Islamic marriage advice and family advice

A Hopeless Muslim Teen

Broken heart made of tiles

Hello to whoever may be reading this.

My name is Maria. I'm sixteen years old, and I live in California. This is my first post so forgive me for the disorganization. I have two brothers, and a mom and dad. There's so much I want to say, but I don't know how to start. Well, for one thing, I'm originally from Algeria. I'm in Algeria this very second to see my relatives. For the past few years I went on and wrote down my story. I don't know what to say. I'm a fat, ugly, mean, stupid, misleading, lonely, scared, angry, upset, confused, lying, thief. My family is the main reason for all my problems. I honestly do believe I have depression.

Not only am I Muslim, but I'm Algerian, so that means I'm Arab. People who live in Arab countries or go by Arab customs and traditional will understand when I say I despise them. I absolutely hate the sexist culture and the superiority men have over women. I'm sitting down writing this because I can't go out as I please like my little BROTHER can. I hate how different the standards are for men and women depending on what's in their pants. A woman is expected to do nothing but cook and clean and be a slave to her husband. What's the point of going through elementary, middle, and high school, if it means you're just going to get married and have a bunch of kids until your body is worn out? That's all an Algerian man sees his wife as, a cooking and cleaning sex machine.

I hate the culture so much. My parents went to America when I was a year and a half so they grew up with that culture. That's why my mom is annoying. Last year when we came back from Algeria (we usually go every year), she kept on yelling at me and hitting me and forcing me to clean up. It's always been like that, just because I'm a girl and the only one in my family. My brothers could crap on the floor and it'd be okay. If I breathe too loudly my mom yells at me and goes crazy.

Am I the only one who hates this? Here in Algeria, men are pigs. They eat, and push their chairs back so they could go back to work or sleep. And I hate that they think they own a woman like their cars or something. It's so normal in Algeria to say, "Oh, I can't come because my husband didn't let me." WHAT THE HECK?!

A woman should do as she pleases. A marriage is a partnership. If the woman must let her husband know where she's going, then the man should too! No job is a man's job or a woman's job. A man could do the dishes and a woman could pay the bills. It's absolutely unfair when a man treats his wife like trash. I call those guys Rasheed. If anyone reading this is named that, I have nothing against you but those who read A Thousand Splendid Suns by the world's greatest author, then they'd understand what I mean. Who remembers how Rasheed shoved rocks/pebbles in Mariam's mouth because her rice wasn't good enough for him? Who remembers the vicious forced sex he did to her? All the abuse Laila and Mariam had to endure as part of being his wives.

I call my mom's brother a Rasheed. He's the most sexist jerk ever. All he ever does is yell and treat women like dirt. He has to wake people up from sleep so they can make him coffee, he throws his pants at my cousin who is kind enough to help him. He never smiles, he chugs down two liters of soda and complains there isn't enough, and his wife just gave birth to her third child. She's 27. All I can imagine is that he was as rough as Rasheed was to Mariam and Laila.

Then he yells at her when she's in a night gown when he wakes up. She's sleeping! Let her. If she wants to sleep naked you should shut up. I hate him. My mom's twin got married at 19, divorced, and remarried at 37 to a guy who just needed a wife in the house. Why? Because he didn't know how to raise his kids for a month when his wife died. So quickly, he needed a slave. I don't want that kind of life, it's disgusting. Here, it's so normal to quit school. It's so normal to get married at 18. It's even normal for marriage at 16. As long as you look old, you'll get married.

Besides the sexism, I hate my life because of my family. Especially my mom. She's always calling me fat, lazy, telling me I'm nothing, that I'll never amount to anything. It hurts, a lot. Especially since I watch movies with loving mother-daughter relationships. She doesn't know that she's the reason for all my insecurities. I hate myself. I binge because of her, I steal my parents' money and drown my sorrows in chips, chocolate, candy, burgers, milkshakes. I'm always dreaming of a better life for myself but that's all it'll ever be; a dream. I dream of moving to Seattle and living in a suburban neighborhood as a successful child psychologist.

