How Islam Helps With Depression – Fahmida Mehreen
Like every other physical illness or unsettled state of being, depression is a compromising mental health condition which needs to be addressed with proper importance and correct measures. It is one of the most rampant mental health issues in this 21st century. What is alarming is the fact that majority of the people suffering from depression are either young adults in their twenties or people going through mid-life crisis. Needless to say, the feeling of depression is dark and dreadful. There are times when people unexplainably falls into a state of utmost sadness, shallow voids, terrible heartbreaks and so much more which cannot be properly expressed. With such a condition, it is difficult for a person to move on with daily life. Hence, a way out has to be found to combat depression.
It cannot be denied that depression is not something easy to talk about. People go to psychiatrists and counselors for remedies. But, many a times it fails to give them respite even when medications are being taken. Poignantly, the therapy for depression lies in getting out of one’s own comfort zone and talking about it to a trusted person, regardless of how hard it may feel. But I suppose that is only a temporary solution and needs more elaborate treatment. The holy book of Qur’an says:
“God says in the Qur’an that He “created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed.” [67:2]
Indeed, depression is a test from Allah like all other calamities. No matter how flimsy we feel and how lost we are, we must stay put in our faith and believe that Allah, the Most Merciful will help, and this challenging time will pass when He thinks best. Our Merciful Creator has prescribed for us conducts and techniques to minimize our woe and consequently advantage from it even in our worst days. Our Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Strange is the affair of a believer, everything is good for him.” [Muslim]
As a believer, we have the added edge of having Allah on our side and even when we suffer, we pursue Him through it and in return He lightens our misery and uplifts us in rank.
While suffering from depression, the feeling of all sorts of emotions becomes very strong. There are times when our ability to think freezes. We blank out. We lose memory. And nothing, not even the anti-depressants can help us feel better. It takes each of the millions of molecules inside us to handle that extent of distress as if without the support of extreme focus our body will fall apart and shut down.
Those are the times when we have to turn to Allah with more supplications. As it has been said many times in the Qur’an and by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that Allah tests those people who He loves most because he loves to hear them calling out to Him. The Qur’an narrates that:
“I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah…”[Quran 12:86]
This supplication was made by Prophet Yaqub (PBUH) when he was grieving many years after losing his son, Yusuf (PBUH), and the rest of his family was afraid that he will supposedly become disastrously ill or pass away out of sheer pain and mourning.
Hence, this teaches us that no matter how horrible we feel, we must turn to our Lord for help. If nights seem longer and the agony breeds in the darkness, pull yourself out of the bed and pray Naf’l (non-obligatory) salah. Pour your heart out to Him. Shed tears and know that He is watching over you and listening to every heartfelt supplication that you are making in the name of Allah, The Supreme. Try to increase your spending in the path of Allah by giving more ‘Sadaqah’. If you feel physically well, you may also try fasting. Recite at least on verse of Qur’an every day and try to learn its meaning and the context in which it was revealed. Keep your mind occupied with things that Allah loves the most. If you feel too weak and helpless to do any of these, then simply recite the short supplications and ‘Dhikr’ of Allah to show that, yes, you are remembering Him at your bad times. It is wise to take medical advice and even take suggestions from close and dear ones; but at the end of the day if you realize that your ultimate return is to Allah and He is All-knowing, you must not deviate from his path.
Well, as a matter of fact it is easier said than done. But, these work as food for soul and spirit. When everything seems to be a horrible mess and you are unable to summon yourself, ask help from Allah because He has created you, He knows what lies in the deepest corner of your heart and what you feel and intend to do. Therefore, seeking help from Allah in the hardest of times is one of the best therapies you’ll get in tough days. Great rewards wait with Allah for those who are patient and who do not get astrayed from his path.
May Allah bless us all with a healthy mind and body that will enable us to perform more of the works that pleases Allah and will benefit us in both the worlds.
Fahmida Mehreen is a young aspiring writer.