What Does Islam Have To Say About Mental Health?

 A'udhu billahi 's-samee' il-'aleem min ash-shaytan ir-rajeem. Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-rahim wa salallahu 'ala Sayyidina Muhammad wa ala alihi 't-tayyabeen it-tahireen, and welcome to this gathering where I answer some of the questions that you send me each week. So the question that we have to deal with this week is one that I've been asked many, many times, and that is that what is the relationship between mental health and Islam? Does Islam recognize mental health issues? Does Islam give us any answers about how to deal with mental health issues?

Does Islam have anything to say about mental health whatsoever? And of course, the answer to this is that, of course, Islam has answers and has things to say on issues of mental health, because Islam is a religion that strives towards the human being's health in all aspects of their lives, mental health being one of the most important aspects of our lives. Islam tries to encourage us towards good physical habits, good spiritual habits and mental habits are like an isthmus or a barzakh between the physical and the spiritual.

When our mental health is out of balance, our bodies can become out of balance and they can become sick. So if we are stressed, we sometimes feel those tensions within our body itself, some knots in our back and so on and so forth. Or, for example, our heart rate increases, we run the risk of heart attack and so on and so forth. These are things that affect us from our mental state onto our physical state. And so too our spirituality many times cannot develop if we are burdened with mental health problems and issues. If we are excessively worried, anxious, depressed, all of these things have an affect also on our ability to traverse the metaphysical. So Islam has a lot to say about mental health. And indeed, sometimes when I talk about jihad un-nafs which you've all heard about, the combat with the self, many times I frame jihad un-nafs within the framework of mental health. That is, that a person fights the inner self and fights their ego so that they can have good mental health.

Good mental health is that kind of mental state where a person is linked to Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala. They feel peace coming from that direction. The remembrance of Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, gives them peace. They have satisfaction from anxiety because they are doing the right things that will make them successful in this world and in the next.

And even if they fall and they are not successful in this world, they will still be, in terms of material aspects, that does not mean that they are not successful in the next world.

So they are people that are able to pass through all of the different aspects that are usually discussed as mental health issues, not through addressing those concerns solely with the physical body, but also concentrating on how to solve those issues from a spiritual perspective. Because in the same way that our mental state affects our physical state, so too our spiritual state can overcome our mental illnesses.

So it is very important to realize that Islam does have the answers to these questions. And like I said, the place to really look and focus, if you're looking for answers on mental health, is to look into the combat with the self and to see how really challenging and taking that step towards defeating the ego is the way to positive mental health.

Wa salallahu 'ala Sayyidina Muhammad wa 'ala alihi 't-tayyabeen it-tahireen.