Islam reconnect with Allah

Walk Off Depression

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. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُلُوا مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِلَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ

“O you who believe, eat from the wholesome things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah if it is Him that you worship.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:172)

Depression is a condition that affects a growing population of individuals around the world. It does not discriminate with regard to race, educational background, social status or religion. Despite the fact that there is nothing to be ashamed of, individuals who suffer from this condition usually bear it quietly for fear of the stigma of being labelled as having mental incapacity. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا

O you who believe, avoid much suspicion. Verily, some suspicion is a sin, and do not spy or backbite each other.” (Surah Al-Hujurat 49:12)

The truth is that nobody has a life free from hardships. It is easy to hide what we have been through and to keep the pain that continually adds up inside without opening up and discussing the problem. Conscious thinking is a habit and a choice; if we are in the habit of thinking negatively, we should apply mindfulness techniques to form better-thinking habits. Allah says:

وَجَعَلْنَا نَوْمَكُمْ سُبَاتًا وَجَعَلْنَا اللَّيْلَ لِبَاسًا

“And We made your sleep for rest and the night as a covering.” (Surah Al-Naba 78:9-10)

Islam being not just a religion but also a complete way of life has provided us with a solution out of every problem, and depression is one problem the solution to which can be found in the teachings of Islam. I must stress here that I will not discuss anti-depressants as steps for walking out of depression, the reason being, I consider them to be more chemical than practical. Allah says:

يَا بُنَيَّ وَذَلِكَ مِنْ سُنَّتِي وَمَنْ أَحْيَا سُنَّتِي فَقَدْ أَحَبَّنِي وَمَنْ أَحَبَّنِي كَانَ مَعِي فِي الْجَنَّة

“My son, that is my tradition and whoever revives my tradition has loved me, and whoever loves me will be with me in Paradise.”(Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2678)

Depression drains our energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to do what we need to feel better. In today’s world, there are many factors contributing to the rise of depression. This depression is common both in the East and in the West, while it is evident among the youth; it also affects the older age brackets, due to the widespread political, economic and social problems of modernity.

Here are some signs to overcome depression in the Islamic way:

  1. Reciting the duas for overcoming anxiety
  2. Islam beg forgiveness to Allah Almighty
  3. Islam connect with other human beings
  4. Islam take up or join a charitable cause
  5. Islam pray for Others to Heal Yourself
  6. Islam make the Quran your Partner
  7. Islam keep your faith strong
  8. Islam never give up hope
  9. Islam reconnect with Allah
  10. Islam take walks and appreciate nature
  11. Islam think about how easy your life is
  12. Islam feel yourself being chained down
  13. Islam made life smooth and comfortable
  14. Islam provide to a believer is reward based on the effort
  15. Islam play a role the best you can and leave the rest to Him

However, never underestimate your abilities. Understand the concept of Barakah (blessings from Allah) and remember that Allah can and Insha Allah will expand them if you are sincerely exerting your energies for the right path. Seek help through Sabr and Salat, instruction from Allah provides us with two critical tools that can ease our worries and pain. Patience and prayer are two oft-neglected stressbusters. Allah says:

وَلَا تَهِنُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

“So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are (true) believers.” (Surah Al-Imran 3:139)

Stress is anything that causes mental, physical, or spiritual tension. Turn each worry into a Du`a and each Du`a into an action plan. Overcoming depression and anxiety, when they have a stranglehold over our lives, is a very difficult task. It will take patience, sustained effort, and perseverance to implement a long-term plan for well-being, yet there is hope for healing and a clear path forward in Islam. By adopting healthy habits in our mind, body, and spirit, we can restore the natural balance within us that leads to recovery and prosperity. Allah says:

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

.“Those who believed and find satisfaction their hearts in the remembrance (of) Allah. No doubt, in the remembrance of Allah find satisfaction the hearts.” (Surah Ar-Ra`d 13:28)

Not only must we gain control over our thoughts and feelings towards people, but we must also control our thoughts and feelings related to objects. When our happiness depends upon material wealth and success, we are bound to be disappointed as such worldly pleasures will never last forever. If we are too deeply attached to a material object, we will become depressed when it is inevitably taken away.

How to Deal with Depression and Anxiety According to Quran:

  • “Seek help through Sabr and Salah” (Quran 2:45)
  • “If you are grateful, I will give you more.” (Quran 14:7)
  • “When you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah” (Quran 3: 159)
  • “Remember Me, and I shall remember you; be grateful to Me, and deny Me not.” (Quran 2:152)
  • ” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell (rendered) contemptible.” (Verse 40: 60)
  • “O you who believe! Resort to patience and prayer; surely, Allah is with the patient.” (Quran, 2:153)
  • “Verily Allah does not change men’s condition unless they change their inner selves.” (Quran 13: 11)
  • “No calamity befalls, but with the leave of Allah, and whoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart, and Allah is the All-Knower of everything.” (Quran, 64:11)
  • “We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and life and fruits. But give good news to the steadfast.” (Quran, 2:155)

We should adopt Islamic mindfulness techniques to gain control over our negative thoughts. Thoughts are often difficult to regulate, but we do have a degree of control over what we choose to think about and reflect upon. The true believer should try to be an optimist, thinking the best about Allah and his decrees, rather than being a pessimist who always dwells upon the worst-case scenario. Allah says:

قَالَ اهْبِطَا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَىٰ

“And if there should come to you guidance from Me – then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray (in the world) nor suffer (in the Hereafter).” (Surah Ta-Ha 20:123)

We should not indulge in negative assumptions and suspicion about others. Sometimes we find ourselves thinking the worst about others and even expressing it verbally by backbiting against them. We should apply mindfulness techniques to catch ourselves in such moments and switch our mental self-conversation to something better. Allah says:

مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

“Whoever works righteousness whether male or female while he or she is a true believer, verily, to him We will give 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.” (Surah An-Nahl 16:97)

One of the most destructive ways of thinking is to nurture hatred, envy, and malice towards others. Many times our hatred of others harms us more than anyone else. We have to force ourselves to forgive others, to let go of grudges, and to calm pent up feelings of anger. The prophetic way is to cleanse our minds of hateful thoughts every morning and evening through prayer and supplication. Allah says:

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“Those who believed and find satisfaction their hearts in the remembrance (of) Allah. No doubt, in the remembrance of Allah find satisfaction the hearts.” (Surah Al-Ra’d 13:28)

In life, we will be disappointed when we experience hardship and loss, but our faith and trust in Allah’s infinite wisdom will help us endure these trials and keep us focused on the greater goal of salvation in the Hereafter. We should return to the Quran often to hear this message, remind us of the favours of Allah, and keep this worldly existence in a proper perspective. It is through the Quran, which is the greatest way to remember Allah, that our hearts will find rest and assurance.