Ask an Alim
Debts and CalamitiesQ:
I have a pretty complicated question to ask you and i have spend these last 10 years trying to understand what’s happening and what is wrong. Please bear with my long text… you will help me save and increase my imaan if you can help me with my questions. I am giving as much details as I can so you may identify which part of my story may have been the source of my situation now.
I have grown up in a non-religious family. As i have a christian paternal grandma, she raised my father the christian way (not very religious either). The rest of the family is muslim (including my father) but not very religious. I have gotten my islamic knowledge by going to madrassa every saturday and later on, reading books. I started wearing hijab when i was around 9 to 10 years old whereas no one was wearing it in the family… and tried as much as i could to fulfill my waajibaat. I was doing pretty good at school and madrassa. In fact, i was a hardworker and as a result, things came up pretty easy to me. Alhamdulillah, i almost always came first at school, madrassa, national exams and local competitions of all subjects in my city. I went to school until i finished high school and then i had to make choices for my higher education. I was aiming for medical studies or science (biology, oceanography or even astronomy). I was fascinated by science and was very curious about how God created this universe and how things are so perfectly planned. However, my parents did not agree with my plan and forced me to go for accounting classes and IT classes. These were not at all my fields and i was not the least interested in these topics. My parents secretly applied me to the accounting school and as the school only allows application from the students themselves (not the parents), they forced me to go and apply for it, under threat of being beaten up. This made me really depressed but then i calmed down and we came to an agreement with my parents that when my sister finishes her high school (after 3 years) i would be allowed to go to university along with her and do whatever study that i wanted. Finally, i accepted to do the accounting classes to please my parents, but i will be honest with you, it DID make me depressed. I cannot forget the first course that I had, where the teacher said: “If you want to become an accountant, you have to learn drinking; Because it’s boring, complicated, and while people are celebrating new year and christmas holidays, you will be drowning into work because that’s when most of the accounting duties are being held” This made me even more depressed because it was neither attracting to me, and nor the teacher seemed very muslim-friendly. Anyway, i started the course, and as usual, i put my efforts on it, and was doing better than other students that really wished to be in that school. But depression didnt go away. As a matter of fact, it was increasing because my efforts were not appreciated by my parents and i was not allowed to communicate with all my high school friends that had started university. I was isolated from everything and everyone that I loved. with the time, depression remained, my dreams were shattered, and I slowly understood that the promise to start university later was just a way to convince me to do accounting and that i will never be able to study medecine. I was crying every single night when i was alone in my bed, and felt totally left alone, until one day, one of my auties asked me to help her in her import/export business. As i was speaking english, she thought i would find customers for her online. She taught me how to do it, and told me about a software called Skype By that time (around 11 years ago), skype was very new and there was a mode called “Skype Me”, where anyone from anywhere else could find and contact you. I didnt know it yet, but when you download it, it is automatically on Skype Me mode until you change it. So while i was trying to use the software and see how it was working, i was receiving lots of messages that I just closed. Until i got messages from a person living in Argentina. As i knew that Argentina is a spanish-speaking country, i thought, ok, let me answer to this and practice a bit of spanish. Finally, we ended up speaking english, as we were both trying to learn english language, and there was some sort of connection between us. We talked about science, mathematics, languages, geography, etc etc… that evening, we ended up talking for almost 4 hours. I didnt even have a personal email address, but as my internet credit was almost finished, he quickly asked for my email so we could keep in touch later, and I gave an email that i was using in common with my sister and cousins. I didnt really expect to keep in touch with him, but it was just a nice chat. However, he wrote me an email. I didnt reply it for a few days, but then, finally i decided to answer back. He was very happy to read me, and sent me more emails with his picture and asked for mine. Which i didnt send. I didnt send for one simple reason: due to my depression, i was not taking care of myself, and i used to drown my depression eating a lot. And I was very obese. In the contrary, he was a fresh looking young boy, fit and handsome, and green eyes. I was way too ashamed of myself, so I somehow found a way to keep in touch, without showing my own picture. three months later, he said that he loved me, without even knowing how i looked like. He was there, to listen to me EVERY SINGLE TIME that I needed him. I used to tell him everything that I felt, and he was there to listen, and cheer me up. With his help, i started to feel positive about life again, and started working at a muslim radio station while continuing the accounting class. My boss at the radio appreciated my work and so many people used to call my boss and tell him that they really loved my programs (I used to read books, hadiths, duas, quran and many religion-related programs on the radio) And my argentinean friend was very happy and proud about my success. time went by and after 2 years of emailing, I managed to lose some weight and sent him my updated picture. He was very happy to put a face on his mysterious pen-friend and he ended up deciding to come to my country, in the other side of the planet, and eventually convert into islam so we could get married. we made the plan and he came to see me. I was very innocent because i had never had any relationship before. ANd i must say, i was pretty naive as well.. totally blinded by the happiness that i had found back, because I had spent the last 3 years in loneliness and deep depression, and there I found someone with the same mentality as mine, and he was