Imam Mohamad Salman
Slave Lake Muslim Society Mosque
Peace be upon you, Slave Lake. This is a greeting of God and his messengers.
Ramadan this year is expected to begin the evening of Monday, April 12. For Muslims, Ramadan is a time for reflection and spiritual rejuvenation. Ramadan Mubarak is the typical form of greeting during this month, which means blessed Ramadan.
During this month, our Muslim community, alongside Muslims from around the world, fast from dawn to sunset. Congregational nightly prayers, keeping in mind the restrictions, are performed at the local masjed (mosque) are called Taraweeh, which mean rest and relaxation. God mentioned in the Quran that the goal of the Month of Ramadan is to be more God-conscious. God-consciousness has to be translated into every capacity of our lives, be it our relationship with our families, neighbours, in our workspace, the list just goes on. We want to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and have empathy for those who are less fortunate, and encourage actions of generosity. It has been over a year since the start of COVID-19. This Ramadan we want to shed light on mental health. The big question is can people who are close to God suffer from depression? The answer is yes.
Being depressed does not mean lacking faith. Depression is a common mental health illness. It is well defined and tested by those who have authority in that field. It can be caused by the imbalance of chemicals in the body. We must reach out to the professionals for help and help those around us who need the experts for guidance. So, for those of us around family members who are suffering silently, remember that being close to your Creator and being spiritually devout is only half of the equation. The other half of the acts of worship are found in our relationship with the creations.
For example, Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, said, “Smiling in your brother’s face is an act of charity.” He also said, “To put a morsel of food into your wife’s mouth is an act of charity.” Another example is when the Archangel Gabriel kept recommending treating neighbours well until Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) thought that he would tell him to make the neighbours his heirs. So let us be the positive light of hope for those going through difficulties around us.
With COVID-19 things have changed a little bit. However, I encourage folks to think outside the box in doing their best to reach out to their family, friends and relatives. Connect to neighbours and build bridges. Limited outside gathering is permissible so call a friend and go for a walk, make a meal and drop it off for a loved one and share a smile.
Additionally, we can’t forget that there are people in our community that are struggling to make ends meet. Soon our community will be putting multiple drop off boxes to gather non-perishable items and personal hygiene items for our local food bank, the Friendship Centre.
The difficult time we are going through taught us not to take things for granted but rather be thankful for the things we are granted.