Muslims And Mental/Emotional Issues

24 10 2007

 Muslims are not exempt from suffering with mental and emotional problems. There, I said it. I am not saying that most Muslims have these issues and I am not saying that the majority of Muslims have these issues. Indeed, millions of people world wide suffer from this illness. But, it seems, that somewhere along the line it has become taboo for a Muslim  to admit it. 

Aliyah grew up in Muslim family. She was constantly being pushed to make the best grades and her parent’s would lash out when she failed. She was pushed to become a doctor when she wanted to be an interior designer. Yet, She was popular in school and married a good husband. She has beautiful children. However, she constantly battles the feeling that no matter what she does it will never be enough. She slips farther and farther into herself.  Finally, her husband encourages her to get professional help. So she does. She is immediately looked at with pity and the conclusion is immediately reached that it must be her religion that has her in such a state. After all, isn’t she oppressed? Doesn’t her husband abuse her? Doesn’t her religion teach women that they are inferior?

While Ann grew up in a Non Muslim household. She too was told that she would never be good enough. Her parents pushed her to excel in sports. She had to train constantly and face daily weigh ins. When she lost a match, her parents would detail all the mistakes that she had made. They would tell her that she would never get a scholarship playing so badly and ask how could she lack talent after they had spent so much money on trainers and bought the best equipment. She too, had her dreams put on the back burner. And, like Aliyah, as an adult she suffers from low self esteem. She finally stopped trying all together preferring to lose herself in alcohol. Her friend intervened and encouraged her to visit a therapist. This is where the similarity to Aliyah ends. The therapist did not make comments about Ann’s religion (or lack thereof). Instead, she went to the root of the problem. She asked Ann how she felt and when those feelings had began. She asked Ann what her childhood was like.

Both of these scenarios are real. Though, the names have been changed.

Are the standards of diagnosis and treatment in psychological patients dependant upon whether the patient is a Muslim or a Non Muslim? Sometimes, it seems that way. Again, I am not saying this is the case in all situations. However, I suspect it happens more often than not based on what I have heard.

I think hijab wearing Muslim women experience this even more. When a Muslimah (Muslim woman) suffers from emotional or mental issues people often assume it is because of her religion, Islam. People may look at her with pity and say things like, “Oh, well no wonder sweetie! I feel so sorry for you. I know your religion degrades women. Thank God, I’m not part of that. Well, just come on over to our way of life and everything will be ok.” This is utter nonsense. I’m no psychologist but I do know this much. It is this type of attitude that leads Muslim women to keep their feelings to themselves and try to deal with it on their own. Really, can you blame them? Who would want to sit and listen to someone make assumptions about you based on ignorant misconceptions regarding your religion?

On the other hand, Muslims can be so concerned with da’wah (calling to Islam) that they want to give  the impression that all Muslims are perfect.  They want to make it seem like we have no “deficiencies.”  Well, we are humans and we have problems too. If a Muslim  has a heart defect his or her brothers and sisters will eagerly tell him or her to rush to the doctor. However, when it is a mental/emotional illness he/she is often told, “Be patient! All you need is the Qur’an.”   Yes, in the Qur’an and Hadith is the answer but really can you criticize your Muslim brother or sister for visiting a doctor due to severe depression, anxiety, etc?  No, doctors can not solve everything. But did  you know that in some cases of depression and mental disorders the cause is hormonal imbalance? Sometimes, medication is required to balance the hormone levels. To do this, one must see a doctor.  Yet, unfortunately, we still see Muslims criticizing each other for visiting a doctor for mental/emotional issues. Is this Islamic? According to my understanding, no.  We know that Allah says that the Qur’an is a healing. We also know from Islam that every disease that Allah created He also created the cure.  So, for Muslims we need to make dua, we need to read the Qur’an and learn our religion. Insh’Allah this will help us to overcome grief, depression, and anxiety. However, we shouldn’t look down upon people who do need to see a doctor.

Some options for Muslims could be: See a Muslim therapist or doctor, try to reach out to your friends and family for support, or even make an appointment to talk to the imam of your local masjid.

