By Rabiya Fahma Dawood
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Feeling anxious about major things in life is normal and even expected. But experiencing constant anxiety – for things major and minor – is unhealthy for the human mind, body, and soul. Anxiety in such cases can turn out to be a debilitating sickness, where one cannot enjoy even the simplest of things in life without having to worry about ‘what if this’ or ‘what if that’.
If you feel like you are constantly nervous about things or always apprehensive of the future, know two things: first, you are not alone; countless others all over the world share your struggle; they find themselves constantly worrying about how things may turn out if they don’t go according to their plan. And second, there are a myriad of tried-and-tested workable solutions that you can get your hands on. This problem is both manageable and fixable.
In this article, we will focus on the top seven solutions that Islam offers us to treat anxiety.
The number one solution to anxiety lies in our prayers.
“And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive (to Allah)” (Quran, 2:45)
When you feel a million thoughts bombarding your head, lower it to the ground in prostration and feel your worries slip away. And as Allah says, it is difficult save for the submissive. So when you wish to find some peace of mind, unburden your thoughts and lower yourself whole-heartedly in prayer to the Almighty.
“When anything distressed the Prophet (sa), he prayed.” (Abu Dawood; reliable)
It cannot get any easier than this. A sincere supplication – whether it is a supplication taught by the Prophet (sa) against anxiety, or a personal one – will do wonders. Not only will you find relief in pouring your heart out to Allah, you will also take the very first step towards solving your anxiety.
Allah says: “And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me.” (Quran, 2:186)
Supplication is a very real and practical step and should be viewed as no less. Some of the supplications taught by the Prophet (sa) to treat anxiety are as follows:
لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ الْعَظِيمُ الْحَلِيمُ، لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ رَبُّ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ، رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ
Lâ ilâha illâ Allâhu al-‘Adheem, al-Haleem; lâ ilâha illâ Allâhu rabbus-samâwâti wal-ard; rabbul-arshil-adheem
“None has the right to be worshipped but Allah the Incomparably Great, the Compassionate. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, the Lord of the heavens and the earth, the Lord of the Mighty Throne.” (Bukhari)
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَالْحَزَنِ، وَالْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ، وَالْجُبْنِ وَالْبُخْلِ، وَضَلَعِ الدَّيْنِ، وَغَلَبَةِ الرِّجَالِ
Allâhumma inni a‘oodhu bika minal-hammi wal-hazani wal-‘ajzi wal-kasali wal-jubni wal-bukhli wa ḍala‘id-dayni wa ghalabatir-rijâl
“O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts, and from being overpowered by men” (Bukhari)
#3: Seek forgiveness
Seeking forgiveness was one of the tools that the Prophet (sa) used to eradicate his worries. (Muslim)
Take the following story as inspiration:
A man complained to al-Hasan about drought, and he said to him: “Pray to Allah for forgiveness.” Another man complained to him about poverty, and he said to him: “Pray to Allah to forgive you.” Another man said to him: “Pray to Allah to bless me with a child.” He said: “Pray to Allah for forgiveness.” Another complained to him that his garden was dry. He said to him: “Pray to Allah for forgiveness.” We asked him about that and he said: “This is not my personal opinion, for Allah says in Surah Nooh (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord, verily, He is Oft-Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance. And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.”
(Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 18/301-302)
#4: Help others
One of the effective ways to treat anxiety and any other problem in general is to lend a hand to others. The Prophet (sa) said: Allah will help His slave as long as His slave helps his brother. (Muslim)
When we experience distress, we better understand others in distress. We can empathize with them more effectively. So when we wish to alleviate some of their pains, just as we wish for ours to be alleviated, Allah helps us with just that.
#5: Trust Allah’s Plans
Nothing is more relieving than placing our trust in Allah.
When we realize that as our Creator, He alone knows what truly is best for us in our lives, we wouldn’t think twice before leaving all our worries and concerns up to Him.
Remind yourself of the famous verse on trust:
“And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose.” (Quran, 65:3)
#6: Develop hope
The Prophet (sa) said: “For any fatigue, disease, sorrow, sadness, hurt, or distress that befalls a Muslim, even if it is the prick he receives from a thorn, Allah expiates some of his sins.” (Bukhari)
So consider your worries to be the eraser for your record of bad deeds.
#7: Seek a good death
If things get to the worst possible state and you find yourself wishing for death, pause your urgency for a moment and follow the instructions of the Prophet (sa):
“None of you should wish for death due to any affliction which might have affected him. But if he feels compelled to wish for it (due to extreme distress that he feels he cannot bear), he should say: O Allah! Grant me life as long as life is better for me, and let me die when death is better for me.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Rabiya Dawood is a freelance writer, editor, counsellor and teacher. She has taught at Islamic weekend schools based in the UAE, is counsellor at ArRajaa The Hope Counselling Service as well as Solace Islamic Assistance, and staff editor and writer at Islam-based magazines such as Muslimaat Magazine and previously at IOU Insights. She also acts as freelance editor for independent writers.
© IIPH 2016