Faith and Counseling – Diary of a Daee #11

Sarah Sultan


Channel: Sarah Sultan

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AI: Summary © Representatives from a mental health program discuss their success in the day program and introduces a new member, Sarah, who needs counseling. They emphasize the importance of finding a Muslim mental health professional and finding a strong understanding of religion. The speakers also touch on the belief in Muslims and the benefits of their passion for video games. They end with a conversation about purpose and finding one's purpose, and mention upcoming programs and a partnership with a community.
Transcript ©
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lot of know Rahim Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato and Desikan. Lochhead for tuning in to today's Diary of a day program today, we have yet another successful day Inshallah, to share their story with you in the letter isla. Her name is Sarah Sultan, she's very active in the community. She's actually a licensed mental health professional that's been serving the Muslim community all around the United States for the last 10 years, masha Allah with her experience, and with her professionalism, she has a lot of videos out there a lot of articles out there that are very, very beneficial. Subhanallah when I was preparing for this program, I was actually looking through some

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of these articles that I never read and I'm like, oh my god, I cannot believe I never read this before. hamdulillah for the past night, and I'm sure for the next couple of weeks. I'm going to be reading a lot of her articles and listening to a lot of her lectures Inshallah, but today for those of you that don't know her, I want to introduce her to you. She is also a teacher in Mischka University. And she gives a lot of workshops all around the United States, a resident of Houston, Texas, Sister Seidel, Sultan Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato. Wanting to live to get to just second law played on for having me. Then we come here Kamala, how you feeling today? Are you

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ready for this interview? ready, I'm ready, I'm feeling good and have the bath make it action packed, inshallah to Allah and make it, we're going to try to make it tangible. I know you work with youth specifically, right?

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I used to do a lot of work with youth that hamdulillah Allahu Akbar, that's perfect. So that means you are the perfect fit for this program, which is not going to lock it for accepting this invite. And now to kick it off, I just want to ask you a question.

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And this is what I often asked my interviewees usually what inspired you to do what you're doing

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to do mental health counseling?

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So great question. Mashallah. So actually, it's, it's funny, when I was first in college, I started off on a pre med track, like, I think so many Muslims end up doing right, because their parents don't want them to be doctors. But what I started off pre med, and handed that and was taking my courses and I did an internship at in a hospital, I was in an ICU. And I realized that the Fit wasn't there for me, you know, where, you know, patients would pass away, and then you go on to the next patient, and it just wasn't a good fit for who I was, or my personality. And I realized that I wanted to get to know the people that I was working with on a deeper level. And so I decided to

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focus in on psychology, but I was going to do psychological research. And then there were a few incidents in my local Muslim community, that made me realize how important it would be to have a Muslim mental health professional, available to provide counseling from a more like Islamic framework, and somebody who could understand the culture and the religion and all of these different things. And so that actually made me decide to go forward and pursue the counseling field. And I'm really thankful to Ellis Potter for guiding me down that path. It's not the one that I would have originally picked for myself, but it worked out really well on my shoulder for about a cola and we

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see the difference you're making to a lot of Muslim communities and family, a lot of blaming, may Allah subhanaw taala increase you and increase of your likes in our communities.

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But Subhanallah, you know, a lot of a lot of our youth go through this dilemma, you know, they're studying something, and their parents are very excited that they're in pre med, and that they're going to be doctors or surgeons or whatnot.

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And I'm sure it was a challenge to you know, express this to your family, Were they supportive of this, when you made this change, or no.

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So I am really fortunate and in my parents that have the lie, I really am I know that a lot of a lot of kids out there don't have that same experience that I had. But my parents were very much like they wanted me to do something that would be enjoyable, something that I would be passionate about, but also something that would be beneficial. So that was one of the things that they just really wanted it to be something beneficial, but they wanted it to be something that would be a good fit for me personally. So they were encouraging when I when I made the switch they didn't they didn't give me a hard time and have the law which I was grateful for. Of course, you know, the the term you

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use beneficial. It's very relative but when you apply it to like the Islamic context, when you say beneficial in terms of like beneficial to the Muslims, to everyone in general and like to Muslim specifically, and I'm sure that incident that you spoke about was specific, and like the Muslim context, right

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You saw the need in the Muslim community and there is a great need, of course, and we and everybody can, can see this.