It is narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: No person who suffers any anxiety or grief and says:

Allaahumma ‘innee ‘abduka, ibnu ‘abdika, ibnu ‘amatika, naasiyatee biyadika, maadhin fiyya hukmuka, ‘adlun fiyya qadhaa’uka, ‘as’aluka bikulli ismin huwa laka, sammayta bihi nafsaka, ‘aw ‘anzaltahu fee kitaabika, ‘aw ‘allamtahu ‘ahadan min khalqika, ‘awista’tharta bihi fee ‘ilmil-ghaybi ‘indaka, ‘an taj’alal-Qur’aana rabee’a qalbee, wa noora sadree, wa jalaa’a huznee, wa thahaaba hammee .

O Allah, I am Your slave and the son of Your male slave and the son of your female slave . My forehead is in Your Hand (i.e. you have control over me) . Your Judgment upon me is assured and Your Decree concerning me is just . I ask You by every Name that You have named Yourself with , revealed in Your Book , taught any one of Your creation or kept unto Yourself in the knowledge of the unseen that is with You , to make the Qur’an the spring of my heart, and the light of my chest, the banisher of my sadness and the reliever of my distress.

Except that Allah will take away their sorrow and grief and give them in their stead joy. The Companions then asked the Prophet “Should we learn this dua?” He (pbuh) said: “Yes, whoever hears it should learn it.”

Reference: Ahmad 1/391, Tabaarni and Al-Albani graded it authentic.

An Excellent powerpoint presentation on Anxiety and Depression and the Islamic Treatment (By A Muslim doctor):

http://www.sunnahfollowers.net/ppt/ali/Depression+Anxiety_files/frame.htm

 

 

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19 responses

24 10 2007
UmAbdurrahman, "Blanca"

Mash’Allah, what a strong entry.

Jazak Allahu Khair for posting this. Insh’Allah, your readers will benefit from this. No matter if the problem is big or small Allah is our comfort, our strength and answer.

Ameen

:)

24 10 2007
Unique Muslimah

Barak Allah Feeky sis

25 10 2007
ummali

Asalam Alaikum
This blog meant alot to me. I am a Muslim women with depression and anxiety. I was so nervous about seeking help.

I have two issues that I was dealing with. One the Arab mentality that its all in your head. My husband is a great guy, but he doesn’t really believe in depression as a disease. Alot of Arabs are the same. So he has not been so supportive though all this.

The second was finding a therapist that would look at me as a person with depression not a person who was oppressed.

Alhumdillah I was able to find someone that looks past my faith. I was also put on meds.

When my husband seen the change he started to believe. When ever I am having a bad day he will tell me to go see my therapist lol. He trys, but he just doesn’t’ t know what to do.

And yes we as Muslims sometimes seem to try and be perfect to non Muslims eyes. But to a certain existent we almost have to. When I am having a bad day and I snap at someone, they don’t see a stressed women who just lost her cool for a minute, they see a violate Muslim women. We have to always be a representative of Islam and Muslim in our every action. But in a way thats can be a good thing, remember Islam is a complete way of life and we have to lead by example. But in some ways, like when you have depression, it can be the downfall.

MashaAllah wonderful post sis.

25 10 2007
Umm Yusuf

Assalaamu Alaikum Sister Umm Ali,

Mash’Allah thank you for sharing your experience. Insh’Allah it will be an inspiration to other sisters who read this. :D

You’re right, especially as Muslim women we are representives for Islam….and it can be a very rewarding experience depending on how we as individuals handle the responsibility.

26 10 2007
amal

asalam alaykum , i have been seeing a muslim counceller on and off about my sadness in life , alhamdullah I feel a lot better and I have been able to let go of the past . Muslim people who have issues , I highly recommend you go and see a muslim counceller rather then a non muslim , non muslim concellers dont understand and really it is as simple as that .
our muslim commuinty is really messed up , We need muslim councellers, it does not have to be a full time job rather do it as a side thing to help others , Inshallah one day when I feel way more stable with myself then what I have achieved I hope to train to be a counceller . Already now I practice listning to peoples problems , although their has been some negative things due to listining to peoples problems , it can make you feel sad , that is why you need to be trained so that you know how not to let it get to you .
The world is full problems , the thing I still can not get is , how do I not let it get to me ?

