UMM ASIM - ISLAMIC COUNSELLER & NLP LIFE COACH
I have been working with the Muslim community for over thirty years as an Islamic counsellor and have dealt with many issues affecting our community. My main work has been around marital issues, family disputes, teenage problems, domestic violence and mediation. In most cases the underlying factor has cultural misinterpretations of Islam.
With over 30 years of experience I am fully qualified with the following training/qualifications:
NNEB Diploma in childcare
NLP Diploma in life coaching
CBT Diploma (Distinction)
Completed training and courses in mediation, effective communication, conflict resolution and many other mental health subjects. [Can be viewed on my Facebook]
1998-1999: Certificate in counselling (NCFE board, completed at Newham Community Collage of Further Education)
1994: 18 month community counselling course (Hartley Centre, East Ham)
1993: 3 months Introduction to Counselling (Newham Community College of Further Education)
We as Muslims should try to keep the two issues separate, as most cultural issues have nothing to do with religion and in most situations go against the ruling of Islam. The prime example I can give of this in cases of domestic violence is that the sister has been told she has to be obedient to her husband.
Islam does not permit oppression of any form; our best example of a husband is our beloved prophet (SWS). I can give many examples where culture has become our lawmaker instead of the two sources we should be taking as Muslims, the Quran and Sunnah. Islam tells us if there is a dispute an arbitrator who is impartial, should be chosen to help find a solution, in most cases the issue is very small but misunderstandings and anger turns it into major issues.
On the positive note not everything in our culture is negative and sometimes bears resemblance to some of the rulings in our Deen, such as respect to our elders, being kind to our parents. As my counselling is mainly for Muslims sisters, it is empowering for them to realise and even hear about the rights Islam has given to women and what duties and their rewards Allah (SWT) has placed on them.
As an Islamic counsellor I do not give fatwas, that is not my job, but through speaking with scholars and people of knowledge and also studying Islam, I have been able to give appropriate Islamic advice. By grace of Allah (SWT) this has helped many sisters move forward in their lives and resolve issues and find harmony. We are all aware of the high rate of divorce that is rising in our community, once an unheard topic had become an everyday conversation where people discussing marriages ending within a couple of months and I have heard even within a week. It saddens me to think what is happening to us, why have we become so hasty. Divorce should be the last option not the first. This is one of main reasons to undertake couple counselling so there is help, available for couples to have the, I would call necessary advice. I have to say, its proved to be a positive step, most couples I have recently worked with are now in a place where there are content and working on the issues discuss in the sessions. I would urge all couples who experiencing any issues in their marriage to seek professional help.
We need to re-educate ourselves as Muslims now second and third generations in this country and begin to define our roles. At the moment I am working with single sisters in pre-marriage workshops offering practical as well as Islamic advice. Sometimes offering cooking and housekeeping courses to help them once they are married. Also I have recently started an Islamic support group for women, which includes group counselling, health support, confidence building assertiveness and discussion.
"And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between both of you affection and mercy".
[Al- Rum: 21]
Do not underestimate the power of talking to a trained professional or the tools they give you to resolve your issues, for if you adopt them wholeheartedly you will realise that you have been given the tools to take control of your life
I could say a lot about how useful counselling has proven to be for me and how Afshan has helped me move forward in my life. But I fear my words will not do her work justice so I make du'a that Allah accept all of sister Afshan's deeds as good ones and rewards here with the very best in the akhira, for it is not only my life she has helped move forward, but also the lives of those that I connect with