How to Remove Depression and Worries
- Salim al-Hilali
Mankind comes across many afflictions and trials, sometimes in overwhelming sequences. Removing the darkness of these worries, distresses, depression and grief is a very important matter to which Islam gives serious attention ...
Indeed the greatest darkness to envelope mankind and surely his greatest affliction is disbelief in Allah and to associate partners with Him in any form (kufr and shirk).
"Allah is the Protector of those who have faith He will lead them from the depths of darkness into light. As for those who disbelieve, their patrons are the devils: from light they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness. They will be companions of the fire, to dwell therein (for ever)." [Al-Qur'an 2:257]
"Whereby Allah guides him who seeks His good pleasure to paths of peace and safety. He brings them out of darkness unto light by His decree, and guides them unto a straight path." [Al-Qur'an 5:16]
"Those who deny Our revelations are deaf and dumb in darkness. Whoever Allah wills He sends astray, and whom He wills He places on a straight path." [Al-Qur'an 6:39]
The scholars of Islam have extracted from the Qur'an and the authentic Sunnah many remedies and cures to help us in our daily affairs and remove our problems.
Singling out Allah alone, glory be to Him, for all types of worship and recognising His Lordship and having faith in the unity of His Lofty Names and Attributes. There would be anarchy if there was more than one deity.
"If there were, in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides Allah, there would have been confusion in both! But glory to Allah, the Lord of the Throne, (High is He) above what they attribute to Him!" [Al-Qur'an 21:22]
Allah strikes a comparison between a Muslim and a mushrik (disbeliever). The man with one master (i.e. upon Tawhid) has no worries as to who to obey, so he has no confusion nor dilemmas. The second man is confused as to who to obey first, in whom he must put his trust especially as they are quarrelling amongst each other. The mushrik is left to Shaytan and his desires to direct him out of his confusion. However the Muslim who recognises his Lord as One, knows that Allah is the One who rescues His slave when he is in grief.
"Allah puts forth a parable; a man belonging to many partners quarrelling with each other, and a man belonging entirely to one master: are those two equal? Praise be to Allah! But most of them have no knowledge." [Al-Qur'an 39:29]
In the beautiful story of Yusuf (alayhis-salam) his fellow prisoners were in distress to know the meaning or interpretation of their dreams.
"Now with him there came into the prison two young men. Said one of them: 'I see myself (in a dream) pressing wine.' The other said: 'I see myself (in a dream) carrying bread on my head, and birds eating it.' (They said) 'Tell us the meaning of the dreams, for we see that you are a good doer.' " [Al-Qur'an 12:36]
O Muslim, what was the first thing that this noble prophet of Allah (alayhis-salam) said to his companions? What was his reply? He called them to that which will provide them with immediate relief - the belief that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah - At-Tawhid.
"O my two companions of the prison! (I ask you): are many lords differing among themselves better, or Allah, the Supreme and Irresistible?" [Al-Qur'an 12:39]
Mankind without Tawhid is astray, captured by Shaytan and there lives in chaos as explained in Allah's statement:
"Don't you see that We have set the devils on the disbelievers to confound them with confusion?" [Al-Qur'an 19:83]
So the one upon true Tawhid, Allah helps him and removes grief from him. There are many verses which eludes to this but suffice us for the moment the story of Yunus (alayhis-salam). He (alayhis-salam) had lost hope in his people who were not responding to his call to Islam. So he (alayhis-salam) left them and eventually Allah caused him (alayhis-salam) to be in the belly of a large fish.
"So wait with patience for the Command of your Lord, and be not like the Companion of the Fish, when he cried out in deep sorrow." [Al-Qur'an 68:48]
In his sorrow and anguish, Yunus (alayhis-salam) cried out, but to whom? He (alayhis-salam) called his Lord.
"And remember Dhun-Nun (Yunus), when he went off in anger: He imagined that We had no power over him! But he cried through the depths of darkness, 'There is no deity worthy of worship except You, glorified and exhalted be You, indeed I was from the wrong-doers!' " [Al-Qur'an 21:87]
Darkness upon darkness enveloped him (alayhis-salam):
- the darkness of the depths of the ocean,
- the darkness of the belly of the fish, and
- the darkness of the night.
He (alayhis-salam) called upon Allah, the One who can remove all distresses, he called upon Him with correct Tawhid and Allah removed his worries immediately.
Responding and Complying (Istijabah)
To accept and answer to the din of Allah and His Messenger, Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) completely as the ayah says:
"O you who believe! Respond to Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when He calls you to that which will give you life; and know that Allah comes in between a man and his heart, and that it is He to Whom you shall (all) be gathered." [Al-Qur'an 8:24]
The repercussion of rejecting the Call to His din is grievous and its result is the greatest of sorrows in the Hereafter. The disbeliever will be raised and wail to His Lord (Whom he denied in the world):
"He will say: 'O my Lord! Why have You raised me up blind, while I had sight (before)?' " [Al-Qur'an 20:125]
Allah will reply to him with complete justice:
"He (Allah) will say: So (it must be). Our revelations came to you (in the world) but you did reject them. In like manner this Day you are forgotten (rejected)." [Al-Qur'an 20:126]
Not only will Allah reject the disbeliever but he will also be humiliated by Shaytan who the mushrik took as his close companion and responded to his (Shaytan's) call.
