Here’s What Muslim Therapists Have To Say On Mental Health

Mental health is a widely important topic that is not discussed thoroughly within the Muslim community, so we interviewed specialists.

Here’s What Muslim Therapists Have To Say on Mental Health​

Mental health is a widely important topic that is not discussed thoroughly within the Muslim community, so we interviewed specialists.

By

Aishah Goumaneh

Mental health is a widely important topic that is not talked about much in the Muslim community. One of the most common ways that people take care of their mental health is through therapy. I spoke with Fahad Khan, Abdulaziz Syed, Saaudiah Muhammad, and Afshan Mohamedali, four professional psychologists. I asked these psychologists, why is therapy important for Muslims? How should one seek therapy? Can therapy help with issues revolving around gender, age, and toxic cultures?

Afshan Mohamedali, PhD

“Anyone can benefit from therapy given that it’s a safe space for self-reflection and growth.”

Therapy is a place for identifying obstacles and solutions in your life. Muslims are not superheroes they are everyday people who also deal with mental health issues. Mental health issues are just as prevalent to Muslims as they are to the general public. Therapy is a holistic approach to healing.

To begin seeking therapy one must identify what kind of help they need first. When you contact therapists be sure to ask about their different helping methods to help you decide what works best for you. “Feel free to schedule first sessions with a few  different providers before choosing one you’re comfortable with and be sure to communicate any concerns you might have about treatment to your therapist.”

“Therapy can absolutely help with issues relating to gender, age, toxic environments, and much more. I find it helpful to explore the ways in which these factors are impactful on mood and anxiety, while also identifying and employing agency in difficult situations. A therapist can help with developing adaptive coping skills, identifying unhelpful behavioral patterns, tolerating uncomfortable emotions, and more.”

Saaudiah Muhammad

Therapy is important for anyone that needs “an impartial and nonjudgmental perspective.” Therapy gives people the opportunity to discuss things that may be harder to discuss with the people closest to you. Therapists do not “fix” clients or tell them how to live their lives. Therapy is a way to get suggestions and different perspectives on difficult issues. However, it is important to remember that therapy is not a replacement for spiritual guidance.

“Our relationship with Allah should be personal and private.”

There are various websites and sources to find therapists. “I have listings in several sites, however, the bulk of my clients find me from my Psychology Today profile.”

Profile pages are comprehensive and can be very detailed. I include on my professional profile pages that I have client focus in faith for Islam so that Muslims in my area can find me if they use filters such as Muslim, Islam or specific gender or ethnicity for instance when searching for therapists. Also, word of mouth is also a viable means to find a therapist. I have gotten many new clients based on referrals from other clients. It is extremely important for clients to feel comfortable in seeking therapy.

Therapy can help with a multitude of issues. Many people fall into the “perfect reality trap” on social media. This leads to people developing low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, etc.

“Areas such as gender, age, and toxic cultures are highlighted in social media in particular.”

Abdulaziz Syed, Therapist Khalil Center

“First, I think it is important to define therapy. While you may get different answers, the American Psychological Association defines it as the following: ‘Psychotherapy is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a psychologist. A psychologist provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who is objective, neutral and nonjudgmental.'”

Modern-day Muslims get so many mixed messages and face several sources of stress from personal to political. So seeking therapy to ensure the wellbeing of their mental health is essential.

The easiest way to seek therapy is to “look online and see someone who you feel would be a good match. You can look online for Muslim therapists if you feel they can understand your situation better”. Khalil Center is one organization out of many more services. Psychology Today is a good place as well. “More and more states are allowing for web therapy so even if you do not have anyone locally, you can find people online.”

Seeking therapy can be difficult when related to “addictions or one’s relationship with parents or seeking a spouse or getting over childhood trauma/neglect or performance anxiety etc.. The list goes on.”

No matter how hard it gets therapists can always help and guide you.

Dr. Fahad Khan

Besides the obvious fact that if you are not okay mentally you should seek help, therapy is essential for Muslims because it allows a person to become more self-aware and gain more insights into their actions and behaviors, which they are required to do as Muslims.”

It is a saying in Islam that whoever becomes aware of themselves can become more aware of their Lord. Knowing yourself is a blessing that everyone should want to gain.

People should go about seeking therapy depending on what works for them, what is more affordable, what or who is more, comfortable for you? You need someone to bring you back to the right path, this could even be a Sheikh. Whatever is most accessible to you, there are even online therapists. There are countless resources for people to gain access to therapy.

Therapy can help with whatever issue in the metaphysical issue. For example if you have a broken leg you would obviously need to seek out physical help such as surgery.

However, you could get therapy to help you deal with the fact that you have a broken leg. Poor family dynamics can definitely be helped with counseling.

Essentially therapy is a basic tool for your mental health. There are countless resources for people to seek out therapy, begin with what you find is comfortable. Issues relating to gender, age, and culture, may not be able to change, however, therapy can help you deal with them. For example, let’s say your culture has disparities between ages or gender – therapy can you help you deal with that.

