A Mental Health Guide for Those Grappling With The Crisis in Gaza

While we continue our efforts in this challenging period, let's also take care of ourselves and each other to prevent burnout
by Muslim.Sg 2023-11-06 • 14 min read
Muslim.Sg is a Muslim lifestyle platform that aims to deepen your understanding of faith, in collaboration with the Asatizah Youth Network (AYN). We are part of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis).
2023-11-06 • 14 min read

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Why We’ve Created This Guide

We understand that you've been grappling with a range of emotions, such as rage, hurt, guilt and helplessness, as you go about your daily life, all the while thinking about the atrocities faced by the Palestinians. 

It's a constant weight on your mind - the thought of their suffering, the cries of anguish, and the tears shed for lost loved ones. You've cried so much while feeling utterly powerless and useless. You may feel guilty for even enjoying life. Some of you struggle to sleep and are terrified that you may wake up to news that Gaza has been completely destroyed. 

In response, you've been diligently sharing news and posts, striving to shed light on the grim reality on the ground in the hope of garnering more support for their cause. You've also tried to keep watching every graphic video without scrolling away to bear witness to their pain.

During this challenging period, we want to help you manage your mental wellbeing. Our intention is not to undermine the seriousness of the crisis. We aim to offer helpful tips that can empower you to make a positive impact while advocating for the Palestinian cause, all while ensuring you don't experience burnout.

We also acknowledge the privilege of being able to disconnect from social media at any time. We are devastated that Palestinians have no choice but to endure their daily traumas, with no option to switch off or find safety.

Remain Hopeful and Trust Allah s.w.t.

“Do you think you will be admitted into Paradise without being tested like those before you? They were afflicted with suffering and adversity and were so (violently) shaken that (even) the Messenger and the believers with him cried out, “When will Allah’s help come?” Indeed, Allah’s help is (always) near.”

(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:214)

This verse from the Quran illustrates the struggles of believers who find themselves in such dire circumstances that they begin to question the presence of Allah’s aid. And Allah's response is clear: His help is indeed near. This concept is vividly demonstrated in the stories of the prophets a.s. 

Read: 3 Things To Know About Hope In Islam

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The unwavering hope of a believer finds its most profound expression in the life of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. as well as in his teachings:

“Even if The Day of Resurrection were established upon one of you while he has in his hand a sapling, let him plant it.”

(Musnad Ahmad)

Qiyamah, or the day of Resurrection, is a clear indication of the end of this world, yet the Prophet s.a.w. highlighted that if there exists an opportunity to maintain hope and do good, we should seize that opportunity.

Read: Dealing With Recurrent Claims About The End Of The World

Never Underestimate The Power of Dua and Prayer 

Imam As-Shafiee emphasises the power of dua in his poem:

Do you mock the Dua and belittle it?
While you do not know what it has the power to do!
The arrows of the night (Dua) do not miss the target
But they have a set limit, which shall come to be
So if my Lord wishes, He holds it back
And if the decree is to be fulfilled, He sets it forth

Not only does the poem highlight the significance of dua, but it also reminds us that the outcome is not ours to be burdened with. This is precisely what faith is about. We may not be able to comprehend everything, yet we strive to the best of our capabilities and rely upon Allah s.w.t. This virtue is called tawakkal (reliance).

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The main objective of dua is to draw closer to Allah s.w.t. You don't have to be a perfect Muslim, but the key is to try your best. 

There are many ways to make our dua, and every effort is not in vain. Here are some guidelines for making dua:

- Make sincere duas that Allah s.w.t. will ease the affairs of those suffering in Gaza, the West Bank and around the world
- Continue to perform your daily solat
- Supplicate Dua Qunut Nazilah in times of calamity
- Perform Solat Hajat
- Motivate ourselves to wake up for tahajjud prayer

Find Solace and Guidance from The Quran

“O humanity! Indeed, there has come to you a reminder from your Lord, a cure for what is in the hearts, a guide, and a mercy for the believers.”

(Surah Yunus, 10:57)

Reading the news and being constantly exposed to distressing content can have a significant impact on our emotional well-being, particularly if we neglect to take care of ourselves. It's essential to allocate some time in our daily routine to engage with the Quran, which has been described by Allah s.w.t. as a source of healing for believers.

When you open the Quran with a sincere heart and genuine faith, you will not be disappointed. This timeless guidance will consistently serve as a reminder of what you're searching for in life.

Read: How to Read The Quran

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Reflect on the Quranic stories of inspiring people to see how they handled difficult trials and overcame them. For example, the story of Prophet Musa a.s. teaches us that even in the face of oppressive regimes, daunting challenges, and personal doubts, unwavering trust in Allah's plan and the strength of one's faith can lead to liberation and success.

It is essential to turn to the Quranic verses that underscore the core values of being a Muslim. Virtues such as compassion, empathy, and standing up for what is right, which were steadfast principles throughout the life of the Prophet s.a.w, should serve as your guiding light in shaping your actions and interactions during this crisis.

Educate Yourself

Knowledge empowers you to engage in discussions more effectively. You'll feel more confident and in control during conversations, which can boost your self-esteem and sense of empowerment.

- Approach the topic with an open and critical mind. 
- Learn about the history and context of the crisis, and try to be well-versed about the issues so that you can share informed opinions. This can include reading books, academic journals, articles written by reputable authors, and watching documentaries.
- Engage in conversations with individuals from diverse backgrounds who can offer unique insights and perspectives.

Share Mindfully

Our commitment to remembering and worshipping Allah encompasses all aspects of our lives. In Islam, the importance of manners is highly regarded, and striving to be a better human being involves maintaining ethics in every action we undertake. 

- Ensure you verify the information before sharing. 
- Respect the law and the rights of others.
- Consider including trigger warnings for traumatic or graphic content on social media so that people have a choice whether they want to engage with it. 
- Refrain from using offensive language or engaging in personal attacks. 

Gaza, Palestine, Israel, Humanitarian, Cease Fire, Innocent, Civilians, Crisis, social media, news

Use Your Blessings for Good

It's natural to feel guilty for the blessings that Allah s.w.t. has bestowed upon you when you see other people suffering. But remember that excessive guilt can paralyse you, preventing you from taking meaningful action. Acknowledge and be grateful for your privilege and channel the talents and abilities Allah s.w.t. has given you to help those in need. 

The intense emotions you feel when witnessing the suffering of Palestinians can serve as a powerful motivator to use them for positive change. Direct your emotions into constructive actions such as:

- Supporting reputable organisations like the Rahmatan Lil Alamin Foundation (RLAF) to aid those in distress.
- Speaking up responsibly and sustainably for the Palestinian cause.
- Extending help to an oppressed or abused person you know.

Do also keep in mind that you have other responsibilities to fulfil as well.

Remember that taking care of yourself is not a sign of weakness but a necessity for effective advocacy. By preventing burnout, you can continue to be a strong and resilient advocate for the Palestine issue and other important causes.

Look After Your Health

- Ensure that you sleep on time every night and have sufficient rest. 
- Eat regularly at set intervals and create a routine in your life. 
- Organise and structure your day and activities with some regular routines and rest time.
- Go for a walk with family and friends and do regular exercise to keep yourself well. 
- If you are feeling unwell, do visit the doctor for advice.

Take Steps to Prevent Burnout

- Set good intentions and regularly remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing.
- Step back when needed to recharge and process your emotions. This break can help you to return with renewed energy and focus.
- Check news from reliable sources at set times to stay informed without getting excessively anxious and engage in purposeful, well-informed discussions.
- Turn off auto-play. That way, you won’t be surprised by videos and photos, and you can choose when you’re in the right place to start watching.

Connect With Others

Create your support system that could include family, friends or people you can talk to. Talking to them can help relieve pent-up feelings or worries, offering new insights and helping you view things from a different perspective.

Engage with like-minded individuals who share your passion for justice to not only amplify your advocacy impact but also help alleviate the emotional burden that can come with advocating for a deeply important and often emotionally charged cause.

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Seek Professional Help

Your well-being is essential for the sustainability of your advocacy efforts. It's natural to feel intense emotions such as grief and rage. Still, suppose it reaches a point where it starts to interfere with your daily functioning, affecting your ability to sleep, eat, or even stop crying; it becomes crucial to reassess your situation and seek professional support if necessary.

Useful Resources

Asatizah Solace Care by Pergas

At Asatizah Solace Care, the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (Pergas) offers a compassionate and free virtual safe space where you and your family can find emotional and spiritual support. Their certified asatizah are here to listen and assist you in discussing any worries or troubles you may have.

Read: Asatizah Solace Care

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- Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
- Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444 (24 hours) /1-767 (24 hours)
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019

Online Resources

- MindSG 
- https://mindline.sg/ 

Read: 4 Ways to Respond to the Suffering Faced by the Palestinian People

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