How to Islamically Deal With Depression

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The one who believes and relies in Allah does not fear nor does he panic no matter how difficult situations are. This is so because it is unarguably known that after each difficult there is a relief, Allah says

Verily, along with every hardship is relief”  [Qur’aan 94:5].

A true Muslim knows that if he successfully handles any difficult situation with patience then Paradise is most fit for his final abode. Indeed this is also proven by the hadeeth of the prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) wherein he said:

“How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for all his affairs are good, and that applies to no one except a believer. If something good happens to him, he gives thanks for it and that is good for him, and if something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience, and that is also good for him.  ” (Narrated by Muslim, 2999).

Hence, a Muslim does not suffer from depression, stress, anxiety or something like that. There are a lot of causes of depression for example failing exams, demise of a relative or close friend, suffering from chronic disease, attaining the defect on the body, divorce e.t.c. These factors bring depression but the depression is further amplified if the victim is continuously sinning on without repentance. This is confirmed by the words of Allah:

“But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’aan nor acts on its teachings) verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection” [Qur’aan 20:124].

Other people think that depression can be eradicated through wealth or academic degrees, but the fact that many wealthy and educated people live under severe depression and some commit suicide defeats the idea that wealth and education alone are the source of happiness.

Some people think that using drugs or drinking alcohol will make them forget their problems. But this has a short period of ‘effect’ for you get high now and some few hours afterwards you start swimming in the same waves of depression again. In the end, those who use drugs or alcohol have two options; either continue taking drugs (or alcohol) or embracing the hot option of suicide.

So what does Islam say on the remedy of depression?

The Muslim should realize that if it were not for disasters and afflictions, we would come empty-handed on the Day of Resurrection, as some of the salaf (early generations of Islam) pointed out, which is why they would rejoice when misfortune struck just as we rejoice at times of ease.

Here are some ways that eliminate depression;

1. Equipping oneself with eemaan (faith), accompanied by righteous deeds.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer, verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world, with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e., Paradise in the Hereafter).” [Qur’aan 16:97]

2. Understanding the reality of this world

The believer knows that this world is only temporary, that its luxuries are few, and that whatever pleasures exist here are always imperfect. If it causes a little laughter, it gives many reasons to weep; if it gives a little, it withholds far more. The believer is only detained here, as the Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) said: “This world is the prison of the believer and the paradise of the kaafir.” (Sahih Muslim, vol.4, #7058)

This understanding of the reality of this world makes it easier for the believer to bear afflictions, pains, distress and anxiety, because he knows that they are an inevitable part of the nature of this life.

3. Praying to Allaah, may He be exalted.

The Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) said: “There is no one who is afflicted by distress and grief, and says: ‘Allaahumma inni ‘abduka ibn ‘abdika ibn amatika naasyati bi yadika, maada fiyya hukmuka, ‘adlun fiyya qadaa’uka. As’aluka bi kulli ismin huwa laka sammayta bihi nafsaka aw anzaltahu fi kitaabika aw ‘allamtahu ahadan min khalqika aw ista’tharta bihi fi ‘ilm il-ghayb ‘indaka an taj’al al-Qur’aana rabee’ qalbi wa noor sadri wa jalaa’ huzni wa dhihaab hammi (O Allaah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your maidservant; my forelock is in Your hand, Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every name belonging to You which You have named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the Unseen with You, that You make the Qur’aan the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety),’ but Allaah will take away his distress and grief, and replace it with joy.” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allaah, should we learn this?” He said: “Of course; everyone who hears it should learn it.” (Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 199)

4. . Relying upon Allaah and entrusting matters to Him

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… And whosoever puts his trust in Allaah, then He will suffice him…” [Qur’aan 65:3] – i.e., He will take care of everything that is of concern to him, whether it has to do with his religion or his worldly affairs

5. Other ways of dispelling distress and anxiety include paying attention to what is beneficial, focusing on what matters today and no longer worrying about what may happen tomorrow or regretting what happened yesterday

6. . One of the most effective ways of finding comfort and contentment is to remember Allaah frequently. Dhikr (remembrance of Allaah) has a wonderful effect in calming the soul and relieving stress and worry. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… Verily, in the remembrance of Allaah do hearts find rest.” [Qur’aan 13:28

There are a lot of ways, probably more than 20) that Islamically help eradicate depression but too much usually becomes hard and boring so I kept it short.

Lastly, having Allah on your side does not mean that you are sailing in the ocean with no waves or storms but it means sailing in a ship which will not sink with those waves or storms. Thus to say a pious person will meet problems and difficulties which will be either trials (tests) or punishment to a believer. So if something bad happens to a believer, he either bears it with patience or panics. If he is patient he earns a great reward and accepts the will and decree of Allaah, because he knows that it comes from Allaah, so he feels content with it and accepts it. So what reason is there to panic and feel stressed?

On the contrary, if he is not patient and he reacts to what befalls him of sin with panic and anger, and worry and stress, he will lose the reward that Allaah has promised to those who are patient. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning” [Qur’aan 39:10] 

Allah knows best