Depression is the silent disease of the modern days; it wrecks more havoc than bodily cancer because it is the cancer of the soul.
By Nabi Raza Abidi
Depression is the spiritual poison of the modern times and destroys the lives of too many people. The pain and suffering that comes with depression spreads to the surroundings of the sufferer. Just like a rotten apple will spread its rot to other apples, so too does depression to those who surround the sufferer. Psychiatrists seem to be struggling with finding a cure but it seems that it is largely the pharmaceutical companies that are benefiting from the prescriptions. While they look for a cure, friendships and families are torn apart, marriages are destroyed, people quit their jobs (or get fired) and youngsters drop out of school – all because of the havoc of depression.
I am not denying that there are sometimes clinical reasons for depression, such as chemical imbalances in the brain or even problems in the liver, yet it seems that for most people depression is a disease of the soul. Depression is not just the opposite of happiness, but it is the opposite of liveliness. It sucks the energy out of people and fosters a sense of ultimate hopelessness.
In the case of ‘non-clinical’ depression, the cure is found in surrendering one’s soul to God. Our surrendering to God brings about His grace (raḥmah) which results in the acquisition of inner peace (itminān al-qalb). Surrendering to God is not just casting our cares to Him and admitting that He knows what is best for us, but it is also actively pursuing Him, increasing our prayers and fasting so as to please Him and thereby slowly but gradually replacing our depression with bliss.
Spending time in the Mosque, joining congressional prayers, increasing private prayers, eating with your brothers or sisters in faith after Friday prayers or after special programs contribute to the healing of our souls, helps take our minds off our problems and turns our hearts towards God. Reading spiritual books, listening to spiritual lectures and asking God for His forgiveness brings us the healing our souls yearn for.
“And for those who fear Allah, He always prepares a way out, and He provides for him from sources he never could imagine. And if anyone puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is Allah for him. For Allah will surely accomplish His purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.” (Quran, 65: 2-3)
Nabi Raza Abidi
Resident Imam of the SABA Islamic Center
San Jose, California