Cure for Depression
Author: Hazrat Moulana Yunus Patel (ra)
Depression, it seems, has become synonymous with living in a society overrun with innumerable problems. It is an ailment which has unfortunately reached epidemic proportions. In the search for a solution, we sink deeper and deeper into the abyss of depressio n. Hardly a day passes, without some person complaining about his failures or of the acute depression that he is suffering, due to various factors.
What I wish to discuss is Tafweez. If we learn Tafweez, then we have indeed found the antidote for depression.
We have to clearly understand, that we cannot escape the decisions of Allah Ta’ala with regard to any matter in our lives. Whatever Allah Ta’ala has decided will happen, no matter how much we may wish otherwise.
Our anxieties, depression and worries are all created because we first make the decisions and then expect Allah Ta’ala to conform; whereas what we plan and decide is subject to Allah Ta’ala’s confirmation.
ADVICE OF A SHEIKH
One mureed, after having spent many years in the company of Sheikh Abdul Qader Jailani (Rahmatullah ‘alaih), requested some parting advice, before taking leave from his Sheikh. Sheikh Abdul Qader Jailani (Rahmatullah ‘alaih) told him : “Do not claim Divinity and do not claim Nabuwwat (Prophethood).”
The mureed asked : “Does Hazrat think that after all these years in Hazrat’s company, I will make such a claim ?”
Sheikh Abdul Qader Jailani (Rahmatullah ‘alaih) then explained what he meant. …It is necessary that we understand certain sayings of the Auliya Allah, otherwise we may misunderstand and then start issuing Fatwas on the basis of our misinterpretation.
A FAMOUS ANECDOTE
Once, in Delhi, a Wali of Allah was heard saying : “ You are not my ALLAH and I am not your servant. So why should I listen to you; why should I obey you ?”
Those who heard these statements regarded them as statements of Kufr. However, one sensible person asked the saint : “What do you mean ?”.
The saint answered : “My nafs was inciting me to fulfil its desire. I thus addressed my nafs and said : ‘You are not my Allah and I am not your servant. I am a servant of Allah so why should I worship you?’ ”
Returning to the advice of Sheikh Abdul Qader Jailani (Rahmatullah
‘alaih): He explained to his mureed that, “Do not claim to be Allah.” means that do not wish that everything happens according to your will and desire. If you do so, then you are claiming to be Allah; whereas whatever Allah Ta’ala wills, will happen, for it is HE who makes the final decisions in all matters.
As far as we, human beings, are concerned, if we feel that our whims and fancies have to be fulfilled as is, then we are claiming to be Allah.
“Do not claim Nabuwwat.” means that no matter how much of piety and Taqwa you acquire with Islaah and Tazkia, don’t make the claim that you are sinless and never in the wrong. This is the sifat (attribute) of the Ambiyaa (‘Alaihimus Salaam), for they are ‘ma’soom’ (sinless) and ‘mahfooz’ (protected from sin).
Therefore, no matter how much of time you have spent in the suhbat (company) and khidmat (service) of your Sheikh and no matter what high rank you attain to, do not think that you are like the Rasul of Allah and that no slip can occur in your life. Do not claim that you will never err because of the years spent with your Sheikh and because of the Wilayat conferred upon you. Being human beings we are prone to slip.
THE STORY OF THE SNAKE-CATCHER
Maulana Jalaluddeen Rumi (Rahmatullah ‘alaih) relates a story of a snake catcher who once went to the mountains. Due to the winter cold and heavy snow, many very big snakes lay motionless, as if they were dead.
The snake-catcher picked up one of these seemingly lifeless snakes and took it to Baghdad, with the purpose of using it for a show. Showing it off, he made big claims as to how he had deftly captured the snake – captivating the attention of his audience.
However, when the sun began to shine and its warmth cloaked the snake, the coldness in its body disappeared. The signs of life were soon apparent and when the snake began to move, the snake-catcher and all those around, fled.
Maulana Rumi (Rahmatullah ‘alaih) then explains that our nafs is like that snake. With Tazkia (purification) and mushaqqat (effort), our nafs (self) becomes frozen. It appears to be dead. But give it a little heat from the fire of sin and it will bite again. A little exposure to some past sins and the nafs swings back to life.
We should not think that we have killed our nafs and thus become unmindful. Yes, with some mujahadah (striving), suhbat (company) of the Sheikh, tilawat (recitation) of the Qur’aan Sharief, Zikrullah, following Deen and Shariah and in building up that contact and love for Allah Ta’ala and Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam), the nafs can be frozen. However, a little taste of sin easily revives the evil nafs.