Therapy is not, or should not, be a luxury. It should be a blessing to ensure that your mental health is in the best quality.

How To Ensure You Don’t Slip Up After Ramadan

You manage to build a strong system in fixing your spirituality during Ramadan, but how can we maintain it?

How To Ensure You Don’t Slip Up After Ramadan

You manage to build a strong system in fixing your spirituality during Ramadan, but how can we maintain it?

By

Sarah Lashuel
Art - Hafsa Khan (@hafandhaf on IG)

Has the high worn off yet? The spiritual high of Ramadan that is. 

Let me guess, you waited all year for Ramadan to come around so you could get your spirit right, and just like that it was over in a flash. I’m going to also go out on a limb and guess that now you’re trying to promise yourself you’ll keep up all the good work you’ve done, while in the back of your head you know you’ll have to wait until the next Ramadan to do better? 

If that’s you, then I know exactly how it feels. At some point in the year, the previous Ramadan and all the promises you made fade away like a dream. That’s part of what makes the holy month so special right? 

But the feats we accomplish and the lessons we learn are too precious to turn our backs on. Whatever your experience is during the fasting month, if you’ve felt the light of Ramadan and want to keep it shining, or you want to use this as a benchmark for a better you, here’s how.

 

 

Reflecting On Ramadan’s Past

It’s been over a week since Ramadan ended. We may be getting back into our normal routines, but before we get too far along, now is the time to reflect on how the month transpired for you. Not only can this act as a personal send-off for the holy month, but it will also make what you take away more concrete and memorable. 

When we reflect on Ramadan’s past, consider these questions:

  • What was different during Ramadan?
  • What brought me joy?
  • What brought me closer to my faith?
  • What were the challenges I faced? How did I overcome them?
  • How did I prepare for the month? 
  • What could I have done better? 

Using a pen and paper to take notes as you think will help you put words to feelings and even dig up some things you weren’t aware of. Clarity is essential before we can even get into intention or action. Focus on what is important to you. There’s no point in beating yourself up over expectations that don’t align with your needs, circumstances, or goals.

Getting Your Motivation Right 

There’s a reason why Ramadan makes it easier to start and maintain healthier habits and mindsets. The expectations are clear ahead of time. You know what’s going to go down, and you have time to prepare. Everyone’s in this together, your family, friends, and Muslims all over the world. Not to mention, everyone is also doing their best to adjust their schedules and lifestyles to accommodate during the month. With that said, does that mean it ends there? It doesn’t have to. Use the motivations of Ramadan to your advantage to keep the spirit of Ramadan alive all year round. 

Motivation is a lot simpler than we realize. If we like doing something, if it makes us feel good, then we’ll do it, even if it’s not what’s best for us. If something is easy to do, if it’s convenient, if it doesn’t need much effort, we’re more likely to do it right? You can see how true this is in any aspect of your life, like school, work, entertainment, and even friendships. Understanding how motivation works for you is a must if you want to keep yourself from getting stuck in a rut. 

Make things easy for yourself, make them fun. Give yourself the chance to learn about and practice the positive changes you want to make. Give yourself the chance to make them your own!

Set your intentions and then create your game plan. It should be realistic, and it should work with your life! Planning out the steps you need to take means you’re less likely to get overwhelmed by an overbearing feeling of what you “should” be doing.  

Be sure to prepare. Whatever you do, you want to be setting yourself up for success. Simple steps, like pre-downloading books, favoriting podcast episodes, or compiling screenshots of dua into a dedicated album, can make a world of difference that your future self will thank you for. 

Once you start, check in with yourself on the progress you’ve made. Is your plan working? Are you on the right track? Is there something you want to adjust?

As long as you want to make a change, you’re already half-way there. 

Fasting

The act of fasting is the central focus of Ramadan and it is an act that can put us in a different physical, mental, and spiritual state. Many people consider it a reset. From proven health advantages to mental clarity, to spiritual cleansing, there are many reasons why so many of us cherish the opportunity our faith gives us in prescribing we fast for the duration of a  month. 

Fasting throughout the year can bring great benefits, if you are able and well enough to do so. If you aren’t able to fast from food, use the spirit of fasting to mentally detox and gain some perspective. Think about the things in your life you assume you can’t live without, whether it’s social media, or spending on things you don’t need, or even vulgar language: challenge yourself to abstain from them and see what you can learn. 

If it’s safe enough for you to physically fast, then set your intentions early and make sure to prepare. Do it alone, or do it with friends or family. Decide what it is that you’ll look forward to if you accomplish the fast. Prepare by making sure you’re nourished and hydrated the day before you fast. While you may find it more difficult to fast any other time, just remember that if you can do it during Ramadan, you can do it period. Keep your momentum by building trust and confidence in yourself through accomplishment. 

