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Mental Health

Mental health

This is a long post and it is purely from an Islamic perspective. I am going to write it so my non Muslim friends understand it as they seem to take more note.

So many people are suffering at the moment is silence when they should not be. People fear getting judged or the "Muslim" idiot saying to their following Muslim, "get over yourself", "you are not religious enough", "your not praying enough". If someone says these things to you, I suggest you tell them to f off as Islam has nothing to do with religion, mental health has nothing to do with how much or how little you pray. The best of mankind went through the worst of depression, they prayed, they fasted so why did they go through it? If these "Muslims" were to study my beautiful way of life, they would be enlightened but perhaps they do not study it as they are afraid of the truth and this will lead them to mental health issues exposing the true monsters they are. I know I am at high risk of mental health due to the trauma I see, but I have my preventative medicine in place. If a Believer reading this feels I have put out incorrect statements or advice, I am welcome to be corrected.

Every strand of our social, intellectual, and emotional life returns to our spiritual purpose: to serve God, our Lord the Most High. When it comes to improving our mental health and well being, our Deen (way of life) readily provides us with the frameworks that we need. God has blessed those who believe in Him with a fundamental sense of purpose, focus, and aspiration, whereas those without faith wander aimlessly about the Earth without direction. Out of His Grace, God has blessed us with divine guidance in the form of the Qur’an (Revelations from God) and Sunnah (Prophetic sayings and way of life of the Prophet (SAW). These two sources contain within them every piece of advice, inspiration, and instruction we need to live a truly fulfilled life, including sciences and every aspect of medicine.

The trouble arises when we misunderstand the nature of life. Anyone walking the streets today, browsing social media, or overhearing mundane conversations could assume that our purpose in this world is to attain as much pleasure and gratification as possible. We measure our happiness according to arbitrary material gain. We only allow ourselves to feel happy once we have enough money to go on that luxury holiday, or buy the house of our dreams, or have perfect children.

Here’s the thing: life is not perfect, nor was it ever supposed to be. This unjust narrative is one that is burdening us with compounding pressure and negatively affecting our mental health.

Life was created to test who from amongst us, the creation of God, would be most excellent in deeds. In light of this, we face cyclical seasons of joy, heartbreak, success, depression, loss, and joy once more. Through each of these times, we must strive to emerge with as much excellence as we can muster. When we focus on our spirituality, we begin to understand that inner peace can be found in times of both hardship and ease alike. Our spiritual self helps us to recalibrate and find a sense of balance amidst the extreme highs and lows we face. In our way of life, we are given every tool we require to navigate every possible situation or feeling that may befall us.

Do not underestimate yourself: Too often, our patterns of thought become detrimental to our mental health. We think that our problems are too devastating, too big, and just too difficult. With every waking day, we feel heavier and smaller in the face of our pain. God reassures us in the Qur’an, "Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear".

As Believers in the Oneness, we believe that we have the inherent ability to overcome every struggle we face, regardless of whether this struggle is mental, physical, or spiritual. We should not lead ourselves into a trap of unending negative thoughts that leave us feeling defeated and victimised. We rise to the challenge and remind ourselves that we are stronger than we think. We are empowered by this belief. We take every possible step needed to recover. God knows what we are capable of overcoming, and we must maintain the belief that we can overcome any obstacle we find on our path. We can sign up to talk therapies, counselling, or speak to our GPs but personally I do not recommend that route as it is asking for trouble. Their option is take a bunch of SSRI's fully loaded with flouride causing maximum damage to your health but more importantly your spiritual health. Spiritual health is essential for connecting with Higher Powers. "Muslims" consider this is the main reason why people with mental health want to give up, cannot pray and are not religious enough for you. Their spiritual gland also known as the pineal gland which is the part of the forehead they place on the ground has been blocked, calcified.

The value of struggles: Every single prophet who walked this Earth faced the most intense pain, turmoil, and difficulties. Yet they were the most excellent in heart, character, and deed. They suffered the most, yet at the same time accomplished the most. When we are suffering, we must try to remember that this is a sign of God wanting good for us. Through the pain we feel, we are elevated in rank before God, and our sins fall away. Sa’d ibn Abī Waqqās reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, which people are tested most severely?” The Messenger of God (SAW) said: "They are the prophets, then the best (of people) who are next, then the best (of people) who are next. A man is put to trial according to his religion. If he is firm in his religion, his trials will be more severe. If he is weak in his religion, he is put to trial according to his strength in religion. The servant will continue to be put to trial until he is left walking upon the Earth without any sin".

In another narration that highlights that our distress is a means of expiation, the Prophet (SAW) said: “No misfortune or disease befalls a Muslim, no worry or grief or harm or distress – not even a thorn that pricks him – but Allah will expiate for him some of his sins because of that".

