Ramadan is a special time for Muslims worldwide, and its being observed by fasting from dawn till sunset, refraining from food and drinks.
Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection as well, Muslims increase their worship knowing that all good deeds are rewarded many times during this month.
The Prophet said..”Every action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving ten times its like, up to seven hundred times”
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said: “There are three people whose supplications are not rejected: the fasting person when he breaks the fast, the just ruler and the supplication of the oppressed”.
So as a mother of and ASD child I like to take an extra effort during Ramadan ( and other times too) to ask God for his mercy to heal my son, to make him independent, to be able to communicate effectively, to make him successful in this life and the hereafter. In this month my hope heightens, and sometimes also decreases . I do ask myself often if I might be doing something wrong and that is why my asking for his healing is not being granted. I get very sad many times seeing my son being sick, having meltdowns, and just simply not being able to perform simple tasks. I wonder often what will happen to him when he grows up, who will take care of him if he stays in this level.
Fasting all day is not as hard as many people think. For me the hardest part is staying positive and hopeful throughout the day, that is being filled with screams, cries self injuries behavior and a desperate attempt of communication. I often resort to crying right next to him in a complete helplessness, trying to figure out the problem, or just feeling overwhelmed seeing him in his frantic attempt to tell me what is wrong with him, how he feels, what he wants or desires.
When I fell in a desperate state, I keep reminding my self that duas accepted in three ways .
1. The dua answered instantly
2. The dua is used to block unforeseen calamities the Muslim doesn’t even know about
3. The dua is preserved for some great rewards in paradise.
Ramadan can be challenging in some ways, and it sure takes some planning as well. My children like outdoors a lot, and that pose challenge here where we live. The heat is simply overwhelming , and to go out with the kids which they expect every day, is hard for me when I can not hydrate myself. So we go out in short periods of times. We go play balls for 15 minutes, come inside do work, than go out again do a short activity again. If it gets too overwhelming for me I make indoor obstacle curses for them to enjoy for the rest of the day. I include many sensory plays in these days, so my son can fulfill his needs in that regards too.
Once the sun sets, and I am able to eat and drink, we go for a nice long walk, play at the playground and swim in the community pool.
I never been able to go to the night prayer in masjed, my son can not handle that kind of outings, and I never had anyone to watch him so I could go. Many years ago I felt sad about that, but now I realize that my children’s well-being is more important than joining others to pray in our religious establishment.
Furthermore, the disapproval looks of him and myself does not worth to even go out. ASD and all of its challenges are looked down upon in many Muslims communities . We do pray together, although he is not following the rules, but he tries, and if he gets tired or frustrated we are at home to take care of it. The sadness about not being able to attend gatherings during Ramadan had left my heart long time ago. I accepted the decree of Allah, as well as realizing the ease and convenience of staying home with my children during this time. I do wish for my typical daughter to experience Ramadan prayers in the community, and I hope one day if she wishes she will be able to attend. My dear friend sent me an article about “My Dear Ramadan Stay-at Home Mom, I salute You” by Yaser Birjas.
This article put ease in my mind and reassured me that I do not miss anything from my Ramadan worship if I stay at home with my kids. As many difficulties a parent faces daily with an ASD child, a break in self doubting about something important, like worshiping in congregation is very refreshing.
So, my dear fellow Muslim parents with ASD children. My Ramadan is not ruined by not attending tarawih prayer in the masjed, it is quite easier for me and my son to perform it at home. The days are not being wasted because we can not go out due to my fasting, we make time to go for short periods, so the need being outside can be fulfilled. We improvise new activities inside, which increase our time spent together.There are many things a parent can do with a child during this month that brings them closer to Allah and make the family bond even stronger.
Ramadan with autism is depending on how you want to see it. If you look for opportunity it will present itself, if you look for hardship it will be difficult. Ramadan is to re-evaluate life and put the Islamic guidance into practice again. Ramadan is to re-focus and re-prioritize our lives, to purify our body and soul, and get closer to God. Renew our hopes and rediscover the beauty and comfort of relying on God in every aspect of our lives. It is easy to lose hope in any given days, but we must remind ourselves that God gives us what is best for us, and we might not see the goodness or the purpose, but we must know it is for the greater good.
May your Ramadan be successful, may your fasting be accepted and all your duas granted ..ameen.