Another way to channel that Ramadan energy is to learn more about intuitive eating. With all the iftar gatherings and incredible food it’s no wonder we got caught up in indulgence once the sun sets. After Ramadan is still a good time to continue being mindful about what we eat and how we eat, and it’s something we can do alongside our everyday routines. Intuitive eating challenges you to learn about your own body’s rhythms and needs, that way you can make lifestyle choices that support you in the best way possible, while considering all the things you don’t need. 

Persistence, Not Perfection

Holidays, festivals, and days of observance can be points in the year that inspire an extra surge of energy and passion. You’ll notice that every faith has fasting as a part of their practice. Allowing yourself to be conscious of this reality can keep the inspiration and reflection going. 

Don’t forget that you’re not alone in this. Reaching out to others may be a great way to spread goodwill and get farther together. Those friends or family who were isolated, or going through hardships during ramadan, their hardships may not end once Eid hits. Check up on them, plan days to have dinner together, find ways to connect. This is where prioritizing your time comes into play – if you could make time for it during Ramadan, see what you can do throughout the year.

If we were meant to become perfect during Ramadan, we’d only ever experience one Ramadan, but that’s not the case. Human beings forget, and struggle, but we also never stop learning. There’s no such thing as taking steps back, every experience you have is moving you forward in one way or another.

READ MORE: What Celebrating Eid Under Quarantine Looks Like

Here Is What To Bring When Going Out To Protest For Black Lives Matter

Here is advice for anyone wanting to safely and conscientiously join the fight.

Here Is What To Bring When Going Out To Protest For Black Lives Matter

Here is advice for anyone wanting to safely and conscientiously join the fight.

By

Amirah Ahmed
Photo - Samer (@waladshami)

The tragic string of recently publicized deaths by police brutality have, once again, brought the United States to the brink of a revolution. And whilst sadly not a new issue by any means, the shocking murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have ignited protests across the country, and around the world; most of which have been largely peaceful, and in the context of centuries of violence against black men and women, might even be considered mild. 

Many social media users have subsequently taken to their feeds to document official and unofficial police responses to the uprising, with significant numbers of protestors being tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, and assaulted by police. 

As such, it is important now more than ever to stand with the black community, to amplify their voices and struggle. On top of the dangers outlined above, however, the coronavirus pandemic poses new challenges to collective protest. .  Here is some advice for anyone wanting to safely and conscientiously join the fight:


 

1. Wear a mask and bring hand sanitizer. These are necessary precautions against COVID-19, as protests will leave you mostly unable to socially distance. Use sanitizer often and especially if you come into physical contact with others. Your mask may also come in handy if tear gas is deployed. You can even purchase a Black Lives Matter mask here

2. Wear some form of eye protection. As mentioned earlier, law enforcement have been using rubber bullets and tear gas, which have sadly led to several protestors permanently losing their sight. While the kind of eyewear that will protect you from rubber bullets are on the pricey side, any goggles will help in the event that tear gas or pepper spray is used.

3. Bring plenty of water and snacks. Protests can last for hours and the increasing temperatures accompanied by the physical exhaustion that will come with walking and raising your voice for several hours will leave your body and mind tired. It’s important to keep sustenance nearby to give your body the nutrition it needs to protest to your fullest ability. This is especially important due to the number of stores in and around protest routes that will have been closed due to COVID-19 and/or the protest itself.

4. Bring a list of emergency contact numbers and your ID. Whether you write them down on your arm or on a slip of paper that you can keep in your pocket, make sure you write down your personal emergency contacts (parents, spouse or close friend.) as well as numbers for your local emergency legal counsel, and keep them directly on your person. If you are in a group of protesters that are arrested, you will need these in case you aren’t given access to your belongings. 

5. Lastly, wear comfortable clothes and a compact bag to hold your belongings. Carrying a ton of unnecessary things will weigh you down. Therefore, keep it to essentials and pack as light as possible. That being said, do bring protest signs! Use some leftover cardboard from your last online order and get creative to deliver a powerful message.

These are just some of the essentials that will come in handy when out protesting for Black Lives Matter, but experienced protesters have shared tips and advice on their social media that are helpful too. Stay safe and alert and remember to continue sharing resources with your followers for those that aren’t able to protest in person.

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter Is Not A ‘Feel-Good’ Instagram Challenge

What Celebrating Eid Under Quarantine Looks Like

Truth be told – I was expecting it to be a very difficult day full of sadness.

What Celebrating Eid Under Quarantine Looks Like

Truth be told – I was expecting it to be a very difficult day full of sadness.

By

Zainab Damji
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

 

Eid is the time of year when the masses come together to celebrate. The sheer spirit of Eid is visible in the streets –  people praying on the pavements because the mosque has reached capacity, swarms of cars parked outside houses indicating a huge family gathering taking place, and so on and so forth.  It is always a joyous, interpersonal occasion.

With the coronavirus pandemic however, much of our lives have changed – our routines have been uprooted, ‘normal’ is no longer normal and life is not as carefree. Naturally, as Eid rolled around and we all did our best to stay safe and follow precautionary measures; Eid in quarantine was inevitable.

