As you are in the midst of the last days of Ramadan you need to make sure that you are completely cleansed in every aspect.  Many of you have prayed long rakats sincerely asking  for forgiveness,  read Qur'an while shedding many tears and engaged in many acts of charity feeling renewed.  The one area that you may have overlooked is your emotional baggage. Many times you are so consumed with worship and acts of charity that it is easy to overlook your emotional issues.  So what is so important in dealing with them?  As long as you just fast, pray, read Qur'an & give sadaqah (charity) it's enough right?  WRONG.
As a psychologist I recognize that your  emotional and psychological states have a huge impact on your spiritual well-being.  If you are depressed, anxious, holding a grudge or feeling jealous then you will be in an emotional turmoil – your focus and attention will shift toward your problem and you will not be wholeheartedly attentive to your acts of worship, only your issues.  In order to free yourself from the toxins of the emotional  hazards you need to  do an EMOTIONAL DETOX to rid yourself of all harmful and potentially deadly baggage.  Think of it as spring cleaning of your mind and heart before completing Ramadan.

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TOXIN # 1    HOLDING A GRUDGE

Is there someone in your life that has hurt you, lied to you, cheated on you or abused  you  and you are holding a grudge?  Are you angry and feeling depressed because of it?  Whenever you are in some way oppressed you have the choice to either play the victim role and feel sorry for yourself or you can accept it and move on.  Grudges are like heavy suitcases you carry with you everywhere you go, weighing you down.  Learn to let go and liberate yourself.

No matter how negligent you have been, how selfish or decadent you have lived your life there is always hope in making a change. First forgive yourself of past mistakes- there is no limit to Allah's forgiveness- the door of repentance is always open.

Hadith Qudsi : “O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you” (Al-Tirmidhi)

Forgive your parents, your spouse, your siblings and anyone else who has ever oppressed you.  Instead of being angry at people, realize that there is divine wisdom in everything that happens. It is the difficult tests in your life that shape you and make you a stronger person.  Embrace your past and your present so that you can truly liberate yourself.

Whoever suffers an injury and forgives , God will raise his status to a higher degree and removes one of his sins” (Al-Tirmidhi).

It is like a wrestling match with your nafs (ego) – fighting the evil within to purify  your hearts.  Overcome your innate desire to hold a grudge.  The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) inspired us with this practice when he said to his followers:

“God had ordered me to maintain ties with those who sever ties with me to give to those who deprive me and to forgive those who oppress me.”

The Prophet and his companions went beyond altruism.  They had immeasurable generosity towards people who had tortured them and they were forgiving and merciful to the worst oppressors.  The essence of true forgiveness is to forget.  Not bringing up the past mistakes of others is one of the most dignified and mature things you can do.

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Think about the man who was promised paradise because he forgave everyone before he slept – how easy is that?  It doesn't cost anything and it doesn't take any effort.  You only need to make a decision to forgive.

TOXIN # 2  ANGER

Anger is a natural human emotion which can motivate you to take action.  If anger is not channeled properly  it can be the leading cause of health & psychological problems, violence and even divorce.  Learn how to control your anger  or else it will control you.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the one who controls himself while in anger.” (Bukhari).

Several things are attributed to overcoming anger.  When you accept  your destiny and truly realize that everything that is happening to you right now is the best for you, then you will gain more control over your anger.  Another very important ingredient to overcoming anger is having emotional leadership and acting like an adult at all times.  It is critical to take ownership of your feelings and stop blaming others.  You are the only person who has the power to decide whether you will be angry or not.  If you have a long list of buttons that people can easily press – DEACTIVATE YOUR BUTTONS. Don't show sensitivity so that people will stop pressing your buttons.

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When the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was asked for  advice he said Don't get angry – he was asked a second and third time and he repeated don't get angry.  The reason he put so much emphasis on not getting angry is because anger leads to many problems and sins.  When a person gets angry they can hurt other peoples' feelings, gossip, physically hurt others or take part in other destructive behavior.  The best way to prevent anger is to take time out, do deep breathing, make positive affirmations while doing istaghfar (asking for forgiveness).