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But now to tie it into the actual subject of this, this, this program, which is Dawa. Do you see this profession as a means an effective means of Dawa are no,

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no, absolutely and Hamdulillah you know, one of the couple of incidents that I had experienced that led me into this field, were kind of eye openers, right? Where I realized all of the Muslim community in general has this idea that Muslims, especially practicing Muslims, can't be depressed, can't experience suicidal thoughts, can't struggle mentally, or emotionally. There's this misconception. And when my eyes opened to the fact that some of the most like were the most practicing Muslims that I had ever met, were really struggling with the with this, it really made me it made me realize the profound impact that mental health can have on a person's faith. Because what

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happens is that when we struggle, mentally and emotionally, it naturally will impact us spiritually. And so through this, you know, we have the ability through improving our mental health, improving mental wellness, dealing with traumatic experiences, and healing them, a lot of times that can start to heal us spiritually, as well. And Hamdulillah. And then, the other part of it, too, is that when, you know, I went to Brazil, I'm originally from New York, I went to Brooklyn College, I did my degree there, and everything. And, and one of the things that I realized in being in this field is, it's a form of Dawa, to Muslims in that, okay, we can address these issues within the Muslim

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community, but also even to non Muslims, by being in a field that's a little bit different by being able to empathize and being able to really understand people in general, that in and of itself, really opens people's eyes to Muslims and Islam in in a different way. And when I've worked with non Muslim clients, you know, I used to work with teenagers a lot that was, you know, my, one of my first jobs as I worked with teens in crisis, who really were struggling a lot. And whenever I'd walk in and say, Hey, I'm your therapist, you know, with like, my hijab and everything, they'd be like, what's this woman going to know about me? Like, how she gonna get me? You know, and but by the end,

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you know, I would always, you know, I would always ask, hey, when I first walked into the room, what did you think? Right? And then what do you think now, you know, and they realize, they realize that they can connect with somebody who's a little bit different than them. And, and it was a very, it was very powerful experience that have done that so beautiful. That's actually amazing Subhanallah and a great form of Dawa, because you'd find that like, a lot of patients have these preconceived notions about women with hijab and the way they are and the way they think, based on what they know of the culture they came from. And they think hijab is specific to certain cultures. And then they

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come and meet this person who's wearing a hijab, was actually down to earth and can understand them, and not only understand them, but but help them in their lives. So Subhan Allah, I'm sure it's a great, great form of Dawa, and I'm looking for it. Well, I really want to see a lot of Muslim sisters specifically, and Muslims in general.

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Take on this, this profession, but in the lead, because we're really in need of it. And I'm sure right now, like, you kind of you spoke about it in general. But now I want you to speak about a specific situation. You've been doing this for 10 years, you have a lot of experience. Did Do you have like a successful story of Dawa and you spoke and you alluded to, you kind of mentioned how mental well being and mental health kind of intertwines with spiritual health and well being right. Did you do you have any stories where somebody came in with a mental health problem and then and the spiritual problem and then when they finished the grew spiritually, they got better? They improved

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Alhamdulillah all across the board?

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No, absolutely. It's one of

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it's one of the like, a real blessing and a privilege that I've had in my life and I'm delighted to be my I love the work that I do with my clients and I love my clients. They're they're amazing people the strength that they show me every day is an inspiration to Pamela and so at handle, I've seen so many of these transformations. And but it never ceases to surprise me or move me to Panama. So there's there are a couple of clients in particular that come to mind but one had been really struggling. She had a very, very traumatic past she had

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had endured a lot of abuse in her childhood, including sexual abuse, which is a very, very difficult experience, one of the hardest that a person can can really go through. And, you know, her family wasn't really practicing, she wasn't practicing, in terms of like Islam, she identified as Muslim. But as she was going through this, and as she started to grow and mature and progressed, in her life was, you know, starting her career and things like that, she realized that she was really really struggling, her anxiety levels were through the roof, she was having panic attacks a lot. Her her depression was really increasing. So she started to experience a lot of suicidal thoughts, as well.