Truth be told – I was expecting it to be a very difficult day full of sadness and longing, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that wasn’t the case. While I’ve tried to look at this whole pandemic from a positive perspective; I didn’t have to try very hard on Eid – it seemed to work out all on its own.

Eid prayers were held on Zoom and so our living rooms became masjids. Family gatherings still happened, they were just virtual, and you know what? Now that aunt that lives abroad didn’t feel so left out! Instead of taking your Mom’s signature baklava to an Eid party, you shared the recipe with all your friends, and they got to make it for their families in their kitchens!

This Eid, we’ve realized more than ever that it isn’t about food, or parties or even seeing each other; it’s about love and effort. So despite being in the same city as my cousins and not being able to visit them, I felt their love over our late night Zoom calls where we stressed every 20 minutes about losing sleep before having to wake for Eid prayers. Despite my brother being in a different continent, as he cooked up a storm of my mother’s traditional recipes in his LA kitchen,  it felt like he was with us at home. And while I couldn’t take any baked goods to Eid parties, I made sure to make a batch anyway and (safely) hand-deliver them to loved ones!

However, while we had the privilege of spending hours on Zoom calls, staying up late with those we share our homes with, enjoying their company – it’s important to remember that not everyone has those opportunities. Many Muslims live alone, some have gotten stuck abroad unexpectedly this year, and others may be in homes where they are not safe or comfortable. 

And let us not forget our Muslim healthcare workers who are working tirelessly on the frontlines, and while we may be saddened by our inability to visit extended family and friends, their daily reality is much worse.

Their personal sacrifice, dedication, and commitment to keeping us safe are testament to the values Islam has instilled in us, and on Eid, their service is a reminder of that. 

So today, if you’re reading this article from the comfort of your happy, safe and loving home – say a prayer for those who are not, and continue taking precautionary measures and staying safe for them. This year, Eid may have been different, but I am thankful for the experience as it has made me more gracious, self-aware, and humble. Eid Mubarak; may this coming year be filled with prosperity, success, and good health for us all.

READ MORE: Muslim Women Reflect On Ramadan Under Quarantine Through Art

Let’s Talk About Body Dysmorphia In Muslim Communities

Getting ready and having to look at my body became an uncomfortably gross intimacy.

Let’s Talk About Body Dysmorphia In Muslim Communities

Getting ready and having to look at my body became an uncomfortably gross intimacy.

By

Rania Rizvi
Art - WikiPedia; Body Dysmorphia

Dear Aunties: Keep your comments about my weight to yourself 

Once, I was the chubby, “happy-go-lucky” kid with full cheeks and a rosy glow. I ate unapologetically and wholeheartedly. I drank two Capri-Suns and ate popsicles daily with my friends after school. 

But then reality hit. 

It was time for middle school and that cute Aero top that once fit like a glove was now a bit too tight in all the wrong places. My grandma would call worried from Pakistan, saying she didn’t want her eldest, “prettiest granddaughter” to be fat. 

Dinner parties turned into auntie-commentaries about how I would look “better” if I slimmed down. Familiar faces turned into inspecting eyes, judging me up and down before saying “Salaam!” 

Instagram became an agonizing reminder that my frame was societally subpar and that I was practically obese compared to the tan California girls with 10,000 likes and invisible waists. 

The weight of my weight never felt heavier. 

I became incredibly self-conscious and started researching diets. I learned how to only eat 1,200 calories a day, how to have a cup of coffee for breakfast and be full, how to channel my self-hatred into fuel for my no-pain-no-gain workouts. 

When I was 16, my grandma came to visit me from Pakistan and was stunned by how thin I had become: She soon started mixing butter into my rice so that I would gain weight. 

The commenting aunties suddenly came up to me asking to give them dieting tips. Some were even worried that I might “go anorexic.” 

But overall, they thought I was a success story. 

What they didn’t know was that I woke up each and every day with a torturous mental battle to fight. 

Getting ready and having to look at my body became an uncomfortably gross intimacy. The whispers of “you should lose more weight” inside my head were louder than the ten alarms I set for school. No amount of lighting, weight loss or filters could fix the million, microscopic errors my eyes could miraculously find. 

The weight of never feeling good enough feels the heaviest. 

I didn’t know the words for it then, but my ritualistic dieting, fixation on metrics, and obsession with mirrors was not just vanity or wanting to look good. 

They were symptoms of Body Dysmorphia. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a mental health disorder in which one obsesses over perceived or minor flaws that are oftentimes not noticeable to others. 

As a result, individuals may avoid or feel anxious in social situations and can spiral into depression. 

Symptoms include: obsession with appearance, believing that one is ugly or deformed because of the perceived flaw, and frequently seeking reassurance from others. 

Older generations accuse us of being “self-obsessed” and that we ought to just grit our teeth and “deal with it.” 

“Allah has given you so much and you dare to be ungrateful?” they say. “This is what happens when we miss salah.” 

