Many of us have feelings of sadness, despair on a daily basis. This can prevent us from living our normal lives. Actually, Depression becomes a very common problem recently but how can we overcome depression?
Here are 10 ways from an Islamic perspective that can help you to overcome depression.
Smiling may be so simple expression but it is really powerful. Everyone loves the quote “laughter is the best medicine,” and you have probably even experienced the benefits of smiling and laughter. But did you know that the simple act of smiling can boost your mood and even your immune system? Did you know that smiling is one of the habits of Prophet Mohammed peace and blessing upon him?
The Prophet (PBUH) said,
Do not belittle any good deed, even meeting your brother (Muslim) with a cheerful face.” [Hadtih] (1)
Smiling in the Prophetic Sunnah:
Prophet Muhammad was always cheerful and bright-faced. According to historians he always kept smiling in the face of his Companions to the extent that Abdullah ibn Al-Harith ibn Hazm said, “I have never seen anyone who smiles more than the Prophet does.”
Never Lose Hope:
I guess you heard these words from many life coaches and many psychologists. Their advice is beneficial and correct. It helps a lot to overcome sad feelings and depression. Allah Almighty in the Holy Quran says
…and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.” [Qur’an 12:87] (2)
Indeed Allah wants His believer to have a strong faith in Him and to overcome any kind of despair or depression. True Muslim believers trust their God and accept all His actions and Fate whether good or bad. Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said:
Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (God), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it.” [Hadtih] (3)
If you put Allah at the center of your heart, Allah will keep you at His providential care. Sadness may tell you that you must search for Allah. So you must listen to your heart well to overcome depression and keep your heart alive by remembering the Creator. In fact, happiness is in the remembrance of Allah at the time of ease and at the hard times.
So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.” [Qur’an 2:152] (4)
Praying can not only change your mood, it can change your whole life. Muslims have to pray five times a day. Don’t you think that praying can organize the mess inside and outside you? Hudhaifa said that when anything distressed the Prophet he prayed. Nothing is more beautifully satisfying to the soul than praying to God. As in all belief systems, praying is pivotal. However, Islamic praying is unique.
We all know the famous quote of “you are what you eat.” Eating habits can affect your mood. Many pieces of research hint that food may play a role in depression. A 2014 study in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity that used data from the Nurses’ Health study did find an association between depression and a diet rich in sugar-sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, and red meat, says Chocano-Bedoya. Allah Advices us in the Quran
O children of Adam, take your adornment [i.e., wear your clothing] at every masjid and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” [Qur’an 7:31] (5)
Stop Drinking Alcohol and Drink More Water:
Alcohol affects your brain’s natural level of happiness chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. This means that although you’ll feel an initial ‘boost’ the night before, the next day you will be deficient in these same chemicals, which may lead to feeling anxious, down or depressed. In Islam, drinking alcohol is forbidden. Allah says
They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.” And they ask you what they should spend. Say, “The excess [beyond needs].” Thus Allah makes clear to you the verses [of revelation] that you might give thought.” [Qur’an 2: 219] (6)
On the other hand, drinking more pure water can boost your energy and keep your body clean and hydrated. Allah says:
Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and then We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?” [Qur’an 21:30] (7)
Moreover, drinking Zamzam water has many benefits. Many Muslims drink Zamzam water for use either medicinally or religiously. It is a great source of healing many things. It was narrated that Jabir bin ‘Abdullah said:
I heard the Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) say: ‘The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for.’” [Hadith] (8)
Reading Quran has a great influence on your heart, mind and soul of the believers. Unlike any other book in this world, the Qur’an is the book of God sent to all mankind to guide them and heal them. Allah says
And We send down of the Qur’ān that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss.” [Quran 17:82] (9)
It is revealed to get people out of the darkness and guide them to the light.
Invocation of God:
You are facing a problem that makes you so depressed and frustrated. You may run to seek the advice of a doctor or two. You may want to talk to your close friends and ask their opinions. But did you return to God and ask Him to solve your problem whatever it is. Allah can solve all your problems and give you what you want and maybe more than you have ever expected. Allah says:
And when My servants ask you, [O Muḥammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” [Qur’an 2:186] (10)
Moments of repentance are really crucial. It is like opening a new chapter with God and with one’s self. Allah is pleased by the repentance of His slaves. If Allah is happy for your repentance, then what are your feeling and your mood then? Nothing is more satisfying than that. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said,
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah says: ‘I am just as My slave thinks of Me when he remembers Me.’ By Allah! Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than one of you who unexpectedly finds in the desert his lost camel. ‘He who comes closer to Me one span, I come closer to him a cubit; and he who comes closer to Me a cubit, I come closer to him a fathom; and if he comes to Me walking, I come to him running”. [Hadith] (11)
Also, Keep in your mind to simplify matters for you and others and expect good all the time. The Prophet (PBUH) said,
The Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) said, “Make things easy and do not make them difficult, cheer the people up by conveying glad tidings to them and do not repulse (them).” [Hadith] (12)
To conclude, being closer to God is the greatest blessing ever. Knowing the Creator is the healing of all kinds of pain. In fact, submitting to His orders at the time of ease or the time of hardships is the main purpose of this life.
Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.” [Quran 6:162] (13)
Isn’t it time to overcome depression by being a Muslim?