One question has always nagged at me: “If I pray and worship Allah (SWT)[1], why am I still sad?” I wanted to understand how Islam and mental health go hand in hand, and this is what I have discovered.

When studying the Sirah[2] of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH)), it is evident he went through grand hardship. The Year of Sorrow is the most notable year in the Prophet’s (PBUH) lifetime. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) lost the love of his life, his wife of 25 years, who he confided in after his first Quran revelation.[3] She was the woman who understood him and stood by his side when others disbelieved in his message and ridiculed him. He lost his uncle Abu Talib (ra)[4], who for years was clan chief of the Quraish and granted the Prophet (PBUH) protection.[5] He was the Prophet’s (PBUH) confidant, advisor, and best friend. Imagine how broken the Prophet (PBUH) must have felt, yet his love and trust for Allah (SWT) remained. Despite his strong worship, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) endured numerous hardships.

The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whenever Allah wills good for a person, He subjects them to adversity” (Bukhari).[6]  In life, we are tested with hardships that might affect us physically and mentally for us to grow in deen.[7]

Maybe you are still unconvinced. Let me remind you of something: we believe that everything in this Dunya[8] is directly related to our Akhira.[9] Take for example the following hadith[10]: “A Muslim is not afflicted by hardship, sickness, sadness, worry, harm, or depression—even if pricked by a thorn—but Allah expiates his sins because of that” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

You may be thinking, what about actual mental illnesses? From my experience, I wish I heard more Islamic scholars talk about the importance of seeking help and medication.

There is a hadith that outlines the story of a Bedouin man who was leaving his camel without tying it. The Prophet (PBUH) asked him “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.”  The Prophet then replied, “Tie your camel first, and then put your trust in Allah” (Tirmidhi).[11]

The point is, in life, we must do our part first, then rely on God. There should be less stigma in Muslim communities to admit that getting help and taking care of yourself is part of deen!

Feeling alone? Allah (SWT) promises: “We are closer to him than his jugular vein” (50:16) and “So remember Me, I will remember you” (2:152).

Feeling hopeless? Allah (SWT) promises, “(O Muhammad), when My servants ask you about Me, tell them I am quite near, I hear and answer the call of the caller whenever he calls Me” (2:186).

There are infinite places in Islam, the Quran, the lives of all the Prophets, where Allah (SWT) speaks to us, knowing that we are broken souls in need of Him. I hope this is a helpful reminder that Allah (SWT) truly understands us better than we understand ourselves and that He perfected our religion in every sense.

[1] SWT: All Praises Be Unto Him

[2] Sirah: A study of the life of the Prophet (PBUH)

[3]  Gouvermeur, A., & Azzam, L. The Life of Prophet Muhammad. IslamBasics.

[4] ra: May Allah be pleased with him

[5] Circles, S. (2019, April 11). 5 Reasons Why We Are Tested. Amaliah.

[6] Circles, S. (2019, April 11). 5 Reasons Why We Are Tested. Amaliah.

[7] Deen: religion or faith

[8] Dunya: earthly life

[9] Akhira: after-life

[10] Hadith: recorded speech of the Prophet SAW

[11] Jafri, I. (2020, April 1). Trust in God and Tie your Camel. Office of the Chaplain.,put%20your%20trust%20in%20Allah.%E2%80%9D