The Reasons for Stress and Anxiety and Psychological Conditions By The Noble Shaykh Saalih As-Suhaymee

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Truly all thanks and praises are for Allah. We praise Him, and we seek His aid, and we seek His forgiveness, and we seek refuge with Allah from the evil of ourselves and from our evil actions. Whomever Allah guides then there is no one to misguide him, and whomever He allows to go astray then there is no guidance for him. And I bear witness that there is no diety worthy of worship except Allah. He is alone having no partners with Him. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family and his companion, all of them together.

“O You Who Believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared (according to His Right) and do not die except in a state of submission, i.e. Islam.”

“O People! Be dutiful to your Lord. The One who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women; and fear Allah from whom you demand (your mutual rights), and do not sever the ties of the wombs that bore you. Surely, Allah is ever an All-Watcher over you.”

“O you who believe fear Allah and say a word that is correct (speak the truth always). He will direct you to righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosever obeys Allah and His Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم then verily, he has achieved the greatest achievement!

As to what follows: Verily the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, and the most evil affair are newly invented matters, and every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is a misguidance, and every misguidance is in the fire.

“O my dear brothers and sisters in Islam. Worry, stress, anxiety, and depression are occurring frequently amongst the people, and many issues which form some of the views points of some of them (those who have been afflicted with these issues) that there is no solution for it; and perhaps the individual possessing those worries resorted to its treatment by what Allah, The Mighty and Majestic, has declared unlawful; and perhaps he went toward that which is even greater than that, and more dangerous. Hence he goes to fortune tellers, witches, swindlers and illusionists; and perhaps it’s that he doesn’t take a means from the means which it’s possible that Allah will drive away or dispel from him (his worries) through its means and make for him, from every affliction, a release from suffering, and from every depression/tightness a way out,although it may be at arms reach. Yet he resorts to the unlawful and he resorts to what is in conformity with the one who says, “Treat me with that which (in it and of itself) is an illness.”

Many complain from mental anxiety (stress) due to this (dunya) worldly life and its fleeting vanities, and allurements. They complain of poverty, or tight situations, or family problems, or corruption in the wealth and the children… and casualties after casualties in the affairs of this short lived worldly life; and problems related to shareholdings and stock exchanges, and whatever is similar to that from those things people may perhaps, complain about often.

However, the misfortune is that some do not utilize the treatment. He is aware of the illness and perhaps he was aware of the treatment as well. Consequently, he either leaves off the use of this treatment, or he uses the illness instead of utilizing the treatment, and he thinks that this illness which he sought refuge in will drive away from him his worry; and eject from him his troubles; and reduce from him the weight of his misfortune. Hence, he remains in this whirlpool from an illness which has afflicted him to an illness which he suspects it will remove what he has with him to another illness.

Therefore, it compounds and increases the illness, magnifies the worries, and constricts the conditions from bad to worse. Has the one who has been afflicted with these worries and anxieties utilized those things which Allah will bring benefit to him by it… and Allah will make, with it, a relief for him from every worry… and from every tight situation, a way out…. and from every affliction, a cure!? Or he is in conformity to those who say” “From those things that are strange, and strange things are definitely abundant… is the nearness of those things that are beloved and the inability to obtain it. Like the breeding camel in the desert that dies of thirst … and the water is on its back, as a load (being carried).”

Yes, indeed he is like this… like the camels in the desert that die from thirst. They are the type of camels that travel in the deserts and die from thirst, and perhaps the water was on their backs. As a load being carried in water skin or in a container of water; like the breeding camels in the desert that dies from thirst… while the water was upon their backs being carried.

Verily the treatment is in the arm’s reach O’ Servant of Allah! Indeed the treatment is available for whoever desires that he be treated with it. Indeed the treatment is apparent for whoever desires a curative treatment and seeks refuge with Allah, The Sufficer, and The Healer. “Indeed it is a reminder for whoever possesses a heart or lends an ear while he is heedful”. {Qaf 50:27}

As for he who neglects or is unaware, then he will not find the treatment therapy, and his face will become dark and gloomy in the life of this world, and his affairs will become tight and constricted, and he will arrive at what is more difficult… that is, that he does not utilize the treatment which Allah relieves, by it, the worries and troubles, abolishes the stumbling blocks, erases the evils, raises the levels, doubles the good deeds, and draw closer to the Lord of the heavens and earth. However, many of the people do not desire this treatment, even though it is at arms reach. Rather you find him and Allah’s refuge is sought- treating the sickness with sickness, so perhaps he resorted to some of the unlawful things.

