Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla

Zakira Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla is a graduate of York University in Canada from where she obtained a BA in Psychology and Sociology and a Masters in the field of Education. She lectures on Islam at mosques, universities, churches and interfaith gatherings and also recites majalises in Urdu, English and Gujarati. A published freelance writer, playwright, motivational speaker and Anti-Racist Educational Counsellor by profession, she conducts workshops on Race and Cultural sensitivity and often appears on TV program panels and radio talk shows to speak on Race Relations.

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Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla, Zakira Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla is a graduate of York University in Canada from where she obtained a BA in Psychology and Sociology and a Masters in the field of Education. She lectures on Islam at... Answered 2 days ago

Mashallah, you have built an awareness of yourself, found the courage to recognize a bad habit and have begun to take serious steps to eradicate it.  Your actions are commendable, indeed, for they show your commitment to the Obedience and Pleasure of Allah (swt).

These efforts, no matter how discouraging or frustratingly slow they may seem, will surely count on the scale of deeds on the Day of Judgement for Allah swt promises in the Holy Quran “So, whoever has done an atom's weight of good shall behold it” (Sura Zilzal 99:7)

The dreams you refer to are actually an encouraging sign and, in fact, an indication that your abstinence is having an effect on your system. The field of psychology sees dreams as often a reflection of our hidden or repressed thoughts, struggles, fears and anxieties.  These dreams are proof that your self-restraint has been prolonged enough to result in withdrawal symptoms. These phenomenon are not only expected in addiction recovery, but are also a warning sign that this is not the time to give up; rather it is a time to brace yourself with added vigour, strength and conviction. Victory is very near, inshallah.

When the human body has become accustomed to receiving gratification in a specific way, it is only expected that changing and unlearning these patterns will result in a fair amount of internal turmoil, anguish, struggle and, unfortunately, relapse.

At such times, Shaitan, the eternal Accursed opportunist, looks for the weakening of the soul, the cracks in the armour, so to speak, and encourages one to give in just one more time.  But giving in just once is never a good idea and can take one to a deeper place of obsession.  

In the field of the study of addictive behaviours, such relapses are referred to as binges;  just one more cigarette, just one glass of alcohol, just one more piece of cake, just one more immoral act actually leads to a thousand more, often in one sitting.

Undoubtedly, it is not easy to give up any type of addiction whether it means abstaining from a forbidden act, withdrawing from a friend who is toxic, giving up carbohydrates and heavily reducing food intake, avoiding backbiting, breaking off an immoral relationship, quitting gambling or deciding to stop substance abuse such as smoking, alcohol or drugs.  Even giving up a seemingly benign habit such as nail-biting or thumb-sucking can often take years to truly stop.

Perhaps this is why so many who struggle with addictions will often plead to others to never allow themselves to start a bad habit in the first place.  

The human body and mind is susceptible and prone to addiction and this is why Islam encourages self-discipline and restraint from an early age, and alerts us to the vulnerability of the nafs ul amara (the lowest, base part of the human soul)  which the accursed Shaitan cunningly befriends and entices.

Nevertheless, eradicating an addiction is completely possible and the success stories are all around us.  In fact, even life-long chain-smokers have been able to give up smoking overnight; the phenomenon is called “going cold-turkey”.

Unfortunately, most of such drastic changes have been known to happen when the individual has been given a terminal diagnosis and is told they do not have too long to live.  At that stage, one could argue, giving up the addiction is futile.  And yet the one facing death, in sheer desperation, will do it anyway.

Thus, those such as you, who realize the seriousness of the matter early and work proactively to quit a serious addiction before it is too late and those who actually are successful at beating the addiction are the ones who truly deserve accolades.

Their steadfastness and resilience, their ability to remain true to their own promise to their nafs is a testament to the strength of the human spirit of being able to put mind over matter. To understand how addiction works it is important to read as much as possible on the subject.  

For more information, refer to the following articles on the cycles of withdrawal and tolerance, guilt and justification in addictive behaviours:

https://www.verywellmind.com/how-can-i-quit-my-addiction-22390

https://www.verywellmind.com/definition-of-homeostasis-22207

Understanding relapse as a normal process of addiction recovery: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-relapse-22106

The key to giving up an addiction is a combination of firm and serious resolve combined with active efforts to uphold the new lifestyle, distracting oneself and to engage in acts of worship to strengthen the process.

Doing this will inshallah discourage compulsive thoughts and recurrent dreams and lessen the withdrawal symptoms until one is completely free of the addiction, inshallah.

