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How to be in a relationship with someone who has mental illness

Relationships are hard regardless of the two people involved. When one partner has mental illness there are specific challenges. As people living with mental illness, we want the same things that every human being wants: to be loved, valued, and respected. We deal with different challenges than neurotypical people, but we still have the same basic human needs: food, sex, love, and shelter. There are certain tips that can help you if you are in a relationship with someone who has a mental illness. Here are some things to consider that might help:

  1. Be empathetic: even though you might not completely understand what your partner is going through, having empathy can help you two. Your partner will feel supported when you express genuine care and concern about what they’re going to. You don’t need to fix what’s happening but you can be supportive and loving during the tough times.
  2. Don’t assume that every bad day is about mental illness: We all have good days and bad days. Just because we have a bad day doesn’t mean it’s due to mental illness. Sometimes things happen during the day that can be frustrating and upsetting. It has nothing to do with mental illness, it’s just a part of living life.
  3. Listen: It’s common for the partner who doesn’t deal with mental health issues to want to fix the problems of the person who lives with mental illness. While this is well-intentioned, this isn’t necessary. You don’t have to fix anything for your partner. What you can do instead is be a good listener. Ask them what they need from you and see if you can provide that.

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Zakat eligibility of The FYI

The Family & Youth Institute, or The FYI, is a well-known Muslim organization in the United States. It works to promote mental health and wellness by strengthening and empowering individuals, families, and communities through research and education. It has been working for many years to bring Islamic perspectives to understanding and promoting mental health in our communities.

It is dedicated to serving and supporting Muslims – safeguarding our deen, our families, and our future generations. Therefore, the work of The FYI comes in the category of ‘fi sabeelillah’ or the Path of Allah, within the eight categories where Zakat money can be used.

Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah, and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah, And Allah, is Knowing and Wise.”
(Al-Tawbah 9:60)

According to scholars who widen the meaning of fee sabeelillah to include any activities that promote Islamic growth, The FYI is indeed eligible to receive part of the Zakat funds for its programs and services. I urge Muslims in America to support this organization through their donations, general charity, and through their Zakat. I ask Allah swt to strengthen and guide The FYI to continue its good work in supporting Muslims.

Shaikh Ali Suleiman Ali, PhD

About Shaikh Ali

Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali was born in Ghana where he spent his childhood studying with various Muslim scholars. He then moved to Saudi Arabia and enrolled in the Islamic University of Madina.  He graduated with a degree in both Arabic and Islamic Studies. Dr. Ali went on to complete his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sh. Ali serves on the Advisory Council of The Family & Youth Institute. He is the Senior Imam and Director of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as the Director of Muslim Family Services in Detroit and is a council member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). He is also a member of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) and the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).