There’s a false misconception that Muslims can’t be depressed because of their belief in God. Some may also falsely think that suffering with depression can equate to you being a bad Muslim.
The truth is, people have been suffering from the beginning of time. Whether you are a rich man or poor man, it doesn’t matter. Even in the Quran, the Prophet’s of Allah faced their own hardships.
Prophet Yusuf was thrown into a well and left to die by the hand of his own brother, and later on suffered through a 7 year drought. Prophet Yunus thought he was left for dead when he entered the belly of the whale.
No-one has an easy life, and everyone faces their own issues. Why? Because this Dunya is built on tribulation.
It’s easy to focus on the negative and the things that bring us grief, hurt and pain. However, it can be easy to overlook the ways in which Allah’s mercy works.
O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers.10:57
There is a reason the Quran was revealed as the healer of hearts.
This isn’t reference to physical disease, but rather the complex feelings and emotion that reside at the centre of our hearts.
Despite the hardships of the Prophets & the people in the Quran, those that remained steadfast in their faith were triumphant.
This is not to sugar coat the feelings of anxiety, pain, sadness and depression. Depression feels like you’re trapped in the deepest depths of the ocean, desperate to surface for air and light but at the same time, immobilised and unable to move. You feel everything, yet nothing at the same time. Depression makes you feel far away from Allah, however this is exactly why we must remember Allah during our darkest times.
Despite being underwater, Allah hasn’t forgotten us and we should take comfort in the fact that He is always with us. Whilst it can feel like the pain will last forever, we must remember that this feeling is temporary in our timeline from now till the end of the universe. We cannot know everything that He knows; verily, Allah is the best of planners, so we must trust in His Qadr, and this will help us through our lowest moments.
The test of Dunya
We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false.29:2-3
Allah has tested believers before, and He will continue to do so. The more righteous a believer is, the more likely they will be tested.
Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas, may Allah be pleased with him, once asked, “O Messenger of Allah, which of the people are most sorely tested?”
The Prophet ﷺ said: “The Prophets, then the next best and the next best. A man will be tested in accordance with his level of religious commitment. If his religious commitment is strong, he will be tested more severely, and if his religious commitment is weak, he will be tested in accordance with his religious commitment. Calamity will keep befalling a person until he walks on the earth with no sin on him.”
It’s hard for us to differentiate between the test of the Dunya and punishment. Instead of seeing our pain and suffering as temporary, we wonder what we did to deserve such sadness, and if Allah loves us then why do we suffer so much?
Shaitaan loves this train of thought, as this is how he plants seeds of doubt and drives us further away from our Deen. However, when we feel hopeless, lost and alone, it’s important we hold onto our Deen, as it is the only thing that tethers us in this life.
Surah Al Duha
Surah Al Duha is just one example of Allah’s message to those suffering. ‘Al Duha’ directly translates to ‘The morning brightness.’ This Surah was revealed to the Prophet (pbuh) after he went 6 months without any revelations or visits from the Angel Jibreel. The Prophet (pbuh) felt low, like he wasn’t worthy of being the Prophet of Allah, and felt he had been abandoned. Allah addresses him in this Surah with the following:
“By the brightness of the mid morning, by the nights darkness. Your Lord hasn’t deserted you, nor is he displeased with you. Your future will be better than the past. And your Lord will give you so much that you will be well-pleased.
“Remember those who are in hardship as it will make you grateful, give you perspective & allow you to recognise your blessings, even in hard times. Didn’t he find you orphan and shelter you? didn’t he find you in absorbed love, and guide you? And didn’t he find you needy and made you prosperous? So, don’t be harsh with the orphan, nor chase away the beggar, and speak positively about the gifts from your lord.”
This Surah is for all of those who may be struggling with depression & their iman to recognise the blessings that we have in our own lives, no matter how small.
Depression isn’t something that just disappears; many fight their whole lives and fail to beat the negative feelings that bring them down. What’s important here isn’t ‘curing’ oneself, but how you combat the feeling. Remaining steadfast, finding the blessings (no matter how small they may be) and having sabr will keep you close to Allah during these tough times.
“Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our protector.” And in Allah let the believers put their trust.”9:51