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Depression & Muslims: 7 Stats That Will Shock You

There will generally be two reactions to this post:

A) If you’re not depressed, you will feel that this has no relevance to you and therefore you’re probably only here due to the click bait nature of the title.

Or

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B) If you are depressed, the natural course of the disease usually renders you feeling unable to seek help or look for solutions and therefore you wouldn’t click on this title anyway

In other words, technically, almost no one should be reading this.

anyone there

But I hope I’m wrong so here a few stats to jolt you out of whichever category you fall into.

depression stats

[1] Up to 95% of Imams in America said they spend significant time each week providing informal mental health counselling to their congregation… despite having little formal training to do so

[2] Muslim women in UAE are 4 times more likely to get depression than Muslim men… and less likely to get help

[3] Up to 50% of Arab-Americans shows signs of clinical depression

[4] Every 40 seconds, around 20 people attempt suicide. At least one of them will succeed

[5] Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world

[6] More than 50% of depression worldwide is untreated

[7] In one study of the UK Pakistani community, less than half said that they would be willing to socialise with someone who suffered with a mental health disease

depression stats2

There is a significant chance that you are someone you know may suffer from depression or will do so in the future. If you want to find out how you can help yourself or others in a simple and easy to follow step-wise solution that doesn’t make you choose between medical science and your faith- then join this short MuslimMatters Mental Health webinar:

muslimmatters.org/LIVE

Saturday November 14th | 1pm EST | 6pm GMT

 

More information on the Facebook event page.

References:

  1. University of Michigan Library 
  2. National Institute of Health
  3. USA Today
  4. World Health Org
  5. Ibid
  6. Ibid
  7. World Health Org

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Dr. Muhammad Wajid Akhter - Doctor, Medical Tutor (Social Media, History & Medicine) - Islamic Historian - Founder of, and current board member to Charity Week for Orphans and needy children. www.charityweek.com - Council member, British Islamic Medical Association

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    monique

    November 12, 2015 at 3:08 PM

    Thank you for this. There needs to be more depression awareness in the Muslim community. I suffer from depression and refuse to seek help within the community because all anyone ever tells me is that a true muslim can never be depressed…which, quite frankly, is very ignorant. It’s frustrating

    • WAJiD

      WAJiD

      November 13, 2015 at 11:41 AM

      @Monique – while the attitude of some towards mental health can be frustrating, I would counsel against closing the door to all help from within the community. Firstly, frustrating attitudes towards mental health cut across all communities across the world. Secondly, there are many aware Muslim medics, therapists, Imams and community workers and they will be more likely to tailor advice to you as a Muslim.

      Don’t let the lack of awareness from some close the door to benefit from others. May Allah give us all helpers from where we do not know.

      • Avatar

        JinnKuzunoha

        November 30, 2017 at 7:18 AM

        I only wonder, as an outsider looking in on all of this, if the help from where you know not, will ever dare approach you, or whether it can be seen as help, by the ‘true muslims’. Or whether, indeed, there will be enough ‘true muslims’, to receive any manner of providence, or whether it will only be ‘false muslims’ who find help. Truly disconcerting elitism.

    • Avatar

      Ayub C Mohamad

      November 15, 2015 at 12:16 PM

      Sister Monique
      I am among those ” very ignorants ” who say ” a true muslim can never be depressed ” !!
      But allow me to clarify my position : depression and stress are preponderant in our communities . almost nobody can say for sure that he is immune from it or them . Furthermore seeking appropriate medical treatment is advisable in this situation .
      Now this being said , i believe that a true believer practicing his faith ( for instance Islam ) , and having a deep understanding of Al Quran and Assunah ( hadiths and manners of our beloved prophet pbuh ) is well equipped to not allow himself to fall into depression . Let me mention just a few examples :
      1- In Al Quran Allah says ” by remembering me and mentioning my name serenity fills the hearts ”
      2- The duaas taught by our prophet when you’re touched by calamity or losses or any trials . there are things you ought to say continuously in order to prevent stress and depression …
      Just to mention few

      May Allah swt bring peace and tranquility into your heart and peace in your life
      Ps; pls if i can be helpful in any way dont hesitate to contact me : ayubcm@hotmail.com

      • Avatar

        monique

        November 15, 2015 at 6:16 PM

        no….I won’t be contacting you. There is such a thing as a chemical imbalance in the brain that can cause depression. I am a true believer, I understand the Qu’ran and I do all my prayers every day so according to you, I shouldn’t be depressed which in turn would mean that you think I’m not a truly faithful Muslim because I have depression….get some education brother.

      • WAJiD

        WAJiD

        November 16, 2015 at 4:17 PM

        @Ayub

        Walaikum asalaam-

        Thank you for the reply. I am grateful that you engaged in discussing why you feel a true Muslim cannot be depressed. However, I think your evidence points to some spiritual ways HOW a Muslim can help themselves out of depression. It doesn’t mean they cannot be depressed in the first place.

