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Facts and myths about the mental and spiritual health in Islam

Mental health is finally receiving the attention it deserves. Nowadays, more and more people are open about their psychological struggles and mental obstacles. However, some would simply ignore and belittle such distress.

Although the notion of a healthy mind in a healthy body differs from one individual to another, Islam has long promoted maintaining a good health. So, what is the religious and Islamic opinion about mental and spiritual health?

What does Quran and Islam say about Mental health?

Before investigating the relationship between Islam and mental health, let’s first explore the spectrum of mental well-being. Mental health is a fundamental aspect of health and well-being that fosters our ability to manage stress, develop our potential, and be productive both as an individual and as an active member of society.

What is Islam’s take on this? Islam is a religion that emphasizes well-being in all aspects including mental health topics such as (how to cure depression in Islam).

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said: “After faith, no one was given anything better than well-being”. Yet, Muslims too can be subject to diverse mental disorders as well as psychological issues. Naturally, as Muslims we are bound to be patient and trust Allah (SWT) for he is the utmost powerful and merciful. In a Hadith Qudsi, Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Allah the Almighty said: I am as My servant thinks I am (1). I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a cubit, and if he draws near to Me a cubit, I draw near to him a fathom. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.” It was related by al-Buhkari (also by Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn-Majah).

hadith qudsi about mental health

Although faith and trust in Allah are of great help to manage mental obstacles, some cases demand medical assistance as well such as medication and therapy. This is actually encouraged contrary to popular belief that only faith can fix all your problems. The fact of the matter is that the Prophet (pbuh) endorsed the idea of seeking medical treatment and urged us to do so. He is reported as having said “Seek medical treatment” in an authentic hadith. This applies to physical health as well as mental health since both contribute to one’s ideal well- being.

What does Islam say about Spiritual Health?

Spirituality has been a moot point since the beginning of time. It is a broad concept that encompasses a plethora of existential questions. Different people associate different things with spirituality but usually spirit is integrated within religion. They do not mean the same thing nonetheless.

Islam defines spirituality (Ruhhaniyyat) as the existence of a relationship with Allah that influences the person’s feeling of self-worth, purpose in life, and sense of community. Islam considers the relational aspect of spirituality to be a central element that includes knowledge, practices, daily conduct, and beliefs (such as those regarding Allah and His messengers, the judgment day, and other similar concepts).

Practicing Islamic instructions aims to reach spiritual health. Purification, remembrance, and prayer are three essential tenets of Islamic spirituality. First of all, Islam teaches us to purify our souls and hearts from any condition that causes us and others harm such as anger, envy, hypocrisy, hatred, arrogance, and other similar human flaws. Allah (SWT) says: “He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself” Surah Al Ala (87:14). Second, we must always remember the miracles and greatness of Allah. This would undoubtedly strengthen our bond with him (SWT). Third, prayer is the essence of any religion. Hence, praying to Allah is the sincerest way of showing our devotion. All these tenets are complementary. A person will unquestionably remember Allah if they have cleansed their soul; a heartfelt prayer to Allah will naturally result when these two conditions are met. 

Allah (SWT) says: “And by the soul and what made it perfected and inspired its evilness and piety. Surely the one who has purified it [his or her soul] is successful. And surely the one who has corrupted it, has failed” Surah Ash- shams (91:7-10). This only proves the importance Islam places on maintaining a good spiritual health since it can lead to success as it can to failure in this life and the one after.

surah chams - quran verses about spiritual health

Islamic ways to nurture your mental and spiritual health

Muslims who follow Islam have a set of moral principles, ethical standards, and social norms that organize their life but also aid them in creating effective coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult situations. The following are some tips that help us maintain a good health both mentally and spiritually:

  • Having faith in Allah (SWT) and his plan for you: you cannot control everything in your life. We have to learn to let go of things and simply trust Allah (SWT) for he knows best.
  • Supplication (dua’a): It is comforting to know that God is with you and listening to all your complaints and wishes. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said “Nothing can change the Divine decree except dua” so never doubt the power of supplication, check out our list of dua for depression and sadness.
  • Reciting the Quran: it is simply a magical experience that would never cease to amaze you. 
  • Patience: it is more than a virtue for Muslims; it also demonstrates the sincerity of our faith in Allah. SWT says: “So, surely with hardship comes ease”. Surat Ash-Sharh [94:5].

Myths and misconceptions about mental health in Islam:

Some Muslims with mental illnesses may view their symptoms as a curse or a punishment from God and may think that seeking psychiatric care demonstrates spiritual weakness. Some would even believe they are simply being tested from Allah and thus would neglect their health and end up collapsing both mentally and physically. 

Islam, on the other hand, places considerable stress on protecting one’s health, physically, mentally, and even spiritually. We are encouraged to strengthen our relationship with Allah but that does not stop us from seeking professional help when it comes to difficult situations. It is our responsibility to protect and nurture this body that has been gifted to us by Almighty with all its parts.

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