“Don’t cry, get over it. Where’s your iman anyway? We’re Muslims – we don’t get depressed. Trust Allah. In fact, you should fear Allah – what are you going to say on Judgment Day?”
Depression and anxiety are buzzwords of current times.
Nearly everyone knows someone who is struggling with extreme sadness for a myriad of reasons.
It is impossible to categorize those who go through difficult times in boxes; everyone has their own journey to traverse. But feelings of grief, sorrow and sadness are normal challenges that every person faces. This is something that Allah has already put in us.
Sadness becomes dangerous when it spirals out of control into depression and anxiety. But still, as far as the Quran is concerned, there is always a way out. Going down that path is not an irreparable representation of one’s level of faith. In fact, rising from it is a sign of one’s determination and effort to make amends in a bad situation.
The Challenge of Depression
While modern society is well-known to turn to medicinal drugs for repairing almost anything, the problems of the soul have also not been spared. In fact, it’s so common to hear that the same will “fix” whatever is broken, alluding to a belief that humans are in fact, broken and need constant repair.
The Quran takes quite the opposite perspective. Allah takes pride in the creation of the human being. He even requested the celebration of Adam amongst His worshippers at that time (the Jinn and Angels).
Allah continues to talk about Himself creating man in the best of stature in Surah At-Teen, after taking many oaths to prove His point.
Without even going into depth of these verses, as Muslims we accept Allah’s word as the truth; and therefore need to honor the fact that we were created with nobility and dignity. But it’s up to us to put in determination and effort to live up to His expectations amidst a world of temptations that could also be a source of depression and anxiety.
Through this lens, it becomes easier to see sadness, depression and anxiety, as realistic challenges of the human being. Therefore, it is not a sign of a weak iman, but an opportunity for a person who is dealing with obstacles to come closer to Allah’s Book in order to rise above adversities.
Tales of Sadness in the Quran
To prove this point, every sad story that is seen today, is in the Quran, providing solace for those who are in the midst of their struggles.
Not only does God take these excerpts very seriously, but He also transcribes worst-case scenarios in order for us to be reminded that whatever challenges we are facing cannot be compared from a pea to a carrot; because stories in the Quran are a lot more devastating than what we face today. This is not to belittle our own challenges, but to put the Mercy of Allah in perspective and to give us hope in His plan alone.
(Note: The below examples barely scratch the background, depth and morals of the stories; they are starting points for you to reconcile your challenges by looking them up in the Quran and consulting reputable scholars for help).
Dysfunctional Marriages Found in the Quran
If you’re struggling with a non-committal spouse, think of the wife of Lot; he was transgressing the laws of marriage between a man and woman.
If you’re struggling with a non-practicing husband or wife, think of the despair of Noah; he struggled for an insane number of decades with his family, including his wife.
And if your spouse is an abusive one, Asiyah, wife of Pharaoh, probably had the most tyrannical husband in the course of history.
Family Strains Are Also Normal
God commanded Noah to give up on his son of many years; so keep reaching out to your children as their books are still open for reconciliation.
Jacob had to deal with multiple sons who attempted to murder their younger brother.
Ibrahim was cast off into the wilderness to fend for himself. And probably no one has an uncle like Abu Jahl and had to deal with him the way Prophet Muhammad did.
In fact, when it comes to family relations, reading about the difficulties the first companions had when converting to Islam will help put difficulties into perspective. They too were cast out and had their ties cut with their own next of kin.
Their solution was to find their own ways out of the difficulty, to turn to Allah and to keep open lines of communications with their loved ones, in the event there was hope to mend broken bridges.
Again, Noah keeps coming up for his continuous da’wah efforts for 950 years.
Moses struggled endlessly with the stubbornness and ingratitude of Bani Israel, whom he would put his life down for.
Prophet Muhammad himself, came face-to-face with death during the battle of Uhud and the loss of 70 precious lives.
Different Circumstances Bring out Different Forms of Anxiety
If you’re worried about childcare, think about the mother of Moses throwing him into an apple basket as the soldiers of Pharaoh.
Think about the trials of the Man with Two Gardens in Surah Al-Kahf, for perspective. The Sleepers in the Cave faced challenges of temptation and assassination for their non-conformity. So if you’re struggling spiritually in an environment full of fitna, find solace in their story.
In dealing with a difficult pregnancy, a challenging birth environment, recall the du’a of Maryam when she was giving birth all on her own, without the knowledge of her family and people for fear of exile.
If you are concerned for your children, think of Hajar’s heart-wrenched soul, while running to and fro in the middle of the barren desert in search of water for her crying infant son.
And if you’re worried about becoming a social outcast, having a notorious past, difficulties finding a job, and just are spiritually, economically and socially deadbeat, (without even a spouse to provide emotional support) – or a combination of two or more of the above – think about Moses traversing the sands from Egypt and ending up in the deserts of Madyan after accidentally killing a man.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)