        Remember, depression is a biological illness as well. Saying a true Muslim cannot be depressed is nearly the same as saying a true Muslim cannot break their leg. We need to be careful because if we say this, then we are basically saying that anyone who is depressed is not a good or true Muslim – which is inaccurate and also makes them more stressed and depressed.

  2. Avatar

    Muslimah

    November 12, 2015 at 11:34 PM

    I have had SUCH a disturbing night and I see this early morning! I was wondering if I could talk to anyone about what I’ve been thinking. I feel disinterested in living because theres SO much evil in the world. I mean it. That’s my problem! I see the news, its evil in there that clogs my brain and hampers my thinking. I am checking ramdon stuff on TV/youtube, theres evil. I passby some people, I hear evil. I mean, come on, things were OK yesterday!! I’m now afraid..of how my family/kids/neighbours/friends might become soon. What will they pick up from this society? What are they gonna become soon like? I’m so afraid of facing the reality. I promised myself that I’m gonna stop watching news or searching random stuff on youtube from today. I hope someone can advise me.

    • WAJiD

      WAJiD

      November 13, 2015 at 11:35 AM

      Walaikum asalaam,

      @Muslimah – the prevalence of “evil” in the world is definitely distressing. There is a difference between this natural distress and worry and clinical depression. If you find that how you are feeling is hampering your ability to get on with your life, then I would recommend seeking advice and help from a doctor or therapist as well as an Imam that you trust.

      May Allah protect you and all of us from the evil of the world and allow us to see the good.

    • Avatar

      salman

      November 14, 2015 at 5:48 PM

      Salaam, Muslimah I would suggest a news fast or news break. It is not healthy for you or anyone to constantly review these negative stories or images over and over again. Although it is cliche, we do live in a 24 hour news cycle. TV, internet and cable bombard our senses 24 senses with all of the ‘evil’ from around the world. If you like music I would suggest some uplifting Zikr that reminds you of Allah (swt). Youtube has some wonderful things such as nasheed on 99 names of Allah and “Zikrtherapy.” You can also do some zikr yourself and read positive things like Quran and hadith.

  3. Avatar

    Annisa Essack

    November 14, 2015 at 3:25 AM

    As salaam alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatahu

    Dear Brother Wajid

    I am a South African who is interested in the webinar for my own personal reasons.

    However, I would like to invite you to be my guest on a show I host every Sunday evening on a local Islamic radio station in Durban, South Africa. The radio station is called Radio Al Ansaar.

    This is a topic, many women in the Muslim community shy away from because they are treated with disdain if they mention it. It would be great to have you on tomorrow, 15/11/2015 but as it is short notice, so if you are unable to, please feel free to suggest another Sunday more convenient to you.

    I look forward to hearing from you in sha Allah.

    Ma’asalaamah

    Annisa Essack

    • WAJiD

      WAJiD

      November 16, 2015 at 4:18 PM

      Ws, I have emailed. JazakAllah khairun

  4. Avatar

    Haleema

    December 3, 2015 at 3:39 AM

    Asalaamu Alaikum Dr Akhtar,

    It’s fantastic to see this issue being discussed. Ignorance of the reality of depression is especially prominent in my community.

    On a side note, I was actually searching to find your contact information on the internet and stumbled across this piece. It would be great if you could contact me inshaAllah, as I wanted to discuss something I think you might be interested in.

    I look forward to hearing back from you.

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#Life

What Repentance Can Teach You About Success

When losing weight, one piece of advice you’ll hear often is the following – if you fall off your eating plan one day, pick yourself back up and think of the next day as a fresh start.

Annoying, isn’t it?

You’ll hear this advice from people who have “made it” – they’ve lost a lot of weight, their lives have changed, and they’ll tell you to stick through it, and you’ll be like, yeah, I have, I tried, and I keep failing. I keep trying, I can’t sustain the motivation, I have life factors, I have stuff going on that makes this difficult.

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And you’re right.

You don’t have millions of dollars, a dedicated personal trainer and chef, the free time and lack of commitments others do, the lack of sleep, the injuries, or personal life circumstances that advantage others, nor do they have those that disadvantage you.

That’s not the point.

When you make a mistake, if you run through the process of regret, repentance, and retrying to do the right thing, Allah (swt) is pleased with you. And if you keep failing, repenting, and trying again, and again, and again, until you die, Allah keeps forgiving you.

The process of both recognizing your weakness, of getting out of denial, and humbling yourself and not thinking yourself so high and mighty has its own sobering effect. Not only does it help you in dealing with that atom’s weight of arrogance you don’t want to meet Allah (swt) with on the Day of Judgment, it helps make you a better human being, a more compassionate one, a more empathetic one, when calling others away from mistakes.

I’m not perfect, and you’re not perfect. Perfection is only for Allah (swt). But we’re trying. And the process of recognizing your weakness and at least attempting to rectify it means that maybe you’ll sin a little less, maybe you’ll still not invent excuses for mistakes and you’ll teach others, “Hey man, I know this is a sin, I know this is wrong, I hope you can do better than me.” And maybe they do change, and you’re both better for it.

