Q. I suffer from clinical depression and I have been on and off medication for many years. During phases of deep depression (lasting 2-3 months) I lose weight due to not eating, I experience chronic fatigue which results in my sleeping up to 18 hrs a day, I have constant and invasive thoughts about hurting myself and I do not pray. I usually go unaffected for up to 9 months out of the year without missing a salah, then the cycle of depression causes me to lapse. I was told that one who misses the salah is a kafir, do I also fall under this category? Persons who do not fully understand the severity of clinical depression tell me to just “shake it off” and do what needs to be done but I just cant. How can I avoid the fire?
A. Missing one’s Salaah intentionally is a very grave sin in Islam, and is a cause for the punishment from Allah, but it would not make a person a kafir according to the majority of scholars. However, if one misses Salaah because he denies it as being compulsory, or he considers it permissible to neglect it, then the scholars have written that in this case a person will be a kafir.
As such, if you miss your Salaah on account of your depression or sickness then you will not be a kafir, but it will nevertheless be a sin.
As long as you are conscious and are mentally stable, then you must perform your salaah, even if you have to sit on a chair or lie flat on the ground. Do not neglect your Salaah in your state, try your best to perform it, and Insha Allah, through its’ performance, Allah will grant you relief.
During your state of depression, turn to Allah in Zikr (remembrance of Allah) and Darood (sending peace and blessings upon the Prophet (SA) ), and also make a lot of Duas to Allah. Allah is indeed the most powerful, who grants the cure of all sicknesses and ailments. If you turn to Him, He will surely respond to your call.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan