Embracing the Winter Blues

When the days shorten and the nights lengthen, we know all too well that winter is upon us.  For some people, they experience what is known as “Seasonal Affective Disorder”, more commonly known as the winter blues.  With symptoms ranging from sleeping too much, to having little energy, to feeling depressed, the winter blues seems to have a tendency of affecting people in areas of limited daylight hours such as the Northern USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

However, if we were to examine the season of snow from an Islamic perspective, we would quickly realize there is a great blessing in the time of winter.  Al-Ḥasan al-Baṣri is reported to have said, “How good winter is for the believer! Its night is long, so he prays in it; and its day is short, so he observes fasting in it.”

Indeed, some of our pious predecessors would look forward to winter for the purpose of the night prayer.  If you think about it, the last one-third of the night, the extra blessed time to perform the tahajjud prayer, is longer during the winter time.  Our pious predecessors would look forward to having these long nights to pray tahajjud and would cherish having a longer time to spend in their alāh and du‘ā’.

How does one make tahajjud?  I have to admit, I am not regular with my tahajjud.  In reality, my consistency is rather deplorable.  However, let me share with you one ‘trick’ I’ve started using this year.  I started drinking a lot of water before I go to sleep in the evenings.  Why?  Well, you see, my bladder is strong, alamdulillāh, and so when I need to use the bathroom, my bladder will wake me up in the middle of the night forcing me out of my comfortable bed.  So, if you make it to the bathroom, why not just make wuū’ and then pray two raka‘āt of tahajjud then?

Moreover, the time for fajr comes in later during the winter time.  So if you were to wake up in the winter time when you would normally wake up for fajr in the summer (say 5 am), then you would have some prime tahajjud time!  Consistency is the key, so make du‘ā’ that I too am able to achieve some consistency when it comes to the night prayer, inshā’Allāh.

Furthermore, the short days allow us to be able to keep extra nawāfil fasts without difficulty.  Indeed, when our day ends around 5 pm, we often times don’t even notice the thirst from our fasting!  So why not take it upon ourselves to do some extra fasting during these blessed days so we can reap in some of blessings of the winter time!  Why not start fasting the three white days of the lunar month every month?  Indeed, the fasts are easy yet virtuous and rewarding,inshā’Allāh!

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Additionally, one can look forward to making wuū’ with the cold water of winter.  Why you would ask?  Well, it’s a great time to reflect upon the blessings of warm water and furthermore we can hope to reap in the extra reward of having to go through the ‘hardships’ of making wuū’ with the cold water.  Indeed, if something is difficult for us and we do it solely for Allāh, our reward is with Him, inshā’Allāh!  Furthermore, our delicate care in using cold water for making wuū’ keeps us closer to the Sunnah of not being extravagant in making wuū’ and wasting excess water!

In conclusion, there are many beautiful bounties that come with the beginning of the winter season.  Only a few simple blessings have been listed above, but, de facto, many more do exist.  For example, many of the women in the winter time are forced to cover their bodies as compared to the summer time when they are wearing clothes yet many of them are still naked.  Hence, winter times makes it easier for the Muslim man to lower his gaze too, inshā’Allāh.

So, as winter time approaches, let us embrace the cold and benefit ourselves from this beautiful season, inshā’Allāh!

15 / View Comments

15 responses to “Embracing the Winter Blues”

  1. Avatar Yasmin says:

    Jazakallah khair for this very important and timely post. I had never thought about winter this way!

  2. Avatar Umm Sulaim says:

    I find if I wake up still very sleepy, I stumble to the bathroom with my vision blurred and stumble out, thankful I did not fall into the bowl!!! Haha!

    Sometimes my vision is so blurred I have to crawl for fear of losing consciousness; not a good time for standing, let alone praying.

    For those of us not used to the cold, harmattan (cold, dry and dusty season) makes us reluctant to get up, even when fully awake.

    I prefer the cold to the heat though.

    Umm Sulaim

  3. Avatar Zamzam says:

    Every moment of life is an opportunity to worship Allah.
    The hotness of summer is a time to remember hellfire and ask Allah to protect us from it, and guide us to be obedient to Him.
    The coldness of winter is a time to reflect on this aya, Allah says interpretation of meaning, (They will be reclining therein on raised couches. They will find there neither (heat of) the sun nor bitter cold.) [76:13]
    The falling leaves of the fall is a view that reminds us that our life is short, so that we should do our best to spend it doing what pleases Allah.
    The beautiful flowers of the spring reminds us that as the gloomy days and nights of the fall come to an end, the afflictions of this life will come to an end and we will enjoy their fruits in Paradise if we endured them patiently for the sake of Allah.
    The point is that we should do our best to be obedient slaves to Allah all times after depending on Him and seeking His help.

  4. Avatar June says:

    Jazaka allah kheir! This is a great reminder! I’ve never let winter get me down too much but I still have at times succumbed to a bit of depression of over-sleepiness. This article has really helped me to perk up and see even more blessings and joy in this season, masha Allah!

  5. Hena Zuberi Hena Zuberi says:

    Perfect reminder- your posts are a welcome dose of inspiration on MM.
    JazakAllah khayr Brother. We take so much for granted, the seasons the nights and days, because we forget our purpose. Keep us in your duas.

    • Abu Ibrahim Abu Ibrahim says:

      JazakAllahkhair Sister Hena, I’m quite excited to be a new member of the MM team and I thank you guys for your warm welcome!

  6. Avatar Leo Imanov says:

    in winter alhamdu li-lLah, i gain the strength for the shaum in summer time which will be extra long this year, i thank Allah for the chance to pray tahajud late in the “morning” just before fajr pray to be carried out. and direct go to work no need to sleep again the opposite to summer time. wake up.. sleep again and wake up to work.

  7. Avatar ummMaryam says:

    salamu ‘alaikum,

    jazakallah khair. yes, i have always liked how the winter forces sisters wearing tight clothes to cover up :) the coats are a barakah in the layers they add to hide the shapes they should have the haya to hide all year long.

    may Allah help the sisters of this ummah to wear proper hijab ameen.

  8. Avatar Olivia says:

    i’m blue because i dont get any winter in california! why do so many people hate on winter? it’s one of my favorite times of year.

    • Avatar anon says:

      I live in the UK where it is winter half the year, and that’s why I hate it. :( I can definitely feel the effects of seasonal affective disorder.

    • Avatar Abumariam says:

      You should move to Norway here we have long dark winter days and nights, maybe you’ll see why people dislike winter :-)

      • Avatar anon says:

        In the uk we have daylight savings all winter, and so what little daytime there is, is dreary. But thankfully the clocks go back in March, so Alhamdulillah, everything is as Allah wills.

  9. Avatar depressed. says:

    i wish you’d give a bit more time/space in your article to the blues. sometimes they are so bad you cannot even read a sentence about tahajjud wihtout feeling like you hate yourself, let alone have the energy to pray it….
    i think more attention has to be given to the reality of depression … take us to healing slowly, don’t just jump up with a medicine that we are actually unable to even reach at this time..
    maybe you could start by presscribing something easier – like dua – take us there step by step. it’s more honoring of where we are at and our sad reality.

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