This indifference towards mental health is especially prevalent in South Asian or Arab muslim communities that not only cater to traditional ideals of beauty but also weaponize religion to shame those who struggle mentally. 

This is only compounded by the fact that the muslim youth of today live in a society that subsists upon the Eurocentric body imagel, and rewards people based on their looks. It is virtually impossible to not feel bad about oneself. 

But how do we combat this issue? 

Let me offer you some pragmatic perspective. 

We live in a society that profits from insecurity – the cosmetic surgery industry alone accounts for around $20 billion globally. Therefore, it only makes sense that we are bombarded with content that makes us want to look like someone else. People are willing to spend anything to feel loved and accepted. 

We ought to step back from ourselves and take a critical look at the media and what it is selling us, why people fat-shame and make the comments that they do. If we can take back our power and understand that beauty is a subjective term that is based on what sells in that particular time, perhaps we might not feel as bad anymore. 

There was a point in time when your body was the ideal. Trends do not determine your worth. People will always be afraid of what is different. There will always be someone who is skinnier or has more likes, and even those people aren’t “happy.” 

Most of all, we ought to remember to look at the grand scheme of things, beyond the material world’s obsession with unattainable perfection. Even if we perceive our body as a flaw, these are based on human standards, but in the eyes of Allah (swt), we are all equal, regardless of how we might appear.

Remember that our Creator made no mistakes when making you. He has crafted us each with unique imperfections to not only remind us of our humanity, but to teach us where our worth really comes from in this life and the hereafter: the heart inside the body, not the body itself.

Being truly comfortable in one’s body cannot be achieved by joining the crowd, but by authentically embracing our diversity and working on our self-worth from the inside out. 

At the age of 19, I no longer use calorie counting apps and workout for the purpose of feeling good. I have gained weight since my unhealthy high school days, and I am grateful for it. 

While there are still days when I feel insecure about my body, I remind myself that only I get to decide how I feel about my body, not my family, not oppressive standards, and certainly not the aunties. 

To all the aunties who ever had a comment to make about mine or anyone else’s weight: stop. Stop making impressionable kids feel ashamed about their bodies. Keep the generational trauma to yourself because my generation is just trying to love themselves. 

 

READ MORE: The Double Standard Between Billie Eilish And Muslim Women

What Is Eid? All You Need To Know About The Muslim Holiday

We broke-down what our holiday Eid is all about.

What Is Eid? All You Need To Know About The Muslim Holiday

We broke-down what our holiday Eid is all about.

By

Maliha Rahman
Photo - Getty

 

Whether you are Muslim or not, the celebration of Eid-al-Fitr is acknowledged around the world by many of all faiths. Eid is a time for blessings and joys throughout the Muslim community, but because it is a day of charity, it is a day to distribute one’s wealth. In short, it is a time of celebrations worldwide for all Muslims. Let’s elaborate:

What is Eid-al-Fitr? 

Eid-al-Fitr is a direct translation of “Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.” Eid-al-Fitr is actually a three day long celebration after the end of Ramadan everyday from dawn to dusk. Determining Eid-al-Fitr all comes down to a moon sighting, just like Ramadan: if the crescent moon isn’t seen, Ramadan will go on for another day. If it is seen, Eid Mubarak!

How does the day begin? 

Celebrations begin at a specific Eid prayer, in mosques, surrounded by your families and friends that you typically see during the month of Ramadan. After prayers, everyone congratulates each other for the ending of this blessed month. Usually, next is the visiting of graves for your loved ones after the conclusion of Eid prayers, to clean the gravesites and dawn the graves with fresh flowers. 

How do Muslims celebrate? 

Muslims wear their newest clothes or their finest clothes. Muslims decorate their homes with Eid decorations, lanterns, and twinkling lights. Everyone makes special foods for when their families and friends are invited over to come celebrate alongside. Muslims visit their relatives’ homes, as a way to celebrate with their loved one.

Hands are covered in henna patterns, from the nights before that were served as preparation for this three-day long period. Gifts are given to children and those in need, which are commonly known as Eidi.

I don’t know what’s better than those post-Eid naps and jumping from house to house with iced coffee in your hands. 

EIDI! 

What is Eidi? Eid is still a day of charity. Eidi is referred to as the money and gifts given to the children of the family by elders: could be relatives, parents, siblings, anyone at all. Eidi gifts are given as another way of celebrating this joyous day. Children will definitely refer to their Eidi as their favorite part of the day! 

How is this year different? 

This year, sadly our mosques are closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19). Our Eid prayers this year will have to be done from the comfort of our homes for many. With the health regulations put in place, jumping from house to house will not be allowed. Visiting our families will have to be done at a later time and we will have to be ending this month long of fasting at home. 

Nonetheless, many will still be dressed in our new clothes, we will be making all the yummy foods, and we will still be finding small ways to celebrate! 

Muslims across the world celebrate in different ways, but one thing is clear – Eid is a time for celebration! Have a blessed Eid from our @muslim family to you and yours!

