The reality is that most cases of mental ill-health are difficult to define because definition arises out of a cultural expression. In addition, a wide-range of symptoms maybe defined as one category by one doctor and defined in another category by another. Manic Depression (or Bipolar manic-depressive disorder) is a condition (mania) by which there is an erratic flow of ideas that can become so intense causing confusion. It is a mental disorder that is characterized by mania. In that confusion, one feels overwhelmed and therefore overwhelm others. This sets up a pattern of mood swings leading others to react negatively out of fear. The mood-swings may be mild to moderate making the sufferer irritable, frustrated and possibly uncontrollable. Self-esteem and confidence are exacerbated by the feeling of no control over ones actions and thoughts affecting one’s physical health as well. This can then lead to suicide. The ability to recover or make the illness manageable is determined by how long one has been ill, the form of treatment and the physical and social environment in which one lives.
Having clarified the above, we would like to stress that the Islamic Shari`ah intends to remove hardship from the lives of people. If a person is manic-depressive and is totally insane, then he is exempted from performing the religious ordinances. However, if his insanity is intermittent, then he is obliged to perform religious ordinances when his mind is sound, but he is excused for the time when he is insane. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “The pen is lifted from a demented person until he becomes sober…”
Sheikh Muhammad Iqbal Nadvi, Imam of Calgary Mosque, Alberta, Canada, and Former Professor at King Saud University, Riyad, Saudi Arabia, states the following:
“If this person is totally mentally insane, then he is not mukallaf (responsible for his actions), meaning he is not required to either perform Salah or make up for a missed one. Salah is only obligatory on the sound person.
However, if this state of mental illness is not permanent with him, that is, sometimes he acts normal while other times he does not, then he will be obliged to perform Salah while he is in the state of sound mind, and excused for the time when is out of reason.”