Maybe in trying and failing again and again, what you end up doing is coming a little bit closer to success, and that process of trying and failing is the teacher you needed to get you out of your weakness and to then help others do likewise. Maybe that learning process serves you in succeeding elsewhere down the road in other treacherous turns and trials of life.

Whether it’s in losing weight, fixing broken relationships, pulling away from a heavy nafs addiction (eg pornography), don’t ever put yourself mentally in a position where “you’ve lost” and “you may as well give up” because “there’s no hope for me”. Don’t identify yourself by your failures.

So then, what is the point?

The point isn’t that you hit your goal perfectly. The point is that give your best, even with the little that you have, and that is good enough for you and for all of us. Ask Allah (swt) to help you better yourself, and in these 10 Days of Dhul-Hijjah, increase in your du’a, cry to Him for help, in whatever area of life it is you’re trying to improve.

And whatever you fail at, don’t fall off for weeks on end. Acknowledge your mistake, own it completely and take full responsibility. Try to figure out where you went wrong in your process, get help from others if you need to. Forgive yourself, and don’t resign yourself to an identity based on your mistakes.

Never get tired of failing, getting knocked down, and picking yourself back up and trying to do and be better again.

It’s always a brand new day tomorrow.

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 19: My Mercy Encompasses All Things

Now that we have learnt about when the angels surround us, let’s now talk about how Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy encompasses all things.

We say بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ  (bismillah Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem) a lot, right? It means ‘in the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.’ 

We say it when we pray, before we eat, and we’re encouraged to say it before we begin any new task. But do we really understand what rahma (mercy) means? 

Question: What do you think rahma means?

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Do you know that the word rahma comes from the root word, رحم (rahim), which means womb? 

Question: Who can tell me what a womb is?

That’s right. A baby is usually in their mommy’s womb for 40 weeks. The baby gets all the nourishment it requires; the temperature in the womb is perfect, the nutrients are always administered, it is safe and warm. All the baby has to do is grow, and alhamdulillah all its needs are being met. 

Question: How do you think the womb relates to Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy?

Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy is constantly surrounding us like a safety net. That doesn’t mean that we’ll never experience any pain, but Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is constantly showing us mercy with every breath we take. Even blinking is a mercy from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that we don’t even have to think about. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) even has more mercy for us than a mother has for her own child! 

One day the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was walking with a group of his companions, and they passed by a woman who was frantically looking for her child. She would take any child to her breast and try to feed him/her. Then the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to the companions: “Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?” We replied, “No, if she has the power not to throw it (in the fire).” The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then said, “Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is more merciful to His slaves than this lady to her son.”

And guess what? There’s even more mercy in the hereafter than we’re experiencing right now. 

Salman al-Farisi reported: The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Verily, on the day Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) created the heavens and earth, He created one hundred parts of mercy. Each part can fill what is between heaven and earth. He made one part of mercy for the earth, from it a mother has compassion for her child, animals and birds have compassion for each other. On the Day of Resurrection, He will perfect this mercy.” [Sahih Muslim]

99 parts of mercy on the Day of Judgment! That is one reason why it’s so important to have a good opinion of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)! Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) even tells us in Surat Al-A’raaf:

وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۚ

“My mercy encompasses all things” (Surat Al-A’raaf; 156]

And you all, my dears, are all encompassed by Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy, alhamdulillah. 

 

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 18: When the Angels Surround Us

Now that we have learnt about Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and her sa’i, let’s now talk about when the angels surround us.

Do you know that every time we sit together and remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we are not alone in our meeting? We have very special visitors, and these visitors love to hear us praising Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)and thanking Him. 

Question: Who can tell me who these visitors are?

Yes! They are angels! Can anyone name some angels for me?

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We have Angel Jibril 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) who has delivered every message to every Prophet since the beginning of time. We also have our angels on our left and right who write down our deeds.

Question: Does anyone know the name of the angel that is in control of the weather? 

His name is Angel Mikai’l. 

There are so many gifts that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) grants us when we gather together and remember him. Four things happen every single time! I want you to pay close attention to this hadith, because I’m going to ask you what those four things are after I read it. 

Are you ready?

‏لا يقعد قوم يذكرون الله عز وجل إلا حفتهم الملائكة، وغشيتهم الرحمة ونزلت عليهم السكينة، وذكرهم الله فيمن عنده‏

The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “When a group of people assemble for the remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), the angels surround them (with their wings), (Allah’s) mercy envelops them, tranquility descends upon them, and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) makes a mention of them before those who are near Him.”

Question: Can you believe that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) makes mention of your name when you make mention of His? What do you think it means when “tranquility descends upon us?” Do you feel how calm your heart is? 

That is a gift from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and He tells us that our hearts find rest in His remembrance:

أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“…Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured” [Surah Ar-Ra’d; 28] 

 

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