READ MORE:  Ramadan 101: All You Need To Know About The Holy Month

A How-To Guide On Performing Eid Prayer

For most of us, this will be the first time we're performing Eid prayer with our families. Here is a guide to help.

A How-To Guide On Performing Eid Prayer

For most of us, this will be the first time we’re performing Eid prayer with our families. Here is a guide to help.

By

Najaha Nauf
Art - New Internationalist

 

After a month of quarantined fasting, Eid-al-Fitr is upon us! Eid-al-Fitr falls on the first of Shawwal (the tenth month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar) and is characterized by the sighting of the crescent.

A staple of Eid-al-Fitr is the Eid prayers which is considered Sunnah Muakkada – highly recommended Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), one which he always did. While it is normally performed at mosques or on open-ground in congregation, this period of social distancing puts a halt to such activities. 

Fortunately, most Fatwa centers have encouraged praying at home in congregation or alone, and we’ve got you covered on the basic rulings of how to perform the Eid prayer. 

TLDR? : it’s generally like a 2 Raka prayer, like Fajr or sunnah prayers before and after prayers, with addition of Takbiraat in the Qiyaam before recitation of Al-Fathiha in each rakat. 

  1. The Niyah (Intention) 

The Niyah, or Intention, of the Eid prayer is to fulfill two Rakas of Sunnah prayers in order to please Allah and as a sign of devotion and gratitude on the  glorious day of Eid. 

  1. The first Takbir (praise)

Takbir is the proclamation of “Allahu Akbar” which means “Allah is the greatest.” The prayer begins with a single Takbir as all other prayers do. The one praying must raise both hands up to their ears, palms facing forward during the proclamation and fold both hands over one another below their chest area (right hand over left hand) once they’re done with the proclamation.  

  1. Repeat steps 2 until Takbir has been said seven times.

  2. Recitation of the Quran. 

In the seventh Takbir, Surah Al-Fathiha (the opening of the Quran) is recited. After which, any surah or number of verses from a surah may be recited. 

  1. Ruku’ (Bowing)

This is when the one praying bends forward such that their spine and body form a right angle and their hands are placed on their knees, with their gaze firmly placed on the Qibla (direction of the Kabah). In this position, they must recite “Subhana Rabbi al-Adheem” three times, which means “How free from imperfections is my Lord, the Grand”

  1. I’thidhal (Straightening from bowing)

They must then stand straight, hands by their sides and recite “Sami Allahu liman hamida, Rabbana Walak al-hamd” which means, “Allah hears those who send praises to him. Our lord, and all praises are for you.”

  1. Sajda (Prostration) 

The one praying then proclaims “Allahu Akbar” before falling in prostration in front of them, with their palms pressed to the ground and their nose and forehead touching it. In sujood (prostration), they must recite the duaa “Subhana Rabi Al- A’laa” three times, which means “My Lord is free from imperfections, The Most High.”

  1. Jalsa (Sitting on the prayer rug between prostrations)

Once they’ve risen from the prostration, the one praying sits on their heels and recites “Rabbi’ghfirli”  three times, which means “My Lord, forgive me.”

  1. Second Sajda

Another prostration is then performed with the same proclamation as the first Sajda as seen in step 8. This concludes the first Rakaat of the Eid prayer. 

  1. The Second Rakaat

Repeat steps 2  such that there are five recitations of Takbir.

  1. Recitation of the Quran. 

In the fifth Takbir, Surah Al-Fathiha (the opening of the Quran) is recited. After which, any surah or number of verses from a surah may be recited. 

  1. Repeat steps 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. 

Here, the second sajda does NOT mean the conclusion of the Raka

  1. Tashshahud (Sitting on the prayer rug after the final prostration)

After rising from the final prostration, the one praying sits on the prayer rug and says “Attahyathu Lillahi Wassalawathu Waththayyibathu, Assalamu Alayka Ayyuha Nabiyu Warahmathullahi Wabarakathuhu, Assalamu Alayna Wa Ala Ibaadhillahi Saliheen, Ashshadu An La Illaha Illallahu Wa Ashshadu Anna Muhammadan Abdhuhu Wa Rasooluhu.” Which means “All compliments, prayers and goodness are for Allah. May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you, Oh Prophet. Peace be upon us and upon the righteous slaves of Allah. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is his servant and messenger.” Then salutations are given to Prophet Muhammed and the Prophet Abraham in what is known as durood. This is then followed by a duaa of the individuals choosing.

This duaa is then followed by Taslim (greetings) which is where the one praying bids salaam to their right and then to their left by saying “Assalamu Alaykum Warahmathullahi Wabarakathuhu” which means, “May the peace, mercy and the blessings of Allah be upon you” in order to conclude the prayer. 

The Eid prayer is known to be a comprehensive start to the blessed day. Common supplications made throughout the day in order to celebrate include recitation of the Takbir, invocations of the six Kalimas and a lot of Salaams. It is the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to spread Salaams and spread the news of Eid through declarations of “Eid Mubarak!” It’s a day of joy and blessings, a day to celebrate the remembrance of Allah. 