Hazrat Khwaja Azizul Hasan Majzoub (Rahmatullah ‘alaih) says most aptly:
“ HAVE NO TRUST IN THIS NAFS, O DEVOUT ONE !
EVEN IF IT BECOMES AN ANGEL,
REMAIN DISTRUSTFUL OF IT. LOOK AT THE SNAKE OF YOUR NAFS.
AS SOON AS YOU ARE NEGLIGENT HERE,
IT BITES THERE.”
The point being discussed was: “Do not claim divinity.” (i.e. that you are Allah) and that everything must happen according to your will and desire.
Let us now consider the various causes of depression to be found presently in our lives. These simple, little things, which if ignored and we adopt a little Tafweez, we will find our lives free of depression.
To cite an example (and there are true inciden ts of this nature): A woman goes to a certain family with a proposal for her son, considering her son to be the best person in the world. If the son, himself goes, then he believes that there is no one like him as a prospective husband. He has everything : the qualities, degrees and character. He is handsome as well.
Hence, mother and son believe that the moment a proposal is put forth, the girl’s family will definitely accept, without any delay or further consideration. Thus, a decision has been made: If I propose, they are going to accept it.
This family rejects the proposal. Immediately there is depression and enmity. The mother starts thinking about the reason as to why the proposal was turned down : “What is wrong with us ? … Are we bad people ? … Is my son a drug addict ? … What is wrong with him ?”. Because Tafweez is not adopted, such thoughts surface and depression seizes the person.
Tafweez in this case would have been that the person put forward the proposal and thereafter left the decision to Allah Ta’ala. If Allah Ta’ala had willed and put an acceptance into their hearts, then they
would have accepted. Since everything was done correctly there is no need to be annoyed or upset. Rather believe that there must be some good (khair) in that.
If we can only learn and understand this : that behind each and every decision made by Allah Ta’ala there is goodness and wisdom. It may appear that this person is very good but we can neither predict the future, nor can we foresee into the future. How many times have we heard of a person who was in the Musjid, in Zikr, etc. but after some time the person suddenly changes? (Allah forbid. Allah protect us all.)
“THERE WERE SO MANY WHO WERE GOOD,
WHO LATER IN LIFE BECAME BAD;
AND THERE WERE SO MANY WHO WE RE BAD, WHO LATER IN LIFE BECAME ‘WALIS ’”
Thus, we do not know what is to happen in the future. The knowledge of what is to occur in the future lies only in the knowledge of Allah Ta’ala.
In Istikhara, as well, we must not think that whatever we have been directed towards is going to be problem free. Take for example : A girl is proposed to. She makes Istikhara. The Istikhara is positive. She feels satisfied, with an inclination to accept and she follows this inclination and accepts the proposa l.
After some time, problems arise and the marriage breaks down. Such persons come back to us and say : “Maulana, when I made Istikhara and related the dream (or the feeling) that I had, then you told me that it is good and that I should proceed. Now why is it that the marriage didn’t last?”
Istikhara does not mean that the person will have a problem-free life. It means that at that time this was much better than perhaps marrying someone else. It was ‘the lesser of the two evils’. The problems being experienced presently could have been worse had she married another person.
It could also mean that at the time of Istikhara, this was good, but then again, this is no guarantee that the marriage will be successful, if after the Istikhara, the person leads an y kind of life, indulges in any Haraam he or she wishes to and displeases Allah Ta’ala and Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam). It does not give a license to both, husband and wife, to watch plenty of filth on television, read any sort of literature, neglect Salaah and then ignorantly and foolishly say : “We made Istikhara, therefore it must work out.” … It does not work like that.
So perhaps, that Istikhara meant that that was ‘better than’, probably another person she would have married. Here again arises Tafweez : If the person made Tadbeer i.e. made use of the means that Allah Ta’ala has created, but after doing so, the marriage fails, then she adopts Tafweez; accepting that this is the will of Allah Ta’ala, and He knew before hand that this is how the marriage would end.
She knows that both, she and her husband, did not purposely do those things which were contrary to Shariah or against the normal effort that a person should put in. They tried to the best of their ability but it failed … now this is Tafweez : “ Whatever Allah Ta’ala is happy with, then I too am happy with that.” This understanding immediately brings consolation and peace to the heart. The person’s depression will disappear.
A person had in mind that when a certain property or building comes onto the market, or comes under his control then, because of the ideal location, etc., business will thrive and he will be successful. The person bids but someone else is successful and the property is gone.
