A Little Recap…
Just in the past several months, there have been a lot of suicides and shootings going on in different parts of the country and the world. In the UK, a Muslim woman killed herself several months ago. In this country, NFL player, Jovan Belcher, first shot and killed his girlfriend and mother of his infant daughter, and then killed himself.
And just recently, we all heard about 20-year-old, Adam Lanza in the news. He killed over 25 people in a mass shooting—most of whom were children in an elementary school in Connecticut. Also, there have been other attempted mass murder shootings that were unsuccessful, thank God!
Why am I mentioning all of these events?
They’re all relevant to the topic of this article: most, if not all, of the individuals in these horrific tragedies are believed to have suffered from depression and/or some other mental or emotional illness. However, this doesn’t give them any excuse for the tragedies they’ve caused and the lives they’ve taken.
Obviously, we can see the damaging results that can come from depression. When people are depressed or unhappy with their situation in life, they can hurt not only themselves, but others as well.
Depression from the Islamic perspective
Depression (I’m talking about long-term depression which effects the person’s day-to-day functioning) can never happen to a Muslim who has a STRONG connection with Allah, the all mighty. Some people will get frustrated with that statement and argue that depression can in fact happen to anybody, Muslim or not.
I’m not saying that Muslims should always feel happy and satisfied. We are all humans and we will sometimes find things to feel unhappy about or unsatisfied with in our lives. But we have to learn how to have control our emotions. We cannot let shaytan into our minds and hearts.
One of the biggest weapons Shaytan uses to get to people’s minds and hearts is to cast self-pity and doubt. He instills in them dissatisfaction with what they have. People will then constantly think of what others have and all the things they don’t have. But when the Muslim person has a strong connection with Allah, everything will always be OK no matter what hardship he/she is facing.
Let’s take a look at this hadith regarding the Muslim person’s state of mind when things in life are good and when things are not so good:
Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affair is good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/happiness befalls him he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him, he is patient and that is good for him” (Saheeh Muslim #2999).
Just like the hadith mentions, we need to be patient in times of hardship and thankful in times of ease. Surely, no one’s life will ever be free of hardships and challenges. Rejection, disappointment, and pain, be it physical, mental or emotional are all part of life; at one point in our lifetime, we will all go through some type of hardship. The important thing is how one handles these moments of difficulties.
When a calamity happens and life becomes filled with trials and tribulations for a person, no doubt things will be difficult. People in times of difficulties and hardship will feel fear, doubt and desperation. But what is he/she to do when faced with these types of feelings?
Before Calamities Even Hit…
Remembering Allah, the most high and merciful should be a daily routine for us not only when something goes terribly wrong in our life. We must remember Allah through the morning and evening adkhars as well as remembering him after each obligatory and voluntary prayer and as much as we possibly can. There are so many benefits in remembering Allah. If we actually knew the full benefit, many Muslims would not neglect remembering their Lord even for a day.
In many different verses of the Quran, Allah encourages us to remember Him:
And He (Allah) said:
Therefore remember Me. I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and never show Me ingratitude – Al-Baqarah 2:152
O you who believe, remember Allah with much remembrance.- Al-Ahzab 33:41
And the men and women who remember Allah frequently, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and great reward. – Al-Ahzab 33:35
And remember your Lord by your tongue and within yourself, humbly and in awe, without loudness, by words in the morning and in the afternoon, and be not among those who are neglectful. – Al-Araf 7:205
What are the General Benefits of Remembering Allah?
The benefits are too many to list, but here are my top five benefits on remembering Allah, the most High.
- You will have protection! Your heart, your mind and even your body will be protected by Allah when you remember Allah constantly. And the more a person remembers Allah, the more protection they will have.
- The more you remember Allah, the more your mind is alert. You will know what this life is all about. You will always be prepared, thus, you will not easily breakdown when a calamity strikes. Remembering Allah prepares you to deal with hard situations.
- When you remember Allah a lot, whether it is by dhikr or by deeply thinking about His power and might, you will learn more about Allah—His power, mercy and greatness. This will help you to have more fear, hope and love of Allah the Almighty and Powerful.
- The more you remember Allah, the more you will stay away from all things which are hated by Allah; your sins and mistakes will be less and less, Insha’Allah, and you will receive more ajar (reward).
- And last, but certainly not least, you will have Allah’s forgiveness and love—“And the men and women who remember Allah frequently, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward.” – Al-Ahzab 33:35; and what is better than this?! Absolutely nothing.
Importance of Following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad
A big part of obeying Allah is obeying and following the sunnah (way) of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Prophet Muhammad was the messenger of Allah. There was a good reason for everything he did or didn’t do; therefore, he is our best role model. Prophet Muhammad used to remember Allah frequently; and so as his followers, we should do the same.
He has taught us many dua’s to recite throughout the day—when we wake up, when we eat, when we use the bathroom, when go out of our homes, when we ride our transportation and when we sleep and even when we have sexual relations with our spouses. These dua’s protect us from the one who is always around, waiting for us in our weakest of moments to make us angry, sad or ask questions such as “why me?”—Shaytan, our number one enemy, is who I’m talking about.
The daily adhkaar, or more known as evening and morning adhkaars are important to recite everyday in their prescribed times. For example, after Fajr, it is very important that you take another 10-20 minutes to recite the morning adkars. These adkhars include reciting after every salaah
- Astaqfirulaah (33 times)
- Subhanalaah (33 times)
- Alhamdulilah (33 times)
- Allahu Akbar (34 times)
- And the last three suras of the Quran and ayatul Kursi (verse 255 of Suratul Baqara).
The morning and evening adkhar have many more du’as. Here’s one of the dua’s:
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لَا يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَيْءٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
We have made (started) the morning (and night) in whose Name nothing in the skies and the earth can harm and He is the All-hearing, the All-knowing. (Tirmidhi). Uthman (R.A.) reported that Prophet Mohammad peace be upon him has said that nothing will harm the servant who recites these words three times every morning and evening.
Another du’a to recite in the morning and evening is:
اللّهُـمَّ بِكَ أَصْـبَحْنا وَبِكَ أَمْسَـينا ، وَبِكَ نَحْـيا وَبِكَ نَمُـوتُ وَإِلَـيْكَ المَصِيْر
O Allah we enter the day time and the evening and die with your Qudrat (power) and to You do we return (Tirmidhi).
There are many more du’as that can be found in the Husnul Muslim in hard copy or online at this website: http://hisnulmuslim.org/
These dua’s are our weapons against the shaytan. When we recite them, shaytan cannot and will not come near us, inshaaAllah. Allah has given us His protection. So as Muslims, we must use our weapons to save-guard ourselves from the shaytan who is the biggest enemy to us. It is the shaytan who encourages us to feel sadness, anger and hopelessness in things which are out of our control.
It is he who incites violence and all evil things in the hearts of humans. Only those who remember Allah and follow the Prophet’s advice and sunnah will be safe from every illness of the mind and heart. May Allah save us all from the accursed shaytan’s trap. Allahuma amin.by