Ramadhan, Autism, Mental Health & Faith: The Size of a Mustard Seed by Author & Educator Umm Juwayriyah
And We shall set up balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We as Reckoners. Quran, 21:47
The old adage goes, “A mother’s job is never done.” During Ramadan this saying couldn’t be more truer. From sun up to sun down it seems that Muslim women are the most busiest during this blessed time of year. As women who are aware that this is a month full of blessings, so many of us eagerly await the challenge each year to do our best for ourselves and others.
There’s elaborate food to be cooked for suhoor and iftar, prayers to be made throughout the day and night, cleaning, washing, children to be taught or entertained with Islamic inspired themes and arts and crafts and family and friends to host. Even for the most Martha Stewart-trained and polished homemakers, Ramadan often leaves many moms exhausted.
Enter Autism and other special needs within the family, and for many it’s either a complete game changer or in some cases, game over!
I choose game changer.
Ever since my youngest daughter was diagnosed with Epilepsy and Autism eight years ago, Ramadan has taken on a new meaning for me. My time — already carefully divided between my family, career and providing for her care, medications and everyone’s emotional rollercoasters — always seems to come up short during Ramadan. It’s never an easy defeat to swallow.
That sweet potato casserole that I pinned on Pinterest months ago hoping to surprise my husband and parents with for iftar gets overridden by my afternoon trip to the park with my daughter so that she can sleep throughout the night easier. And those lectures with the sisters that I had hoped to sit in on at least once or twice within the month, I swapped out for the chance to pray salatul Tarawih in congregation while my mother watched my daughter.
Even hosting events at my home are now a challenge due to her sensory issues. I often have to fight off feelings of in-adequateness and jealousy for those Muslim Mommas doing what appears to be “ it all.” I wanted to be like them: cooking, cleaning, hosting events and praying all night. But over the years I have learned that Ramadan is one of the best times to work on perfecting my intentions and acknowledging my gratitude for those tasks that I am able to complete.