This article is written by Sister Um Ibrahim, a guest author. Please share it with your friends and family and leave feedback.
Through The Remembrance of Allah
Not too long ago, I got a text message from a good friend of mine. She was telling me about how she was on an emotional rollercoaster. “I’m calm and collected from the outside, but I’m emotionally exploding inside” she wrote to me.
She recently went through some really difficult things, so I could imagine why she felt the way she did.
It’s natural to feel a little down sometimes because of the unwanted changes happening in our lives. Some of us will lose loved ones, some will become sick, and some will lose their jobs and struggle financially. It is in these times of hardship that many people get scared, anxious and sad.
While most people’s sadness subsides within a short period of time, many people, unfortunately, deal with the feelings of depression and anxiety for weeks, months or even years.
Statistics/causes of depression
The World Health Organization states that, “globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.” In that same static, it is said that more women are affected by depression than men.
In the United States, mental disorders are increasing among people in age groups 18-44. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 57 million people suffer from some kind of mental disorder.
Doctors list several different factors as the main causes of depression. Those factors include genetics, some medications, substance abuse and past physical, sexual or emotional abuse. However, some people get depressed for no known reasons.
What about Muslims?
Although I couldn’t find any statistic on the number of Muslims who suffer from depression and anxiety, I know a large number of Muslims are suffering from this illness. Many of us think Muslims don’t go through depression but the truth is, there are a lot of Muslims who are struggling with depression.
We hear about people who are committing suicide despite them being Muslim—for someone to commit such a heinous crime in Islam such as suicide, they must have been unhappy and in pain, emotionally.
In my community alone, there have been numerous suicides among Muslims. I know of two men who committed suicide a couple years ago, and a woman who attempted suicide.
Suicide is the severest form of depression. When the person no longer feels worthy of living, he or she will try to take their own life in order to end the misery they’re living in—what a sad way to die.
Depression, anxiety and all other relevant diseases of the mind are serious illnesses. The good thing is, as Muslims, Allah has blessed us with great (invisible) weapons to fight all of these diseases. Many Muslims, however, do not even know these weapons exist. And those who do, don’t put their best effort to use these weapons.
It’s not a surprise that many people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, will recommend someone who is depressed or sick in any way to go see a medical doctor and take whatever medication is prescribed to them—and there is nothing wrong with that if that specific medication will help the person.
But a lot of the times, most medications only make the patient feel worse. We all know almost all medications have numerous side-effects, some of which can be deadly (just pay close attention to those disclaimers in the Zoloft and Prozac commercials!)
So what is one to do then?
As Muslims, this is where we make full use of those weapons Allah has given us. In Islam, Allah has given us a perfect guide—the Qur’an and sunnah. If we follow them completely or at least to our best possible effort, we would see the great benefit it brings to our lives. Through Islam, Allah has taught us the best way to lead a healthy life with balance, happiness and satisfaction.
From when we wake up in the morning, to when we go to sleep again at night and everything in between, Allah has given us instructions on what we need to say and do in order to have His protection. Thus, illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and all other mental illnesses caused by stress, worry and fear of the unknown will not harm us if we follow Allah’s instructions.
In part 2 of this article, I will discuss the importance of following Prophet Muhammad’s sunna as well as give helpful tips to safe-guard ourselves against depression. Stay tuned!by