For instance, he resorts to smoking believing that it will lighten his misfortunes, and remove his worry and stress, cause his sadness to go away, and lighten his anger. Perhaps he resorts in singing, immoralities (i.e. fornication, etc.) buffoonery/ shamelessness, and different types of sins and outrages, believing that it will lighten his misfortunes and put a stop to his worry and stress. Maybe he sought refuge in drinking wine and alcoholic beverages… taking drugs, and any of those things that makes one become languid, exhausted, and weak… believing that it will lighten his misfortune, and remove his worry and stress. He may have sought refuge in doing other unlawful acts. He takes pleasure in it, and passes his time with it believing that it is the road to riddance and liberation/deliverance.

I believe that I conveyed upon your ears once before regarding the question of an individual who came to me one day and he said that he’s experiencing a lot of worries and anxieties; and from them is that he, for instance, has gotten married, so his children and the mother of his children come to him. He feels like the doors are closing in on him and that they smother him, and they do to him whatever else they do… So it was according to his narrative that he went to be cured in the club/dance hall as well as in places that are known to spread obscene language, prostitution, fornication, and adultery.

He says: “I took a week vacation and it didn’t increase in anything except evil.” I said to him: “O poor man! How much distance is between you and Makkah? Should you not have gone to Makkah and perform Umrah and drank from zam-zam? Should you not have recited the book of Allah, The Mighty and Majestic? Should you not have supplicated to your Lord and seek refuge with Him since you’ve had the debilitation? Should you not have sought refuge with him since you’ve had this debilitation? Should you not have sought refuge with your Lord and secluded yourself so that you could take your soul to account? Should you not have stood during the last part of the night when He descends, Glorifies is He (above all that they associate with Him), Allah, The Blessed and Most High; to the lower reaches of the heavens, calling out to His servants while a third of the night remains: “Who will ask me so that I may grant Him?” “Who will supplicate to me, so that I may respond to him?” “Who will seek my forgiveness?”

Instead, you treat the Should you not seek refuge in The One who relieves the sorrow in order to obtain the desired effect you desired? Should you not have sought refuge in The One who summons you and invites you: “And when My slaves ask you صلى الله عليه و سلم concerning ME, then I am indeed near (to them by my knowledge)? I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So, let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led right.”{Baqarah, 2:186}

Should you not have sought refuge in The Knower of the unseen, the One who sees you when you’re facing up and down in your prostrations? Should you not lay your worry and sadness on Him, just as (The Prophet Jacob) Ya’qub did-May Allah grant him safety and security- He laid his worry and grief, and complained about his affair to his Lord The Blessed & Most High-until Allah made for him, a relief from every worry, and from every tight situation…a way out? Should you not seek refuge in The One whom (Prophet Jonah) Yunus- May Allah grant him safety and security- sought refuge in when he was in triple darkness, inside the belly of the whale, in the middle of the sea, and in the darkness. Then (after all of that) he said: “There’s no diety worthy of worship except You, Glorified are You, indeed I was from the wrong-doers.”

So Allah, The Mighty and Majestic, exited him from the belly of the whale. Then He germinated upon him those from a variety of squash, and made it grow bit by bit, until Allah restored upon his health and sent him to one hundred thousand or more (people). Should you not have sought refuge in The One who defeated the confederates, The Creator of the clouds…The One who sent down the Book (The Noble Qur’an)? Shouldn’t you have sought refuge in The One who summons to you morning and evening? “And your Lord said: “Invoke Me, I will respond to your (invocation). Verily, those who are arrogant and proud regarding My worship, they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!” {Ghafir 40:60}

Shouldn’t you seek refuge in the One who is more Merciful to you than your own self? Shouldn’t you seek refuge in He who gives tremendously and grants abundantly? Should you not seek refuge in the One who calls out to His slaves everyday and invites them to repentance and forgiveness?

Should you not seek refuge in the One who invites you to the path of guidance and rectification so that you may follow it and so that it may be a source of safety for you in this life and the next? Or is that whenever the earth became tight upon you, with what you dreaded, you sought refuge with treatment of your sickness with more sickness? Surely this affair is extremely dangerous “O servant of Allah! Does the individual seek refuge with the Shaytan in order for him (shaytan) to comfort and console him?

