you know what’s really weird? the fact that you’ll never actually be able to see yourself in real life. like you can see yourself in mirrors and reflections but you’ll never in your life see what you really look like.
Sometimes it feels like it’s just too much – these fluctuations in our iman, the repeated sinning, the feeling that “I just don’t deserve Allah’s mercy.” The tests always feel like punishments. There is a constant worry about the future: my marriage, my money, my career, my Ummah… And some difficulties just feel like they are too great to overcome. We know we’re not supposed to ask this, but the question at the back of our minds is, “Why me?”
We have all heard that we should never despair of Allah’s Mercy. And on the surface, we try not to, but Shaytaan (the Devil) has a trick. We tend to despair of ourselves and our incapacity to change things, especially the inner turmoil that we feel. And the effect of this is basically the same as despairing of Allah’s mercy. We do not always accept that Allah can take us out of the situation we are in and we don’t need to ‘deserve’ the trouble; Allah isn’t punishing us and we don’t need to be perfect.
This doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t strive, or take ourselves to account when we do mess up. The key is to develop our relationship with Allah during that trouble. If we know Allah, no situation is too hopeless. No sadness is ever permanent. We perceive trials as they are meant to be perceived – as tests of our trust in Allah, forcing us to put our knowledge into practice and bringing us closer to Him. These trials could potentially be a punishment too, that is if we let it affect us negatively by completely turning away from Him because of our sadness. But our awareness of our own state and our understanding of Allah’s Mercy allows us to turn the punishment into something positive that is manifested through repentance to Allah, alongside increasing in hasanat (good deeds) in order to erase the bad deeds.
The first exercise is for us to consciously realize that Allah knows. Whatever grief we go through, whatever hardship we endure, we must understand that we are never alone. Even if we feel abandoned by the world and those closest to us, Allah is there. He reminds us in the Qur’an,
“Fear not. Indeed, I am with you [both]; I hear and I see.” (20:46)
As long as we begin by recognizing that Allah is with us and He is close to us, there remains a solution to our inner worries. There are things we need to know in order to develop our relationship with Allah. Then there are things we need to do in order to maintain that closeness to Allah. And finally, there are things we need to aspire for to achieve the ideal relationship with our Lord. We pray that by the end of the series, we will all have developed a stronger relationship with Allah.
Note: some of us suffer from clinical depression or similar medical conditions, and this needs to be dealt with by a professional. Working on our relationship with Allah no doubt helps, but sometimes more than a spiritual fix may be needed.
“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said, ‘When is the help of Allah?’ Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.”—Quran 2:214
“Sometimes people hurt more than they can handle… And sometimes they don’t know how to ask for help. They’re so caught up in their own pain, they end up hurting everyone around them.”—Rebecca Donovan, Barely Breathing
Aslm. There is a dua that I posted on my other blog (the72sects) recently to be read in times of difficulty. It has helped me tremendously, Alhamdulillah. If you haven't seen it already, perhaps it will be helpful for you too, Insha-Allah.
Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullah! You don't have to reply to this, but I just wanted to let you know that I truly admire your courage. I have no idea what you might be going through, but your strength is inspiring. May Allah (swt) ease your difficulties. Stay strong!
I disagree that it is an illness, but I agree that it is a very real mental state. The difference is huge, and the path towards healing is vastly different between the two perspectives. Therapy is only ever an intervention strategy, not a cure.
I would beg to differ, I’m sorry. Depression is most definitely an illness of the mind. Certain events in life can impact a person in such a way that added stress eventually triggers a dysfunctional imbalance on the serotonin neurotransmitter that is used to promote positivity. Once serotonin levels decrease drastically, it is difficult for the brain to function well emotionally. This is thus called an illness because it then becomes something that cannot be controlled without means of medication or therapy.
No, there is no definite cure for depression as it varies person to person and most will experience relapses regardless; however, it is confirmed that a combination of prescribed drugs and behavioral therapy can help ease the victim’s mind into a positive state of tranquility.
I have come to notice that depression remains underrated in certain cases. People often refuse to acknowledge its realistic state of being until a dramatic episode appears, telling its victims they should rather ‘be happy more often’ because there is ‘nothing to worry about’. Quite frankly, as truth be told, it is a severe mental illness, which without professional care, will lead its victims to a destructive downfall. Two paradoxical realities about depression is despite its unimaginable mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical pain, it is survivable, but only when help is sought. Yet, such help is ignorantly considered to be ‘above and beyond’. It is agreeable that thinking positively will offer solace, but such people have chemical imbalances that prevent them from doing so, thus therapy is necessary to shape their mentality.
If our word is not loud enough a cry for help, then perhaps our description can become excruciatingly real through the countless suicide attempts and deaths that bear powerful testimony to our truth.