I lie, I cheat, I steal, and I want to stop, but I can't. I started praying at 7 years old but I secretly stopped between 12-16 and I just started again. I feel good now that I pray, but I still can't stand my life and myself. I wish I was one of those pretty girls with beautiful hair that was skinny and got attention from people, specifically boys. I'm ugly, I wear the hijab, I'm fat, and I look like I'm 30. I have nothing going for me. Will I ever be loved? Will I have a husband who loves me and cares for me? I want that so badly. I always tell everyone I won't think about marriage until I get my doctorate in psychology and open my own office. But I really do want someone to love me.

I'm at a loss. My whole life I've been known as the negative, bitter, chubby girl to all my friends. But they don't know the truth snout who I am. I don't even know. I want to know what my life is going to be like in 20 years. What's my maktoub? I'm scared that'll I'll never get to leave the hell hole I'm in. I'm so scared.

And this past year, I started working at my old elementary school as a tutor. I loved it, and then I met this guy. I don't know what's wrong with him because the past two months he has been telling me he wants to date me and he loves me and all that. It's so weird because nobody has ever given a crap about me. Plus we kissed. I know I'm not supposed to but I couldn't help myself. It felt nice to be cared about. He said when I get back from Algeria he's going to ask me out. I don't know what to do, I love him, but I have so many problems, there are so many things wrong with me, and it's haram. Plus I get super jealous. One time, he brought his friend and she's a tall hot blonde with a big butt. He can't see my hair, I'm not tall, I'm boobless, and my butt is flat. Plus I'm not pretty or skinny. And it can't be my personality because I'm boring, negative, and he doesn't know me that well. I'm not interested in any of the things he's interested in so we aren't even a good match, but I swear my heart melts at the sight of him.

I don't know what to do anymore.

I hate the life I am living.  There are so many things wrong with my life. I just can't live like this anymore. I have a piece of a broken mirror next to me and I'm contemplating whether I should use it.


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9 Responses »

  1. asalam alaykom my dear sister,the only advice i can give you is do the right thing in the sight of Allah,you said this boy once brought a nice looking girl with him,who knows whats between them?you may think kissing is good but its haram.would you love to spend eternity in hell just for one kiss?look my dear sis,this boy will just use you and ditch you,and the first words he will say to you are "YOU THINK I CAN AN UGLY GIRL LIKE YOU?IF YOU OPENED YOUR LEGS FOR ME THEN YOU CAN OPEN THEM FOR ANYONE." My dear men are complicated especially were choosing a wife is concerned.he will choose a new wife,a virgin especially,someone he hill enjoy on the first day of their wedding,not you he has been enjoying outside before you are hurt more,i advise you to change your ways,you are one of the people who caLL PROTECTION AS OPRESSION,AND STOP STEALING YOUR PARENTS MONEY.AS FOR YOUR PARENTS,I WILL NOT SAY ANYWAY WHETHER WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS CORRECT OR NOT COZ 1.I DONT LIVE IN AN ISLAMIC COUNTRY
    so as i said earlier,before you realise that what you are doing is wrong,you maybe pregnant,hence making your situation more complicated,if you want,you can be my friend,we can be ecounraging each other on islamic grounds,coz i have problems of my own too,so in shaa allah,we can be strengthening each other islamically.asalam alaykom

  2. Sister,

    Although you are visiting family in Algeria, you live and go to school in California. When you return from your holiday, make a plan of some of the things that you want to change for yourself. You and you alone can change some of the things that are going on in your life. I totes understand that you are eating to pacify yourself for the difficulties you are facing in your life. You say that you are overweight so just commit to eating healthy.

    A few years ago, I got super depressed. My weight was spiraling out of control and I felt like an oompa loompa. I went to the store to purchase some jeans but every time I tried a pair on, they were too small. I thought to myself, "why is it that I will buy a pair of jeans the next size up, but I will not do anything to lose the weight?" Something in me clicked and I just started eating right. No hamburgers, fries, coke, cakes...nothing. I got my butt on the treadmill every single day, sometimes for an hour at a time. It took me a year but I lost 55lbs. I have a knee injury so I am not able to do much in the way of squats or stair steps but that treadmill was my best friend. Simply walking as fast as you can for say...20 minutes to begin with. The first time I got on the treadmill, I could only go 3 minutes (I am not kidding). I was so out of breath but with each passing day I got stronger and my stamina grew. After 5 months, I could walk an hour easily. You yourself can do little things to jump start your just need to be surrounded by positive energy which I know in your case is not within the walls of your home thus making it harder however not impossible.

