What Are the Solutions to Depression and Stress in Islam: Part1

In the era we are living in today, stress and stress-related illnesses such as depression and anxiety are becoming of the biggest killers, and the effects that they have on our emotional and physical health can be devastating. Stress, as a highly personalized phenomenon, varies between people depending on individual vulnerability and resilience. So, how could one manage to control anxiety and relieve stress in Islam? How could one build up that strength required to beat the stress in Islam? Here are some of the solutions that Islam proposes.

 

 

  • Having Real Faith in God

 

 

In Islamic teachings and narrations, the faith in God is known to be the first and the most efficient approach to achieve the inner peace and the control over anxiety and stress in Islam. Imam Ali (AS) said that having faith in God equals being safe and secure [1] &[2]. Believers know that there is a goal behind every happening. They believe that God is just; hence, they have not been just created and left to live some days in this world and suffer for nothing. But, they are created to pass all the difficulties to reach the perfection that they deserve.

 

 

That is why a believer rarely loses hope and even if gets disappointed, knows that he/she has a God who has promised to help him/her: “you who have faith, if you support Allah, He will support you” (47:7); “Whoever is wary of Allah, He shall make for him a way out [of the adversities of the world and the Hereafter]” (65:2). The opposite view on this matter is that life evolved spontaneously. This implies that there is no wisdom or goal behind the actual and future happenings, and this can be stressful by itself.

 

 

As stated earlier, the faith in God is the key to the inner peace. To be efficient, the faith should be practiced and manifested in one’s acts. Here are some practices that increase one’s faith in God and also relieve the stress in Islam.

 

 

stress in Islam, Quran, Salam Islam

 

  • Prayer (Salat) and invocation (Dua)

 

 

The two possible ways to remember God are prayer (Salat) and invocation (Dua). In Surah R’ad it is stated that the hearts find rest in Allah’s remembrance (13:28). Also, God has promised: “Remember Me, and I will remember you” (2:152). The more consciously and concentrated one does the prayer and invocation, the more relief he\she will experience. During prayers, one spends some moments talking to God as the superior infinite power in the universe. This helps to overcome sorrow, just as talking with another person might do.

 

 

  • Reading the Quran and Contemplation

 

 

Reading the Quran and perceiving the divine messages is another practice that brings considerable relief. The caring advises that exist in Quran and that nice feeling of knowing that the creator of the whole universe is mindful of us, are relaxing. It is narrated from Imam Ali (AS) that the cure for the illnesses can be found in the Quran [3]. Also, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has advised reading Quran regularly as it lightens the heart and makes it alive [4].

 

 

  • Fasting in Islam

 

 

Fasting is known to be an anti-stress practice [5]. One of the reasons that one feels stressful and anxious is the lack of determination. He/she often thinks that he/she is not able to ameliorate such a condition, nor can he/she control his/her confusing thoughts. But fasting is a good chance to strengthen one’s character and to change the attitudes and acts.

 

stress in Islam

In addition to spiritual practices mentioned above, some other activities are known in Islam to heal the stress:

 

  • Seeking knowledge

 

Seeking knowledge and wisdom is believed to enlighten the heart and keeps it alive and active. Imam Ali (AS) said: “Surely the hearts get tired just like the bodies, so seek for them new objects of wisdom” [6]. It is encouraged to seek wisdom, for Allah enlivens the dead heart through the light of wisdom just as He enlivens the dead earth through water from the sky [7]. So, one should dedicate some time every day to read or listen to the wisdom that inspires him spiritually.

 

  • Working

 

Idling the days away and almost doing nothing in life are severely blamed in Islam since it is believed to corrupt one’s mind and body [8]. A corrupted mind might tempt to perverted thoughts and imaginations, evil intentions, laziness, etc. that will ruin one’s life in this world and the Hereafter [9]. Imam Sadeq (AS) has strongly disapproved laziness and apathy [10]&[11]. The reason is that these two characteristics hinder one to profit from this world and the Hereafter [10] and cause him to be humiliated by the others [11] which can lead to the isolation of the lazy person and the consequent psychological problems.

 

 

References:

[1]. “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, T. 771.

[2]. “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, T. 2839.

[3]. “Nahj al-Balagha”, p. 223, no. 158.

[4]. H. al-Bahrani,“Al-Burhan fi tafsir al-Quran”, vol. 1, p. 19.

[5]. M. Reyshahri, "Mizan al-Hikma," T. 10671".

[6]. “Nahj al-Balagha”, No. 197.

[7]. www.al-islam.org

[8]. Al-Shaykh al-Mufid, "Al-Irshad", vol. 1, p. 298.

[9]. “Tuhaf al-Uqul”, p. 300.

[10]. M. al-Kulaynī, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 5, p. 85.

[11]. “Tuhaf al-Uqul”, p. 304.