Note: The article below belongs to a collection of questions that I received and answered online. This is not intended to, nor should it not be construed as counseling. If you believe that you are suffering from depression, please reach out to and consult with your physician for personalized medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions. 

Question:

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 Dua 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.

Answer:

Your attitude is very positive and I ask Allah (swt) 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 (saw) 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 (swt) 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’aa to Allah (swt) to bring this sister back to you. Oftentimes, we believe that we know what is best for us while, in reality, Allah (swt) 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 (swt) knows that you need something different. I encourage you to make du’aa to Allah (swt) for the wife who will be the best partner for you concerning your affairs in this life and in the Hereafter. May He (swt) 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 (swt) promises that after hardship comes twice the ease. The Prophet (sallalaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) 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 (swt) 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 (swt) 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 (swt) 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 (swt) 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.

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