DEPRESSION; AN ISLAMIC PANACEA By Balogun Abdulbasit Umar
DEPRESSION; AN ISLAMIC PANACEA
Depression and anxiety are two closely related ailments that will afflict many of us at one time or another during our lives. Periods of grief and worry are a normal part of life, which can usually be cured with prayer, patience, and positive thinking. However, sometimes we unwittingly nurture these negative feelings to the point of developing an anxiety disorder or clinical depression.
For those of us who experience abnormal and unhealthy levels of grief and worry, there is hope in Islam to overcome these debilitating symptoms without resorting to pharmaceuticals. We should seek our cure for depression and anxiety in a holistic manner by addressing its physical, mental, and spiritual aspects.
There are few verses in the Quran which affirm the possibility of a Muslim having depression, for example Allah says in Suratul Baqarah verses 155-156:
“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.”
Also in another verse Allah says:
“And let not those grieve you (O Muhammad SAW) who rush with haste to disbelieve; verily, not the least harm will they do to Allah. It is Allah’s Will to give them no portion in the Hereafter. For them there is a great torment.” (Āl-”Imran verse 176)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Many people, when they see evil or when the Muslim Ummah goes through a lot of trouble, panic, lose hope and start complaining as people who are beset by calamities do. But this is forbidden; rather what is enjoined is to be patient, to put ones trust in Allah, to be steadfast in adhering to the religion of Islam and to believe that Allah is with those who fear Him and those who do good, and that the best end is for those who fear Him; whatever befalls him is because of his sins, so he should be patient, for the promise of Allah is true; he should seek forgiveness for his sins and glorify and praise his Lord morning and evening. (End quote from Majmooal-Fataawa , 18/295)
The symptoms of depression include the following:
– Always feeling sad, anxious and in a bad mood
– Loss of interest and lack of enjoyment in activities that people usually enjoy
– Constant pessimism and feeling helpless in the face of life’s problems
– Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and social alienation
– Inability to show or express feelings towards others or to accept feelings from others
– Trouble sleeping, such as insomnia, sleeping too long or waking up too early
– Eating problems (overeating or loss of appetite)
– Chronic physical pain from which no remedy brings relief
– Weepiness, getting tense quickly; hyperactivity and not being able to calm down and relax, constant feelings of tiredness and inability to do any physical activity
The First remedy for depression is seeking medical aid by consulting a psychologist. In addition to seeking medical treatment, we should try to keep ourselves busy with useful activities, such as reading Quran and other books, and engaging in hobbies and so on. Do not forget some natural remedies that will re-energize you and help the brain to regain energy, such as honey and dried fruits.
One of the prescriptions that was often used in the past is talbeenah. According to an authentic report, the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said concerning it: Talbeenah brings comfort to the sick person and it lessens grief.
Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5101; Muslim, 2216
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Zad al-Maad: This broth clears that from the stomach and intestines, cleanses it, makes it flow, makes it more liquid, adjusts it, and restores balance. Thus it gives relief, especially for the one who usually eats barley bread, which was the custom of the people of Madinah at that time; it was their staple food, as wheat was very expensive for them. (Talbeenah is a broth made from barley flour with its bran, to which a cup of water is added, and it is heated on a low fire for five minutes, then a cup of milk and a spoonful of honey is added.)
Some of the duas narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that deal with such matters include the following:
1 “Allaahumma inni aoodhu bika min al-hammi wal-hazani walajzi wal-kasali wa`l-jubni wa`l-bukhli wa dala il-dayn wa ghalbat al-rijaal (O Allah, I seek refuge with You from worry, grief, incapacity, laziness, cowardice, miserliness, from being heavily in debt and from being overcome by men). Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6008.
2 “Allaahumma inni abduka wa ibnu abdika wa ibn ammatika naasiyati bi yadika maadin fiyya hukmuka adlun fiyya qadaa`uka as`aluka bi kulli ismin huwa laka sammayta bihi nafsaka aw allamtahu ahadan min khalqika aw anzaltahu fi kitaabika aw asta`tharta bihi fi `ilm il-ghaybi indaka an tajal al-Qur`aana rabee`a qalbi wa nooar sadri wa jalaa`a huzni wa dhahaaba hammi (O Allah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your female slave, 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 with which You have named Yourself, or, or You have taught to any of Your creation, or You have revealed in Your Book, 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), then Allaah will take away his anxiety and sorrow, and will replace it with joy. (Classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 199).
3. The Dua of Yunus (AS): (Laa ilaaha illa Anta, subhaanaka inni kuntu min al-zaalimeen (none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah), Glorified (and Exalted) be You [above all that (evil) they associate with You]! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers [al-Anbiya 21:87]. No Muslim man calls upon Allah with these words concerning any matter but Allah will answer him. (classed as saheeh by al_Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami, 3383).
In conclusion, overcoming depression is a very difficult task which will take some time. Yet there is hope for healing and a clear path forward in Islam. By adopting healthy habit in our mind, body and spirit, we can restore balance within us that leads to recovery and prosperity.
May Allah heal our ailing hearts and grant us comfort and happiness in this life and the next.
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