Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research

Overcoming Compassion Fatigue and Burnout

Why should I give a khutbah on burnout?

We have all seen the tragedy of burnout in action—the once active members of the community slowly withdrawing not just from their volunteerism, but from all community activities. We have also seen it on social media, witnessing the once optimistic person we know posting passive aggressive statuses about how people aren’t there for you when you need them, or how they give so much and get so little in return. In other instances, we ourselves have been the victims, invited to volunteer to one cause after another. Sometimes the problem manifests as being invited to endless fundraisers, each time being told about intolerable cruelty and suffering somewhere in the world, each time being told that whatever you can spare isn’t quite enough to solve the problem.

All of these issues are symptoms of a single problem: a world in which we are consistently asked to do more than we feel we can handle, asked to give more than we have, or asked to react to what feels like a new tragedy every week. This consistent phenomenon of being pushed too hard poses a real threat to the modern Muslim. We must find a way to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue for both ourselves, and members of our community.

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