By Amina Salau
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
No human is immune from being unhappy, and being a Muslim does not exempt a person from being sad and unhappy. If anything, a Muslim should accept that the way the dunya (world) is set up, we are going to experience events that make us happy as well as those which make us sad. So what should Muslims do when they find themselves in a bout of sadness? Here are five tips:
Make dua (supplication)
Most people experience unhappiness majorly due to dissatisfaction with their present state in life. Low self-esteem and feelings of underachievement are just some of the things that bring unhappiness. Even seemingly minor things can cause us to feel dejected and hopeless. The most important cure for unhappiness for a Muslim is to make dua.
Ask Allah (swt) to take away the feelings of hopelessness and unhappiness that have enveloped you and replace them with contentment, happiness, and an increase in iman (faith). We should specifically ask for these three things because they are antidotes to that feeling of hopelessness that comes with being unhappy.
A prayer against sadness from the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa) is to say:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَالْحَزَنِ وَالْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ وَالْبُخْلِ وَضَلَعِ الدَّيْنِ وَغَلَبَةِ الرِّجَالِ
“Allaahumma inni a‘oodhu bika minal-hammi wal-ḥazani wal-‘ajzi wal-kasali wal-bukhli wa dala‘id-dain wa ghalabatir-rijaal.
(O Allah, I seek refuge in You from sadness, grief, helplessness, laziness, being stingy, overwhelming debt, and the overpowering of men.)” (at-Tirmidhi; graded sound by al-Albani)
Read and listen to the Qur’an
Words of Allah (swt) are more soothing to the heart than any music or poetry will ever be. With it comes a feeling of connecting with Allah (swt) and taking solace in His words has the power to calm our worries and unhappiness.
We should recite or listen to the Qur’an as a part of our daily lives, but even more so when we are feeling down, unhappy, and on the verge of losing hope. In it lies our hope for a good life and for a life in Jannah (paradise) that is beyond our imagination.
It’s never easy to tell someone experiencing sadness to stay positive. If they could be positive always, they would not be unhappy. But as humans, our seasons fluctuate. There are moments of sadness and those of happiness. As Muslims, we remain positive by being patient and holding on to the knowledge that whatever unhappiness is enveloping our hearts will never last for long.
We draw our positive strength from remembering that trials befall a Muslim who is beloved to Allah (swt), and that every trial has an end. If we are patient and seek to fill our hearts with positivity whenever we are unhappy, we are hoping to pass a trial given to us by our Creator.
Remember the benefits
The Prophet (sa) said: “For every fatigue, disease, sorrow, sadness, hurt, or distress that befalls a Muslim, even if it is the prick of a thorn, Allah expiates some of his (or her) sins for that.” (Bukhari)
Like I said, it’s hard to remain positive or see any good in the face of unhappiness. But the above hadith proves that there is benefit in sadness. It is an avenue to have our sins forgiven and also to reflect on our lives, listen to the Qur’an, and move closer to Allah.
Pray to Allah (swt) for contentment whenever you feel sad. This is because sometimes, what we are unhappy about is a blessing if we choose to change the way we look at it. Or sometimes, when we are experiencing sadness, we overlook things that can make us happy.
So your friends from high school are now married to the spouses of their dreams, but you are still single. This can be a cause for being unhappy if you choose to let it be. Otherwise, you can focus on the very many blessings of Allah (swt) in your life that several other Muslims are praying to Him for. Our friends and family members may have things that we wish for, but contentment – an antidote to unhappiness – is being happy for what we have, instead of what we don’t.
Amina Salau is a freelance writer who is passionate about women’s issues in Islam
© IIPH 2016