Mental health has come under much focus in the past few years. As science has progressed and medical advances have made many diseases like tuberculosis, hepatitis, and malaria outdated, the focus has shifted to psychological disorders.
Research indicates that in 2017 around 792 million people were suffering from at least one type of mental disorder. That accounts for 10.7% of the global population. The number of people facing mental health problems is even higher post-pandemic. In the US alone, 21% of all adults reported experiencing mental health issues.
Mental Health in Islam
The teachings and practices within Islam are aimed at optimizing the human experience. There is guidance on everything for the believers, from eating habits to the distribution of inheritance, to name just a few.
In Islam, the human body is considered a sacred trust. This is why we Muslims are instructed to care for it through appropriate nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Well-being does not just include physical health but also mental health. After all, the two are intrinsically linked together. Physical ailments, especially chronic ones, can lead to mental distress. Similarly, having a mental disorder can lead to negligence of physical needs.
Islam also differentiates between the body and the soul. Though both are deeply connected, the needs and requirements of the soul are distinct from that of the body. Peace, fulfilment, and success, among other components, are necessary to satisfy the soul. Islamic principles are geared towards the fulfilment of these spiritual needs.
Mental health, as a result, is of immense importance in Islam. It is integral to well-being and must be prioritized.
Tips From Quran to Improve Mental Health
The Holy Quran was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) over fourteen hundred years ago. Despite this, the book remains a source of Divine guidance for Muslims no matter where they are in the world.
Understanding the Holy Book is not an easy task. It holds many mysteries even now. Yet it is a source of inspiration and guidance for the entire Muslim population. It is no wonder, that the Quran has in its wisdom to improve and preserve mental health.
Here are eight tips from the Quran to help improve mental health:
Knowledge of Mental Health
It is said that knowledge is power. This is true for improved mental health as well since the first step towards finding a cure is in diagnosing the problem.
Quran, in many verses, makes it clear that humans are prone to mental health problems. In one verse of Surah Al-Ma’arij, Allah proclaims:
“Surely man was created most fretful” [70:19]
This short verse indicates that psychological issues are very part of being human. It is an aspect of human nature.
Accepting Allah’s All-Powerful Nature
The Holy Quran begins with the following lines:
“In the name of Allah-the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful” [1:1]
Not only does the verse highlight Allah’s immense power, but the attributes that it speaks of His Mercy and Compassion.
Many people suffer from mental health problems because they feel lonely and ignored. Unable to find connections and meaning in life.
Our belief in the All-Mighty and His Mercy is enough to make us feel better. Worldly rejection and failures will not affect us much if we follow Allah’s commands.
The belief that He is our ultimate judge will make us less fixated on the opinions of others and worldly failures.
Additionally, He is, above all, Compassionate and will help us through difficult times. Allah wants His servants to succeed.
Prayer And Supplication
Prayer is a powerful tool to combat negative feelings. Many studies indicate that those with spiritual leanings tend to maintain good mental health.This may be because turning to a higher power makes us less anxious as we give up the need to control everything in our life. Sometimes we need destiny to guide us.
Quran is full of meaningful prayers and supplications that can help us no matter the circumstances. Aside from the five obligatory daily prayers, incorporating Quranic verses and reciting ones that reflect our situation is a great tip for improving mental health.
Seeking Guidance In Times Of Need
Allah says, He is closer to us than our jugular, and He knows what is in our hearts. It makes sense to seek guidance from Allah.Making decisions daily is extremely stressful. We can mitigate the anxiety a little by leaving certain things to Allah.
The Quran has wonderful supplications that can be recited to seek Allah’s protection and guidance. The Dua of Istikhara is one of the best examples of such a supplication. Reciting it eases the mind and helps us accept the outcome no matter what it may be.
Examples In The Quran
The Quran is not just full of commandments and guidance. It not only lists our duties and responsibilities as Muslims but also relates the life stories of Allah’s Messengers (RA).
The Quran contains examples of Allah’s chosen people making it through adversity. The Holy Book details the life story of Prophet Yusuf (AS), who was left for dead by his brothers, sold into slavery, imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, and tested by Allah repeatedly.
Similarly, the Quran recounts stories of everyone from Prophet Adam (AS) to Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and even Hazrat Mariyum (RA). These narratives show us how we are not alone or unique in our suffering. It also teaches us that no matter how hard times may get, help from Allah is never far away.
Allah in the Quran commands Muslims to practice moderation. A balanced life does not mean one extreme or another. Some people suffer mental stress because they cannot balance their work life and home life.
Islam preaches moderation as it is most consistent with human nature. A balanced lifestyle is the best. It is the state in which humans can thrive the most since extremes are hard to manage and maintain.
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One thing that genuinely helps with improved mental health is helping others. Selflessness and caring for others fulfil the need to see ourselves as productive individuals.
Helping others has a positive impact on our social life as well, which in turn leads to better mental health as well. There are many ways we can help those around us.
The Quran provides plenty of guidance in this regard. We can help others through material things, like by giving obligatory alms or Zakat. We can also help others by showing compassion. Even a smile or a word of encouragement in Islam is considered charity.
Part Of Life
One key lesson that the Quran teaches us is that issues, be those related to physical health, mental health, finances, relationships, or any other aspect of life, are from Allah. These are part of life and part of the human experience.
Even someone like the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) was not immune to the adverse impact of such problems. He suffered many setbacks and problems. To the point that the Holy Prophet (SAWW) developed suicidal ideation. However, he found the strength with the help from Allah to continue on his mission and succeed.
Mental health problems are just like any other aspect of life. It must be dealt with as such through constant work and prayer.
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It is necessary, no matter who you are, that mental and physical well-being is a priority. As Muslims, we are encouraged to optimize our health since the body and the soul are gifts from Allah Almighty.
It is not self-indulgent or forbidden to care for oneself. Islam provides much guidance as to how to deal with problems and including mental health issues.
Still, if a person needs to seek professional help, it is highly recommended. It is best to go to an expert and get help if things do not improve.