Islamic marriage advice and family advice

The abuse from my past is holding me back, please help

Assalaam alaikum, brothers and sisters in the deen, my life is a mess and I need help. I am a muslim , although I am ashamed to call myself that. I am 36 years old, drink alcohol, have a ruined marriage, 4 kids from my past wife and 2 from a girlfriend, I love all of my kids and support my ex partners as best as I can. But my life is dark. I simply find it hard to connect with Islam, for the simple fact that when I was 13 I was sexually abused by a immam at our local mosque. I have carried those scars all my life, it has made me have a warped mind on sex, what it means, guilt for letting it happen, I drink everyday to take the pain away, beards scare me, I hate being around muslim teachers, in the recent months my anger has got so bad that I have tried to track my abuser down via u tube, I want to kill him, because the pain and anger is so bad.

I want to give up alcohol as it has cost me both of my dream jobs in the emergency services, I am a caring person and my past haunts me day after day. I want to go to alcoholics anonoymous but this is held in a church and is run by christians, there is no self help group in my area. Just stupid forums on the internet telling me how haram it is, yes I know that!!!!! But where do I go? I have reached rock bottom now and want help from the Ummah. My abuse was so bad, I would love to get close to Islam but when I read up on the holy prophets marriage to Aisha at 9 it brings back memories of my abuse. I hate my life. I cant go on. Please someone tell me how to untangle this mess.


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14 Responses »

  1. You had suffered a tragedy. It was NOT your fault. You are strong to have been able to live after that.

    Your mental well being is hurt from that tragedy, but insha allah you can overcome it. Try to get yourself out of the past and focus on the present. There is a saying which is my most favourite, 'yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystry but today is a gift that's why it is called the present!' 🙂

    I know saying is easy but doing is tough. But my brother, human beings are really strong. We can survive anything, no matter how big a tragedy is!! We suffer a loot but we survive, no matter how hurt we get. Our resilience is the strongest thing Allah created.

    Please brother be kind to yourself. Allah the Almighty, is just and he punishes sinners. No sinner will ever escape his punishment. That 'imam' will face the scariest punishment of all for such disgusting crime. That imam is unworthy to be called a human being.

    • In continuation,, the prophet married aisha at age 9 doesnt mean he began d marital life (in particular sex) with her at that age. She has to come of age (mature enough) before d marital life begins..

  2. I am a female from London and married a muslim man 3 years ago. We only had a registry marriage and i am not muslim, he said we will have islamic wedding with family in Bangladesh when we go.

    (Remainder of comment deleted. Suzanna, please log in and write your question as a separate post. I realize you are experiencing some pain and confusion, but we have many questions in the queue and all must wait their turn. Thank you. - Editor)

  3. Brother Ali, you are mixing up a lot of different issues. First let me say that what was done to you was a shameful crime, but the shame is not yours. You were an innocent victim.

    All the things you have experienced are classic symptoms of childhood sexual abuse. That includes the alcoholism, failed relationships, and aversion to certain authority figures.

    My advice to you:

    1. You urgently need to begin psychotherapy. A good therapist will help you unravel the feelings of guilt, shame and anger, and achieve a more tranquil and self-accepting state of mind. It's a long-term process. Start now.

    2. I think going to AA is a great idea. Trusting in God is one of their principles, but they are not specifically Christian. It doesn't matter if the group is held in a church. I know an AA leader who is an atheist; and I know Muslims who have attended AA and NA. The methodology is essentially secular or ecumenical.

    3. Brother, "Islam" did not do this to you, nor did "Muslims". It was one single perverted Muslim who did this. The same crime is committed every day all over the world by people of all religions and nationalities. So please don't associate what was done to you with Islam. In Islam, rape and sexual assault are crimes punishable by death.

    4. I actually think it's not a bad idea to track your abuser down, not in order to kill him or confront him in any way, but to press charges. First I think you should get some therapy. Then, if possible, I think it's good to press charges and bring this to light, so that he does not continue abusing other children.

