How Islam Can Help You to Fight Depression
by Tahira Rifath
(May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be with you)
“Surely, the true religion in Allah’s sight is Islam” (Quran 3:19)
I begin in the name of Allah, praising Him with His most beautiful Names and Attributes. I ask Allah (the Exalted) to forgive me for every mistake I have done in my life. I pray to Allah to accept every deed I do in His Name, and I seek refuge in Allah from His punishment and from the whisperings of shaytan. And I also ask Allah to bless the Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), his Family (may Allah be pleased with them), and Companions (may Allah be pleased with them).
All this time when I was going through many trials, I thought that I was losing hope, and that there was nothing left in me. What I believed was that my trials are the most severe from all, and none is suffering like I am. But was this true?
Obviously not. It wasn’t true. So now let me tell you three secrets that have helped me changed my life for the better Alhamdulillah.
First secret is that, there is always someone suffering much more than you, going through much bigger trials than you; and that person’s pain is much more severe than yours. You might not want to believe this, but you should; and I will therefore advise you with the Messenger’s (peace and blessing be upon him) advice, he said: “Look at those who stand at a lower level than you but don’t look at those who stand at a higher level than you, for this would make the favours (bestowed upon you by Allah) insignificant (in your eyes).
“Never wish to have more than what Allah wills to give you; never be unsatisfied with what Allah gave you; and never be ungrateful, because Allah might take away even the little that you have, and then it will be a time of depression and anxiety for you. You will wish at that time to have what you have now, but Allah (the Exalted) will act according to His Perfect Wisdom, He may return that to you, or He may leave you as you are. But remember, this: If you are content with the favours Allah gave you (such as: wealth, looks, health, etc.), and if you are grateful for them; then Allah (the Exalted) will bless you with much more favours than those. You will then see the true Mercy of Allah (the Exalted) and only then you will know that grieving and worrying about the things you don’t have is a big waste of time. Your situation and mood will change and you will be much happier, and peace will follow you wherever you will go.On the authority of ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) reported that his Lord said: “O man! Although you have enough for your living, you demand that which makes you insolent. In fact; you are neither content with little, nor satisfied with much. Certainly, if you get sound in your body, safe in your life, and living having sufficient food for one day, (then) anything else is unimportant.” (Ibn ‘Adiyy and El-Bayhaqi) Keep in mind also the following two Ahadeeth of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him): He Is successful who has accepted Islam, who has been provided with sufficient for his want and been made contented by Allah with what He has given him. (Muslim) And, “When someone is secure in his property, healthy in his body and has his food for the day, it is as if he owned the entire world”. (Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)”
Second secret is that, whatever is meant for you will come to occur, but whatever is not then it will never occur. You must accept Allah’s decree, whatever it is; but if you don’t, then prepare yourself for depression, anxiety, and sickness. You will never have peace in mind unless you accept whatever Allah has destined for you that happened in the past and whatever to happen in the future. Know that the more you accept Allah’s Will, the more peace He will send in your heart. If you accept the trial that Allah sent you, while knowing that it is a test for your patience; then you should struggle to be one of the best of those who are patient. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The best of faith is patience and magnanimity.” (Ahmad, Sahih)
Allah (the Exalted) is testing you to bring you closer to Himself, to protect you from misguidance; and with that to secure a place for you near Him in the Hereafter (i.e. to grant you Paradise). Therefore you should not grieve, nor be anxious; because you know that Allah, the King of the Heavens and Earth loves you. This will grant tranquility to your soul. Your mind will be in peace and your heart likewise. So practice patience, struggle to be one of the best of those who are patient; because patience is the best sign of Iman.
Third secret, is that, Allah (the Exalted) is testing you with this trial to prove what you really deserve. This life is a big test; everything was planned before we even came to existence. Therefore your trial is also a part of Allah’s Master Plan, so you should not oppose it. Allah (the Exalted) clearly says to us in the Glorious Qur’an why we are tested. He (the Exalted) says: And Allah has created the heavens and the earth with truth, in order that every soul may be rewarded for what it has earned; and they shall not be wronged. (The Glorious Qur’an, 45:22) Only Allah knows all the reasons why the trials which afflicted you had to be part of His Plan, but what you must know is that this trial will be a great evidence for you against shaytan in the Hereafter, however you must show patience. That’s the only way to pass this test. Shaytan will have nothing to speak against you on the Day of Judgment if you pass this test. You should know also that shaytan’s target is the righteous Muslim, not the hypocrite or the disbeliever. They are already misguided, but you are on the straight path; therefore, his main target is you. This is your enemy that wants to see you misguided, so during your test he tries to misguide you in all kinds of ways. He whispers and whispers with the hope to make you lose your Faith. He never stops, until you defeat him. And when you will defeat him, this is the time when he will lose hope; and he will not bother you anymore. You can win against him, but this will be only when you’ll show true patience and sincere Iman. You will never achieve this unless you gain correct Knowledge of Islam, and Taqwa. Taqwa is not just fear of Allah; it means also to love Allah, and to do sincere deeds. You will never have sincere deeds, unless you purify your intention. And the pure intention is to do every deed only for the sake of Allah. What you should know also is that you must struggle not to sin. Sins will not only decrease your Iman, but they will also destroy you. Know that you can’t be sinless, no human was and will ever be; but what counts is the struggle you make not to sin, and the repentance you make in case you give up to sin. Remember the following Hadith of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him): “When a slave (a person) commits a sin (an evil deed) a black dot is dotted on his heart. Then if that person gives up that evil deed (sin), begs Allah to forgive him, and repents, then his heart is cleared (from that heart covering dot); but if he repeats the evil deed (sin), then that covering is increased till his heart is completely covered with it. And this is Ar-Ran that Allah mentioned (in the Quran),“Nay! but on their hearts is the Ar-Ran (covering of evil deeds and sins) which they used to earn” (Qur’an 83:14)” (Tirmidhi)
And finally, I will advise you with the following: “Remember to always seek authentic knowledge. Dive deep in the ocean of knowledge, and collect every pearl that you come across. Strive to not be a hypocrite, by acting upon the knowledge you gain. Let the Qur’an be in your right hand, and the Sunnah in your left; let Allah fill your heart with His Love and Light; let Allah bless you with the Hikmah/Wisdom; and let Allah guide you on this path of Islam. Know your purpose in life, and do not rush in judging something. Only Allah can judge, you can only assume. If you have to judge then make sure it’s based upon firm and authentic evidences. Be truthful when you speak, and do not speak ignorantly about something or someone without knowledge. Know that whoever judges you, Allah will judge him; whoever speaks without knowing you is assuring his place in hell. You should forgive those who hurt you in the past, but if you can’t forgive; then do not bother yourself with them, and let Allah (the Exalted) judge them. Put your complete trust in Allah (the Exalted), and depend upon Allah and rely upon Him only, not upon people. Do your best, and Allah will guide you; worship Allah alone, and He will forgive you; stay away from sins, and Allah will raise your rank; and fear and remember Allah wherever you go, because if you forget that Allah is watching you constantly, then you will end up being ignorant and sinning. Learn from mistakes, and don’t hate people; but hate their actions. If you are sick, know that after every hardship there is ease; Allah (the Exalted) says: So verily, with the hardship, there is relief, Verily, with the hardship, there is relief. (Qur’an, 94:5)”