Disclaimer: This article is in no way meant to substitute for medical or mental health advice from a trained and educated mental health professional. Muslim Girl encourages those who need help to seek it, and encourages the use of resources such as therapists, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and trained mental health professionals. You should never try to manage your mental health alone. You are not alone, and there is no shame in seeking professional help. Muslim Girl also does not recommend self-diagnosis; again, please seek the help of a professional. The following are the views and experiences of the author only. If you have feelings of self-harm or suicidal ideation, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Content warning: This article discusses chronic illness, death of a parent, and mental illness.
Prayer is so important in our daily lives. As a recent revert, I must admit the hardest part was adapting to the five mandatory prayers in Islam. It was a challenge remembering the times to pray, but I knew it was important to learn. I also learnt that Salah is the second pillar of Islam. Learning to make wudu before Ramadan was interesting and exciting.
For me, it is my quiet time with Allah (SWT). It is an open channel of communication where you can express yourself freely without judgement. Throughout my life, I was faced with so many challenges. At the age of sixteen, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer; she unfortunately died when I was eighteen years old. Being so crushed and filled with emotions, I still had all the pressure from school, plus dealing with friends, and taking care of my younger brother.
I was so lost and confused. I became very depressed and had to seek counseling. I didn’t even know what year we were in at the time. Being young and inexperienced was heartbreaking. I finally got a boyfriend at age 21, and I felt very overjoyed to have someone to express my feelings to, but little did I know that the feeling was only temporary. He died in a horrible car accident when I was 23 years old. Another tragedy for me again. I wondered when things would ever start to get better.
After those incidents, I devoted my life to volunteering and helping others. It was great to assist other people, but I was still so lost and hurt inside. I kept searching my whole life, just to find some peace but nothing was working, no counseling, no medicine, nothing.
Just when I thought all the tragedy in my life was over, then came the worst part. At age 33, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I thought for sure that I was going to die, and I was actually happy with that. Life had been very rough for me. Only this year by some twist of faith was I was eventually hired — while undertaking chemotherapy. It was a blessing, alhamdullilah, as jobs are still difficult to get, particularly in these COVID times.
I saw how the Islamic faith works, and I was quite intrigued. I quickly learned about the peace that can be attained. So before Ramadan, I took Shahada and began fasting. I also began to pray five times a day, plus do dhikr and read the Holy Quran. I also continued my good deeds through volunteering and giving zakat. I am now learning about the voluntary prayers that can also be said. At first, it seemed like a lot but when I started, it was like I could not stop.
After Ramadan, I missed the fasting, so I try to fast the three white days in each month. It took a lot of sacrifice and determination to make this work, but I can safely say that I am at peace now, alhamdullilah! I searched my whole life for a sense of love and belonging. Growing up without parents, I always felt so alone inside. No matter how many people were around me physically, there was a deep void that no one could have filled. But Allah fills it.
I placed my full trust in Allah (SWT) through prayer every day, and I now understand the true power and importance of prayer. I finally realized that making dua was the real answer to all my problems, because guess what my brothers and sisters? Once you open your heart to Allah (SWT), you will never walk alone again. Alhamdullilah.
May Allah bring us all peace, and may you find the same peace in your prayers.