Coping with spiritual lows during Ramadan
During the days of Ramadan, sometimes we may not feel the way we had hoped to. We may have expected our Ramadan to be different and this may make us feel confused and detached, especially if we struggle to avoid this feeling.
If we are going through a busy time in our lives, we may feel that we did not manage to prepare for Ramadan in the way we wanted to. We may have hoped to make a plan for Ramadan, such as reciting the Qur’an or giving to charity. We must remind ourselves to use the time we do have to do good and improve.
Islam teaches us that we should not dwell on anything in a way that stops us from doing good. Despair makes us forget the time we have been blessed with and the good we can be doing. We read in a hadith that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“If the Resurrection were established upon one of you while he has in his hand a sapling, then let him plant it.” (Musnad Aḥmad)
Perhaps we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of Ramadan but are now finding that the spiritual high that we usually feel in this month, or that we were hoping to feel, is not quite there. Perhaps we had anticipated that with the arrival of this month, we would automatically start to feel more connected to our Creator. With any difficulty we face, we must remind ourselves that Allah sees everything and Allah knows what is best for us.
We should be grateful when we do notice that we feel a distance or feel as though we need to put in more effort. It would be a negative thing for us if we always felt as though we have done enough, as that would stop us from improving. This could even cause us to fall into arrogance, which is not the mindset Islam teaches us to have.
We should not become disheartened if we see people around us engaging in Ibadah more than us or differently to us. We should remember that intentions and sincerity are more important than the quantity of Ibadah. We read in a hadith that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“Verily, deeds are only with intentions. Verily, every person will have only what they intended. Whoever emigrated to Allah and his messenger, his emigration is for Allah and his messenger.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
We also ought to keep in mind that Allah already knows and sees our struggles. Therefore, we should not develop the mentality that if we are struggling with our Imaan and spirituality in Ramadan then all hope is lost. Allah sees our struggles and efforts to do good and He rewards us for this.
Just like the fact that when we struggle to read Qur’an, this does not in any way make our Ibadah any less worthy than someone who reads the Qur’an more fluently than us. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said in a hadith:
“Whoever reads the Qur’an and stutters while reading, due to its difficulty, will receive a double reward.” (Sahih Muslim)
We must keep in mind that we can always turn to Allah for help and that we should never think it is too late or that we are not good enough. We read in the Holy Qur’an that Allah says:
“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” (Qur’an 2:186)