TOXIN # 3 ANXIETY

The danger of having anxiety is that it consumes you and makes you feel overwhelmed.  When a person is feeling overwhelmed they no longer can focus, feel at peace or have trust in their heart.  This can really effect peoples' faith and their productivity.  Many times people feel immobilized when they are overcome with anxiety.
Most people live in the remorse of the past or the fear of future which creates an excessive amount of anxiety.  The only way to prevent the anxiety is to live in the here and now.  If you are focused on the present without worrying about the past or future then and only then can you start living a fulfilling and meaningful life.  In order to achieve this you really have to believe that Allah is al-Hakeem (the most wise).  Everything He does is for a reason and if you trust Allah and accept your destiny then you will have no anxiety.  Take control of what you are saying to yourself because your self-talk can either help you to attain peace or lead you to massive anxiety.  Instead of saying, “ Oh no, I don't know what is going to happen to me”  say:  “I know that everything will work out for the best and I will be able to cope with whatever happens insha'Allah.”

I have had clients with extreme anxiety disorder and individuals who have had nervous breakdowns who have learned how to cope with their anxiety in order to live a peaceful  lives. As the saying goes:  it's all in your head -so if you think you are going to lose it you will and if you think you will be in control and remain calm you will be equipped to deal with the worst catastrophes.  The best way to ease your heart is to seek Allah's help in prayer to help you be patient.

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And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah] Surat al Baqara 2:45

TOXIN # 4 DEPRESSION

Usually people are depressed because things did not work out the way they had planned.  They feel somehow hopeless or helpless for not having control over their lives.  When a person experiences depression they are overwhelmed with grief, hopelessness and apathy. They are incapable of doing anything for themselves and they no longer can contribute to society.  The depression takes complete control over the persons' life and they can't be productive in any way.

Majority of my clients suffer from depression and the way I help them overcome it is by focusing on the many blessings they have and increasing their daily gratitude.  As they become more grateful I teach them to accept their circumstances.  No matter how difficult the situation, I tell them that it is a test that they have to accept in order to pass.

Some of the best ways to combat depression is to push yourself to take part in activities even if you don't feel like it.  Get together with friends, exercise daily and attend classes.  This way you can ensure that you will avoid the downward spiral of depression.  The quickest way to overcome depression is to help those in need.  The more you are involved in tending to the needs of the less fortunate the more you will feel gratitude for your life.

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TOXIN # 5  PESSIMISM

If you choose to look at life with pessimism it will prevent you from appreciating all the blessings that you have and make you a chronic complainer which will in essence make you and everyone around you miserable.  When you are pessimistic you will search for what is wrong in everything and everyone, you will lose all hope and lack enthusiasm for the future.  A believer can only be optimistic because they believe in the power of their creator and they are certain that everything that happens is for the best.  They don't question the past or the present because they know that the Most Wise would not have them suffer in vain.  Always search for what is good about your situation and reframe to look for the wisdom in each event.

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The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him): “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” (Narrated by Muslim, 2999).

TOXIN # 6 JEALOUSY

When you feel jealous it is like fire inside your heart that prevents you from being peaceful or content.  The problem of jealousy arises when you start comparing yourself to others.  This comparison can leave you feeling inadequate, unattractive, poor, unfortunate and miserable.   Anyone who feels jealousy does not understand the concept of predestination (qadr).   Allah is the one who distributes wealth, health, status & everything else; therefore, if you feel jealous wishing you had what another person has or wanting to look like someone else, then you are implying that you know more than Allah (authobillah).  No one would have the audacity to question Allah, but if you constantly complain & think it's not fair then you are doing just that.

Jealousy is a disease of the heart that needs to be overcome.  Focus on the many blessings that you already have and stop comparing yourself to others.  The only people you should be comparing yourself to are the ones who are worse off so you can fill your heart with constant gratitude.