Verily the houses are filled with these… Those who psychological conditions and disorders have afflicted them. Also, nervousness junun (insanity, rage, madness), weakness or loss of intellect. All of which one must ascribe it to the weakness of seeking refuge with Allah, Glorified is He and Most High. “And if the people of the towns had believed and had taqwa (piety), certainly we should have opened for them blessings from the heavens and the earth…{Al-Araf 7:96}

How can you abandon the treatment when it is in arms reach O servant of Allah? How can you abandon the treatment and it is close at hand/easy to understand, and it does not cost, you excessive prices, nor any hospitals or pharmacists? I am not saying to you that you should not treat yourself, but what I am saying is that you are to treat yourself with what Allah has permitted for you. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم has certainly ordered us with treatment. However, He forbade us from treating ourselves with what has been made unlawful upon us. Hence the treatment is available for whoever desires it.

From the various types of treatments that are in arms reach “O servant of Allah (are as follows):

Firstly: Re-evaluating your connection/devotion to your Lord: The re-evaluation of your connection with your Lord with regard to adhering to His obedience and distancing oneself from His anger and displeasure. For indeed, this is the greatest of weapons, the greatest of medicine, the greatest good and the greatest path for Allah, The Most High, to deliver/save you by way of it from these illnesses, in this world and in the hereafter. Also that you rush toward repentance, seeking forgiveness, and seeking refuge with Allah, Glorified & High and devotion to Him; that you promptly hasten to repentance, seeking forgiveness, and seeking refuge with Allah, the Most High… attaching yourself to Him, throwing oneself down prostrating before Him and adhering to His obedience. Likewise, the distancing of oneself far away from sins and transgression against Him, along with being far away from the means for total loss and destruction which perhaps- that is –those things which, if he fell into them, will distance him far away from Allah. However, upon him is that he accepts and take in these remedies and treatments.

Hastening toward the obedience of Allah, and the distancing far away from sins and transgressions which harden the heart and push him away from Allah; true repentance toward Allah from all sins and errors. So the sincere, truthful, repentance is the one that has its conditions met. From: (a) .Leaving off and abstaining from the sin, (b). A firm resolve not to return to it, (c). Remorse and regret for what has passed you by (regret and remorse for sins he has committed) (d.)  The return of the rights of the people which you have in your possession. If you fulfill that, then you have actualized and fulfilled your repentance, your misdeeds will have gone away and you will have drawn close to your Lord; the One who calls out to you whenever you distance yourself from Him. The One who calls out to you and seeks you out in order for you to return to Him; the One who urges you and preferred you! “Say O my slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins) Despair not in the Mercy of Allah! Verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly He is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful.” {Zumar 39:53}

And here He says: “O you who believe turn to Allah with a sincere repentance!” {Tahreem 66:8} The Blessed and Most High also says… “And turn to Allah (in repentance) all of you who believe so that perhaps you may be successful.” {Noor 24:31} And the Blessed, Most High says: “Allah accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent afterwards. It is they whom Allah will forgive… and Allah is ever All- Knower, All-Wise.{An-Nisa 4:17} The Mighty and Majestic says as well: “Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds; for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds…” {Al Furqan 25:70}  And so on from the verses which incite toward repentance.

The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم was the one who has been forgiven for all of his sins. (The Companions) calculated for him the number of his repenting and asking forgiveness in one day to be more than seventy times, and in another narration, more than one hundred times a day. Therefore, find solace with it O servant of Allah! For indeed misfortune does not occur or befall an individual except by committing sin. And it is not lifted except through repentance… and it is not lifted except through repentance.

From the means, O servant of Allah, are:

1.)    The increase of good deeds and charity. For indeed, the good deeds remove the evil deeds.

2.)    Also, O servant of Allah: The distancing oneself far away from those environments which cause you to fall into tragedies, misdeeds, and sin, and replace them with other gathering places where obedience and good are shown in them; where he will be distant, totally distant , from obscene language, prostitution, fornication, adultery, buffoonery/ shamelessness, and places of deviation and misguidance.