Start with regular and timely offering of the daily salaah as this helps to build an armour against Shaitaan, the accursed.  

Imam Jaffer Sadiq (a.s) advises, “Shaitaan fears man as long as he offers his salaat five times in its prime time.  When the person wastes these salaat, Shaitaan gets bold and involves that person in greater sins.”

In addition to this, the offering of Salaat ul Layl is extremely beneficial in upholding this armour and keeping oneself in a continual state of worship.  Night time can also become a time of loneliness when idle and obsessive thoughts can lead to a relapse; thus keeping oneself distracted in worship at night is a good strategy.

Salatul Layl not only evokes blessings and forgiveness from Allah (swt) but it also helps to create self-awareness about the destructive nature of sins and to keep oneself cleansed as one works towards a new sin-free lifestyle.  

For a step-by-step guide on how to recite salatyl layl: http://www.duas.org/tahajjud.htm

Additionally, there are some beautiful duas that are highly recommended after Salatul Layl which truly enhance the experience of worshipping in the loneliness of the night as the Beloved listens to our plea in Dua Hazeen:

I whisper unto You O One Who is present in every place so that You may hear my call for surely my sin is excessive and my shame is less

اُنَاجِیْکَ یَا مَوْجُوْدًا فِیْ کُلِّ مَکَانٍ لَعَلَّکَ تَسْمَعُ نِدَآئِیْ فَقَدْ عَظُمَ جُرْمِیْ وَ قَلَّ حَیَآئِیْ

I call for help and I call for help, O Allah from desires which have overpowered me and from the enemy which has pounced on me and from the world which attracts me and from the soul that leads towards evil except that on which my Lord has mercy (12:53)

مَولاَیَ یَا مَوْلاَیَ حَتّٰی مَتٰی وَ اِلٰي مَتٰي اَقُوْلُ لَکَ الْعُتْبٰی مَرَّۃً بَعْدَ اُخْرٰی ثُمَّ لاَ تَجِدُ عِنْدِیْ صِدْقًا وَ لاَ وَفَآءً فَیَاغَوْثَاہُ ثُمَّ وَاغَوْثَاہُ بِکَ

Dua Hazeen: https://www.duas.org/Misc/dua_e_hazeen.htm

Recitation of Dua Komail on Thursdays is an important part of this process towards reducing withdrawal symptoms when recovering from an addiction.

It is crucial to accompany acts of worship with reading material that can enhance one’s understanding of how sins can destroy our faith. Allama Dastghaib Shiraz’s book, “Greater Sins” (3 volumes) is an especially informative look at the destructive nature of sins on the human soul.

The book includes a 2 part section on tawba which is also very inspiring: https://www.al-islam.org/greater-sins-volume-1-ayatullah-sayyid-abdul-hu...

Complement such reading of books and articles with video and audio lectures on “astagfar” to not only firm your resolve to not sin again but to also give you reassurance that Allah swt is Al-Ghafir (the forgiver) al-Ghafur (most forgiving) Al Ghaffar (oft forgiving).

Engage in a healthy and very active lifestyle to distract yourself from the addictive behaviour in question.  

Join a sports team, exercise regularly, keep a busy social schedule, volunteer and visit your Islamic centre regularly.

Continue on this commendable and most necessary task of giving up the forbidden act that you are struggling with.  

And never underestimate the power of Allah swt in blessing and making what seems an impossible task, completely possible.

Allah swt not only praises those that strive for His forgiveness but promises that He swt will, in fact, turn their evil deeds into good ones.

“Except him who repents and believes and does a good deed; so these are they of whom Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And whoever repents and does good, he surely turns to Allah a (goodly) turning.” (Surah Furqān 25:70-71)

Dreams are not within our power to control and Allah swt does not hold us accountable for them.  Feeling guilty is not helpful but engaging in these helpful strategies and acts of worship will inshallah lessen the occurrence of these dreams.

May Allah swt give you the strength, courage, conviction and resilience of faith and imaan, to free yourself of this addiction.

With continued efforts and the blessings of Allah swt, inshallah, the disturbing dreams and recurrent thoughts will soon become completely rare and non-existent.    Ilaahi ameen

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Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla, Zakira Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla is a graduate of York University in Canada from where she obtained a BA in Psychology and Sociology and a Masters in the field of Education. She lectures on Islam at... Answer updated 5 days ago

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

The emotional toll and challenges faced by both the diagnosed, as well as by those that interact with them on a daily basis, are enormous.  The ensuing fluctuating moods associated with the illness can often lead to dysfunctional and fractured relationships. 

