Emotional, psychological, and social health all contribute to what is known as “mental health.” How we deal with stress, interact with others, and make decisions are all influenced by our mental health.
Religion in Islam, like other Abrahamic faiths, encompasses many facets of daily life. Because of our hectic schedules, we often fail to remember the many precious lessons that Allah has taught us in the Holy Quran and that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has taught us via his Sunnah. Muslims can find solace in their faith and the teachings of Islam when they focus inward, cultivate a close relationship with Allah, cultivate hope, cleanse their emotions, and refuse to wait for external circumstances to improve before they take action. Spirituality is valued in Islam because it is seen as a source of inner strength that may be used to foster a state of mind that is free of anxiety and conducive to growth.
Allah has given us two gifts: good health and free time to enjoy it. We must always keep them in mind and work hard to maximise their potential use. Problems with mental health cannot be disregarded. With a sounder state of mind, one can accomplish more.
I hope the following mental health guidelines from the Quran and Sunnah are helpful as a starting point in addition to the professional treatment that any individual may need if you or someone you know is suffering to preserve mental health:
Recognize the importance of mental health and realise that difficulty precedes comfort.
The Muslim Ummah might take solace in knowing that the Prophet acknowledged and dealt with psychological difficulties. Every prophet had to deal with heartbreak, despair, and nervousness during his or her lifetime. After the deaths of his wife Khadijah ( ) and his uncle Abu Talib, as well as the social and economic boycott of Muslims in Makkah, the Prophet himself experienced such tremendous sadness that the entire year was termed “The Year of Sorrow” (aam-ul-huzn).
And he turned away from them and said: “Alas, my grief for Yusuf (Joseph)!” And he lost his sight because of the sorrow that he was suppressing.” [Quran; 12:84]
The Prophet ﷺ experienced a decline in his health as he was affected by concern for those who opposed Islam in Makkah and so, Allah revealed the ayah:
Perhaps, you, would kill yourself (O Muhammad ﷺ ) in grief, over their footsteps (for their turning away from you), because they believe not in this narration (the Quran).” [Quran; 18:6]
The Quran and Sunnah provide endless wisdom to men of understanding. No matter your religion or sect, there is a lot that you can learn. If you feel hopeless and anxiety takes over you, remember that Allah promises ease after hardship. Allah has mentioned:
For indeed, with hardship ease. Indeed, with hardship ease.” [Quran; 94:5-6
Moderate eating and regular exercise are important parts of taking care of your body. Quranic guidance includes the recommendation to consume not just Halal but also tayyib food.
Then eat of the lawful and good things Allah has supplied for you, and give thanks to Allah if it is He you worship.” [Quran; 16:114]
Taking care of one’s body is a religious obligation in Islam. Mood management can benefit from dietary modifications. In reality, one’s mental and physical well-being are inextricably linked. Take the time to get some exercise, settle into a regular sleep schedule, and eat well. In this way, you can enhance your physical health and reduce tension and anxiety. What you consume has a direct impact on your mental performance. The smallest of shortages can cause you to feel down, nervous, or exhausted. These things to keep in mind will be helpful.
Folic acid can be found in abundance in foods like beans and leafy greens. You will feel happier and less down on yourself. Plus, it helps you get a better night’s rest. Get your hands on as many nuts and fruits as you can since they will keep your mind sharp.
Carbohydrates are widely acknowledged for their capacity to increase levels of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. So, if you’re feeling down this winter or for no apparent reason at all, try eating some carbohydrates.
It’s important to fuel your brain with protein-rich, low-fat foods like fish and avoid sugary carbohydrates, which have the opposite effect.
Allah gives us guidance. O Adam’s offspring, dress yourselves in every mosque and eat and drink, but don’t go overboard. It’s true that God doesn’t approve of hedonists. [Quran; 7:31]
Sunnah foods, such as lentils, dates, and honey, have been shown to have positive effects on both physical and mental health if consumed in moderation. Since eating too much of any food can have negative effects on our health in general, including our ability to think clearly, moderation is of the utmost importance.
The Sunnah of Muhammad teaches us moderation and equilibrium as well: a diet that consists of one-third food, one-third water, and one-third air (space left for breathing). Dehydration affects the brain, which in turn affects your mood, focus, and ability to relax and be happy in the here and now. If you want to learn how to control your feelings, it’s crucial that you stay hydrated. A healthy brain is essential for good mental health, and a healthy brain cannot exist without water.
3 Fitness Lessons from the Sunnah
1) Hike in Muhammad’s Footsteps
The Prophet exhibited a high degree of physical fitness and encouraged his Ummah to do the same. Before Muhammad became a prophet, he would ascend Jabal a Noor – the mountain of light – and meditate in the cave of Hira on profound spiritual subjects. In addition, know that the distance to the cave is around 1,200 steps. It is situated 270 metres above sea level (890 ft). The cave measures approximately 3.70 metres in length and 1.60 metres in breadth. On laylatul Qadr (Night of Power), Muhammad is said to have gotten the first revelation of the Quran from the angel Jibreel.
