How to overcome sadness: Islamic perspective

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Bismillah ir’rahman ir’rahim.

Sadness attacks our inner peace and leaves us in a valley of uncertainty. We know not how the next moment will pass on, what it will bring and in which ways. 

Many a time this feeling makes us cry or emit a sense of loss, helplessness and misfortune. Different people have given different solutions to overcome sadness, and they worked out amazingly.

Indeed, The creator has blessed humans with the power of intellect, and through the help of that, they create tremendous solutions to various problems of humanity. Following are a few tips to deal with sadness.

  1. Having a good sleep: Sleeping is a good way to remove sadness. A good amount of sleep helps us forget the feeling. It makes the intensity of the hurt or its memory less severe.
  2. Crying it all out: Crying is another way to let go of the feeling of sadness. When we cry out all that causes us pain, it loosens its grip and empties us from that feeling. According to a study run by PubMed Central: Crying has a direct self-soothing effect on people.
  3. Share the burden with a friend: Sharing your feelings with a loved one also helps overcome sadness. When you hug, join shoulders or hold the hand of a person close to your heart, it releases the burden.
  4. Write it on paper: Recording the sad memory also helps overcome it. This technique traps the human brain into feeling that it has saved it somewhere, this way the sad memory doesn’t pop up very often.

But some losses cannot be adjusted with a few tricks. Some fears pull us back all over again; there are feelings that push us into deep pits from where no comeback is expected any sooner. In these situations, divine mercy plays its part.

The Creator knows how human functions, He is closer to a person more than his jugular vein. No fixture can be paralleled to the Divine fixture. No words can console like the divine console. Below are Five ways to overcome sadness in an Islamic perspective.

1. Learn The Holy Quran:

The Quran itself is a cure for sadness. if it is understood in its true meaning, the sadnesses can be diminished. Allah says in the Quran that “Only the purified souls can understand its true meaning” (56:79) If one ponders over Quranic verses that person can find solace. 

“Do not lose hope, nor be sad.”

– Quran 3:139

“Do not let their words sadden you.”

– Quran 10:65

“He (Allah) is with you wherever you are.” – Quran 57:4

Additionally, Recitation with a proper understanding of the Quranic text can do wonders.

2. Life is a test:

When you start to feel sad about something, remind yourself of the test Allah might have brought. It could be a test of your eman and sincerity. Sadness is a natural phenomenon. It can occur anytime, due to any reason, but it can be controlled. Allah ta’lah says in the Quran: 

We’ll surely test you with fear, hunger, loss of wealth, life and fruit. — 2:155 

There could be days where you face unemployment. The sense of not being able to provide your family with basic necessities could reduce you to tears. The thought of your parents, wife or kids starving at home could put a lump into your throat. There could be events where you lose a loved one, a best friend or a relative.

In addition to this, While interpreting the first mentioned verse; Dr Israr Ahmed says in his commentary of the Quran that by “fruit” Allah means the effort you put in something. So, many a time you’ll see your efforts going waste and bringing no fruit. This is how Allah test a true believer.

Allah says in the Quran: 

Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe”, and they will not be tried? We certainly tested those before them. And ˹in this way˺ Allah will clearly distinguish between those who are truthful and those who are liars. – Quran – 29:3

Allah ta’lah put a person to a test to differentiate the believers and nonbelievers. When a believer has all things perfectly sorted out in life, he or she would seem happy and fine, but when a tilt occurs into their well-balanced life that’s where Allah reveals unto them their hypocrisy. A true believer remains a believer always.

If life is a test, there must be an Examiner. If there’s an Examiner there must be a result and if there’s a result it would be out one day, according to the time predetermined by Him. Believers that trust the concept of hereafter, before asking how to overcome sadness in an Islamic perspective already know the answer.

3. The world is not a permanent residence:

Another Islamic way to overcome sadness is to realize that the world is ephemeral: it’s not everlasting. Our lives don’t end here; rather it’s just a means to the end. When the believers hit with difficult situations, no matter how big or small, but as long as it makes them sad, they turn towards their lord and accept the problems by repeating the following verses:

“Indeed we belong to Allah, and to Him shall we return.” – 2:156

The believers find the love of Allah more powerful than their love of Dunya. They connect with their maker to the extent that, whether they can sense the divine wisdom (behind what makes them sad) or not— they still surrender to Him. 

Abdullah ibn Umar narrated that: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) took hold of my shoulders and said,

“Be in this life as a stranger or a passerby.” (Al-Bukhari)

4. The pain is under your control:

If a believer wants to overcome sadness under the rule of Islam then he or she must understand the following verse of the Quran. 

“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…” – Quran 2:286

When we lose a parent, or a special person, with whom we have countless memories and happy moments, without speaking to whom we cannot state a day to be completed, to whom we love endlessly; after the departure of that person’s soul, we assume not to live any further and die after them. 

But, this doesn’t happen; we get to live many years without their presence in this physical world. The Pain and sadness never go away, but it lessens with time and moulds us into stronger and sensible people. It’s an example of the above-mentioned verse of the Quran.

If human beings can bear the loss of the beloved, they can certainly deal with difficulties in their presence too. According to the creator, no problem is ever made so big that it breaks the backbone of a believer. A true believer strengthens the self and stands up regardless of all the hurts on the back because he or she knows that no event has been designed to break them. 

5. There’s always a way out there:

Another Islamic way to overcome sadness is to have firm faith in Allah. The one who has created your soul, fixed it into your body and raise you from nothing cannot leave you alone. The one who provides for the tiniest creature living on earth, cannot leave you deprived. There’s a Quranic verse that says: 

“Indeed with hardship comes ease.” – Quran 15:85

A misfortune might appear in disguise only to unlock your hidden potentials. Allah ta’lah is the most merciful. Ibn Qiyyam r.a says that Allah does not close a door on his servant from His Wisdom except he opens two doors for him with his mercy. Indeed Allah has planned goodness for you, the secret doors will appear soon until then endure with a beautiful patience.