However, Bipolar disorder is still a manageable illness and diagnosed individuals, given the proper medical and psychological intervention, can definitely lead a functional and satisfying life. 

The important role that Divine Intervention also plays in true healing must never be undermined.  Without a doubt, true healing or "shifa" occurs more completely and efficiently when one couples medicine "dawa" with worship "dua".  

It is imperative to note that this is a lifelong illness that requires constant adjustment and treatment.  There are no quick solutions.  Rather, correcting dysfunctional behaviour and patterns is an on-going and often trail-and-error process.  

Thus, if a loved one has expressed an inability to tolerate the way we react and behave, and has, in fact, chosen to leave due to the difficulty this poses in the relationship, then true resolution and reconciliation can only occur if we make a commitment to changing the said behaviours by first obtaining the proper medical assistance.    

The issue in hand requires a long term, life-sustaining solution.  Simply bringing back the spouse does not solve the issues that made them leave in the first place.  Rather, a focus on managing the symptoms of the illness, itself, will have more tangible results and may lead to a changed atmosphere that would be more conducive to them returning.  

First, it is important to have a proper, medical diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder by a medical practitioner who specializes in mental illness.  Second, it is crucial to learn about the symptoms and treatment options.  Be well-versed with the illness and become a full participant in your treatment so that you can make informed choices.  This will not only help to manage your symptoms more efficiently but will indicate to your spouse that you are committed to becoming a more mood-regulated partner.  

Take your medication regularly, whether you feel it is working or not.  This also helps convey to your loved ones that you are making an active effort to manage your symptoms.  

Du'a e Yastasheer and Du'a e Mashlool are highly powerful and recommended duas for those who struggle with mental illness. 

Ibna tawus in his book Muhaj al Dawat and Kafami in his book Misbah narrate dua'a Yastasheer on the authority of Imam Ali ibna abi Talib (a.s) who learned it from the Holy Prophet (saww).  It is said that "the sound of this dua'a moves to and around the arsh, its direct destination. It cures sickness and disperses sorrow, it cures insanity if recited before a mad man."

Dua Mashlool, also known as "supplication of the youth stricken for his sin," is also quoted from the work of Kaf-ami and from Muhaj al Da-wat by Sayyid ibn tawus.

Recite this dua'a after Isha salat, especially on Fridays. "It brings countless blessings. All your legitimate desires will be fulfilled. It drives away poverty and sickness. Sins are for given. Debts are cleared. Enemies become friends. Domestic affairs are set aright. Disputes are settled in your favour. Prisoners are set free and mental worries disappear. Prosperity, sound mind and healthy body stand by you at all times".

Managing bipolar disorder starts with proper treatment, including medication and psychotherapy. Be patient; it takes time to find to find the correct treatment. 

Know your triggers (stress, financial difficulties, arguments, seasonal changes, lack of sleep, too much caffeine, missing medications) Learn how to relax and monitor yourself to ascertain what effectively helps you to regulate your moods. 

It is extremely important to build and keep a strong support system. Never allow yourself to isolate from others; it may be very beneficial to join a support group and to also build new relationships. Take a class, join a group, volunteer, attend events at your Islamic centre. 

Engage in a firm commitment to regulating your mood-swings.  Using proper medication, psychotherapy, learning more functional ways of interacting and beseeching to Allah swt will put you in an optimum position for reaching out to your spouse for a reconciliation.  Commit to join couples therapy and encourage your spouse to join a support group so that they can also learn more functional ways of dealing with your mood-fluctuations. 

Do recite Dua Tawasul and ask the 14 Masumeen (a.s) to intercede and to assist you with the task ahead. 

For a list of websites, resources and medical organizations that offer specialized care for bipolar disorder in specific cities around the world, visit:

https://bipolarcaregivers.org/resources/organisations-and-websites-dealing-with-bipolar-disorder

May Allah swt bless you with healing and health, reconcile you with your loved ones and grant you the towfiqaat to deal with your illness with steadfast faith and patience. Ilaahi ameen

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Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla, Zakira Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla is a graduate of York University in Canada from where she obtained a BA in Psychology and Sociology and a Masters in the field of Education. She lectures on Islam at... Answered 1 week ago

The term, "Marja" refers to a highly skilled and experienced scholar of Islam who has reached a superior level of ijtihad (the ability to derive the laws of the shari‘ah through a deep analysis of its sources) and alamiyyah (achieving a high level of scholarship in relation to all other mujtahīdīn).

