Can Islam Get Me Out of Depression? (Part 1)

Don’t Be Depressed: This is Satan’s Favorite Trick
By Deana Nassar
Freelance Writer

God is informing us, that in this world, ordeals are to be expected and patience tested.

Part 2

Who of us hasn’t, at one stage or another, experienced feelings of sadness, loss or grief?

Quite often we say that we're feeling depressed. But what exactly is depression?

Depression unfortunately is a devastating condition which robs us of our capacity to enjoy the basic pleasures of life; such as eating, drinking, mixing with friends, working hard, and spending time with children.

Depression has a marked impact on a person’s capacity to think, feel and respond to those around us. It may be described as being dead but walking with a certain unexplainable numbness and a complete feeling of both helplessness and worthlessness. In short it holds a death wish over those it touches where we simply want to throw in the towel and give up.

But no; for believers this shouldn’t be the case.

While depression does not differentiate which person and from what creed it may affect, we Muslims must regard ourselves as blessed with the knowledge that Islam teaches that this life is a life of test and trial. Each of us experiences many of these trials in the course of his or her life.

The Real Cure

Belief and faith are the greatest cure no pill, or counseling session, techniques to cope can compare to a strong belief in God. As long as we believe in a loving God, we have a reason to be optimistic. Belief can give us the ability to handle all sorts of difficult situations. It can give a person the ability to see the positive in the overwhelmingly negative situation. God says in the Quran:

{Blessed be He in Whose Hand is the Dominion, and He is Able to do all things. Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.} (67:1-2)

To become a practicing Muslim, we submit our will to God alone and no one else, and we believe and trust that He will take good care of us, no matter what happens. We admit our limitations as humans, so we go through life looking ahead positively, worrying only about what’s in our knowledge and ability as human beings, and we leave the rest to God’s wisdom.

Belief was associated with not only improved psychological wellbeing, but decreased depression

According to a recent study in Toronto, psychologists reported that believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress, and their research showcased distinct brain differences between believers and nonbelievers.

The study also illustrated that people with a moderate to high level of faith in God faired significantly better in short-term psychiatric treatment than those without. Belief was associated with not only improved psychological wellbeing, but decreased depression and intention to self-harm.

In many Quranic verses, God speaks about our creation as human beings, our make-up, what helps us achieve psychological comfort, and what causes us to fall to our lowest levels of existence. He also clarifies the factors that maintain good human qualities in feelings, emotions, and general health. God simply advises moderation in all matters, including happiness and sadness. He says:

{In order that you may not be sad over matters that you fail to get. Nor rejoice because of that which has been given to you. And Allah likes not prideful boasters.} (57:23)

For me this verse has always kept me grounded making me realize that God is All-knowing and my feelings should, most of the time, remain moderate leaving no place for worry and anxiety.

This calmness brings meaning to a hadith close to heart which emphasizes that the pens have lifted and the pages have dried and all is already written. This prophetic guidance is a great relief since, as humans, the tag ‘what ifs’ is forever present.

At times, we may feel depressed or sad when our harmonious emotional and hormonal equilibrium is disturbed, in which case Islam steps in, not to condemn the feeling, but to offer us a solution for regaining psychological and mental balance.

Purpose and Aims of Tests

The Islamic system does this by aiming to create balance in our life as Muslims by putting life’s matters into perspective, rearranging priorities accordingly, and harmonizing all circles of relationships between us as individuals and our inner and outer environments.

There is no doubt in the fact that there will be many tests, trials and difficulties. God also says in the Quran:

{We will definitely test you with some fear; some hunger and some loss in your wealth, in your health and in the fruits 'fruits' denote many things…} (2:155)

God is informing us that, in this world, ordeals are to be expected and patience tested. Tidings of grace and peace are conveyed to those who patiently withstand such trials, not expressing ingratitude and depression but rather turning to God and remembering Him.

The Quran teaches that God will never place a burden on a soul that it cannot bear.

Ibn al-Qayyim, the famous Muslim scholar, says when God tests us it is never to destroy us. When He removes something from our possession it is only in order to empty our hands for an even greater gift.

Remember, no human being is burdened with trouble and difficulties he or she cannot bear. How many times in our life, have we felt we cannot take it anymore, but we lived through it? How many of us go through great difficulties in life but live through it?

The Quran teaches that God will never place a burden on a soul that it cannot bear. This shows that the human being can bear many unthinkable burdens, which one initially feels they cannot bear.

Unfortunately, the moment we suffer a little difficulty, we forget the power of prayer and believe we may insure everything after a little loss of some goods whereas the only thing this insures is more and more suffering.

Rather than fall prey to depression, we are commanded not to be hasty in our decisions, but to be moderate and appreciative of what we have. Satisfaction and appreciation helps us to be comfortable and secure with ourselves. This however does not mean we do not have to work and seek means of improving our condition.

To be continued...

Related Links:
Looking for Peace and Serenity? (Folder)
Prophet Muhammad: The Thankful Slave
Muslim Youth Survival Kit
Deeper Reasons For My Shahadah
Living a Happy Life with a Strong Faith (Folder)

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