May this Eid-al-Fitr be a joyous one for you and your family and may Allah accept all the fasts and supplications made during the month of Ramadan! Stay safe and home this Eid and always stay blessed! 

Confessions Of A ‘Ramadan Muslim’

For Muslims, the Holy Month of Ramadan is a period for self-growth. However, it comes with shame for some.

Confessions Of A ‘Ramadan Muslim’

For Muslims, the Holy Month of Ramadan is a period for self-growth. However, it comes with shame for some.

By

Amirah Ahmed
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

 

I have a confession to make. I am a Ramadan Muslim. 

 

Ramadan Muslim [ ram-uh-dahn · muhs-lim]  noun

 1.   A Muslim who doesn’t regularly practice their faith, except for when Ramadan arrives.

 

Yep, I said it! I am indeed one of those notorious believers that my fellow more “pious” Muslims love to criticize and complain about. 

Faith never really came easily for me. Or I guess I should say, the rituals and lifestyle that come with being Muslim never came easily for me. 

I’ve always had a strong connection and love for the Almighty, but growing up in a household where daily prayers and visits to the mosque were sporadically enforced left me in a conflicted state of mind when it came to my faith. 

Although I fully understood the concept of worshipping one God and embraced the stories of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), I couldn’t grasp why it was necessary or important for me to convey my worship through five routine prayers or memorization of the Quran. I made my way through elementary and middle school only practicing my faith regularly during the month of Ramadan, because that’s what I saw from the people around me. 

 

 

It was in the last semester of my eighth grade year that my relationship with my faith began to change. I went to a national convention for Muslims held by one of the largest Muslim American organizations in the U.S. with my grandmother. It was new territory for me. I attended lectures and discussions exclusively focused towards the youth, and how to be Muslim in America. I’ve never been surrounded by so many people that looked like me and believed like I did, and I never met other youth that were actually practicing Muslims. While my experience didn’t suddenly transform my worship habits, it did begin my ever-evolving journey with Islam.

Four months after that convention, I started wearing hijab. It was a welcome shock for most of my family, none of whom ever expected me to take the leap in my faith since I hadn’t been particularly religious up to that point. The only person in my immediate family that wore one was my grandmother, so while the change was unexpected, my family was proud. There was only one issue: I was still a Ramadan Muslim.

It’s the overwhelming presumption that women that wear the traditional headscarf are steadfast beacons of faith, would never miss a prayer, and have their imaan on point 24/7. I guess that’s what I was hoping I’d become when I decided to wear the hijab, but boy was I mistaken. 

The choice had only amplified the ongoing struggle with my faith as I now felt like I was a representative of Islam. Entering high school, I was determined to represent as best as I could, but I was disappointed when I repetitively fell short. I never mastered making my prayers on time, and often didn’t pray at all. It was a rare occurrence for me to pick up the Quran or take the time to talk to Allah (swt). I felt like I was committing spiritual fraud. How could I claim to represent my faith when I didn’t even know what the most basic surahs in the Quran meant? The only times I acknowledged the blessings in my life were when the month of Ramadan came around and fasting forced me into remembrance. 

It’s been a long and tumultuous journey to get to where I am now. While I still cannot confidently say that I make every prayer on time or that I know much more Quran than I did when I began this adventure, my relationship with my Creator has exponentially grown stronger and I now turn to Him when I’m facing trouble as well as when I recognize blessings in my life. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that the number of times you prostrate and recite specific sayings in a day does not determine your closeness to God or your relationship with your faith. It’s not wrong of you to take advantage of the holy month of Ramadan to try to better yourself, and if that’s a contrast from your usual habits, there’s nothing wrong with that because you’re doing your best to get closer to Allah (swt). 

Even if you fall under the label of “Ramadan Muslim” always know that nobody but Allah knows your struggle, so keep doing your best to grow your imaan and don’t pay the naysayers any attention

Here Are Prayers For When You’re Feeling Low On Faith

Spiritual journeys are not linear. For some, Ramadan can make them feel low in faith.

Here Are Prayers For When You’re Feeling Low On Faith

Spiritual journeys are not linear. For some, Ramadan can make them feel low in faith.

By

Amirah Ahmed
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

Feeling spiritually low can be difficult to overcome. Sometimes life gets busy, a thousand responsibilities are pulling your attention every which way, and it can seem like your faith is being put on the back burner. This can be tough to handle, but referring back to the wide plethora of duaas available in the Quran and the Hadith can help you when navigating faith. 

 

Here are 4 duaas especially valuable for when you’re feeling low on faith.

 

 

فَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَمَن تَابَ مَعَكَ وَلَا تَطْغَوْا إِنَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ         .1

“So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah ], and do not transgress. Indeed, He is Seeing of what you do.” (11:112) Surah Hud

 

This verse from Surah Hud reminds us that God sees our best efforts. When it becomes hard to maintain a strong relationship with your faith, this duaa can provide guidance for those that are struggling. Even when our spiritual path is not completely clear, it’s reassuring that Islam and its guidance and teachings will always welcome us back with open arms.

