Feeling down in the dumps, depressed, having the blues… These are just some of the terms used to describe a feeling of hopelessness and despair that can hit even the most positive of us at some point in our lives. However when sadness, gloom and unhappiness becomes a permanent mark of our lives, when it creates a feeling of hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness, when it interferes with our ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and mix with people we may be suffering from abnormal levels of despair otherwise called depression.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺsaid taught us a du’a against despondency which, in amazing brevity, also reveals the consequences of acute depression. The du’a reads as follow:
“O’ Allah I seek your protection from anxiety, sorrow, inability, laziness, cowardice, stinginess, overpowering debt and subjugation by fellow man”
This du’aa speaks about the eight emotional traits of a person overcome by severe dejection:
1. Anxiety:An unexplained cloud of constant worry, fear, a boding that something bad is going to take place. You feel agitated, restless, and are on the edge all the time.
2. Sorrow: A sense of dejection that crushes both your body and mind. You almost believe that it is not possible to be happy. Feeling of not being cherished and respected by anyone
3. A feeling of uselessness:A Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation. You are locked into victim mode. This drops your tolerance levels. Everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
4. Laziness/fatigue:Neither interest nor any willingness to pick yourself up. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
5. Cowardice:Lack of self-confidence. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
6. Stinginess:No interested in the welfare of others. You are too preoccupied in your own gloom to even think of the happiness of other people.
7. Overpowering debt:Trouble focusing, making decisions, you become financially reckless in the hope of buying yourself out of misery. You engage in escapist behavior
8. Subjugation by fellow man:Under the control of other people. You feel pressured by those around you. You no longer believe in yourself and feel compelled to toe the line.
A Muslim should always assume the best about Allah. He should strive to do his best and expect the best outcome: that Allah will accept his good deeds; that Allah from His grace will forgive him; and that Allah will bless him to live out his life, until its conclusion, upon faith. Prophet Muhammad ﷺsaid “None of you should die except while assuming the best about Allah.” (Muslim)
Our challenge under all circumstances is to act as best as we can with the firm conviction that whatever afflicts us was never meant to miss us and whatever misses us was never meant for us. We believe that our life ultimately unfolds in accordance to the will of Allah!
“No calamity befalls the earth and neither your own selves unless it be laid down in our decree long before we bring it into being – verily that is easy for Allah. So that you may not despair over whatever good escapes you nor become arrogant over whatever good has come your way”[Quran 57: 22]
May Allah grant us the ability to turn each anxiety, each fear and each concern into an opportunity for making du’a and turning to Him with repentance.