The topic of the khutbah was understanding anxiety and dealing with it in our daily lives:
Anxiety is a feeling, a type of emotion. It is that vague feeling of unease and distress that something, somehow is hopelessly wrong.
Feelings of anxiety have their roots in some type of fear, be it unease, worry, apprehension, powerlessness, or a sense of danger.
Anxiety is our response to life’s uncertainties.
Stress – a feeling of being overwhelmed – is part of modern life at home, work, and school. It adds to anxiety.
Workplace is a major source of mental stress and anxiety: deadlines, bosses, co-workers, fear of loosing the job, getting certifications and licenses, and worrying about liability, all contribute to it.
A Muslim woman may be worried about the future of her bad marriage, how to raise her children, how to keep the house clean, dealing with her in-laws, and balancing family and work.
Teens deal with constant pressure from their parents, their peers, their teachers, the media and themselves. They’re trying to figure out who they are and what they want to do with their lives.
In addition to that, our life style is not “comfort friendly” even though we are building it for comfort, but to keep up with this lifestyle is a stress in and of itself.
Sins are a major factor of our unhappiness and therefore our anxiety. When we sin, we feel guilt which produces certain hormones in our body that cause anxiety. It is that anxiety which may actually lead us to repent to Allah or to indulge even more in sinning.
“And whoever turns away from My remembrance, to him there will be a difficult life.” (20:124)
When a Muslim understands the causes of his anxiety he will be able to overcome it. A Muslim woman can control how she responds to stress factors of life.
The following are some faith-based recommendations for a Muslim to deal with anxiety:
1. Invest In Faith in Allah
The first thing is that a Muslim must invest in having strong faith in Allah.
We believe in Allah and we know that we can turn to Him.
Allah is the Healer and He is the Most Merciful.
He will not place a burden on you more than you can bear. He can relieve your hardship and cure your anxiety.
Know that if He chooses not to relieve you of your grief than it is only because it is for your own good.
“How often that you may love something but it is evil for you and that you may hate something but it is good for you. Allah knows but you don’t.” (2:216)
2 . It Was Meant To Be
Our belief in Qadar or Taqdir is a great relief from all of our worries and griefs.
Allah teaches us in the Quran that every thing we face in this life is predestined.
“And surely We shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to the patient; those who when a calamity befalls them say: ‘Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him is our return’.” (2:155)
Belief in Qadar also makes it easy for you not to be afraid of the unknown.
We know that no matter what we may do to prevent it, it is going to happen, if it is destined. But nothing will ever harm you, if it is not destined.
“There is no calamity on earth or within yourselves except that it is recorded in the Book before We make it happen. That is easy for Allah. You are informed of this so that you will not grieve your losses nor be overly joyous about your gains…” (57:22,23)
Nabi ﷺ said in a hadith Qudsi: “What has occurred to you was never to miss you and what has missed you was never destined to occur to you.” (Tirmidhi)
This belief will always be your comfort, especially when you know that if you are patient with every thing that happens to you, you will be rewarded for it, you will be more able to cope and deal with its anxiety to the point that you are relieved of it.
3 . Count Your Blessings
Think of those who are less fortunate than you are as the Nabi ﷺ has advised.
Think of what you have and not of what you do not have.
Know that whatever people have over you is their test and that they will be questioned about it.
If you should see people who have more than you, look at those with greater taqwa and good deeds than yourself.
4 . Remember Allah, Do Dikr
Keep your tongue busy with Dikr – the remembrance of Allah.
Remembering Allah comforts your heart and heals your anxiety. Allah says:
“Those who believe, and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace.” (13:28)
Before that big meeting, before you start a major project, before your dreaded in-laws arrive, before you sit that life changing exam, make Dikr to calm your nerves, say Bismillah, recite Aaya tul-Kursi, recite Fatiha.
5 . Pray Your Salah or Namaz
“O you who believe! Resort to patience and prayer; surely, Allah is with the patient.” (2:153)
Those who keep their prayers on time and pray with focus and humility, will find peace. They say meditation is a great way to reduce stress; salah is even more effective than meditation because a Muslim prays with the intention to connect with His Creator Who is Able to get him through his difficulties.
Remember, shaytan tries to exploits your condition to his benefit. So when he whispers to you thoughts of hopelessness, scares you about the unknown, about what can happen to you, repel him with wudu and salah. Wudu is a relaxation method. It cools you down and expels the shaytan.
6 . Recite the Quran
Nabi ﷺ has declared the Quran is a remedy for illnesses of the soul (Bukhari).
Not music or piano, not Lata or Bach, not Tiffany or Justin, but the Quran is a remedy for illnesses of the soul.
It is best form of Dikr and it brings comfort to the heart.
In 1984 Dr Ahmed El Kadi of the Institute of Islamic Medicine for Education and Research conducted and published the effects of listening to Quran recitation on the heart, blood pressure, and muscle tension, and found it was soothing and relaxing, irrespective of whether the listener was a Muslim or a non-Muslim, Arab or non-Arab!
7 . Seek Forgiveness For Your Sins
When one seeks forgiveness of Allah, he will be relieved of the anxiety caused by his sins.
Also when one is able to forgive others he will be relieved of the anxiety that is caused by his resentment, by his hating others.
Forgiveness brings happiness.
8 . Think Of Hereafter Often and Know That This Life Is Temporary
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever has the hereafter as his main concern, Allah will fill his heart with a feeling of richness and independence; he will be focused and feel content, and this world will come to him in spite of it. Whoever has this world as his main concern, Allah will cause him to feel constant fear of poverty; he will be distracted and unfocused, and he will have nothing of this world except what was already predestined for him.” (Tirmidhi)
9. Think Positively, Stay Away From Negative, Stressful Thoughts
Do not dwell on the past. Most of your anxiety comes from things that happened to you in the past. You can never change the past but you can focus on changing your future.
Nabi ﷺ said: “Do not say “If (lau) I did not do this,’ as it opens the door to shaytan.” (Bukhari)
10. Don’t Procrastinate
Laziness is one the most common causes of stress because a person sees that he is not finishing his job. The Prophet ﷺ used to seek refuge in Allah from laziness, grief, and debt.
The above faith-based recommendations are not meant to substitute medical treatment.
Image Credit: Bernard Goldbach