To understand the concept in the most simplest way, consulting a Marja is akin to consulting a very high-level medical specialist whose expertise is beyond that of our family doctor’s knowledge.

Thus, the marja may be seen as a very high-levelled and skilled specialist in Islamic law, jurisprudence, ethics and philosophy who helps individuals to not only deal with often unique, unprecedented and often unusual religious issues, but also helps to guide the Islamic ummah by delivering verdicts based on contemporary societal issues which may come up in the life of believers.

A thorough and comprehensive analysis of the concept of Marjaiyyah (including a discussion of the various quranic ayah and ahadith that have provided a basis for the development of this notion) has been recently published by the World Federation in addition to a 4 part series of video lectures on the topic of Marjaiyyah.

Booklet:
https://www.world-federation.org/sites/default/files/Marjaiyyah%20-%20FI...

4 part video series:
https://www.world-federation.org/news/steps-series-two%20

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Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla, Zakira Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla is a graduate of York University in Canada from where she obtained a BA in Psychology and Sociology and a Masters in the field of Education. She lectures on Islam at... Answered 1 week ago

The constant remembrance of death and the fear of facing Allah swt is, in fact, not only encouraged by the Holy Quran, but is an essential quality that must exist in a true momin.   To find oneself in such a state of reflection is, in actuality, a blessing rather than a burden.

Imam Ali (a.s) in Nahjul Balagha (saying #44) explains,  

"Blessed is the man who always kept the life after death in his view, who remembered the Day of Judgment through all his deeds, who led a contented life and who was happy with the lot that Allah swt had destined for him."

However, it is important to understand that the fear of death and God is not encouraged in Islam simply in order to create a debilitating and paralyzing anxiety in the human being; rather, it is to allow for us to detach from the transient world and to galvanize us into preparation for the everlasting life.

To be consumed with thought of one's mortality should be the goal of every believer and it is this very state of being that elicits true asceticism in the human soul. It not only paves the path towards God Consciousness, or Taqwa, but it also allows for the essential task of detaching oneself from the world ie. Dunya.

Imam al-Baqir (a.s) has said,

'Remember death frequently, for no sooner does man increase his remembrance of death than he begins to renounce this world's life.’

الإمامُ الباقرُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): أكثِرْ ذِكرَ المَوتِ ، فإنّهُ لَم ‏يُكثِرْ إنسانٌ ذِكرَ المَوتِ إلّا زَهِدَ في الدنيا

Bihar Al-Anwar, V. 73, P. 64, No. 31

As to the concern whether one’s imaan has come from fear of Allah swt rather than the love of Allah swt, it is important to understand that faith or imaan, in true essence, has to actually include a combination of the two.  True love means one is always working for the Pleasure of one’s Beloved and is always worried about causing, even inadvertently, the Displeasure of the Beloved.  True love, in its most elevated form, means that the concern and anxiety over disobedience comes from a prevailing need to please the Beloved rather than the fear of possible punishment from the Beloved.

Is there hope for us?  Is it possible for us to get salvation? Should we dare to even dream of being forgiven? These are valid questions, indeed. As a matter of fact, a true believer must always be asking themselves this question.  And their state of being should always be in a perfect balance between fear and hope.

According to Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.), “A believer cannot have belief till both fear and hope are present in him. Nor can he be called as fearful and hopeful till he makes it evident in his actions.”

Staying in this state between anxiety and optimism prevents a believer from sins, protects them from developing a sense of invincibility and keeps them safe from becoming completely discouraged, demoralized and disheartened.

Remembering death often, fearing Allah swt, staying between the states of hope and fear is the quality of the ambiya and truly worth emulating for the Holy Qur’an praises the Prophets (peace be upon them) in the following words:

“Surely they used to hasten, one with another, in deeds of goodness and to call upon Us, hoping and fearing; and they were humble before Us.”

(al-’Anbiya’ 21:90)

May Allah swt infuse us with these towfiqaat (ilaahi ameen).

Remember that fear is often a result of a lack of knowledge. Thus, it is important to work on increasing our knowledge so that we can learn more about Allah swt and His ways.   The more we can understand how Merciful and Loving our Lord truly is, the better we can learn to view the remembrance of death and the fear of God as a blessing rather than a source of anxiety, ilaahi ameen.