Anxiety and excessive worry are common issues that can negatively impact one’s quality of life. As Muslims, our faith provides guidance on how to cope with these challenges in a healthy way. In this article, we will explore Islamic perspectives on managing anxiety and worry in daily life.

Understanding Anxiety and Worry

Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It can be triggered by stressful events or uncertainties about the future. Anxiety becomes problematic when it is excessive, persistent, and interferes with daily functioning.

Excessive worry is closely related to anxiety. Worry refers to repetitive negative thoughts about potential threats, problems or worst-case scenarios. Excessive worry can consume mental energy and make it hard to focus on anything else.

From an Islamic perspective, anxiety and worry arise when we allow our nafs (self or ego) to dominate our thinking. The nafs tends to focus on worldly matters excessively, leading to stress and anxiety. However, Allah reminds us in the Quran:

“…Indeed, Allah is with those who fear Him and those who are doers of good.” (Quran, 16:128)

As believers, our hope and reliance should be in Allah alone. He is in control of all affairs.

Causes of Anxiety from an Islamic Lens

There can be many reasons why someone might struggle with anxiety and worry. Some common causes include:

  • Lack of trust in Allah (tawakkul). When our faith is weak, we tend to rely entirely on our own efforts. However, total reliance should be on Allah.
  • Obsessive focus on dunya (worldly life). Anxiety can arise when we become overly attached to material things or future events, instead of living in the moment and fulfilling our duties.
  • Sins and distance from Allah. When iman (faith) is low, we are more vulnerable to stress and uncertainty. Staying connected to Allah provides inner peace.
  • Lack of patience (sabr) and gratitude (shukr). Anxiety makes things seem worse than they are. Practicing patience and thankfulness combats this.
  • Poor self-care. Anxiety is often worsened when we neglect our physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Keeping a balanced lifestyle helps manage anxiety.
  • Biological and environmental causes. Genetics, trauma, medical issues or surroundings can also impact anxiety levels. Seeking proper treatment is key.

Healthy Coping Strategies from the Sunnah

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) experienced much uncertainty and stress in fulfilling his mission. He used various strategies to manage anxiety and worry:

  • Daily dhikr (remembrance of Allah). This includes reciting morning and evening adhkar, as well as making dhikr throughout the day. Dhikr provides comfort and removes distress.
  • Seeking refuge in Allah. Making dua (supplication) to seek refuge from anxiety and hardship. For example, the Prophet (pbuh) taught us to say Allahumma inni a’udhu bika min al-hammi walhazan (O Allah, I seek refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow).
  • Moderation between hope and fear. Having positive expectations while engaging in appropriate action, while also leaving outcomes to Allah and avoiding obsession.
  • Patience and gratitude. Responding to trials with patience and gratitude increases happiness and removes anxiety. Counting our blessings daily helps maintain perspective.
  • Balance and self-care. Setting boundaries, taking time to recharge, eating healthy and making self-care a priority. This provides stability in times of stress.
  • Positive company and environment. Surrounding ourselves with positive influences, whether people, places or information sources. This creates an uplifting environment.

Quranic Verses and Duas for Relief from Anxiety

Here are some impactful verses from the Quran and supplications from the Sunnah to ponder over and make dua with when dealing with anxiety:

  • “…if Allah should touch you with adversity, there is no remover of it except Him. And if He touches you with good – then He is over all things competent.” (Quran, 6:17)
  • “Is not Allah sufficient for His Servant [Prophet Muhammad]? And [yet], they threaten you with those [they worship] other than Him.” (Quran, 39:36)
  • Allahumma inni asbahtu ushbikan min kulli shayin illa oubsika, wa asbahtu obaskan min kulli shayin illa qudratika (O Allah, I have entered the morning relying on everything except Your mercy and entered the evening relying on everything except Your power).
  • Hasbunallahu wa ni’mal wakeel (Allah is sufficient for us, and He is the best disposer of affairs).
  • La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah alazim (There is no power nor might except with Allah).
  • Reciting Surah Al-Fatihah, Al-Baqarah, Al-Falaq and An-Nas also provide comfort.

Making these parts of your daily routine can relieve anxiety over time, in sha Allah.

Seeking Professional Help

While coping strategies rooted in spirituality are beneficial, it is also perfectly acceptable in Islam to seek professional treatment for anxiety when needed.

Some reasons to consider therapy or medication include:

  • If anxiety symptoms are severe and continue for a prolonged period
  • Causing significant disruption in your day-to-day life
  • Impacting your social relationships and functioning
  • Causing health issues like high blood pressure, digestive problems or insomnia
  • If self-help strategies are not providing sufficient relief

Treatment from a professional such as a therapist, counselor or psychiatrist coupled with spiritual practices can effectively manage anxiety in most cases. Many clinicians are also sensitive to incorporating faith-based approaches for Muslim clients.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety and worry are part of the human experience, but Islam offers us a framework to prevent them from becoming disproportionate and disabling. Implementing the Prophetic wisdom and Quranic guidance discussed here can help us cope with anxiety in constructive ways. However, those with severe symptoms should also seek professional treatment.

The key is relying more on faith than fear, striving to live balanced, grateful lives focused on the akhirah, and using spiritually-grounded strategies to manage worry. With patience and trust in Allah, distress can be overcome, in sha Allah.

BY: Aisha Ali

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