 

 

يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِكَ           .2

“Oh turner of hearts, keep my heart firm upon Your religion.” Saying from Prophet Muhammad (SAW)

 

According to a companion of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), he used to say this duaa abundantly. It’s a simple phrase that can be used to keep you focused on maintaining and boosting faith during those particularly trying instants. When things are perhaps not going as planned, and you need a little spiritual reinforcement, this duaa is perfect to turn to. 

 

 

 إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا       .3

“Indeed, with hardship there will be ease.” (94:6) Ash-Sharh 

 

This verse from Surah Ash-Sharh is very well-known as it resonates with many Muslims. It’s a powerful testament from the Quran that guarantees that whatever struggle we’re going through will not last forever. Even when your deen is not at its strongest, this duaa is a reminder that this moment of uncertainty will eventually pass with ease. 

 

 

 اللّهُمَّ قَنِّعْنِيْ بِمَا رَزَقْتَنِيْ ، وَبَارِكْ لِيْ فِيْهِ ، وَاخْلُفْ عَلَى كُلِّ غَائِبَةٍ بِخَيْرٍ   .4

“O Allah, make me content with what you have provided me, send blessings for me therein, and replace for me every absent thing with something better.” 

Bukhari

 

Faith can become tricky to maintain when it seems like everything in your life is going wrong. It isn’t uncommon to have a bad week, month, or even year and find yourself discontent and questioning your spiritual beliefs. When you aren’t content with a situation, this dua can provide guidance for finding peace through hard times and realizing that all good things will come with time and patience.

 

Aside from personal circumstances, several factors can affect our levels of faith. With the advancement of technological availability, we all have access to everything that is happening in the world, both good and bad – which can take a heavy toll on our mental health and spirituality. 

A constant flow of negative news can make us feel overwhelmed and helpless which can contribute to feeling low in faith. It’s important to stay informed and educated on current events, but even more important to prioritize your mental and spiritual well-being. 

If that means taking a break from your phone, social media, or even just news outlets for a while, that’s okay! Take some time to check in with yourself and read some of these duaas to help you realign with your faith.

Here’s How COVID-19 Affects Muslims During Ramadan

With Ramadan colliding with the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of changes have been made in how Muslims practice the Holy Month.

Here’s How COVID-19 Affects Muslims During Ramadan

With Ramadan colliding with the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of changes have been made in how Muslims practice the Holy Month.

By

Maliha Rahman
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

 

COVID-19 has invited a rollercoaster of emotions into each and every home, somehow everyone has become affected by this – whether it be in little ways or big ways. Someone we know, whether they be in our homes, our friends, our acquaintances – are affected by this. Knowing this, where do Muslims fall amongst the many affected? 

Firstly, fighting COVID-19 is tough, but one way to have prevention to this would be our own cleanliness. Personal hygiene matters, now more than ever! Health experts have been repeatedly saying washing our hands for at least 20 seconds will help prevent the virus. However, Islamically we have been taught personal hygiene for centuries. Keep washing your hands!

Being affected however, has become daunting on Muslims, alongside everyone else. One of our biggest blessings of performing Umrah, has been taken away from us and our biggest blessing Allah (SWT) has graced us with, the performance of Hajj has been taken away from us because of the closure of the Kaabah. Saudi Arabia suspended entry of any pilgrims coming to perform Hajj and Umrah, as early as February 27th.

With the closure of every local mosque, the blessing of going to the masjid for daily prayer has been taken away from us. The blessings of Jummah (Friday Prayers) in congregation, have been taken away from us. Yes, we can still get the blessings of congregation by praying at home, but it isn’t the same as hearing the Imam’s beautiful voice and praying amongst those you know and don’t know.

With the arrival of Ramadan, the blessings of praying Taraweeh every night has been taken away from us, abruptly. Ramadan is a time for us to take full advantage of the spiritual benefits, but it has a sense of excitement every year. The community iftars are taken away and if this continues, Laylatul Qadr, which is known as the most powerful night, may not feel the same to us. Spending all night at our local masjid, praying to Allah (SWT) will continue to be stripped away. If this continues, our most joyous occasion of Eid, will be taken away from us because we cannot partake in the performance of Eid namaz in congregation, alongside everyone who participated in the month of Ramadan.

With COVID-19, comes opportunity – opportunity for Muslims to bring the teachings of Islam into their homes because of the closure of masjids. With the blessings of going to the mosques being taken away, we need to find ways – small or big to bring Islam into our lives, now more than ever. Yes COVID-19 has impacted and affected Muslims and the rest of the world in various ways, we have to look at the blessings and opportunities it has brought us also. 

Prophet Muhammad has advised us with: “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; if the plague outbreaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.”