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Unable to Pray Regularly…Please Advise!

14 January, 2024
Q Assalamu alaikum, Dear counsellor…I’m not able to observe prayers regularly…I’m on antidepressants for past 9 years, With history of mental illness for past 22 years…I used to pray regularly, I had a broken marriage and was remanded in prison on false charges…and the strict interpretation of Islam by the ulema and many websites…I couldn’t fold my hands during prayer…though I wanted to pray couldn’t even go near the mosque at times…didn’t know what to do…took psychiatrist opinion and I started praying alone and seek guidance from Allah himself ..and started studying the translation of Quran…which alleviated many of the doubts in Islam ….now I am posted in my hometown and my father don’t get along well…I love him and respect him…but when he’s around me, my brain stops ..and this confusion ..that unable to pray regularly haunts me ..I know I’m a better person ..don’t know what to do…kindly help me..


In this counseling answer:

  • Try to find out exactly what is it that makes you feel not wanting to pray.
  • Make a promise to Allah that you will never miss your prayers.
  • Keep up with your tafseer lessons and learn about those suras that you read in the prayer.
  • Seek out Muslim friends.

Salam Aleikom dear brother, CE

Thank you for writing to us. Just the fact that you have written us shows your pure intention that you indeed feel bad about the fact that you cannot observe your prayers regularly.

Know that Allah knows and values your efforts. Never compare yourself to others, but only see what you have been through, where you were, and where you are today.

You said you are on antidepressants and that you have suffered from mental illness for 22 years.

You had a broken marriage, and you went to prison for false charges. That sounds hard, subhanAllah. May Allah make it easy for you.

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I am glad you turned to professionals and visited a psychiatrist who, I believe, gave you wonderful advice when he said to pray alone and seek guidance from Allah Himself.

It was also a wonderful idea to start studying the tafseer. Indeed, it really can connect one’s heart to Allah and refresh one’s faith. I hope you still follow these suggestions.

Through Prayer We Connect Allah

Brother, prayer is our ultimate connection with Allah.

Five times a day we stand up in front of Allah to ask Him to guide us on the straight path and help us with our affairs.

It is one of the pillars of Islam, about which the Prophet said:

“The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.” [Recorded by al-Tabarani. According to al-Albani, it is sahih. Al-Albani, (Sahih al-Jami’, vol.1, p. 503)

So my question to you is: What do you need in order to keep your prayers regular?

What is it that really makes you say, at the time of prayer, “Hm, I will not go to pray?” It is a decision at the end.

You said that praying alone had helped you reestablish your prayers, but now, if I understand you correctly, your father’s presence frustrates you to the point where you are unable to pray. How about closing the door on you?

Is there anything else that might be an obstacle for you to feeling the need to pray?

Because this is the key: as Muslims, we should feel the urge to answer the call and go pray on time.

We know the importance of it, so we don’t want to lose the chance to connect with Allah.

Allah says in the Quran: “Truly, it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace.” (13:28)

When we do not feel this urge, something is wrong. We need to find out exactly what it is.

Praying as non-Arab

Do you think that maybe, as your mother tongue is not Arabic, this is a problem?

For non-Arabic speakers, it might feel burdensome to pray in a language that is not their own. Therefore, they feel praying does not really serve the purpose of connecting with Allah.

Do you have such feelings?

Brother, we all struggle with our prayers, believe me. We miss fajr, we do not feel like making wudu and going to pray, etc.

Praying is inconvenient due to the current circumstances (you are at a conference or on the street, for example), or we stand up but our thoughts are all over the place and we do not really feel present.

The most important thing is that we try our best to not miss them, to be present. It will not be perfect, but at least we tried.

Make a Promise

I advise you to make the decision: You will never miss your prayers. Make a promise to Allah.

If praying alone feels comfortable, then pray alone! Close the door, tell your dad not to bother you, and pray.

I also advise you to sit after your prayer and talk to Allah in your own language. Tell Him all your struggles, your fears, and your frustrations.

With prayer and other life circumstances. He is there and will listen to you. Ask Him to help you make things easy to you. Make your prayers alive and personal.

Keep Your Tafseer Lessons

I also encourage you to keep up with your tafseer lessons. Learn about those suras that you read in the prayer; their meaning will also bring you closer to Allah, inshallah.

More Therapy

I would also encourage you to seek help from therapy. I am not sure what sessions you have with your psychiatrist, but therapy and medication are a strong combo to help you get through your mental issues. May Allah cure you.

Muslim Friends

In the meantime, I would gently encourage you to seek out Muslim friends.

I know you said you did not want to go to the mosque, and I can understand that. Not every Muslim community is welcoming enough. But you are not alone, brother, with this frustration.

I am sure you will find other brothers who struggle with the same issues you do. Maybe you can find them online.

Give it a try, maybe when you feel like it. Life gets easier if we connect with likeminded people.  

May Allah make things easy for you, dear brother. May He strengthen your faith and make you taste the sweetness of prayer to the extent that you will feel you never want to miss it again.

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

About Timea Aya Csányi
Timea Aya Csányi studied Psychology and Islamic Studies Bsc. at the International Online University. She is a certified NLP® Practitioner, one of our writers and counselors at the "Ask the Counselor" section. She has been the editor of the "Ask the Counselor" section for 10 years. Now she mainly works as a fitness trainer and journalist.