    You totes need to stop thinking that you are ugly, fat and worthless. You are a beautiful young woman who is struggling within a family where there is no support and only criticism. You eat because it comforts you. Make a commitment to yourself to change. You can wake up and say, "today is the day I change my life." You might be 16 sister but you can turn your life around and be the person that you want to be.

    As far as this guy goes who says he wants to ask you out...come on sister, that man is looking for a booty call and you know it. You don't love him, you don't even know him to love him. He got you to kiss him and he is looking for more and if you see him again, you are going to end up giving in because you have the need to feel loved. This man is not offering you love sweety, he is offering you a one night stand and that is all it will be. Do you not deserve more? Of course you do!

    Look...I don't care where one lives or works, life is hard. Life is harder for some than others. Allah tests all of us and it is up to you dear sister to take the bull by the horns so to speak. Don't let yourself be defined by those around you. You may have been born into the family that you are in but you and you alone can excel in your school and your life. I am going to assume you will be in what...the tenth grade this year? You have the world at your feet yet you don't even know it yet. Go to school and focus on your grades. Good grades will get you into a good University. You can be anything you set your mind to however you must work for it...nothing is going to be handed to you.

    Don't think about boys or love...the only thing boys want from you at this time in your life is a good time. You don't need any of that. You want to be loved dear sister? Know that Allah loves you and he knows that you are destined for bigger and better things. You need to believe that. You are in control of the choices that you make so make some smart decisions for yourself. Get to feeling better about who you are as a person. First step, make a conscious choice to eat healthy. Eating healthy in and of itself can help you mood and make you feel good. Little changes make big happenings. Finally before I totes bore you to death...don't pay heed to the horrible and hurtful things your mother says to you. You are beautiful and you can and will rise to be the woman that you are destined to be. You said you want to be a psychologist and for that to happen, you need to set goals for yourself. Take control and set your mindset to positive.

    As for that glass shard that you are looking at, don't. Life is a gift dear sister. I am old enough to be your mother and have had a lifetime of ups and downs. If I could sit here and tell you all that I have been through, I would need to write a book...who wouldn't? Life is about the struggles...the ups and downs. You know as well as I do that all those movies you see with people and their perfect lives isn't reality. Life is what you make of it. I know right now at 16 you can only do so much as you are a minor however, there are some things that you can take control of and change to make a better and happier you. It won't happen overnight but like I said, "little changes can make big happenings".

    I will be thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers.


    • I hate my life. I hate myself. I can't be happy until I leave my family. This boy is the least of my problems. Honestly reading the replies opened my eyes. I don't love him. But I do desire to be loved by a friend or a husband, I just want someone I can trust.

  3. Sister I am so very sorry to hear what you've been through

    Sister keep on praying especially as we have been blessed in this month of Ramadan, this guy that wishes to ask you out if he's a Muslim see if his up for marriage. Coz I feel he sees your inner beauty. Do an istikhara


