The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim! Indeed we are grieved by your separation.”

One thing to realize from this experience is the fact that you are capable of establishing a meaningful relationship, which shows that you will be able to do so again when the right person comes along at the right time. Only Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows why you were unable to marry this young woman but rest assured that there is wisdom behind this.

It will be a struggle to move past focusing on this loss but try to consider possible wisdoms regarding why this relationship did not work out. Also, think about what you've gained from this relationship. How has it changed you? Both in positive and negative ways.

Moving on does not necessitate leaving every aspect behind and forgetting. It includes taking the things you discovered about yourself in this relationship and moving forward with that. The fact that this sister made you feel as though you belonged shows that she fulfilled a need for you- everyone needs a sense of human connection and a sense of belonging. Consider other ways that you can gain this.   What are your passions and things you enjoy? What are some experiences that have shaped who you are as a person? Finding people who share similar interests and who have similar experiences can grant you a sense of belonging.   Your feelings of fulfillment when speaking with this sister show that you are capable of being a part of something meaningful rather than “the one apart from the crowd.”

You mentioned that you have been constantly making du'a to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to bring this sister back to you. Oftentimes, we believe that we know what is best for us while, in reality, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is the All-Knower, the Most Wise and the one who truly knows what we need. What we want is often different from what we need. In this case, perhaps marrying this sister is what you want but Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows that you need something different. I encourage you to make du'a to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for the wife who will be the best partner for you concerning your affairs in this life and in the Hereafter. May He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) grant your heart peace, ease and patience as you accept His decree.

Losing a relationship with someone you care for can be traumatic. People often underestimate the impact this can have when a relationship ends before marriage or engagement. However, an emotional connection can be incredibly strong and can really hurt when it is broken. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) promises that after hardship comes twice the ease.The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “There is no Muslim that is afflicted with a calamity, and he says what Allāh has commanded him to say: “To Allāh we belong and to him we will return! O Allāh! Give me the rewards (of being patient over) this calamity, and grant me something better than it to replace it,” except that Allāh will give him something better to replace it.” (Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi).

Prepare yourself to accept the worst case scenario- that this sister may not be the wife that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has decreed for you- and consider ways to deal with this situation and the other things in your life that bring you joy. Although you cannot imagine this possibility right now, take comfort in the fact that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will replace your loss with that which is better for you.

I also want to mention that this experience can teach you a valuable lesson regarding being careful in relationships prior to marriage. There is so much wisdom in the Islamic principle of protecting ourselves from things that may lead to forming an attachment to someone who is not a spouse. This includes both a physical and emotional attachment. Of course, there are certain limits to how much we can control our emotions but we are capable of controlling choices we make that may lead to the development and strengthening of an attachment. Your intention in speaking with this sister was to eventually marry her- may Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) reward you for that. However, it must be ensured that interactions are done in the presence of someone else due to the ease of overstepping boundaries when alone.

I ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to reward you for your efforts to please Him and to grant you the spouse who will be a source of comfort to you in this life and in the Hereafter. Ameen.

 

About The Author

Sarah Sultan is a licensed Mental Health Counselor and has a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She has experience in a variety of therapeutic interventions and has worked with several age groups including children with special needs, adolescents with emotional and behavioral issues, families undergoing difficulties and survivors of trauma and domestic violence. Sarah is currently working as a therapist at a residential treatment center for teens in crisis, where she works with adolescents dealing with suicidality, trauma, self-harming behaviors, aggression and a variety of other issues. She is also an instructor with Mishkah University, where she teaches a course about the intersection between Islam, psychology and counseling. She has been actively involved in serving the Muslim community over the course of the past 10 years through providing lectures, halaqas and workshops.

19 Responses

  1. Hyde

    I just would like to know how was this relationship deep if the entire episode lasted a week ?

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    • anon

      You misread what he said, he says he grew very attached to her. Then at some point after this attachment built up she told her parents she wanted to marry him. Then 1 week after this telling of her parents she told him he wasn’t for her.

      There is no specification of the period of time the attachment was built over, only that he said recently he started talking to her.

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    • Kirana

      Maybe it was after a week of her telling her parents she wanted to marry the guy. Not a week for the entire thing…. more plausible, right?

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  2. M.S.

    MashaAllah, that is good advice from sister Sarah.

    I would like to add these things for the brother to think about.

