Mental Health: What does Islam say about it
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Publié le 24 juin 2022, par Samir | 16 h 34 min
Temps de lecture : 7 minutes
Mental Health, as a stigma and an illness, has become an alarming concern worldwide. Thanks to the internet, several conversations have started around this subject, and people are open to discussing it based on their views and experiences. What is mental health, and what does Islam say about it; we have compiled an article to understand it in more detail.
Mental Health: What does Islam say about it?
« And we send down, of the Quran, that which is a healing and a mercy to the believers. » (Qur’an,17:82)
What is Mental Health?
Let’s first try to understand mental health and clarify its misconception. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It impacts how we think, feel, and act. Mental health is essential at every stage of life and holds a significant value to exist as a healthy individual.
Just like we have to take care of our physical well-being, mental health demands our time, attention, and professional help based on the diagnosis.
Several conditions develop in a person going through mental health issues; the following symptoms or behavioral changes can help you understand if that person has mental health problems:
The stigma around mental health
As more and more conversations are brewing around mental health, people in Muslim communities still live with the stigma that it is a Western idea and has nothing to do with Islam. Let’s first understand that mental health is as crucial as physical well-being. It’s as simple as having a seasonal illness, and we rush to the nearest physician for treatment.
Mental Health illnesses demand fair treatment and should not be taken a taboo or something which a suffering person hides from the world. It’s an illness, and every pain needs a suitable treatment.
Islamic teachings discuss psychology in daily walks of life but with different terms, such as spiritualism. Our religion emphasizes the significance of good mental health and emotional stability. No wonder Quranic teachings are the ultimate source of guidance for those experiencing disturbing mental health, depression, or distress. However, there are two aspects of treating this illness; one through spiritual means and the other by seeking help from a professional.
Thousands of years ago, Qur’an was sent to us as a comprehensive guide to our social, emotional, financial even minor issues. However, Allah directed us to take care of our physical and mental wellbeing in the same Holy Book and consult those with expertise in the respective subject.
So, shaming a person going through poor mental health or asking him not to reveal his psychological distress to others; is not a good practice. This mindset causes more harm to the emotionally ailing person and might affect his health and wellbeing than before.
Religion and Mental Health
Allah, The Almighty, says in the Qur’an, « Those who have believed and whose hearts are comforted by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort and contentment. »
Studies reveal that religion is integral to an individual’s health and is interconnected with mental health. Our religious beliefs and faith provide a complete code of life that helps us to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life based on valuable contributions to Islamic society. Thus a religion that guides its followers in each walk of life can not be kept separated from mental health.
The religious practices advised by the Qur’an and Sunnah contribute to our emotional and psychological upbringing. It is also dependent on how deeply we can connect to our Lord. The strength of connection will determine how many mental health outcomes we can earn by following the directives of Islam.
Hence telling people who experience mental health distress that a Muslim can not be depressed, or the said person has a weak faith if he’s depressed. These thoughts add more misery to his ailment and seem unjustified.
Life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
It is narrated from Sa’d that people asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about those who went through the most trials. He replied, « The prophets, then those who follow their path, then those who follow them. A human is afflicted in proportion to their faith; if they are firm in their faith, their trial is increased, but if there is weakness in their faith, their trial is made lighter for them, and this continues until they walk on the earth [almost] having no sin. »
All prophets went through extreme afflictions and troubles during their lifetime. The beloved Messenger of Allah, Muhammad’s (PBUH) life is filled with numerous incidents of severe emotional tribulations. Yet he remained resilient and patiently overcame all emotional distress. His entire life is an example and a lesson for Muslims if we come across similar challenging situations. Historic incidents like the demise of Lady Khadija, his beloved wife and one of the most prominent women in Islamic history, and his uncle, Abu Talib, gave him so much grief. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) mourned their death for a whole year, bringing him so much sadness that the year was termed ‘Aam-ul-Huzn’ or ‘the year of grief.’
However, it is noteworthy that Allah (SWT) persuaded him to navigate his mourning:
« So do not grieve yourself to death over them [O Prophet]. » – (Qur’an 35:8)
The beloved Messenger (PBUH) also felt great challenge when people of Quraish started calling him ‘Abtar’ for not having a child. He felt immense pain and emotional pressure, but then Allah (SWT) blessed her with a pious, loving daughter, Fatima bint Muhammad (peace be upon him), whose mother was Lady Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her).
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) exhibited exemplary patience and steadfastness when he lost his son Ibrahim and said the following words:
« Indeed, the eyes shed tears, and the heart feels sorrow. Yet, we do not say anything except that which is pleasing to our Lord. Your departure, O Ibrahim, surely leaves us all deeply saddened. » – (Riyadh al-Salihin:39)
His words serve as a universal lesson for Muslims to surrender themselves to the will of Allah (SWT) and show contentment during times of sadness and mourning.
Qur’an about mental health
In the Book of Allah, Al-Qur’an discussed mental health and how to cope with depressive, negative thoughts. The following verses show that Allah (SWT) never leaves His followers alone amidst challenging emotional wellbeing. His words bring solace, comfort, and peace to those who seek His nearness and develop a close bond through prayers and meditation.
Qur’an and Islamic teachings have acknowledged mental health challenges and presented remedies to counter negative emotions like sadness, depression, anxiety, etc. The extensive Islamic history and Muslim scholars have developed detailed research in the ‘Ilm al-nafs’ field. It further proves that Islam and Qur’an greatly emphasize the importance of mental health, and Islamic history strongly supports this subject.
It is about time that we, as a Muslim community, eliminate the stigma attached to mental health and work together to offer healing and comfort to modern-day Muslim societies. To accomplish that, we must first learn from our history, take lessons from the renowned Muslim scholars and follow their legacy.
“Be mindful of Allah, and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him before you.” (Tirmidhi)
As responsible Muslim and productive community members, we must strive to remove the taboo associated with mental health and work collectively towards normalizing this illness. It’s about time mental health is taken seriously, and people with poor emotional well-being are treated with kindness, empathy, and extra care.
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