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A Working Muslim: I Don’t Feel Ramadan

Questioner

S

Reply Date

Jun 17, 2017

Question

Salam. I am working night shifts and feeling exhausted throughout the days. The long hours of fasting and very short hours between Isha and Fajr in addition make it even worse. I don’t have any chance to pray tarawih, read Quran or engage in other kinds of worships. I really wish to benefit from Ramadan, but I honestly just feel suffering. What can I do? I like my job otherwise, but I am unable to take a month off from work.

Counselor

Answer


A Working Muslim: I Don’t Feel Ramadan

In this counseling answer:

In Ramadan, Muslims should organize their time according to their abilities. Even if you are a working Muslim, there are many ways to benefit from this blessed month. You can read at least a few verses from the Quran after each prayer or whenever you have a break at work; say the dhikr while going to work or listen to the Quran, or just raise your hands and talk to Allah (swt). Remember also that Allah (swt) looks at our intention.


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum brother,

While I am not sure of your exact hours of work, nor if you have a family and responsibilities at home, I only know you work a night shift, which I can assume that your sleeping time should be during the day. Let’s say you work from 12 am till 8 am. When you make Magrib prayer and break your fast (Iftar), you should also be able to do Isha prayer before you go to work. While not knowing how close a mosque is to your place of employment, you may be able to pray Magrib at a mosque and share in Iftar as well as Isha prayer. However, as you stated, if you work at 12 am, you may not have enough time to do all of the tarawih prayers, but may be able to get a few in before you go to work.

At work, take your break to have suhoor and make Fajr prayer. After that you would go home to sleep for let’s say 4 hours (awake for Dhuhr) then return to sleep and awake maybe 4 hours later to give you enough time to do a few things around the house, shower, prepare for work and pray Asr.

Alternatively (and you may want to consult our “Ask the Scholar” section), you could pray Dhuhr and Asr prayer almost together, as long as you wake up in time to do Dhuhr right it goes out and before you do Asr prayer. This would give you longer and better quality sleep during the day while still staying within Islamic laws for prayers. Islamqa states regarding this “It is actually possible to “seemingly” join any two prayers in any of the four schools of Islamic Law. The way to do this is to wake up shortly before one prayer time expires, perform the prayer before the exiting of the time, wait a couple of minutes until the entrance of the next prayer time, perform that prayer immediately, and then get back to sleep. Effectively, this is just like the “actual” joining of prayers. The only difference is that you don’t have flexibility in picking the time to join prayers.”

As far as reading Qur’an, I know some people who read a portion of Qur’an right after each prayer which also helps with time management as well as organizing your activities. While it may be difficult, brother, there are some creative ways in which you can feel the experience of Ramadan and still get your sleep during the day to feel refreshed.

Also, give yourself five minutes – just you and Allah (swt). Sit and raise your hands and share what is in your heart with Him in your own words, even though He is well aware of it. Allow the burden of your frustration with yourself to be lifted off your shoulders and into His Hands. Also, be easy on ourselves as Allah (swt) is easy on us.

As you speak to Him, remind yourself that everything you do can be an act of worship in which to draw nearer to Him. Even the mundane can be worship. Brushing your teeth to follow the Prophetic tradition, to maintain the health of your body, to have great smelling breath for your loved ones and the angels who surround you is an act of worship in and of itself. Smiling at your parents, kissing your spouse, texting a friend to brighten their day; all of those are acts of worship in and of themselves. Your entire life, your entire day is filled with actions which could all be acts of worship, simply through your intention.

So, you see, dear brother, there are many ways in Ramadan in which we can do acts of worship in addition to the fard responsibilities. When our jobs are night shifts, we must become creative!

Also, remember that Allah (swt) looks at our intention. “In His mercy, He will reward you anyway for all of what you planned to do but could not”. So while you may desire to complete many traditional and festive Ramadan activities, you may only be able to complete half due to your work schedule. However, Allah in His mercy count our intention, and in sha’ Allah, Muslims using creativity may be able to enjoy a lot more of Ramadan activities than they thought possible. It’s a matter of perspective and time management. Please see the additional links for more tips.

We wish you Happy and blessed Ramadan brother, and we hope these tips have helped in some small way.

Salam,

***

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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