    If this is your first time proposing and getting rejected. Take this as a life lesson. Things like this happen to everyone including ‘loners’, social people, quite people and talkative people, and everyone else in between. Although what you are going through is not of the same level as a college rejection or job application rejection, you can use this rejection as a learning experience to plan your next “proposal” move. InshaAllah, congratulate yourself first, you almost snagged one in which means you are doing something well. So go back to the drawing board, redo your marriage resume, and maybe even recruit into your team a few all-star aunties who are exceptional marriage head-hunters.

    Also, if your proposal was rejected based on something you had no control over, say AlhamdulilAllah and accept the Qadar of Allah and move on. Allah, azah wa jal, has plans for you and knows what is best for you. However, if you feel you were rejected on something you probably did, then this becomes a different story. Maybe you need to have a sit-down talk with your parents, do a mini-investigation of where things went wrong and try not to repeat it in the future.

    But let me warn you about something, which comes from personal experience, DON’T keep inflaming these lovey-dovey feelings about the one who got away. Firstly, you have to accept that this woman is NOT married to you, and she made it clear she is NOT marrying you. Constantly day-dreaming about a return to those good times, talking, laughing and sharing ‘cute-nothings’ with her, is deluding yourself. Lamenting over why it didn’t go the way you would have liked it to go, is also a delusion. You don’t even know if she is entertaining another marriage proposal right now. If she has indicated she has moved on, you have to as well. Don’t let Shaytan trap you and keep you shackled to these intoxicating feelings. Be smart, grow a thicker skin and learn to cope with rejection. Sometimes things in life will work out in your favor, and other times not so much. Secondly, rejoice that you have learnt a few things about yourself. From this experience, there may be good clues about what you would like to see in a potential spouse and what makes you tickle in a good way. It is not all doom & gloom. From now on, or on your next ‘interview’, learn to monitor your own emotions & also be aware of your potential spouse’s reactions. Be mindful of the emotional cues & feelings, so you know how to behave and react.

    Lastly, keep making dua that Allah calms your heart, protects you from the Haram, and ask Him to shower you with His abundant mercy to become a better person yourself and to bring someone better into your life.

    Wa salaamu aleykum

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    • SA

      M.S, that’s the most succinct, comprehensive and practical advice I have read. I am going through the exact same as the brother, but shoe on the other foot. Unfortunately I have nothing but regret in wishing I could have been a certain way or not pushed it after 2 months of getting to know each other. If I could just focus on the advice you’ve given I hope iA I can just learn to accept and move on. Jzk for your comment- very beneficial

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  3. Maqbool

    You have been taught some valuable life lessons. some of these lessons are:

    1) You dont always get what you want, Allah’s plans override your plans, because He is ultimately in charge

    2) Allah wants the best for you. Allah is Fair and Just. This happened for the best, even if you cant see it now or ever see it in the future

    3) Ask Allah for what you need and not just what you want

    4) Do not get too attached to any person or thing, because all of creation have the potential to let you down

    5) Allah is the only one who you can always rely on, no matter what, people can and will let you down.

    6) What lessons do you guys see for this brother? Tell us in the comments

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    • Bismillahfille

      Basically the heart of his problem: Getting attached to something/someone/anything inconstant and changing can damage your heart. So have only ONE healthy attachement to Allah, the only One constant and not changing and The Ever Lasting.

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    • Needs versus Wants

      Jazak Allahu Khayran for your thoughtful advice, brother Maqbool.

      Would you (or anyone else) elaborate on distinguishing between our wants versus our needs?

      Certainly most of us would survive without marriage. And ultimately we only really need Allah, right? Anything else is a want…

      Or am I missing something?

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  4. Miss HaychEm

    Lovely Advice, Loneliness is a complex emotion very painful and confusing, reach out to family and friends, do things that make you happy, distract yourself from those distressing thoughts. A little positivity can go a very long way, you don’t want to be sat all alone feeling sorry for yourself and putting yourself down. Chin up Brother, InshaAllah you will feel content within yourself and find the one that completes you, just have patience, Allah is the best of planners. :)

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    • Hyde

      If one had family and friends then they would embrace loneliness. What I would purpose is to embrace that not everyone needs to be a social animal.

      Feel good in your own skin, we will be all alone in the graves anyway so good practice.

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  5. Miss HaychEm

    I also said do things to distract yourself, things that make you happy. Let’s be honest no amount of practice will prepare us for our grave.

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    • Hyde

      Yes ok, I agree. But being lonely is very much different than being a loner.

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