  4. Sister ... Beilive it or not I was just like you ... I was the most negative girl in the world since the age of 12 I would spend my whole time alone speaking to nobody and daydreaming. My only dream was to spend one day only one single day without crying ... I had no friends , I had quiet bad grades at school , I was fat …. I hated my life so much that I would ask Alllah everyday to kill me because I felt like I didn't belong to this world....
    One day I was surfing the net and I found this really great saying :live you life or die trying .
    This is how my life started for real .. I no longer talk to walls .. Whenever I have a problem I tell my parents whenever they force me to do something I tell them that I don't wanna do it .i give them proofs from the Koran that I don't have to clean or cook for my future husband . You are well educated so beat them with your knowledge But Do never be rude to your parents ....
    When I felt sad I prayed , but also I liked to write poetry to sing and to draw (and I still do :P) and this helped A LOT .. Instead of "stealing" money and spend it on food search for a hobby something that will make you forget.
    Talk to your brother , if you need to , yell at him , tell him that you are not his slave , when he tells you to do something for him don't do it , tell him that he could do it himself , even if he beats you , show him how strong you are and do the same thing when he asks you one more time . In other words BE BRAVE .
    Don't look at the past , never look at the past , imagin your future , a very happy future , and set a goal to your life to make that dream become true. Believe in your self and in your capabilities . You said that you know that there's no diffrance between men and women so show them that you can achieve things your brother couldn't .
    Have a confident , somebody that you trust to give all your secrets , but choose wisely .
    Don't follow a boy blindly , and keep god in mine in every step you take .. You already kissed this boy next time don't do it no matter how good it felt , cause next time you have no idea what he may ask you to do for him (even if he promise to marry you DON'T DO IT. ) Know this boy really well before you dare to do anything because you may end up being like your brother's wife .. Don't look for a boy that will love because of your hair or body , reamber a woman is not only a body to enjoy she is waaaaaaaaay higher than this .
    This what i did to change ... Now I feel that I am the happiest person on earth , people are always asking me what's the secret of my happiness ( i even got a certificate of the most cheerful girl of the year in high school LOL ) I attend now a pioneer high school , I lost 20lbs , I got different national awards in "karate " " tae kwon do "
    And painting . All this in only 3 years because I learnt through them that loving life loving you self and loving Allah is the key to happiness . So be happy and dream high work hard and show your parents how great you are when you will to be ☆〜(ゝ。∂)

  5. salam sis. 1st think do not see this guy ever again. he is just going to try to use you. as you can see he got another gf with him. I will tell you something. be obedience to ALLAH then ALLAH will give you a loving husband. love come's from ALLAH.

    stay away from male's. and no sis. it's not how you think and how u see. these people have gone far away from Islam, infarct most of us Muslim are far far very far from Islam. Islam tell us to be kind to wife. so if you marry particing Muslim man then insALLAH you will get a different live which ur dreaming of. marry a man who obay ALLAH and fear ALLAH. make dua that ALLAH make you pious and give you a pious Muslim husband AMIN!!!

    you have to be patience with all that problem you have with your family. just let them go over and remeber ALLAH you will for get them and you will be happy if you remember ALLAH. do dikir of ALLAH as much as you can and make lots of dua that ALLAH guide you the way to Him. this life is test. shytan will try to misguide us and take in hell. so ask ALLAH for help. learn about Islam more and obey ALLAH you will have peace in your heart. also do the ford ibada as much as you can, like read Quran read the salah and the fasting etc.

    it is guaranteed sister. if you be come good and poper following muslim then you will have what you want. but remember this life is test. ALLAH has said in the Quran He will test us. so be patience.

    learn about Islam what is this life about and obey ALLAH, you will see your live is changing. i hope ALLAH help and guide us all AMIN!!!

    oh about slave thing. ALLAH has created wife from husband body from the rip. it's in the Quran. so i think some people are dumb enough to mistreat their wife, they don't even now they are mistreating them self by mistreating their wife. they don't have the Islamic knowledge. I hope ALLAH give you pious husband AMIN!!!

  6. Asalamu Alaikum, my BEAUTIFUL sister.

    Wow. After reading this, I was left stunned. We are SO ALIKE! No joke! I can relate to almost EVERYTHING you said! And that's amazing, because for a long time, I felt so alone because I didn't think anyone else understood me. But, here you are, saying everything that I have felt in my heart for years.

    I was born in Pakistan (we moved to Canada when I was 6, though. Alhamdulillah) where the culture there is the same. Most men have little to no knowledge on the way they should treat women. Heck, they don't even know how to treat anyone, actually! Regardless of gender!
    But, having girls in families is usually looked very down upon in most cases.
    And to make matters worse, my mom is never afraid to tell us she never wanted us.
    It used to bother me a lot before, but now, I really don't care. What she wanted will never matter.
    Allah tala brought us here on His own, and has given us all, individually, a life and a purpose. My blood boils when I see our sisters let their husbands make the decisions for them too. I hate it when that happens, or when a man thinks he is superior to a woman.
    I always vow to myself to never marry. I don't think I will ever marry (I'm 15, by the way) anyway, because I have a very difficult time trusting men. Or even women, for that matter.
    But, sister, we are both so young. Everything changes in the future, and Insha Allah, if we make du'a, and put our trust in Allah, Insha Allah, we will be okay!

