Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I have always found Fajr prayer challenging throughout my life, due to my husband working night shifts. A year ago, I had a major operation and although I have recovered I have pain which is worse at night. This has made it more difficult to pray all five of my prayers and I feel very depressed knowing that my life is passing by.
Also, I worry so much about my adult children and husband who do not pray. How can I be content and not carry this heavy burden of guilt, fear and depression and worship God because I love Him? Not because I fear that I will end up in hell if I do not pray?
Answer: Assalamualaykkum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.
Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with them both): The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” [Bukhari]
Dear sister, your pain is not lost on Allah. Know that with every tear you shed, He knows. May Allah elevate your rank in Jannah as a reward for your patience.
Please do the best you can to establish your prayers. Even when you do miss your obligatory prayers, make the intention to pay them back as soon as you can. Come up with a chart, and tick it off every day, as a way of visually encouraging yourself to continue. Because of your intention to pay them back, even if you die before you manage to pay back all your prayers, trust that it is not difficult for Allah to forgive your debt to Him.
Don’t give into despair, because your Merciful Creator loves you, and wants good for you.
“O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous.” [Qur’an, 2:21]
It is heartbreaking when the ones we love do not practice Islam. It is normal to fear for them, and to fret about their station with Allah.
Despite that, as impossible as this may feel, please do your best to worry about your own acts of worship. You have no control over what your husband and children do. The more you ache over them, then the more your health will be affected. You were not placed on this planet to worship your husband or your children – you were placed here to worship Allah alone. You are responsible for your actions, and they are responsible for theirs.
One of my teachers, Ustadha Mariam Bashar, gave me some insight into how a mother can deal with a child (or children) who do not practice the deen. She reminded us that it is natural for any mother to blame herself for the wrongdoings of their children. However, she pointed out that if that really were the case, then Prophet Nuh and Prophet Ya’qub (upon them be blessings and peace) would have been bad parents (wa al-iyadhu bi Allah). She went on explain that it is possible for perfectly good parents – even Prophets – to have children who behave in ways displeasing to Allah.
Lead them by example, and through being emotionally connected with them. Are your children teenagers? I encourage you to read up on the relevant Aha! Parenting strategies. Again, this leads back to you establishing your own prayers and finding your own inner place of calm.
It was narrated from Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) entered upon a young man who was dying and said: “How do you feel?” He said: “I have hope in Allah, O Messenger of Allah, but I fear my sins.” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “These two things (hope and fear) do not coexist in the heart of a person in a situation like this, but Allah will give him that which he hopes for and keep him safe from that which he fears.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
The more you know Allah, then the more you will love Him. Please reach out to authentic classes about Islamic belief, to help you better understand the attributes of Allah.
I suggest that you speak to a Muslim counsellor, therapist or psychologist who can help you learn better coping tools. If a Muslim one is not available, then seek out a culturally-sensitive one. Depression is something you can overcome, but it is too difficult to do so alone. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness. Know that you can better nourish your family when you yourself are nourished.
It is very difficult to be in chronic pain. What kind of chronic pain support do you have? Have you considered acupuncture or other alternative therapies?
I pray that Allah heals your sorrow, and draws you closer to Him.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.