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Question

Asalamualaikum. I was wondering if you can help me.
For the past couple of years I have been suffering from severe depression and anxiety. And last year was the first year of having to do ramadhan, knowing the severity of my mental state. It was so difficult. I couldn’t do anything. I barely managed to pray. I didn’t do taraweeh or read Qur’an. All I did was stay in bed and sleep. And I was working night shifts. I am still am. This year’s ramadhan is coming up And I’m still working nights and I am terrified that something bad might happen. I’ve been looking for advice but I’m not finding anything beneficial. I’m thinking of not participating this year at all. Do you have any advice?

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Response

As-Salaamun ‘Alaikum – peace be with you,

Thank you for reaching out to us, we know that it isn’t easy and we appreciate the confidence you have placed in us. May you be rewarded, Ameen.

Many people struggle to find the right balance in their life and that is completely normal. It is important to explore what works well for you and how you can manage your time most effectively whilst considering your mental health. At times you may find yourself feeling burnt-out and fatigued, which can be demotivating. At the same time, you can feel guilty about not making the most of the holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is a blessed, special month and while it is crucial to make the most out of it, we all have different strengths and capabilities. Making the most out of this month can look different for each person. Therefore, if you are unable to pray taraweeh then there’s no harm in that.

“Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are a few.” [Bukhari]

Instead, we would recommend that you focus on performing the obligatory acts of worship this year, such as the five daily prayers and fasting. Allah has made these obligatory because these deeds are more beloved to Him.

As you found it difficult to pray last year, perhaps you could have a family member or a friend pray with you or help you by offering reminders you to pray. You can also try pray in a congregation in a masjid if you would find this more motivating to connect with Allah (SWT). Additionally, you could keep a prayer and fasting chart to keep track of your prayers as this would give you more of a sense of accountability.

Each time you complete a prayer, remember that you are conversing with Allah (SWT) – so express how you feel during your prayer.

If you would like to add some small, extra deeds to the list, perhaps you could work on a goal that you know you can do consistently.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Listen to/recite some Quran on the way to work
  • Remember Allah through dhikr (i.e. saying “SubhanAllah” – Glory be to Allah, “Alhamdulillah” – All praise is due to Allah, “Allahu Akbar” – Allah is the Greatest)
  • Do wudhoo before you sleep
  • Get in contact with a family member you haven’t spoken to
  • Feed an animal or bird
  • Give £1 to charity
  • Water a tree or plant
  • Listen to a short Islamic lecture whilst going on a walk
  • Smile at people
  • Make sincere dua

This is not an exhaustive list so please try what works best for you. Allah loves a believer that performs regular good deeds, so please don’t be upset with yourself if you are not able to pray taraweeh every night or read Quran every day.

At the same time, if you weren’t able to perform one of the good deeds you chose to perform one day, don’t let that bring you down. The fact that you intended to perform this good deed is a great sign and Your Lord is a Merciful Lord who loves that you are trying – so keep going! Focus on the present and take one step at a time!

“Allah Almighty says: …Whoever comes to Me walking, I will come to him running…” [Muslim]

Finally, remember to take care of yourself by having enough food and water during suhoor (pre-dawn meal) or iftar (breaking of the fast). Sometimes it can be difficult to deal with depression and anxiety on your own, and there is no harm in reaching out. If you feel comfortable doing this, you could try counselling. Here at Inspirited Minds, we provide confidential counselling services that you could try. These are flexible too, so if you would prefer help via telephone, video or face-to-face, you are free to do so!

May Allah ease your affairs, reward you for all your efforts and give you the strength to continue!

These are just some humble suggestions. We sincerely hope and pray that one or more of them will be suitable to your circumstances and help create ease for you, In Shaa Allah (if Allah wills). If you would like to discuss anything else on your mind, we also offer more personalised counselling here at Inspirited Minds.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further support.

Allah knows best and we hope this helps In Shaa Allah (if Allah wills).

Du’aa (supplication) always,
IM Support Team

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Sarah Gulamhusein

Sarah Gulamhusein

Sarah is a Master’s graduate in Psychology, having completed an undergraduate degree in Medical Biochemistry. She is passionate about mental health and has attained a good knowledge of mental illnesses from both a scientific and psychological perspective. From her early years, she has been a keen writer and has consistently used her words to raise awareness and battle the stigma of mental health in society, highlight the challenges faced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities within the UK – especially for an organisation called 1000women. She hopes to use her skills and motivation to inspire others, promote co-existence and help others.

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