Man the things that Allah swt teaches me with amazes me. I’m thankful for all the sour people that come in my life. It teaches me to stick up for myself, it teaches me morals, and it teaches me how to grow.
Based on a strange encounter I had with whom I had no idea was an Imam because of his lack of ethics, I decided to list out things I wish I was able to be treated with as a girl seeking help from a leader.
1) Take some counseling/ psych courses
Please learn how to approach a broken person. Learn how to talk to someone, especially if they refuse to discuss confidential information with you. If you want to help them, RESPECT THEIR BOUNDARIES and keep it HALAL.
If you are an Imam, learn to be professional in social work rather than to start abusing a victim and forcing them into your advice.
2) Never insult your client
First thing they told me is that I’m bitter. Why? Because I wasn’t giggling or sweet-talking. I wasn’t smiling. I’m a survivor and trying to get my work done. As a woman, I prefer to be straight-to-the point when talking to someone.
You don’t know your client. You don’t know what they went through. You don’t tell them they’re messed up for sticking to the rules and sharing their opinion
3) Never use religion as a weapon against them
This shows your lack of understanding of Islam. Are you advising someone by threatening them? That’s a form of abuse in itself. It’s messed up and doesn’t ever help someone.
4) Listen to what your client is saying
Truly listen to them. Emphasize with them. Imagine what their context is. Understand them. Open your heart to them. Be kind to them. Look at what they’re going through. Look at their struggles, their circumstances, give them credit for the effort they’ve put into.
5) Believe in them.
When they tell you their crisis, don’t take it for granted. It’s not something to be taken lightly. Don’t slap them in their face and tell them their crisis is nothing, that people are going through worse things. Believe in what they’re saying. Help them get better, help them heal.
6) Allow them their freedom and options
Allow them to choose their path. After-all, they’re the ones who are struggling, let them choose their struggles. Let them take their time in things. There’s no time-limit or deadline on how they should progress.
DO NOT FORCE your advice on someone. YOU COULD BE WRONG. You could be misunderstanding something. LET ALLAH CATER THEIR PATHS AND DESTINY. NOT YOU. YOU ARE NOT GOD.
HasbiyAllahu wa ni’mal wakil.
In the end, Allah swt is everyone’s Wali. Allah is everyone’s protector. Allah is the one who provides refuge. Let Allah be Allah and let you be the Imam.