always there to listen to me, appreciate me, and make me feel special. we had decided to know each other well before announcing it to the family, but i had confided the secret to my maternal grandma about the story. And as she had always known about him before, she appreciated him very much, especially because he was willing to convert into islam and was a nice boy. however, one of my uncles, somehow found out about this boy and told it to my mother. She got furious because he was a white boy and that if i marry a white boy, that would mean that i am a prostitute. She told about it to my father, and he was so furious that he took out his guns and threatened to kill us. He said that he rather kill me, or kill himself, than see me marry a white boy. They didnt even try to know about him but tried to find a way to throw him out of the country. I then ran away from home and went to another city where we had no friends, no family and no one that could identify us. however, with limitted funds, and my country being a very poor country, we didnt have enough resource to survive, and somehow they succeeded in sending him back to his country. Things messed up again… I drowned into depression again we tried to find another way out, but it never happened again. After 2 more years of emailing, to each other, we just had to face the fact that we could not afford another try… the ticket is very expensive and none of us was able to gather the funds…. and long distance was not making things easier for us… so somehow, each just followed his own path. But one important thing that I had noticed is that, once he want back to his country, things went really bad for me. I was not able to get a proper job, and every time that i was trying to do something, i would make loss after loss. The people of my family that cared for me, used to tell me that my parents were seeing witches and these kinds of things to control me, but i could never come back to live with them anymore. I was not used to my parents anymore. After some time, my parents faced a big calamity: thugs came to their house to attack them, and beaten them very badly, (my father had bruises for 6 to 9 months out of this), and these people took all the money and gold and the guns at home. And months later, my mom tried to talk to me again. She apologized for everything that happened and told me that she wanted to see me. I forgave her right away and took the first available bus to travel to her city and meet them all and make peace with them. They gave me good wishes and duas, and hostilities stopped. I had asked my father to help me in some business that I was involved in, and he agreed. But unfortunately, the person who was dealing with me just took the money and vanished. I started to drown more and more into debts. I started some work to pay off the debt, but whatever I did…. it always led me to more loss and even more debts It’s been more than 5 years now, that i am trying to pay off the debts, but before i finish one, another problem comes and it creates even more debts. Even though i am totally in peace with my parents since more than 5 years now, my calamities have not stopped. And however tries to work with me, also ends up with heavy problems, debts or loss. There has not been even ONE single person who has worked with me but has not faced calamities as well. I am now 29 years old and lots of my hairs have gone grey, lost many of my teeth.. and I look old and exhausted, but my life if filled with calamities. I don’t even dare to get married because I am afraid that my future husband faces the calamity that I face, and what is more, I feel that the worst thing I could do to a man is to marry him while i am carrying a huge amount of money. What is more, i do not want to raise children when I still owe debts to people… I feel it would not be right to feed my children while i still owe so many haqqun naas. I may estimate my current debts as around 200,000 USD… And I own nothing in this world if not offered by the people who care for me. I have tried all kinds of aamal, and prayers. But nothing is working… I am sending areeza to imam zaman… but my duas are not answered… Sometimes, crazy thoughts come to my mind…. And i am an inch away from losing my imaan… Because my duas are left un-aswered… all my dreams are shattered, i am not able to stand up again, and people all start to say that i am a cheater or a dishonest person because i am not able to pay off the debts. But then, i remember what I read that Allah loves to see His servant drowning into calamities and never lose faith to ask for duas… and I keep going. However, when I see other people suffer because of me, make loss because of me….. I am not able to take it anymore. I have seen people losing their jobs and their visa, due to an accident that happen in my work. I have seen a young boy that had to stop studying in one of the best schools because his father lost his job due to a mistake in my work. I am always trying to do the best that I can, in my work but, there are always calamities that befall on me…. Like a heavy rain that destroys a big stock of goods. Or a sudden insect infestation in the goods, or a sudden cancelation of orders…. really crazy things out of mind and out of imagination… I do not know how to stop these calamities… ANd people who try to help me generously always end up having catastrophic calamities as well… as if I was cursed… Even my mom keeps praying for me, but it is not working…. calamities keep falling on me….
Please help me…. at least if there is no cure for my condition, i am ready to accept my destiny in front of Allah and i am ready to accept whatever He has decided for me. After all, this life on this duniya is just a test for us. But, at least… please help about the people around me that are facing calamities because of me. Why are things so rotten in my life? It has been 12 years that things have rotten in me… And except the moment that I was being friend with the Argentinean, i have not known any peace or happiness in my life…. Please help me see the light through all this darkness
Was salamu aleikum wa rahmatullahA:
I have read your email and sympathize with what must be a very difficult
life so far. However, your trust in Allah is the most important rock you
have right now – take the days one at a time and try to connect with your
local mosque and make some friends.
You are now an adult and have the freedoms of choice including Inshallah
one day studying the subjects you always wanted to.
As for the constant calamities you face, the best way to avert calamities
is with regular charity (sadaqa) even if they are only small amounts.
On this night of Qadr I have prayed for you