If this person has Tafweez then he will think : I did what was in my capacity to do but it was not in my Taqdeer. It was written in the Taqdeer of the other person, thus he got it. I must search for something else. Allah Ta’ala does not provide rizq (sustenance) through one business house in the world. It is not that I would have succeeded and received my sustenance and livelihood through only that.
The effort, which needs to be made, must then be made. What transpires thereafter is Taqdeer.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) has said : “Strive to acquire what is beneficial for you; seek the aid of Allah; do not lose courage and if a setback overtakes you, do not say : ‘If I had done this then it would have happened like this (i.e. not what had happened).’ Instead say : ‘Allah has ordained this. Whatever He has willed, has happened.’”
If a person fails after having made the correct effort, there is no need to resort to alcohol, drugs and suicide.
Many students succumb to such drastic measures. Some students work and study extremely hard but fail. Due to failure, they sink into such depression that they feel they have to take or inject themselves with drugs, tranquilizers, etc. for sleep. Why ? …Because they failed.
If a person did not make Tadbeer, i.e. did not make a serious and concerted effort and thereafter fails, then he must blame himself. However, generally, we do make a reasonable effort but sometimes still meet with failure. For example : A person is fit and healthy when he started something but later becomes sick and is unable to complete what he undertook.
Tafweez is placing our matters before Allah Ta’ala, handing them over to Him, and trusting completely in Him, believing that there is goodness in whatever Allah Ta’ala has decided. Outwardly, it may appear as if there is some problem that we are faced with, but great wisdom lies in the decisions of Allah.
THE STORY OF AN EAGLE TAKING
RASULULLAH’S (sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) SOCK
Maulana Jalaluddeen Rumi (Rahmatullah ’alaih) narrates a story in his Mathnavi; an incident which occurred during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam): Once, after having performed wudhu, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) was about to wear his leather sock when an eagle came along, snatched it and flew away. Nabi (sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) was most distressed as he was preparing for Salaah.
In a short while, the eagle returned and turned the sock upside down, towards the ground, causing a snake that was inside, to fall out.
The eagle then presented the sock to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) and addressed him
: “O Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) ! The reason for me having taken the sock was that there was a snake hidden inside it. Otherwise I would never harm you, for Allah Ta’ala has ordered me to protect you. It was on account of the snake that I flew off with the sock.”
Outwardly, there was some distress, but it was a means of goodness. We should therefore consider that whatever calamity befalls us, wards off a greater calamity.
ALL PRAISE BE TO ALLAH IN EVERY CONDITION
One morning, as a Wali was leaving his home, he struck his head against the doorframe (in India, many homes have doorframes which are low). The pain experienced, forced him to lie down. He uttered the words : “Al hamdu lillahi ala kulli haal” (All praise be to Allah in every condition).
…In every decision and action of Allah’s, there is both wisdom and good for His servant. Sometimes this remains unknown and hidden.
Nevertheless, a short while later, he was informed that on the path which he would have proceeded down, there lay in wait some of his enemies who intended to kill him. A little injury but he was saved from death at the hands of his enemies.
Thus, if something does happen, there must not be such concern in our hearts that we rush towards Haraam. To cite another example : A person’s car is hijacked. He must believe that there is some goodness or ‘khair’ in this; that it was only the car. It could very well have been that the car was hijacked when the family was in the car and they could have been taken to some desolate spot and could have been killed.
Always think of something worse which could have happened. Adopt Tafweez : believe that everything is in the ‘hands’ of Allah Ta’ala and if He has decided something, then there is definitely goodness therein. Then be satisfied with the decision of Allah Ta’ala. If we learn only
this much : that after Tadbeer, follows Tafweez i.e. being pleased with Allah Ta’ala’s decision, then there can be no question of depression, anxiety, contemplating or committing suicide, etc.
A CRIPPLED BUCK IN THE JAWS OF A LION
Maulana Jalaluddeen Rumi (Rahmatullah ‘alaih) mentions an example in his Mathnavi Sharif of a buck which had a limp in its leg. As this crippled buck was hopping and jumping along, it was caught by a lion. Even though in the jaws of the lion, it tried to escape. The more it tried to free itself from the lion’s mouth, the more difficulty it experienced.
Since it was already in the lion’s mouth, it should have accepted the consequences. It could not run away. There was no question of running away, especially since the buck was limping. How could it then escape such a huge lion? It was better for the buck to remain still. It may have happened that the lion saw another buck and left the crippled one to prey on th at one.
