How the Quran guides us on psycho-social wellbeing

Story by  Amir Suhail Wani | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 02-07-2024
The Holy Quran
The Holy Quran


Amir Suhail Wani

Mental health and psycho-social well-being are preliminary neds for the overall wellness of an individual. Even a minor mental health issue can leave an individual in a crippled state. However, living in a world of throat-cutting competition and pressed upon by social, economic, existential, and psychological challenges of all sorts and magnitudes, one is bound to encounter mental stress and related issues sooner or later in life.

Spiritual Matters

At times, these experiences drive an individual into acts of self-harm, drug addiction, and even suicide. What are the possible remedies to this monster of mounting mental health problems, and what role, if any, can religion play in mitigating the issue?

The role of religion and spirituality in mitigating mental health issues and acting as a source of solutions to ailments of psychological order can be assessed from multiple frames of reference. Let’s cursorily look at the issues which endanger man’s mental health and see how religion resolves these issues and provides a framework, working within which, one can not only secure his mental health but improve his quality of overall life too.

To begin with, life is not a cakewalk, but a roller coaster of incessant challenges. These challenges assume various forms and contexts and keep revisiting us now and then. Isn’t it mostly about these challenges that one feels unnerved, helpless, and pressed against the corner? But doesn’t one remember how Allah, the creator of life with its miseries and comforts has described human life and the circumstances that accompany it?

God, while describing the human constitution and human condition explicitly states that “We have certainly created man into hardship” (Al Quran – 90:4). Look at the expression “certainly” as used in the verse to indicate the inevitability of hardships, and tribulations and sufferings that one is bound to confront in one’s life.

The fact of the matter remains that man isn’t able to see through this fact and doesn’t prepare himself mentally for the miseries that are potentially inherent to life. “Life is difficult,” writes Dr Scott Peck, “This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult, we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters”.

This is the first master key that can help each and everybody to unlock many of the doors to happiness and peace. Let it be reminded that the Quran, after describing life as full of tribulations and hardships, doesn’t leave man in isolation, in a state of hopelessness, but assures man of ease and comfort accompanying every hardship and misery “So, surely with hardship comes ease” (Quran 94:5).

The Quran leaves it to the discretion of its believers to seek help and comfort from God in whatever condition they are and this assurance has great therapeutic and corrective effect. The Quranic assurance is “and when (O Messenger) my servants ask about me, then surely I am near: I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he prays to me”.

Let’s turn to the next major stressor in our lives and that is the issue of career, job security, sustainable livelihood, and aggregate of all issues about our future. We are often, too much overburdened by our naive conjectures about the future that we miserably and pathetically end up messing up our present. In the quest for what we want, we undermine what we have and instead of benefiting and relishing from resources at our disposal, we spoil our lives with untenable worries about the future. How does Islam help us neutralize this anxiety and what attitude does our religion command in these cases?

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The Quran categorically informs us of the fact that “Satan threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit evil, whereas Allah promises you forgiveness from himself and bounty” (2:268). Satan, as man’s eternal enemy he is, tries to wane us away from the mercy and bounties of Allah, by planting in our hearts the seeds of uncertainty, apprehension, fear of poverty, and illness and thus makes us subordinate to his nefarious designs.