26 10 2007
amal

ummali- , I just read your comment . so true about the arab mentalitie they do not understand what depression is , in fact they do not understand the meaning of letting go of ones feelings .
sister I have experienced on and off sadness, depression and anxiety , something that would happen to me for a couple of months at a time , after hitting my 20’s I have learnt to deal with issues in a different way , I find spiritualism and letting go of things have helped , right now I am experiencing problems in my life , but for the first time in my life , my problem has not shattered me to tears …I see that as an achievement for my self .
may allah make you find peace , ask allah , such a simple thing to do …but it works .

29 10 2007
Anonymous

As salamu alaikum Umm Yusuf,

Wonderful post!

13 11 2007
Denice

I suffer from bipolar disorder. I happy that I am on my meds because it is very evident to my husband when I am not. I thank Allah for the wisdom that he gives the doctors and I know that taking my meds are very important and that is nothing to be ashamed of.

1 12 2007
amal

nk-

Yeah know I ran away from home for different reasons , I came back just a few months back and started speaking to the familly I did not realize the damage I caused my siblings , I thought I was loser in their eyes , but they actually loved me and missed , sister I understand how you .
I have been through different issues from you ,It took me a long time to get to were I am now and alhamdullah , I still have to work at it . Fighting feelings of heart ach , I know it is hard , But I just refuse to give up so don’t give up . I was seeing a muslim counceller and alhamdullah she helped me ALOT with my issues . I am a better person simpley because I did not give up. So don’t give up.
Do not expect for some miracle to happen you have to work at it at snail pace . Honey you dont have to live like that and feel like that , I proved it to my self when I finally realized I have self value , i proved it to my self , when I finally accepted that if I can not have something something else will come my way which is much better .

That guy was not meant for you , and another prince charming will come your way believe that . email me if you want
amalhassan85@googlemail.com

if you ever want to talk about things.

1 12 2007
Umm Yusuf

Assalaamu Alaikum Sister,

I’m sorry that this has happend to you. May Allah make it easy for you. ameen.

If you would like to talk to a scholar about this you may want to visit http://www.sunnahfollowers.net.

2 12 2007
Umm Yusuf

Assalaamu Alaikum Dearest Sister,

Sister, Please know that even though you feel alone you are not. You have many Muslims here insh’Allah who are reading your words and making dua for you.

Insh’Allah, I encourage you to read this Post: http://southernmuslimah.wordpress.com/2007/10/22/hardships-benefit-the-believer-why-muslims-dont-sweat-it/

Perhaps it will help to bring you solace.

May Allah guide you and bless you always. ameen

2 12 2007
amal

nk- asalam alaykum

I live in the Uk as well , I got that from your post because you said Gcse’s.

Contact me inshallah I can help you to get help .

A lot of what your feeling at the moment seems due to despairing

will I ever find another hawkins? , offcourse you will ! even better then him, But you need to start believing . Despairing is the cause of your sadness. Dont think about finding love , trust me that is not a solution at the moment . You need to get better so that inshallah your stable in the head to marry the right man . You need to start letting go of hawkins . Accepting that he was not in your destiny and that allah will give you someone so much better , that you will not even imagine .

Another thing the reason why your so sad about hawkins , is because he came in your life when you needed someone , he was their he listened to you and helped you . So you got attached and fell in love with him . Which is natrual .

Focus on YOU , get a pen and paper write down what you want to do , and my advice is get an education . Yes you can go back to education their are so many courses out their for people who have been out of education for a while .

Second thing about getting better , yes you can . Focus on becoming a better person , you defintly need to see a muslim counceller . So you can talk out each issue one by one . Like your familly and your pain with your sisters leaving . I can only tell you what I did to become better . but a counceller will do excercises with you that really helped me .

Third most important of all , you can go on forever talking about all the awful things that has happened to you , but do you want to talk about it to let of steam ? or do you want to talk about to make it better ?

Inshallah I am hoping you want to talk about it to become a stronger wiser person inshallah . Do not allow your self to be attached to pain .It really is in your hands , allah helps those who help themselves .

may allah show you the way ameen .

Do not despair!

2 12 2007
Umm Yusuf

mash’Allah great response Amal….very well written!