    I want to move on now to where I think we can both really relate.

    I lie, cheat, steal, everything you said, as well. I started praying when I was 7, but gave up until I was 13, then gave up again and again after that. Alhamdulillah, with Ramadan this month, I started praying again, and hope to never give up this time, Insha Allah.
    Sister, we all make tons of mistakes. But, if we continue to talk about all our faults and not do anything about them, how can we expect to get any better?
    Let's slowly stop lying and stealing, etc. We can do it, Insha Allah.

    Wow! I want to become a psychologist TOO! Or a businesswomen, since I feel like psychology takes too long for me.
    But, anyway, Insha Allah, if psychology is the way you want to go, I encourage you!

    Sorry, my reply is so long. I will end it off by saying, sister, being bitter and rude will never ever get you anywhere if you want better things to come your way.
    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) always encouraged us to be BEST in our character no matter what.
    So, start forgiving more, encourage others, and think positively so that you do positive things. Start making friends with good people, and listen to lectures on Youtube for how to be patient, and kinder, and more hopeful as well as confident in Allah. Smile at everyone (except for boys of course) and your beauty will show. I promise you.

    Sister, please stay away from this boy. I'm telling you he's messing with your head. He will NOT make ANYTHING better, he will just make things WORSE. Guaranteed.
    I told you, we are really alike.
    I also let a boy in grade 7 mess with me. I haven't told this to anyone. But, I'll tell you.
    He was good looking, popular, and liked so many pretty girls. And to my surprise, I was one of them. I was one of the girls he wanted to date, and as he would say "bang."
    I was young, and pathetic.
    I knew it was wrong, but I ended up thinking I really, really, really liked him. The fact is, sister. I didn't love him, I loved the way he made me FEEL.
    So, don't get confused here. You don't love this boy your talking about, you just love the way he makes you feel. But, beware. Be SMART. And cut him out of your life.
    Because as long as you let him stay in your life, the longer you will be stuck with this painful and regretful feeling in your heart.
    I ended up kissing that perverted guy on the cheek, and it became one the most embarrassing moments of my life.
    So many people lost respect for me, as well as myself.

    I promised myself never to do that to myself again. And I'm begging you sister, be strong, and get this boy out of your life. Because indeed, Shaitan comes in the form of people as well.

    I hope I helped you in anyway at all, sister. I want you to know that after reading your message, I feel like I have somebody who feels the same way as me. I feel like I have not only made a new friend, I have gained a new sister.

    May Allah guide us all to the right path, and give us wisdom, and strength.

    Insha Allah, I will see you in Jannah, sis.

  7. Assalaamualaikam sister.

    I can feel a lot of anger in your post, especially directed toward yourself. You describe yourself in a lot of very negative terms, but even through those, I can see positive attributes that you can develop. You mention a desire to be a child psychologist and that you work as a tutor at an old school - that shows intelligence, maturity, ambition, and a wish to help others. Also through your comments I can see a strong passion for women's rights and protecting people from inequality. These are wonderful attributes to have, and I pray that you will be able to develop even more.

    I live in the West as well, and can sympathise about how difficult it can be to develop self-esteem when the world around us seems devoted to a strange ideal of physical "perfection". At some point, I think pretty much every girl who's grown up surrounded by this culture has stood in front of a mirror and thought "I'm ugly". And whenever that happens, the girl is wrong. We were created as Allah willed it to be, with differences and similarities for us to celebrate and cherish - true beauty is that which is within us, and when someone has a good heart and kind spirit, it shines through, touching everyone around her with a beauty far more significant and inspiring than whether she wears "the right dress size" or has "the right hair".

    There are things about us that we can change, and things that we can't, and things that we shouldn't.

    For example, if you are concerned that you might need to lose weight, why not try to eat a healthy diet, become more active (maybe join a girl's sport club, or contact your local community centre to see if there are sisters-only fitness classes), and if need be contact your doctor for advice. If you feel you have a depressive illness, speak to your doctor and seek help.