    5. The marriage of the Prophet (pbuh) to Aisha (ra) was another matter altogether. Do not equate or confuse it with your situation. In the old days life spans were short, and women were married young. Islam set the age of sexual maturity at puberty, which makes perfect sense, because puberty is the body's way of saying it is ready to procreate. In fact it is still true today in many rural societies that young people marry when they become sexually mature. The marriage of the Prophet (pbuh) to Aisha was consensual, and no sexual relations took place until she reached the age of maturity. It is a big mistake to equate their marriage with sexual abuse. Sexual abuse leaves behind victims who - as you know from your own experience - are confused and self-destructive. But if you read the history, you will see that Aisha was very happy and well adjusted, and that she loved the Prophet, and he loved her. After the Prophet's death, Aisha went on to become a respected teacher of the religion. So please do not buy into the non-Muslim propaganda against the Prophet, and do not confuse this issue with your own.

    6. I believe that Islam holds hope for your situation. So much of Islamic teaching is focused on building a relationship with Allah, purifying the heart, and letting go of anger. My suggestion to you is not to complicate it. Just start with wudu', and prayer. Wash yourself, and bow down to Allah in prayer. Speak to Him and ask Him to heal your heart and guide you. Take Allah as a friend and a confidant. Let Him guide you.

    And please take my advice about seeing a therapist, and going to AA.

    May Allah help you and heal your heart. I am rooting for you. I hope you will return here after some time and let us know how you are doing.

    Wael Editor

    • Wael has explained it well. Inshallah take his advice if you want your life to be sorted once and for all brother.

      Do it firstly for yourself and then,...for your children. The four who will probably grow up looking up to you and follow their father and his example. Has that ever crossed your mind?

      Was salaam

  4. Salaam brother.

    I am sorry to hear what you have been through.
    It is no wonder you feel so angry and keep turning to alcohol. But alcohol won't solve your problems - infact it only makes you feel worse dear brother. Rather then try to block out your pain you need to face it head on, deal with it and slowly learn to let it go. Once the effects of the alcohol wear off you are left with shame, guilt and the pain is still there. Let yourself heal and start to move on, and accept that in small ways it will still affect you. All you are doing is letting the disgusting man have control over your life, even though the abuse has stopped. If you allow yourself to move on, you are freeing yourself from him.

    Brother personally, I do not think going to a non-Muslim alcoholics anonymous group is wrong but how can that help you on its own? Your alcoholism is a symptom but you have some deep rooted feelings and emotional damage from the abuse which needs to be dealt with. You need to tackle both the alcoholism and the root (the abuse). I strongly advise you to seek counselling with a good qualified (prefarably Muslim counsellor, specialising in abuse.) In the meantime also attend the AA to work on alcoholism. If you cannot find a Muslim one though, any will help to start with. A counsellor will help you break destructive patterns and challenge your beliefs and fears you have developed as a result.

    The Prophet SAW marrying Aisha RA is one action he did. But of course there is so much to Islam. For now focus on your Creator. Cry to Him, let your feelings out to Him and stop holding back - He is the One who truly understands. Ask Him to help you let go of the past, heal and begin to get closer to Islam. Ask Him to forgive you for your sins.

    If you are able start praying. Even just one salat a day for a while could be your first step. It really makes a difference and will make you stronger and able to deal with things more.

    Do not try to act on your anger as well. Killing your abuser will not take away your pain. It doesn't erase what he does. It is more damaging for you emotionally as well as damaging for you deen. Leave the perpatrator to Allah swt. He will no longer be able to hide on that day.

    But I really recommend counselling - it can change your life.InshaAllah when you begin to tackle these underlying issues it will be easier for you to get closer to Islam. Take small steps brother, do small things regularly.

    May Allah swt help you get past this and guide you to the straight path. May He take away your pain and replace it with peace, contentment and strong faith,


  5. ASA brother,

    I understand what you are going through. I too am a survivor of sexual abuse at a young age. I turned to alcohol to help me block the pain away. I ended up having to dealing with the abuse and being an alcoholic.

    In tackling two major problems, my life went completely out of control. But Glory be to Allah, He saved me from my destructive ways. I started seeking counseling for the alcohol abuse and therapy for the childhood abuse. I too attended AA. During my endeavors, I didn't care where the meetings were located. I know I needed help and was willing to do what was necessary to get help.

