I am a 16-year-old girl who didn’t fast so far this Ramadan.
I feel guilty and hopeless since we are in quarantine and not attending school. I am just sitting at home all day everyday.
Even before Ramadan, I made sure to fast for the entire month since there were no excuses and that I was staying at home. But as the days passed, I kept stalling and said to myself ‘tomorrow....tomorrow’.
I was in a bad place before Ramadan and thought this was the month of redeeming myself, now I feel worse than before Ramadan.
I feel extremely guilty and worthless as well and Allah will never forgive me. I didn't even fast during quarantine, much less fast during normal situations.
I feel stressed and trapped and I’ll never change. Please help.
In this counseling answer:
I am sure sister that you are not alone with your feeling that you have not benefited from Ramadan as much as you had planned.
Of course, not fasting the entire month without a lawful excuse is a sin as fasting Ramadan is one of the pillars of Islam. Ask Allah for forgiveness.
Sit down with yourself in a calm moment and write down all your difficulties and think of ways to overcome them.
Find activities that make you feel strong in faith.
Strengthen your relationship with Allah.
Salam Aleikom Sister,
Thank you for writing us.
Due to COVID-19, I believe Ramadan was not as joyful for most of us as we wished. We missed the mosques, the taraweh prayers, and the energies of the community all over the world. I am sure sister that you are not alone with your feeling that you have not benefited from Ramadan as much as you had planned.
In fact, we might often hear many Muslims saying they could do more in Ramadan. Work, studies, the children, and many other stuff might have demotivated them. They did not focus enough on their prayers, missed the tarawih, did not read much from the Quran….etc. So sister, you are not alone with your feelings of guilt.
How to move on after sinning
As you said, not fasting the entire month without a lawful excuse is a sin as fasting Ramadan is one of the pillars of Islam. However, I won’t dwell on this, and neither should you.
From your message, I can feel the regret you feel towards what happened. This is a sign that you have faith and you want to be close to Allah – you just have some difficulties in your life that you struggle with.
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah, the Exalted, has said: ‘O son of Adam, I forgive you as long as you pray to Me and hope for My forgiveness, whatever sins you have committed. O son of ‘Adam, I do not care if your sins reach the height of the heaven, then you ask for my forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of ‘Adam, if you come to Me with an earth load of sins, and meet Me associating nothing to Me, I would match it with an earthload of forgiveness.”‘ [At- Tirmidhi]
Sister, do not be that harsh on yourself. You are only 16, might be living in a place among people who might not give you the support you need at this age for having a strong faith. (Please read more about Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. )
You are at a stage when you (and all of your peers) might struggle defining who you are, what you believe, what values you want to live your life, and what you actually want in your life. Also you may even have questions and doubts about Islam and your faith. You need to know these processes are totally normal in your age.
What matters is what you do with these questions and doubts: you let yourself be miserable or you actively search for the answers and solutions.
Allah knows your circumstances, and struggles, be sure about it and cheer up.
Allah says in the Quran,
“But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.” ( Qur’an 20: 82)
So, what you must do, and I am sure you have already been doing , is that you ask for Allah’s forgiveness for not fasting Ramadan (We Muslims ask for repentance anyway in all our prayers and dikr).
Ask Him to strengthen your faith and keep you close to Him. Then leave this sin in the past and start focusing on what good deeds you can do that erase this bad deed AND how you can improve your relationship with Allah.
What do you need to have a strong faith?
Sister, I am not sure of your circumstances, but from your message, I can tell that you do not live a happy and content life. You say „I was in a bad place before Ramadan and thought this was the month of redeeming myself, now I feel worse than before Ramadan started.”
Check out this counseling video:
To feel happy, I would recommend you make three lists.
One is related to your struggles in life. Sit down with yourself in a calm moment. When you have time, you do not run, and no one is going to bother you. Then write down all your difficulties, everything, one under the other.
Then, To find the solutions, always ask the question: “What do I need to solve this issue? If no one around me does anything to me, no one helps me, what can I do to make my situation better? How could I feel better in this situation?”
The answers will be your resources that help you overcome the difficulty.
So, let’s say “ I have to study a lot and it frustrates me.” What do you need?
Maybe some free time because you study day and night. You need some hours to relax and do something else. Maybe how you study is not effective – look at the different learning styles and try another one that could work better.
It can also be that you do not understand the material – think of whom you could study with. Maybe you study something that you do not like – was studying at this faculty your choice? Are you really interested? If not and it is only a struggle, you might want to change your faculty. …etc.
This is just an example. I hope you got my point on how to do this with all your other struggles. ☺
Strengthening the relationship with Allah
Prayer is our ultimate activity to strengthen our faith.
Jabir bin Abdullah says: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam) saying this: The difference between a man (Muslim) and shirk and kufr is the abandoning of salaah. (Sahih Muslim: Kitab ul Iman: Book 001, Number 0147)
So, the first step for every Muslim when they want to improve their faith is improving their prayer. But HOW?
Answer this question for yourself.
Remember a prayer that you felt you are really in front of Allah.
What made you be in such a state of khusu? Maybe you had time, you were not running anywhere? You prayed with someone? The room was calm and you were completely alone? You were reciting the Quran slowly?
Now answer these questions: What could help improve your focus? Breathing deep before and during the prayer? Closing your eyes and imagining you are in front of Allah? Praying on a prayer mat? Keeping a longer pause between the positions?
Think of it, write them down and implement them one by one.
However, there are many other things as well you can and should do. Collect these on a list.
For some, fasting is an easy task and they feel good doing so. For others, praying the night prayer, or the Sunnah prayers help a lot. Volunteering, helping the poor, giving charity, reading the Quran…etc. Choose activities that make you feel strong in faith.
How to stop procrastination?
You can find many good tips, but I collected some from Islamic and psychological sites.
I hope I can help. Please write us back any time,
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 are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.