Question and answer details
|Salam, Before I start, just to let you know there is a lot I have to say. Please help me as best as you can. I have a friend which I have known from primary school and my mum has once said to me, 'she doesn't look like she is a good friend to have' i.e. bad influence. She is generally good and I have always thought that as a friend I should help her. However, during the past weeks, she has been changing. I've noticed that she likes to seek attention, show off A LOT and sometimes has too much to say and is loud, but people seem to like her? I don't know why but I feel that she is almost 'pretending' to be nice to people? On one occasion she has lied to me. Also, I read something she wrote online 'about how she doesn't believe in god' and 'wishes she did’; she called herself 'agnostic'. When I saw this, I didn't say anything, and now she changed what she wrote, because people she knows have joined the same site, including me. Should I ask her about that? She also doesn't share things with me, that she does with our other friends and I sometimes feel awkward talking to her because sometimes I don’t have anything to say or I feel that she really doesn’t care and when she says she does, I think she's lying and doesn’t mean it because she's never asked me herself about things are like for me (medical condition). If I text her, she doesn't really reply and so now I don’t anymore but she does reply to other people. She doesn’t text me maybe once in about a month. She recently made these two friends who I like and we used to talk but recently they don’t talk a lot to me and I’m wondering whether out of jealousy she said something to them? I also feel like she is jealous of me, because Alhamdulillah I’m doing well in my GCSE's and I feel like she hates that. Sometimes I hate myself for thinking that because I know it’s wrong, but it’s this feeling that I have and won’t go away. I have tried to tell myself that maybe I’m jealous of her and maybe to some extent I am, because she gets so much attention and people I feel like I’m alone and people don’t like me as much (even though I have friends)? Sometimes I do hate it when she does things that are just really attention seeking or when she's talking to people- am I jealous? Please can you provide me with a dua'a that will take this out of my heart and something that would prevent and protect me from jealousy and eliminate it from my heart? Another thing is, we are going to college, and I made dua'a that she doesn't apply to the same college as me for the same reasons above and it feels like Allah has accepted this dua'a and she did not apply because she felt the application form was too long but she may apply now as people are telling her, however she said she doesn’t want to come and I think that’s because I’m going there? I do think I’m jealous of her, I don’t know why and just feel like I don’t want her to be successful? I think she is very manipulative and I just want people to see her as she is, not the pretence she is using. I do not know whether I should remain friends with her, I don’t feel like I’m close to her at all even though I’ve known her since primary. I don't really know what to do, and I have cried everyday because I feel like I’m alone and people don't like me. Is there any dua'a that can change you, your character and make people notice you in a good light? Please help as best as you can. Please also make du’aa for me as I have exams coming up. Jazak Allah for your help and time.|
|Najma M. Adam, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.|
As-salam `alaikum Sister,
Thank you for your question, and especially for your honesty in describing yourself in the difficult circumstances you are experiencing. First, I am not an Islamic scholar and therefore I cannot give you advice on specific prayers or duas you can make for things such as jealousy or character changes. But what I can tell you with certainty is that Allah’s word, through the Qur’an, is sufficient to pray. The most important thing is to pray regularly, give to those who are less fortunate (this includes your time in doing community service), and to seek Allah for guidance constantly.
There is much scholarship and debate about whether specific prayers for certain issues are really warranted. This is for others to debate; for me, I focus on the basic aspects of our religion, and those are not complicated at all.
It is absolutely wonderful that you are able to acknowledge those things about you that you feel are impacting your relationship with others, including your friend. Those who truly are jealous and hateful of others’ success generally are not likely to even recognize, let alone acknowledge, their deficits. As such, you deserve much credit for recognizing your weaknesses. We all have weaknesses; it is part of our nature as humans.
There are some things you can do to challenge yourself and become more consistent with Islam also.
First, do not judge or criticize others. Every human has to follow his/her own path. It is for Allah to judge, not us. Thus, when your friend says she is agnostic, this is her position with Allah, not with you.
You must challenge yourself and even those around you who may say that you ought to forsake her. She’s a human being who needs and deserves love and acceptance. That is all you can do if you are a believer. Let Allah decide what regarding her agnosticism.
Remember that Prophet Muhammad was kind and accepting even to those who wished him harm. He spoke to them kindly anyway. When he was in a position of power, those who feared he would seek revenge were pleasantly surprised because he let them be. Learn from our great Prophet, and let others be. Allah does not need our help with his souls.
Second, when you feel jealous of your friend and her friendships, consider how you can be a better friend to others so that they will want to be around you too.
What kind of a friend would you like to have in your life? What are characteristics of a great friend? What do you think you most cherish about another person and that makes you want to be closer to them?
Take those answers you come up with and apply them to your life for others. In other words, if you think that listening and not being judgmental is an important quality in a friend, then I would encourage you to practice this in your life with those around you.
To make and keep friends, one of the most important things you can do is to be giving, open, loving, kind and understanding. Are you doing this? If not, challenge yourself and work at improving these things in yourself.
Third, it is better that you challenge yourself in terms of academics and skills and measure your success by how much you have accomplished given your talents. It is better to do this than compare yourself to others.
Remember “[I]f you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself (desiderata, http://www.sfheart.com/desiderata.html.”
Remember, you cannot control others, only yourself. Work on you, challenge yourself, manage and regulate your emotions and seek Allah’s guidance. Fight your negative thoughts (such as no one wants to be around me) because these are not permanent facts, but your perceptions. These do not help you as you strive to better yourself, but will only serve to hurt and depress you. Why turn against yourself?
Related to this, how do you feel about yourself? That is, do you like yourself? What do you love about you? What are your positive qualities? What makes you special? I ask these questions because it seems you have some insecurities about yourself and I would recommend you begin to focus on your positive characteristics rather than what you are missing.
Fourth, and finally, it is important that you seek a strong support system. If you have family, make sure you spend time with them and enjoy the love and support they provide you. Work hard at getting out and meeting others, whether it’s through groups on campus, or in the community, make an effort to meet others. When you meet them, use the skills you are practicing of being a good friend, and be patient with yourself and others.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with your emotions, please seek a qualified mental health professional. I recognize there is stigma in the eastern cultural framework when it comes to seeking mental health assistance, but please be kind to yourself.
From my perspective, anyone seeking mental health support is actually strong, not weak. Life is tough, we have incredible challenges facing us, and it is perfectly ok to depend on others (sometimes mental health professionals) to help us through. We are all on a journey, and we need each other and the Almighty to get through this dunya. Hang in there!
If I can be of additional support, please let me know. Take good care.
For further guidance, please try the following links:
About the Counselor:
Najma M. Adam, Ph.D., L.C.S.W. is the Director of Adam & Associates Counseling Services, Inc. Dr. Adam has many years of experience and has taught at several universities in the Chicagoland area. She actively conducts research and publishes. She received her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work and her Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. Further information about her can be found at www.adamandassociates.com.