    When Allah lifted me out of that alcoholic cloud, I was able to make my daily salats. From that point on, I was able to stay clear of the alcohol (alhamdillah). I was then able to confront my childhood abuse.

    Up until now, I know the pain I suffered from the abuse is still with me. But now its easier to handle. I know it wasn't my fault. I was a 5 year old child. I couldn't be responsible for what an adult did to me. I know the pain comes from knowing one of the persons in my life was suppose to protect me and used me for there own sick needs. I'm still getting help for this. Insha Allah one day I may be free of this.

    I say all this to say, If you turn to Allah, He WILL help you. He loves us and doesn't forsake us.

    As for your concerns about The Prophet(SAWS) and Aisha(RA). Those were different times. People got married at much younger ages than now. IMO if people were still getting married at earlier ages maybe we won't have so many unwed teenage parents because not getting married sure isn't stopping young people from having sex.

    Sorry, I went on a tangent. But brother please turn to Allah. Make a real commitment to yourself that you want help and your really going to get help. The journey is hard, long and painful but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    May Allah(SWT) help and guide us all. May He always allow for us to remember him and bring us back to Him with Him pleased with us. Ameen.


  6. Dear brother!
    ALLAH loves his creations and above all --we muslimz!
    u have seen the most terrible circumstances in ur life ...
    have been involved in the most terrible sins....
    and now u feel soory 4 that....
    have u noticed the fact that besides all ur illdeeds,ALLAH ALMIGHTY has still graunted u wish to get close to his deen,he still wants u to search 4 the right path.if HE had not been wanting so,u would have ended ur life in all these sins.but ue quest 4 peace and love 4 islam shows that ur LORD is calling u back to HIS path.
    i am not a mature muslim or dont have much knowledge 4 my religion but i know one thing 4 sure....if u truely wanna return to ur LORD, ask him to guide u towards the right path...HE says that if we truely ask HIM 4 forgiveness,HE grants it to us no matter how it happens....
    brother wael has given enough advices!what i wanna add is that TRUST IN Ur LODR THAT IF U ASK HIM,HE ILL SURELY ANSWER!
    trust in ALLAH is the key towards pease in ur life!
    ask ur lord to forgive u and start a new life...

  7. I am so saddened to hear of your ordeal, and you are in my thoughts and prayers. You have great advice and support here from the editors and other brothers and sisters, but I wanted to specifically address the issue of Alcoholics Anonymous as I have familiarity with the organization. (In the interest of full disclosure, I am not Muslim, but I'm not Christian either, so I also had the same concerns that you did: "But isn't it a Christian organization?") I'm providing web links so you can refer to and read to all the information I'm conveying here for yourself.

    First of all, Alcoholics Anonymous is definitely not a Christian organization. The founders (in the 1930s in the U.S.) were members of a Christian recovery group that was revolutionary for its time (for proposing the disease theory of addiction), but they broke away from it because of its Christian specificity, with the intention of creating something that would appeal to a much broader audience. The following newsletter talks briefly about A.A.'s early history, and describes in greater detail how A.A. is spiritual but not religious:

    About A.A., Fall 2003 - "The A.A. Program — Spiritual But Never ‘Religious’"

    Meetings are often held in church basements because the general mission of helping those in need is synchronous to churches' general agendas, and so they are happy to let organizations such as A.A. use their facilities at no cost. However, I've been to A.A. meetings in synagogues, community centers, courthouses, and classrooms, too. Many mosques certainly house meetings as well; for instance, The Muslim Center of Detroit not only hosts meetings, but clearly focuses a lot of resources and activities on addiction recovery. I think the only reason it seems like meetings are mostly in churches is just that there are more churches than any other kind of non-profit facilities in which meetings would be welcomed!

    As far as compatibility with A.A.'s program and Islam, the 12 Steps that are A.A.'s "guiding principles", are meant, according to the aforementioned article, as "suggestions only", so as to make it possible for "alcoholics of all faiths, or no faith at all, to embrace the A.A. program of recovery and find lasting sobriety". The spiritual wording of the 12 Steps and use of the terms "Higher Power" and/or "God" pretty much make them fairly agreeable out of the box to everyone but non-theists (e.g. atheists, Buddhists), although Step 5 as worded may cause some problems for Muslims:

    5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. [Emphasis mine.]