3 12 2007
amal

umm yusuf- inshallah in the future I want to be a counceller and go in to pshycology pray for me inshallah that I get their , because the muslim commuinty needs help !

nk – When I say counceller , you really need muslim counceller , she will understand your situation better , she will guide you to allah , non muslim counceller can only help you so much . Muslim counceller will understand your cultural background, she will also help you spiritually which is what you really need .
Y ou have not felt that closeness to allah that is why your saying what your saying , you have despaired before even trying with allah . Do you think allah creats for you to suffer ? no offcourse not allah created you so you know him and get close to him .
Don’t try to understand why some people are guided and misguided , allah chooses who he wants . I went through a phase were I was depresed about my parents not being proper muslims , I was crying about the fact that if they died in their state then they may enter the fire . But i realized thats silly, number one their not dead yet , so their is a big chance , I realized me being a strong person , and asking allah to give me the wisdom to deal with them and show them the way . Allah may have mercy on them and guide them .

So you do not know that allah may guide hawkins and your sister , maybe not now , maybe in ten years , every one has their time . Their have been people that you see and look at them and never once would you have thought that they would become muslim . but allah guided them subanallah.

Really Naima it is in your hands , don”t despair . Try writing all your thoughts and sadness to allah , on a piece of paper , that is what I do by the way . It helped me a lot and relieved me alot of my thoughts . Trust allah will answer , what ever you want tell allah .
allah is to YOU what you think he is , so if you think allah has abandoned you then that is what you will get , but if you think that allah has put you through this for a good reason and that he has not abandoned you . Then you will start to see the positive things in the negative . Allah does not put someone through something with out giving you the tools for it , so ask allah to open your eyes to your tools. Every one has inner strengths its their within you , you need to find it .

I am going to stop typing now , please don’t give up on islam really it is the best thing you can ever have that special relationship with allah is an amazing thing . Ask allah to guide them . What you are saying now is all your emotional turmoil that your feeling . Do not try to understand why it will only make you insane . Focus on you , start praying sincerly . If you want go in a quite corner and speak to allah out loud , as if your speaking to someone . Try that inshallah it should relieve you .

walkum wasalam

13 03 2008
Mehreen

Asalam alaykum, i am in trouble and need some advice. I am in love with someone in my class at school but i know that it is wrong. Please help me to get over this problem because that and other emotional problems are nudging me to the point that i do wish to commit suicide, i know that these feelings are wrong, please help me

13 03 2008
Umm Yusuf

Wa Alaikum As Salaam Warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu,

First, I am not a person of knowledge or a counselor. I suggest you speak with the imam in your community. Explain everything to him and insh’Allah he can give you advice. I feel for you and I pray that things will get better. May Allah make it easy for you! ameen. Remember, we all make mistakes and we are all human. Try to do things that minimize the attraction such as lowering your gaze and not being in contact with that person. Devote more of your time to worship and learning Islam. We are always going up and down in our faith and our emotions. So, don’t lose hope!!! You can make it through this, insh’Allah!

This is very important, do not commit suicide under any circumstances. Suicide is a horrible thing in Islam and will not solve anything. If you kill yourself you then face the trials of the grave which are so terrible that even the Prophet (saw) made dua after prayer to save him from the trials of the grave! To listen more about that visit: http://sunnahfollowers.net/laila/tawheed.htm Scroll down to the Muslim Belief system-Belief in the Hereafter-Death. Also, I encourage you to listen to the other lectures there to help give you hope. Also, join in the live classes offered and you can speak to a person of knowledge directly at http://www.sunnahfollowers.net.

Remember, The Prophet (saw) said: The person who commits suicide will be killing him/herself for eternity with whatever method they used! Subhan’Allah how horrible would that be to feel the pain of taking your own life over and over forever?

Just talk to an imam or maybe even a muslim counselor if you don’t have an imam in your city. And do try to visit http://www.sunnahfollowers.net. We’re currently discussing “Life is a Fitnah” everyday at 2pmEST/7 pmGMT

May Allah ease your burdens, strengthen your faith, and make it easy for you. ameen!

14 03 2008
Mehreen

thank you so much for the advice which i will try to follow, i will try to do everything you asked and hopefully i will be able to get over this predicament,

16 04 2008
Shai

Mashallah, I found this article very interesting.

25 04 2008
UmmKhubayb

Assalamu alaikum ukhti,

I think that everything you have said is unbelievably correct, i’ve been saying this for years- though marsh’Allah you have expressed it more eloquently than i would have. The thing is, even when you speak to people and show them that there are ways through these issues, there is always someone who becomes deeply intimidated by this. It becomes tiresome, but this is the reason people suffer in silence. Jazakallah khair for sharing sis.

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