When Muhammad moved to Madinah, he and his companions frequently climbed Mount Uhud. The following incidence occurred while hiking!
The Prophet ( ) once ascended Mount Uhud alongside Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman. The mountain underneath them rocked. The Prophet ( ) said to Uhud, “Stand steadfast, O mountain! Because you have only one Prophet, one Siddiq, and two martyrs. [Bukhari]
Personally, I have walked Mount Uhud twice, and it is an absolutely amazing experience! Even though I am an avid hiker, the Uhud mountain range was one of the most difficult mountains I have ever climbed due to the lack of pathways up the mountain and the jagged rock structure. On no other climb, however, will you feel as tranquil as you contemplate the possibility of walking in the Prophet’s footsteps along this mountain.
As Muslims living in modern society, we should be inspired by the Prophet’s active lifestyle to incorporate physical activity and exercise into our daily lives so as not to disregard this great Sunnah! Not only is mountain climbing a terrific kind of exercise, but it is also a very symbolic sport that reminds us of the uphill fight of life!
Reinvigorate the Companions’ Spirit (through archery & other sports)
The Prophet urged us to take up active pastimes like swimming, horseback riding, archery, and wrestling. The Prophet overcame Rukana, the greatest wrestler in town. Many of the companions routinely engaged in wrestling, which is a physically demanding sport. Today, we can engage in comparable activities such as karate, kickboxing, bootcamp, and weightlifting to maintain our strength and physical fitness.
Archery is a sport to consider as well. One of the companions, Uqbah bin ‘Amir Al-Juhani (May Allah be pleased with him), narrated that the Prophet of Allah ( ) remarked during a sermon, “I am the Messenger of Allah.
“…Verily! Archery is strength, archery is strength, archery is strength.” [Muslim]
If you have ever practised archery, you are aware of the upper body and arm strength required to strike the target and hold the bow steady. Archery is also excellent for enhancing focus and hand-eye coordination. The act of drawing a bow causes strain in the chest, hands, arm, and major upper back muscles, as well as non-core anatomical structures such as the shoulder-supporting rotator cuffs. These tissues are strengthened by the precise and continual repetition of this motion. This sport requires patience because it is not about speed but rather precision, and precision requires time and patience.
The Prophet’s companions were physically healthy and used their power to serve Islam. Zubayr ibn Awwam (RA), one of the ten companions promised Jannah, once swam kilometres up the shore of the Red Sea to report the status of an important fight to the Muslims. Anyone who has swum along the coast of a sea knows how tough it is to swim in the ocean due to the waves and currents that pull you in different directions!
Ali ibn Abi Talib (RA), the cousin of the Prophet SAW, once utilised a gate that required eight people to open as a shield by himself. That is a great miracle of strength!
Not alone were the men powerful, but many of the female companions also used their strength to defend themselves and aid the Ummah. Nusaybah bint Ka’b (RA) – also known as Umm Ammarah – was a nurse during the battle of Uhud, when Muslims had to defend Madinah from an invading army. When the Prophet’s life was in jeopardy, she physically guarded him with such ferocity that it was reported he could see her battling for him wherever he looked.
In another narrative, Safiyya ibn Abdul Mutallib (RA) and Umm Hakeem (RA) defended the women and children at a vulnerable spot during the Battle of Ahzaab. Both women were able to defend their people against assailants on their own.
Being physically healthy and robust is not limited to the ability to participate in self-defense. Umm Sulaym (RA) travelled to Hajj in her final trimester of pregnancy, went into labour and gave birth as a pilgrim, and then returned home. In addition, life in the Arabian desert was difficult, and the female companions need physical strength to do daily activities.
Today, despite the predominance of contemporary luxuries, we must consider how we might continue this heritage of physical prowess by challenging our bodies. As Muslim women, being physically active entails utilising our energy and strength as effective change agents! Often, we stifle our desires and aspirations because we are fatigued and lethargic. Taking care of our bodies increases our vitality and enables us to achieve our objectives!
2) Remember that fitness may also be a form of worship!
As Muslims, it is essential that we reflect on the significance of our bodies. Without a healthy physique, it is impossible to perform the five daily prayers correctly. When we enter the masjid and see rows of our elderly community praying in chairs due to chronic conditions, obesity, and lack of mobility, this should serve as a powerful reminder that we must train our bodies now to ensure that we have the strength to continue worshipping Allah to the best of our ability!
The Messenger of Allah ( ) stated, “…Your body has a right over you…” [Bukhari]
This narrative alters our conception of what our body represent. These are God-given “Amaanah” that are expected to be kept and strengthened. This amaanah will either testify in our favour or against us. Our limbs will communicate when our mouth cannot.
Unfortunately, we frequently disregard our bodies. Our bodies deteriorate slowly over time, and it can be difficult to comprehend how skipping a workout or failing to remain physically active now will limit us in the future. The Prophet addressed the habit of Muslims to disregard their bodies when he said:
“There are two blessings that many individuals lose: health and time for doing good.” [Bukhari]
A robust body is one that can be put to use in the service of Allah and His creation! Let us all pledge to living an active Muslim lifestyle… starting now in shaa Allah!