"And Shaytan will say when the matter has been decided, 'Verily Allah promised you a promise of truth. I too promised you but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you and you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me (Shaytan) as a partner with Allah.' Verily, there is a painful torment for the transgressors." [Al-Qur'an 14:22]
So we urge you brothers and sisters to respond to and comply with Allah's religion and enter it completely.
"O you who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heatedly and follow not the footsteps of the Shaytan, for he is to you an open, avowed enemy." [Al-Qur'an 2:208]
Belief in the Divine Decree (Qadr)
Qadr is an established part of the religion and is included in our belief. In the famous "Hadith of Jibril" when he asked the Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) about Islam, Iman and Ihsan, he (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) replied about Iman:d the greatest darkness to envelope mankind an
"That you affirm your faith in Allah, in His angels, in His Books, in His Apostles, in the Day of Judgement, and you affirm your faith in Qadr, the good and the evil consequences of it ... " [Muslim]
We must accept and be content with Qadr, knowing that whatever Allah decrees he does so out of His All-Encompassing Knowledge and Wisdom. With this belief in Qadr (the good and the evil of it) firm in our hearts Allah will guide our hearts:
"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." [Al-Qur'an 64:11]
'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas (radhiallahu 'anhu) related one day he was riding behind Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) who said:ries, distresses, depression and grief is a very important mat
"Young man, if you are mindful of Allah (of His commands and prohibitions), He will be mindful of you, and if you are mindful of Allah you will find Him before you. When you ask for anything ask it from Allah, and if you seek help, seek help from Allah. Know that if the people were to unite to do you some benefit they could benefit you only with what Allah had decreed for you, and that if they were to unite to do you some injury they could injure you only with what Allah had recorded for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages are dry." [Ahmad, Tirmidhi - An-Nawawi's Forty Hadith]
So with this knowledge that no harm or good can touch a servant of Allah except with the permission of the All-Knower and All-Wise, the hearts find tranquillity and contentment. This therefore encourages the Muslim to patientiently persevere during an affliction and motivates him to praise Allah when He bestows some portion of good upon him. Whatever his situation, if the Muslim acts accordingly he has only rewards to gain and nothing to lose.
Suhayb ibn Sinan ar-Rumi related that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:quences
"Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he praises (Allah), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shown resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it." [Muslim]
'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (radhiallahu 'anhu) said that the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:s
"While three people were walking, rain began to fall and they had to enter a cave in a mountain. A big rock rolled over and blocked the mouth of the cave. They said to one another, 'Invoke Allah (sincerely) with the best deed you have performed (so that Allah may remove the rock).' One of them said, 'O Allah! My parents were old and I used to go out to graze (my animals). On my return I would milk (the animals) and take the milk in a vessel to my parents to drink. After they had drunk from it, I would give it to my children, family and wife. One day I was delayed and on my return I found my parents sleeping, and I did not wish to wake them up. The children were crying at my feet (because of hunger). That state of affairs continued until it was dawn. O Allah! If You think that I did it for Your sake, then please remove this rock so that we may see the sky.' So the rock was moved a little. The second said, 'O Allah! You know that I was in love with a cousin of mine, the deepest love a man may have for a woman, and she told me that I would not have my desire fulfilled unless I paid her one hundred deenars (gold pieces). So I struggled for it until I gathered the desired amount. When I sat between her legs, she told me to fear Allah, and asked me not to deflower her except rightfully (by marriage). So I stood up and left her. O Allah! If You think that I did it for Your sake, kindly remove this rock.' So two-thirds of the rock was removed. Then the third man said, 'O Allah! No doubt You know that once I employed a worker for one faraq (three sa's) of millet, and when I wanted to pay him, he refused to take it. So I sowed it and from its yield I bought cows and hired a herdsman. After a time the man came and demanded his money. I said to him: Go to those cows and the herdsman and take them for they are for you. He asked me whether I was joking with him. I told him that I was not joking with him, and all that belonged to him. O Allah! If You think that I did it sincerely for Your sake, then please remove the rock.' So the rock was removed completely from the mouth of the cave." [Bukhari]
So invoking Allah sincerely, seeking His Pleasure is one of the ways of removing afflictions from us.
"O Ever Living, O Self-Subsisting and Supporter of all, by Your mercy I seek assistance. Rectify for me all my affairs and do not leave me to myself, even for the blink of an eye." [Al-Hakim, Sahih at-Targhib wa't-Tarhib, Hisn al-Muslim (eng trans p. 125)]
Seeking Refuge in Allah (Istiadhah)
Anas ibn Malik (radhiallahu 'anhu) relates that the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said to Abu Talha (radhiallahu 'anhu):
"Choose one of your servant-boys to serve me on my expedition to Khaybar." So Abu Talha took me, letting me ride behind him, when I was a boy nearing the age of puberty. I used to serve Allah's Messenger when he stopped to rest. I heard him saying repeatedly, "O Allah! I seek refuge with you from distress and sorrow, from helplessness and laziness, from miserliness and cowardice, from being heavily in debt and from being overcome by men." [Bukhari, Hisn al-Muslim (p. 157)]
Detachment from this World (Az-Zuhd)
Anas ibn Malik and Zayd ibn Thabit (radhiallahu 'anhum) related that the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:
"For the ones whose concern is this world, Allah will scatter his affairs, place poverty between his two eyes and he will not get from the world except what is written for him. As for the one whose intention is the Hereafter, Allah will gather for him his affairs, place contentment in his heart and the world will come to him willingly." [Ibn Majah, Sahih al-Jami' #6386]