    Obviously this goes against the idea of hiding ones sins from everyone but Allah (swt), HOWEVER, remember the part where the 12 Steps are "suggestions only"? So, no problem! If you told your sponsor, "Hey, look, I'm going to admit the exact nature of my wrongs to Allah (swt) and myself, but not to another human being, because that's against my religion", that's certainly not going to be a problem.

    It turns out there actually is an organization, called Millati Islami, which has adapted the 12 Steps and other A.A. principles specifically for Muslims. (I do not know anything about them, I just found them through Google.) They hold meetings in about twelve U.S. cities, but if you are not near any of them, you could simply attend regular A.A. meetings near you but refer to their version of the 12 Steps instead. (They are almost exactly the same as the original; made a bit more Islam-specific in a few areas, but most importantly, removed the "and to another human being" part from Step 5.)

    In closing, I just want to point out that A.A.-style (i.e. 12 Step) programs have the best success rate out of all forms of addiction recovery programs, so please check it out. You and your family are worth it.

    I hope that this information is of some benefit, and my very best wishes to you.

  8. Salam akhi,

    Brother, if you have not done so already, there is a last calling card that every muslim should hold up their sleeve in case of a religious emergency. This ace card is the taking of a solemn and sincere OATH for the sake of Allah (swt) that you will stop your bad deeds. Take this oath when you feel you are ready, for if you break it, to me that would be the ultimate doom and depressing situation. I never even want to think of such a thing as breaking my oath. Not only will you have to expiate the broken oath, but you will bear the guilty conscience of having betrayed Allah (swt) and broken your 1st oath in a lifetime, and it will just make reformation even harder.

    I cannot fully understand the pain that your're going through, but I have experienced my own share of sinful guilt that no amount of tears can cover,. So please take the advice I just gave seriously, as it is a personal one. Also, bear in mind that a sin is not written down until a child reaches puberty and is of sane mind; meaning he knows what is part of his natural fitrah at the time.

  9. Salaam,

    I am reaching out to anyone out there who by Allah's will may be able to help me. I am a married muslima with four beautiful children. My issue is a shameful one in that although a love my husband dearly I do not trust him. I feel that he may molest my children. My life turned upside down when my daughter was born (I had sons already). I cannot leave my children with him alone for even 10 seconds (i have lived like this for 5 years).

    I have gone on to now not being able to trust other males I know (eg my brothers) with my children.
    I have not worked for five years because of this fear.

    As a child I was touched by men on many occasions, eg my GP, my uncle, best friends dad etc so I have grown-up with a negative image of men. my family and husband know about my issues but my husband does not want to talk about it. I have a background in child protection so would know what to look for and my children show no signs.
    I have tried to get help over the years but everybody just says get over it, and tells me to trust my husband. I would if i could but I can't take a risk with my children.
    Please please does anybody know what i could to to ease this pain that has taken over my life...

    • I am so sorry to hear that you have been abused. What makes you think your husband is abusing your children? What signs can you see? You say yourself that you have developed a fear and kind of paranoia due to your past. If you have real reason to believe that your husband has molested your child, then remove him from your family home immediately with out a second thought.

      At the same time, have you received therapy for your own abuse? Because from what you are saying, it seems to me that you have developed a fear of all men, regardless of how safe they may be.

      SisterZ Editor

  10. Hi Ali, I too was abused when I was young. Younger than 13! I was 5 and I am now 44 and it is there at the back of my mind. It will never go, but it doesnt effect me as much as it used to. I think I can help at least in alleviating some of the pain. I have done a course where first time, during that course, I forgave my abuser, not for his sake, but for mine, through a very strong exercise. The course if called the Landmark Forum. Google it. It has changed my life in many ways. If you wish email me (email adddress removed) and I we can arrange to chat or something to help each other. May Allah help you and all the tested Muslims inshaAllah. A

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