Question

I’m a sister from France where mental health awareness is quite weak. In France, we have to struggle with lots of stigmas about our faith and our spiritual identity. For example, working with our hijab is very difficult here and it’s very hurting how some of us can be stigmatised. I have to tell you that I have had several problems in my life. My dad is dead, my mother is very ill and has to live in another country to have medical assistance. When I was younger she attempted to commit suicide. I have been rejected by my family for a long time. I didn’t live with my relatives because I was under the state’s custody. I have been rejected by my family and others on several occasions. I got diagnosed with depression last year but I had this illness 3 years ago. Before I was successfully performing my daily prayers on time, which was very important to me. It still is important but it’s harder, and the fact that I try to pray on time and not achieving this goal has become a triggering factor for me. I can have some anxiety peaks that paralyse me and my spirituality. I am also on some medications. The point is that I’m very concerned about my spirituality. I hope that Allah will forgive me because sometimes I postpone my prayers until the next day but I’m not lazy, it’s just too hard for me. Please, can you reassure me about this?

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Response

Assalaamu ‘alaikum – peace be with you,

First of all, we recognise that in a country like France, it must be difficult to reach out and seek help. We are therefore, very grateful that you have chosen to reach out to us; we hope that we can be of some help.

In an area where Muslims are a minority, it would be highly recommended for you to meet others like you. Maybe try visiting your local masjid or try and find an environment where there are other like-minded sisters where you may be able to share your experiences. Hopefully being around other Muslims will help develop your spiritual identity and will decrease the hurt caused by stigmatisation. Continue to wear your hijab as if it is your armour, be proud of your Muslim identity and allow others to learn how strong Muslim women can be. May Allah grant you ease and reward you immensely for your efforts, ameen. 

With regards to your family situation, sometimes the ones who are the closest to us are the ones to hurt us the most. However, maintaining relationships with your family is very important in Islam. The Prophet (SAW) said “Whoever wants to increase his rizq (provision) and to live a long life should honour ties with his family” [Bukhari].  Therefore, keep trying with your family, maintain contact with your mother especially as she is ill and make dua that Allah brings you all closer.

We also respect the fact that despite going through so much in life from a young age, you have chosen to seek help with regards to your Iman above anything else, which in itself is something to be proud of. Having depression or anxiety is not something to be ashamed of; the fact that you have chosen salah to help you and that you are concerned about your spirituality shows that you are ready to fight your depression as you know that it is causing a hindrance to your Iman. You should be proud that salah is one of your key concerns and that you are trying to pray them daily on time, as many do not get this far. Also know that Allah sees your efforts and you will be rewarded for this [Surah Al-Insan, 76:22].

You said that you see depression as an illness which must mean that there is a way that you can get better Insha’ Allah! You might want to consider talking to a counsellor to see if that might help. The following video might also help you to understand your depression better; it will hopefully grant you some of the answers as to why you may be struggling with daily activities, including your Salah, and also provides some helpful tips in ways that you can manage your depression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc.

Furthermore, know that you are not alone in this fight; you are not alone in standing up for your faith in France, you are not alone in tackling depression and you are certainly not alone in this constant battle with your Iman. Remember, Allah has said, “Fear not. Indeed, I am with you… I hear and I see” [Surah Taha, 20:46].

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further support.
Allah knows best and Insha’Allah we hope this helps,
Duas always,
IM Support Team

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Ask Inspirited Minds is a safe, anonymous and confidential space for you to ask specific questions or seek advice around your mental health and wellbeing. We will publish your question and our response on our website but will make sure to make it anonymous and change any identifiable details. If you are going through these problems, then it’s highly likely someone else is going through something similar and we hope our advice can also be of help to others in a similar situation.

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