3.)    Similarly to that one should increase in his supplication, and remembrance of Allah, The Mighty and Majestic. This will in fact, be the topic of tomorrow’s lesson- if Allah wills: “The Clarification of Supplication and its General Rules and Conditions with regard to having them Answered.” Clarifying when it will be recommended (to supplicate) and when it will not be like that along with its conditions. Hence the supplication is the weapon of the believer. The people of knowledge call it: “The arrows of the night” Therefore, increase from the arrows of the night ‘O servant of Allah! And be diligent /strive hard in what will draw you closer to Allah.

4.)    In addition, also from those things that are from the path of treatment O servant of Allah, is that: You busy yourself with what is advantageous from obedience. It will allow you to draw nearer to Allah. Or doing good action that brings upon you good, even if they are from the permissible, legislated, worldly actions…Being occupied by those things and devoid of squandering time. For indeed the squandering of time is the most dangerous thing upon the human being. Abdullah ibn Sa’eed narrated that The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Many from amongst the people are deceived by two of the favors (of Allah)… good health and free time.”  Therefore, when you’ve surrendered to your own ideas, notions, concepts, or apprehensions and you don’t busy yourself with what will benefit you in the affairs of your religion and your worldly life, then verily, this will increase your worries and your stress. Not to mention the fact that it will harden your heart and push further away from Allah The Glorified and Most High.

These are some of the means of treatment for whoever desires it and for whoever wishes to obtain it. As for whoever turns away and disregards, then verily it will only increase his affairs for the worse: “But whoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in the Qur’an nor acts upon its teachings Verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection. He will say: “Similarly to this, Our signs came unto you, but you disregarded them (i.e. turns a blind eye, left them, did not think deeply about them, and turned away from them), So therefore this day, you will be neglected (in the hell-fire, away from Allah’s Mercy).” {Ta-Ha 20: 125-126}

Nevertheless, these are some of the matters of treatment ‘O servant of Allah! And all of it reverts back to: Reliance upon Allah, The Blessed and Most High, seeking refuge with Him, the feeling of utter-humility, brokenness, and dejectedness in front of Him (much), and reciting His Book (Al-Qur’an). Also, distancing oneself far away from places of lewdness, indecency, buffoonery, shamelessness, and whatever is similar to these things which will draw closer to Allah; those things which by them, Allah will grant a relief for you, from every worry, and from every tight, difficult situation…a way out.

Tomorrow, if Allah wills, we have a lesson on the general rules pertaining to supplication and the matters surrounding supplication, which are comprised of the matters that the believer should resort to when a matter presents itself; and there is something else I forgot to mention…and it is that , from the steps and from the greatest means- even if it’s pertaining to the general acts of obedience –however it is from the means which refuge is sought by it after Allah, The Blessed and Most High-; it is the Prayer: The Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم used to, whenever a matter occurred to him, seek refuge in the salat, and he would say, may peace and blessings be upon him, “Put us at ease with it O Bilal.” He صلى الله عليه و سلم would also say: “The salat has been made coolness for my eyes.” (i.e. salat brings upon me calmness and serenity). Therefore, if a matter befalls you, then get up, perform the ablution and pray two units of salah (prayer), seek refuge with Allah, Mighty and Majestic and ask Him whatever you wish from the goodness of this life and the hereafter.

Hence the salat washes away the sins, and Allah relieves by it, the worries and troubles… it cleanses you from sins. As the messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Do you all think that if one of you had a river flowing in front of your door and he washes from it everyday five times (per day), will there remain on him any remnants of Filth?” They (the companions) replied, “No”. He  صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “The five obligatory salat are like this. Allah wipes away the (minor) sins with them.”

Therefore be diligent, O servant of Allah, in seeking refuge with Allah, The Blessed and Most High, attaching yourselves to Him, throwing ourselves down prostrating before Him, and resorting to, Him Glorified is He (from every imperfection), in every minor and major affair; until He actualizes for you what you want, and until you reach the land of safety…until you have been cured, and free from what you’ve been afflicted with from worries and stress. Then, at that time, you will have consolidated your connection with your Lord and you will have followed/succeeded with these steps which we have indicated towards some of them.

I ask Allah, The Most Generous, Lord of The Great Throne by His Most Beautiful Names and Lofty Qualities that He make for us and all of you, from every worry, a relief

And from every difficulty or tight situation, a way out,- Just as we ask Him, The Blessed and Most High- that He gives us and you all success toward acting upon what He is pleased with…also, that He provides for us beneficial knowledge and righteous action; and our final supplication is that All the thanks and praise is for Allah (alone), Lord of the entire universe, and May Allah’s Praise, Safety , and Blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon his family and companions…all of them together.