And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.' ” Ibrahim 14:7

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Realize that every blessing is a test.  If there is something you don't have then it is a form of mercy.  Start showing gratitude for all the things you don't have because if you had them you could have gone astray.

TOXIN # 7 LOW SELF-ESTEEM

Low self-esteem can effect your life tremendously.  If you don't feel good about yourself you will feel depressed and you will not be able to achieve your goals.  Sometimes you can be your own worst critic.  Try to minimize destructive thinking.   People talk to themselves 600 words a minute which 85% is negative.   Give your thoughts a makeover.  Start thinking positively and surround yourself with positive people.  Provide yourself with opportunities to have small accomplishments and celebrate your successes.

TOXIN # 8 BEING JUDGMENTAL

Being judgmental of others is the quickest way to push them away and create distance.  Each time you look at a person with judgmental eyes evaluating their level of commitment, their clothes, the way they choose to wear the hijab or the activities they take part in you create a barrier.  The person being judged will feel extremely rejected and they will have very negative emotions towards you and Islam.  The only way you can be an effective representative of Islam is by being accepting and non-judgmental.  Don't look for spiritual clones of yourself & label others as losers.  Try your best to be accepting and tolerant of all people.

Unfortunately, the more religious people become the more critical and  judgmental they become.  It is really a shame if you start feeling arrogant because you are more religious than someone else.  This is only from the mercy of Allah that you are on the right path and He could take you off that path in an instant if you continue to look down on others and turn them away from Islam with your harsh, judgmental style.

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TOXIN # 9 TOXIC RELATIONS

There are certain people you may be in contact with which are toxic for your life.  These individuals may be pessimistic, heedless or completely oblivious to their purpose in life.  As you spend time with individuals like this you will be effected by their poison and slowly but surely you will be completely infected.  Try to avoid them if you can or limit your time with them.  Counterbalance the negative effect by spending time with highly positive and committed people.  If the toxic people in your life are your family members try to understand the wisdom in having them in your life and limit your time with them as much as you can without offending them.

TOXIN # 10 HATRED

If you have hatred in your heart it is best to cleanse yourself from it this Ramadan. Harboring feelings of hatred releases poisons, kills your spirit & makes you cynical.  Understand the reasons behind your hatred and try your best to overcome it by accepting your destiny and trusting in Allah's plan.  Remember that when the hating ends the healing begins.  Fill your heart with love and make supplications for the people you dislike in order to soften your heart and earn rewards.

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Make it your goal this Ramadan to rid yourself of all the toxins by doing the emotional detox so that your heart will be fully cleansed and ready for the rest of the year.  If you put forth the effort in ridding yourself of one toxin at a time you will improve your overall spiritual and emotional state while enhancing your relationships with others insha'Allah.

 

 

About The Author

Haleh Banani is the first female to host a program for Al-Fajr TV called "With Haleh" which combines the principles of psychology and Islam to help people reach their full potential and overcome their challenges. She has a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from University of Houston, graduating Magma Cum Laude. She has over 10 years experience in diagnosing mental and emotional disorders and administrating programs of treatment. Her clients call in for phone therapy from the U.S. and Middle East. She has given lectures on marriage in several countries. Her focus is couples' and individuals' therapy where she helps people suffering from depression, anxiety, eating disorders and self-esteem issues. She empowers her clients with unequivocal amount of enthusiasm, compassion and support. Her articles have been published in magazines in Houston and Egypt. Haleh received her ijaza for recitation of the Quran with tajweed in Egypt. She has studied Islam by attending intensive programs with many renowned scholars in North America. She has lived most of her life in the U.S., and is currently living in Egypt. She has been married for 15 years with Abdelmajeed and has Alhamdulillah 3 precious children: Abdelfattah, Kareem, and Layla. Her passions include skiing, kick boxing, tennis, traveling all humanitarian causes.

13 Responses

  1. A

    Subhanallah. I have all of these…. Jazakallahu khair for writing….