    You may not be able to change some aspects of yourself, but by accepting them, you may well find that they become things you quite like or can incorporate into your self-image so they don't upset you anymore. For example, I have a burn scar on my hand which I felt quite self-conscious about for years (soldering accident - parents of aspiring scientists, please supervise your teenagers' experiments...) but then I realised that it was a reminder of something that was important to me, that even if I'd known in advance might happen, wouldn't have made me not want to follow my interests. Its meaning for me changed from something that made my hand "ugly" to something that signified an important part of my life and identity. Once I had accepted it as part of me, it stopped upsetting me when people commented on it (and strangely enough, people didn't notice it as much).

    Alhamdulillah, you are already wearing hijab and praying regularly; this shows strength of character and eman. Honestly, it's inspiring to see and read of younger sisters such as yourself being able to do these things, and I suspect that some of the negativity you may face regarding this is actually envy from people who wish they could have such faith and conviction. Place your trust in Allah, and ask Him for strength to sustain you.

    With regards the boy you mention, it sounds as though you already have concerns that this may not be a good relationship to get involved in - he's pursuing someone he barely knows, he socialises in private with non-mahrams, he's expressing a wish to date rather than to approach things in a halal way, and you may have little in common with him. That all adds up to someone I personally wouldn't consider as a potential marriage partner, and I feel that you as my sister in Islam deserve better than that. I would advise you to tell him that if he wishes to get to know you, it needs to be in a halal way, through your family and with the knowledge and approval of your parents, following Islamic principles.

    May Allah help you stay on the straight path. InshaAllah, once you find your confidence, your inner beauty and strength of faith and character will shine through more brightly. Don't give up on yourself.

    Midnightmoon editor

  8. Dear HopelessDreamer97,

    I read the book you mentioned and I totally agree with what you said about those "unislamic behavior". Rasheed, the horrible old guy. Sadly, I saw those behavior in the community and they are not uncommon in the Arab culture. Do you know what, forget and forgive them. Yes, forget and forgive them, you will let go with your anger. Here, I am going to write my advices in points.

    1. Move on and be positive. One positive thing that you are in California, you are in a much better position than the women in Algeria as they have no choice.

    2. Go study and well equipped yourself with valuable life skills. Go to study something useful and can earn a living. First thing to be independent is to be financial stable, you don't need to depend to anyone if you do not like it. Go to the college to ask your career counselor about the job prospective, don't do anything that will not lead a job, that is very important, remember. Go for something "professional" or "specialist", e.g, nursing, dentist hygienist, etc. (If you are not good in school, go to the evening class and START the high school again, do not worry. You are young and you have time.)

    3. Increase your will power by establish your salat and fasting. You need will power to get through depression. Do not look at those negative behavior in your culture. It will make your sick. Tell yourself, thing can be worse if you are in Algeria, now you are in a much better position.

    4. Eat healthy, not diet, NO DIET. Know what you eat and eat healthy. Research in the internet. You will gradually have a better mood and body. Slim or fat is not an issue, the most important is to get back your health and confident. When you eat healthy, your hormones will maintain a good level and your body will get back in shape. Do light walking and moving a lot.

    5. Forget about this man, you know that. You are such a smart girl that you know what you did is not right. Forget him. He does not like you and so do you. Ask Allah for forgiveness.

    6. You cannot change the whole culture, I am sick of seeing this in my surrounding too. There is always some positive people around, stick with them.

    7. Do what your mom ask you to do whenever you have time, turn her down politely when you are busy. There is no point to build up any pressure in the family. You are buying time to well equipped yourself, don't shift focus.

    8. Make good use of time, no TV, no useless thing, don't waste time. Stay in your room and study, that is your aim to move on.

    8. Pray and ask Allah for mercy and your future. Remember, God won't help people if they don't help themselves.

    9. Don't sulk, be positive, be focus, and move on. Life is ahead of you if you work on it. If you give up, you'll end up one of the story you told us -- -- marry young ......, babies,... slaves.

    I am with you. I've been there and now I am moving on.

    Inshallah you can do it, pray for you.

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