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And she realized that, okay, well, I need to do something. And so she, she, what, what she did, you know, she started to actually turn back to Islam in that circumstance, right, she started to look up lectures, and she found some solace in it. But she realized that she had a lot of ups and downs, you know, so when, you know, when, when she would have the downs, you know, when she would get anxious or depressed, you realize, okay, I would stop praying, I would stop listening to Quran I would stop doing all of these things. And, like, I wasn't, I was feeling a little bit better, but not enough. And so and so she started therapy, and we started working together. And then and little by little,

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as she started doing the work and as she started on this journey of healing, she started to build connections to realize, okay, when I am you know, when I'm feeling this, you know, these really negative feelings, I'm pushing myself away from something that's actually in the end going to make me feel better I'm pushing myself away from salon, I'm pushing myself away from the things that are going to help and once you started to create that association, and once you started to, to think to heal the trauma that she had gone through and she talked through it, and we use you know, we use therapy to help her through that then she started to have like that firmer connection with those

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paths as she starts to get to know us paths that are better, she started to learn about his mercy not just as punishment about his love and you know, and all of the the names of Allah's path data and the ways that that would make her feel closer to him. And through that little by little, the her firmness and in her in her Deen started to increase as well with the healing and the firmness and like emotional wellness, that she was that she was working on to Masha Allah and you can see how they're, they're both intertwined Subhanallah how she would like kind of get away from salon reading put it on a bad day in general, because of because of the depression and the bad thoughts that she

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was getting. But as soon as she overcame that, and obviously, it was like Salah and Vicodin Quran was part of her overcoming that, right? But, but she needed to, I guess the to develop the resilience, the strength within herself, to like over overcome these thoughts. So her mind can be free when she prays and when she when she reads the Quran does they get so she could actually connect to Allah? It's as if these bad thoughts and whatnot were coming between her and Allah subhanaw taala That's right, that's right. It's almost like this, this wall that gets built right where it's like unless you can start to tear down the wall even just a small hole is the starting

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point that allows you to start to rebuild that connection. And realizing that ALLAH turns out is the most powerful right so you start building that small hole and Alice pantalla tells us you come to me run walking and I'll come to you running so you build that small hole and he will help you crush the rest of the wall and Charla and that's what she was doing. I think a lot of times that you know we have this expectation that okay, so law is gonna help right away right? But it requires consistency and sometimes that wall might be there and you need to you need to dig through it a little bit for that connection through Salah to actually start to really to start to feel it and to start to help

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the Salah is gonna it has to wash out

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what's inside us before it actually starts filling us with with with the good sandy I mean that that will inshallah turn into good Iman Sana later on are good actions righteous deeds. But now inshallah wrapping up this the last question for today. I don't want to take more of your time. Your time is very valuable. And I know you're a counselor, there are a lot of people out there that need you. And may Allah subhanaw taala bless you, sister Sana. What advice and then the last piece of advice, you know, purpose of life is something that a lot of our youth are thinking of right? What's my purpose in life? What am I here for? What, what do I need to be doing right now? So what advice would you

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give Muslims regarding finding their purpose of life and kind of tying that with

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Would they have a passion for what they love? What they're interested in?

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Great question, Michelle. Um,

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so, you know, when it comes to purpose, you know, Islamically we have like this, you know, the Allah's path that tells us that he created mankind and jinn to worship him, right? So we know that our ultimate purpose is worship. But a lot of times what people forget is that worship can be in so many different forms. There's the required form, right salon, all of these different things, but there's so many different ways, you know, so for whatever you find one, one question, I tend to ask, you know, your passion, the path that you take in life should be a way of showing your identity, right, like the core of your identity, being a Muslim, but also the other parts of your identity.