Prophet Jacob (AS) was a great prophet who faced severe emotional pain after losing his son Joseph (AS). His sorrow was so intense that he went blind after weeping so much. Through decades of unshifting grief, he did not lose hope. He believed unwaveringly that God’s plan for him and his family was greater. He did not complain or protest through this test, but instead turned to God, the only One who could truly understand him and help him: “He (Jacob) said, ‘I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah, and I know from Allah that which you do not know".

Our struggles ARE valuable. The pain we endure can sometimes be a gift that blesses us with closeness to God. During times of ease, many of us can become negligent and ungrateful of the blessings of God. Once we get through painful times, we start to realise that God is the One who truly provides for us, sustains us, and protects us. We seek the professional help we need, but our hearts are attached to God, as He is the only One we truly require: “Is He (not best) Who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the Earth? Is there a deity with God? Little do you remember".

Hardship is a sign of ease: A principle we derive from Qur’anic stories is that things usually get a lot more difficult before relief finally comes. It is usually once we hit rock bottom that we start to notice a shift in events. It may not seem like it, but this principle is actually one of hope. If things are progressively getting more difficult for you, it is a sign that ease is just around the corner, so do not give up.

As if things weren’t already difficult enough for Jacob (AS) after losing his son Joseph, then losing his sight, he then loses his second most beloved son, Benjamin. For many of us, after a lifetime of sorrow, this would have been the final straw. In the eyes of Jacob (AS), this was a sign that instilled great hope in him: “O my sons, go and find out about Yusuf and his brother and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people".

Jacob (AS) understood that this increase in difficulty meant that ease was very near. He was proven correct, and he was soon reunited with both Joseph (AS) and Benjamin, and regained his sight. It is often in times of extreme difficulty that God sends His help. It is often when a situation becomes unbearable and you do not see any light that God will then open the doors of His mercy, blessings, and grace for you.

Ease will definitely come: We are never left in a state of perpetual suffering. Ease always comes, especially to those who make a conscious effort to please God and stay away from things that displease Him. When speaking about the people who are conscious of Him, God says: Whoever fears God: He will make a way out (for him). Will provide for him from where he does not expect. Whoever relies upon God, He is sufficient for him. Indeed, God will accomplish His purpose. God has already set for everything a (decreed) extent.

Mental health struggles can be especially difficult to work through. This is because it can be difficult to explain to others the true extent of your suffering and how it affects your daily life. In order to get better, you first must want recovery more than anything. You need to make a daily effort to fight through your unnerving thoughts and sensations, and make recovery your priority. Once you take this step, things will slowly begin to get easier.

By no means are you alone in your pain. Seek the support from people with integrity and non judgemental. Be pro-active and remain consistent in getting help, with your focus set on feeling that ease set into your life. Turn to God daily and express what you need. Ask Him what it is you wish for, and truly confide in Him: "Your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you".

***Seek help in patience and salaah (connecting with the Oneness): As a primary step, it is important that you seek help from the correct professionals. These professionals have undergone rigorous training and have a wealth of knowledge, experience, and insight that can help you out of your pain and onto a path of hope. Once you have taken this key step in the direction of your recovery, it is important that you still remain sensitive to the state of your heart. God says: “Seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive (to Allah), who are certain that they will meet their Lord and that they will return to Him".

Patience is one of the most virtuous qualities we can uphold. To be patient is not to be passive or helpless. While in a state of patience, we are hopeful and proactive as believers. The Prophet (SAW) said: "Adhere to that which is beneficial for you, keep asking Allah for help, and do not feel helpless".

Additionally, the act of patience is so great in the eyes of God that its reward is without limit. It is reported that Sulayman Ibn Qasim said: “The reward of every action is known, except for patience. Allah said: ‘Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account".

In conclusion: Living in a world that seems to be fundamentally opposed to our values, beliefs, and practices can confuse our sense of identity. Our mental health can suffer greatly if we constantly feel pulled between our religion and the vices that surround us. Our personal and work lives can also be a source of unrest at times. Life in general can weigh heavy upon us, and we can lighten this load with the frequent remembrance of God. Al-Ghazali writes: "If mental agitation is not stilled by this tranquiliser (i.e. salaah), the only recourse is a purgative that will strike at the deep roots of the malady. That is to say, one must examine the distractions that prevent the attainment of inner serenity".

Al-Ghazali further explains that our mental agitation ultimately stems from our pressing concerns and desires. A detox from social media, harmful environments, and tempting situations can help us to improve not only our mental health, but also our emaan (faith).

Let us take a step away from all the noise. Let us go towards professionals who will help us, and most important of all, God. The Messenger of Allah (SAW)) said, “The supplication of the distressed is this: O Allah, I hope in Your Mercy. Do not abandon me to myself, not even for a moment, and take care of all my affairs. There is no God but You".

***Important note: seek help in patience and salaah is not something you will be able to do if you are drugged up with mental health medication as it blocks your spiritual brain as well as your libido both of which are essential in getting over mental health "conditions", this is my opinion that I will strongly stick by.

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