Translated by: Aboo Naasir Saalik ibn Baldwin

Masjid Tawheed was Sunnah Durham, NC

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Surah Al-Fatiha – A Reflection

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1) With the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

2) All the Praises and thanks are for Allah the Lord of the Universe.

3) The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

4) Master of the Day of Recompense.

5) You Alone we worship, and You Alone we ask for help.

6) Guide us to the Straight Path.

7) The Path of those on whom You have bestowed your grace, not the Path of those who earned your Anger, nor of those that went astray.

Just like for many of us, I think my ‘actual’ journey with the book of Allah “The Quran” must have started with this particular surah, which has always been a part of my life since the time I can remember.

I do not remember exactly, how I had memorized it and who made me do so. But there was never a day in my life even during the days of my ‘Jahiliya’ (when I was far away from the Quran) that I had spent without reciting it sincerely.

I always felt much attached to this ‘special’ surah for unknown reasons. Whenever I felt pain I would automatically start reciting Al Fatiha and the pain would go as if it was never there.

Today many years later when I actually began to study the Qur’an with meanings I realized that how al Fatiha has been affecting me since my early days of childhood.

No doubt these are the words of the Creator who is the sole Master of the whole Universe and whatever is in it. No wonder that these words worked like medicine to a pained heart like mine. Who would know His creation better than the Creator Himself!

It’s evident from the following:

Al-Fatihah is actually a prayer that Allah teaches to all who embark upon the study of His Book. Its position at the beginning signifies that anyone who wants to benefit from the Book should first offer this prayer to the Lord of the Universe.

Man naturally prays only for what his heart desires and only when he feels that the object of his desire is at the disposal of the One to Whom his prayer is addressed.

The placing of this Surah at the head of the Qur’an is a sign that Allah urges man to read this Book with the aim of discovering the right course in life i.e. the Straight Way, to study it with the earnestness of a seeker after Truth, and never to forget that the real source of true knowledge is Allah Himself.

The student of the Book should therefore begin by making a humble petition to Him for true guidance.

Once this is grasped, it becomes self-evident that in relation to the Qur’an this opening Surah, al-Fatihah is not just an introduction or foreword; the relationship is really one of prayer and response.

Al-Fatihah is a prayer from man and the rest of the Qur’an is Allah’s response to this prayer. Man prays to Allah that He may show him the Straight Way and in response to this prayer Allah offers the Qur’an as the true guidance, the Straight Way which man has sought and prayed for. [Abul A`la Mawdudi, ‘Towards Understanding the Qur`an’ [pp. 33-34].

Alhamdullilah! Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in His infinite mercy has given us this beautiful surah so that we will know Him (by His attributes) and is also reminding us that in our times of need He is the only One to Whom we should always turn to.

For every human being, even the ones close to us (like Parents, Spouse and Siblings) are a weak creation of His, who will never benefit us in anyway, like Allah can. So touching isn’t it?

This makes me feel the warmth of His love and blessings which He has bestowed on His creation. Imagine that you have a best friend who is with you all the time, the one who listens, sees, understands whatever you are going through in life, when people closest to you never will…Who else could have done this for us but the One who really cares for us?

Our beloved Lord is giving us a chance, to ask for the best path which is the path of our beloved prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam, all the previous prophets (Peace be upon all), the Sahabas (May Allah be pleased with them), the Martyrs and the path of the pious ones. All of these great people are the “People of Jannah”.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has given us the opportunity to ask for the same path of those pious people which will eventually lead us back to our place of origin that is “Jannah”, we were first created in Jannah remember!

At the same time Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in His infinite mercy has warned us about the path of the people who had made Allah angry while living a luxurious life like, Pharoah, Nimrood, Qaroon and many others who went astray in this world, who will definitely find themselves in a much worse situation in the hereafter!

I know now that no matter what happens in life, Allah’s mercy will always be with me in the form of al Fatiha. Even Though I have been reciting it many times before, somehow I feel that each time I recite it in prayer now, gives me a new strength to walk confidently on the straight path our Creator has chosen for us. It feels like Allah is holding my hand and leading me to the path of the salvation which He has chosen for His true slaves.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala always keep each and every one of us on the “Straight Path” ameen!

I’d love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below 🙂