Maulana Jalaluddeen Rumi (Rahmatullah ‘alaih) then explains that this is exactly our condition. Where and how are we going to escape the Power of Allah Ta’ala? Can we escape the Decision and Will of Allah Ta’ala?
There is no doubt in the fact th at there will be many tests, trials and difficulties. Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur`aan Sharief :
“WE WILL DEFINITELY TEST YOU WITH SOME FEAR, SOME HUNGER AND SOME LOSS IN YOUR WEALTH, IN YOUR HEALTH AND IN THE FRUITS (‘FRUITS’ DENOTE MANY THINGS).
GIVE GLAD TIDINGS TO THOSE WHO PATIENTLY PERSEVERE.
AND WHEN ANY TRIAL REACHES THEM, THEY SAY : ‘ INNA LILLAHI WA INNA ILAYHI RAJIOON ’ (FROM ALLAH WE HAVE COME AND TO HIM IS OUR RETURN). THEY ARE THOSE ON WHOM ARE THE BENEFACTIONS OF THEIR LORD, AND RECEIVE HIS MERCY, AND IT IS THEY WHO ARE THE GUIDED ONES.”
[SURAH AL-BAQARAH : 155/156/157 ]
Allah Ta’ala is informing us, that in this world, ordeals are to be expected and patience, tested. Tidings of grace and peace are conveyed to those who patiently withstand such trials, not expressing ingratitude but rather turning to Allah and remembering Him.
Unfortunately, the moment a person suffers a little difficulty, he says : “I must insure everything.” A little loss of some goods and the person says that the only way to protect everything is insurance. Instead of turning towards Allah Ta’ala or becoming strict in matters of Shariah, the person turns towards insurance and starts insuring everything. Then he suffers more and more.
Fatwas (Juristic rulings) have, however, been issued because of the weakness of our Imaan. The principle of Shariah; the principles of Jurisprudence are applied. This is so, because of the environment we live in or the circumstances and difficulties we face. Therefore, we find, that in the community certain things are made permissible. This does not mean that Haraam becomes Halaal … some laxity is given to insure certain things in certain areas to a certain extent. A good Mufti should be contacted for details.
For example : if a person is about to die, due to hunger, and the only food available is pork, then even the Qur`aan Sharief permits the
consumption of something Haraam (forbidden) like pork. This would obviously not be done with pleasure and enjoyment, rather to just stay alive. Thus, a little Haraam is permitted in such dire circumstances.
A person is in financial difficulty and in an extremely desperate circumstance. There is no one willing to provide him with any assistance of the Halaal (lawful) kind e.g. an interest free loan, etc. At this time, if the person takes a loan to the extent that is necessary for him to survive, this would be permissible.
However, if a person rushes towards Haraam simply to live a luxury life or maintain a high standard of living, then this is certainly not permissible. This person’s condition is likened to that fish which jumps for the tempting bait, and is then caught and hooked.
If that fish, in its struggle to free itself, starts to jump, the hook will sink deeper into the fish, increasing its desperation, but to no avail. Thus, if a person, in a little difficulty, ‘jumps’ towards Haraam and after taking the bait, is hooked, then the more he jumps, the more involved he will find himself in Haraam.
The difficulties will increase and everything will be void of barakaat (blessings). Presently, there is no barkat in our lives, our homes and our businesses because as soon as a little difficulty or trial afflicts us, we immediately rush towards Haraam.
Thus, due to the weakness of our Imaan, Fatwas are given. Shariat takes everything into consideration; it can accommodate our every condition and solve our every problem.
A FATWA OF MUFTI MAHMOOD (RA)
A person, from Bombay, once wrote to Hazrat Mufti Mahmood (Rahmatullah ‘alaih) (a great Wali of Allah who passed away here in South Africa) explaining his plight. He had had a taxi which was
‘freehold’ and which was the only means of his livelihood. It was his only means of feeding his 5 children and paying his rental (which in Bombay is very high).
The taxi was smashed in an accident. He had tried to secure an interest free loan but without success. If he had to forego another car, it would mean great difficulty for his family. The only other option, which he had, was to obtain a loan from the bank on H.P. (hire purchase) and buy another car, paying in installments. So he asked Hazrat as to what he should do.
Hazrat (Rahmatullah ‘alaih) replied that in his case, the car was the only means of support. If he did not purchase another, his family would suffer considerably. Since he had tried to get an interest free loan but to no avail, he could then take it from the bank. He must, however, regard the payment of interest as Haraam and try to pay it off as quickly as possible. At the same time, he should make plenty of Taubah and Istighfaar.
This was the Fatwa of a Mufti of an excepti