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What What things have you read or done or where you feel most uplifted? What things have you done, that make you feel most connected to the people that you care about to Ellis PI data, to, you know, what makes you feel most whole and most fulfilled, right? And then taking that information, right, and making it into the path that you want to follow by setting an intention, that you can do it for the sake of illustration data, I mean, you know, if you whatever your passion is, my passion was psychology. Right? When I intend to do it for the sake of illustration data, then that becomes an act of worship for me, right? My role as I'm a mom of two young kids who are like watching something

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right now, so I can do this. But but you know, my my role as a mom can be an act of worship to others. pathauto if I make that my intention, so whatever role you want to accomplish in life if you intend it, right, it doesn't mean that you have to take your whatever you're passionate about, you can transform it into a way of worshipping and pleasing Allah subhana data, Allahu Akbar. And that's, that's a beautiful piece of advices Asana will lie. It's amazing to end with it because it's usually the Hadith that all of the scholars begin their books with.

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The hadith enamel Armello vignette, we're enamel equilibria in Manoa actions are by intentions, and for every person is what they intended. Right? So

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Subhanallah Haluk, if we and this is an opportunity given to us by Allah subhanaw taala it's not just

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I think I think

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I think if we kind of connect everything that we do to Allah subhanho wa Taala everything that we have a passion for everything that occupies our time and just renew our intention and make it make it feasible Allah make it for the sake of all we're going to get Ajit for it. And not only that, but we're going to enjoy because Allah subhanaw taala is the one who placed this passion for you in your heart. You wish you would have been born not liking this, but Allah subhanaw taala made you like this thing. And by doing it and remembering Allah, you're thanking Allah subhanho wa Taala for what he put inside of you from passion for this particular thing. You could have liked something that's

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haram but Allah subhanaw taala made you like something that's halal. You could have been good at something that's haram but Allah subhanaw taala made you good at something that Halal is a great nama you know, and we should thank Allah subhanaw taala by remembering him. And this way we can convert what we always do into our brother, right? Can also be video games, by the way, because a lot of the guys just sitting home right now, you know, playing video games.

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You know, that's a good question. That's I'm a counselor perspective. Be careful of how much video games to play. You don't want to get addicted, right? But, but even video games Subhanallah you know, like if you think about video games, people who create video games and then channeling that passion for playing into creating video games imagine if there was like a video game that had some sort of an Islamic history themes you know, that you know you're going through different levels and but you're learning about the semuc history at the same time, or you know, something that can captivate children you know, to learn, you know about you know about Islam or even memorizing Quran

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I don't know, somebody should think you know, creates I think beneficial types of things

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are beneficial to them, you know,

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something that just gives them general knowledge and understanding of the world around them if they put their intention. They make their intention right and they make it visible. So they can learn it and benefit other Muslims with this knowledge. Inshallah, this is all beneficial in your skills in sha Allah. And with this, I want to thank sister sawed off for joining us. May Allah subhanaw taala bless you, you really anyway shedding all this knowledge on

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As I'm sure a lot of our youth here and all over the world that are listening to us here at Epic Masjid on our channel, we have over 100,000 subscribers. If you didn't subscribe yet please do subscribe check because we have these beneficial programs coming up inshallah this particular program every week but we have other programs for the younger youth and for the older youth Stay tuned on our channel follow us on Facebook on Instagram. We have a lot of programs coming at your way inshallah Diana, Sister surah. One last time I want to thank you for joining us mela Squanto Allah bless you. And would you mind joining us for other programs if you know our audience request

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just second last night and it's been a privilege to be here with you and yes, I would. I'd love to in Shall I love doing anything like with the with the youth and it makes me feel younger, so why not? You know, I'd be happy to I'd be happy to do it in sha Allah. Does that come along here and I'm sure all the youth appreciate it as well and everyone that's tuning in with us. And with this we're going to end this episode does Kamala Harris Stay tuned for our next episodes of The Diary of a diary. Cinema alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh See you next time.

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