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    • A

      I don’t know how to let go of grudges…I keep walls up because I feel if I let them down or let go of the grudges, those people will hurt me again (pessimism)…can you advise please?

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      • Re:A and B

        walls are good, but in time they evolve and continue to grow bigger and bigger. what you should do is forget about their past mistakes, and do what is right. Try not to get in situations in which previously they deceived you. And if they do hurt you again, punch ‘em, and punch ‘em really hard.

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  2. Berserk Hijabi

    I have to agree with A. Alhamdlillah I am young and the only problem I have is a grudge which I am slowly learning to let go of,but like this commenter said I have this fear that if I do I am giving this persons he chance to take advantage of me,cut me down and bully me again.

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    • Re:A and B

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. iMuslim

    It’s very sad that I am afflicted with many of the diseases listed. But alhamdulillah one of them that has been made easier for me is jealousy.

    In one of Sh Yasir Qadhi’s recent Ramadan videos he mentioned a Sunnah dua to say whenever you feel the sting of jealousy: “masha’Allah, barakAllahu lak, la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah”.

    It means that you acknowledge that Allah is the One who granted the person their gift; you pray that He blesses them with more; finally, you remind yourself that all matters and power to change them are under Allah’s control alone.

    Not only is this incredibly therapeutic, but because it is a dua you are making for your brother or sister, the angel will say “ameen and for you also”, so you are in effect also making dua for yourself!

    It has really helped me as before, not only was I burdened with jealousy, but then I was burdened with the guilt of being such a horribly jealous person! Instead I now turn to Allah immediately and shut the door to both crippling emotions insha’Allah.

    Now I just have to work on the rest of my demons… :/

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  4. Nadia Shah

    Very well written. I agree with everything and wish more people would try to deal w/these issues before they consume their life. Although there should be a disclaimer with depression: there are some that may need medication in conjunction w/therapy to deal with major depression.

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  5. M. Aslam

    Subhan Allah. I have all of these…. Jazakallahu khair for writing…. You post is very informative and very useful….

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  6. Fatima Ariadne

    Thank you for this article. But now in this time the definition of extremism itself has shifted. In the time of Prophet, extremism is exaggeration in practicing religions, but now those who are against the Western imperialism in Muslim lands are deemed “extremists” by mainstream Western media.

    Agree too that now Muslims are greatly divided because of extreme polarity of love/hatred. It’s sad really when a muslim treat his brothers and sisters with vile namecallings, “may you burn in hell” or such just because they don’t share the same view.

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  7. Fatima Ariadne

    Subhanallah :O my bad. I apologize for comment above in the wrong place :O. I open multiple windows tabs and there goes the mistake….

    thank you for this article. The list are sooo spot on, but may I add a little that a lot of heart diseases came from too much attachment to dunya or past pain. Letting go of grudges or forgiving is about giving yourself permission to release the past, release yourself from the victim mentality, and to accept that Allah arranges yourself to cross path with certain things, places, and people so they could exchange some lessons with you.

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  8. Tahir Farooqui

    A wondreading article I have every read.. Subhanallah.

    A document every one should read it, reflect it on every point, pray to Allah Swt, offer 2 rakaat taubah & Saltul Hajaat and then practice the same inshaAllah.. You shall starting loving your life, your parents and family inshaAllah.

    May Allah Swt guide us on a right path, forgive our sins and make us a valubale asset for the Ummah ameen.

    Jazakallah khair and thank you very much to the writer and the muslimmatters.

    Wassalamu Alaikum,
    tahir farooqui

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  9. Laila Ali

    I agree with Mrs. Banani’s views and studies except for toxic relations. She did not support this with any Hadith. Our religion teaches to get closer to a person who is moving away from us. We are expected to maintain relations and not break the ties. We are not supposed to not talk to a person for more than three days. Islam teaches on bringing people together not getting away from them. Imagine if you have a toxic person as a spouse, then what is the option. If any of the options that Mrs. Banani suggested are implemented then it is against Islam and will lead to divorce.

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