Praise be to Allaah.
Peace of mind, contentment, happiness and freedom from
worries and anxiety… these are what everyone wants, and these are the ways
in which people can have a good life and find complete happiness and joy.
There are religious means of achieving that, and natural and practical
means, but no one can combine all of them except the believers; although
other people may achieve some of them, they will miss out on others.
There follows a summary of the means of achieving this aim
for which everyone is striving. In some cases, those who achieve many of
them will live a joyful life and a good life; in other cases, those who fail
to achieve all of them will live a life of misery and hardship. And there
are others which are in between, according to what the means he is able to
attain. These means include the following:
1 – Faith and righteous deeds:
This is the greatest and most fundamental of means. Allaah
says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Whoever works righteousness — whether male or female — while
he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We
will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful
provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the
best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)”
Allaah tells us and promises us that whoever combines faith
with righteous deeds will have a good life and a good reward in this world
and in the Hereafter.
The reason for that is clear: those who believe in Allaah –
with sincere faith that motivates them to do righteous deeds that change
hearts and attitudes and guides them to the straight path in this world and
the Hereafter – follow principles and guidelines by means of which they deal
with everything that happens to them, be it the causes of happiness and
excitement or the causes of anxiety, worry and grief.
They deal with the things
that they like by accepting them and giving thanks for them, and using them
in good ways. When they deal with them in this manner, that creates in them
a sense of excitement and the hope that it will continue and that they will
be rewarded for their gratitude, which is more important than the good
things that happen to them. And they deal with bad things, worries and
distress by resisting those that they can resist, alleviating those that
they can alleviate, and bearing with goodly patience those that they cannot
avoid. Thus as a result of the bad things they gain a lot of benefits,
experience, strength, patience and hope of reward, which are more important
and which diminish the hardships they have undergone and replace them with
happiness and hope for the bounty and reward of Allaah. The Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) expressed this in a saheeh
hadeeth in which he said: “How wonderful is the situation of the believer,
for all his affairs are good. If something good happens to him, he gives
thanks 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. This does not apply to
anyone but the believer.” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 2999).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
told us that the believer is always gaining and the reward for his deeds is
always multiplying, no matter what happens to him, good or bad.
2 – Being kind to people in word and deed, and all kinds
of doing good. This is one of the means of
removing worry, distress and anxiety. By this means Allaah wards off worries
and distress from righteous and immoral like, but the believer has the
greater share of that, and is distinguished by the fact that his kindness to
others stems from sincerity and the hope of reward, so Allaah makes it easy
for him to be kind to others because of the hope that this will bring good
things and ward off bad things, by means of his sincerity and hope of
reward. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“There is no good in most of their secret talks save (in) him
who orders Sadaqah (charity in Allaah’s Cause), or Ma‘roof (Islamic
Monotheism and all the good and righteous deeds which Allaah has ordained),
or conciliation between mankind; and he who does this, seeking the good
Pleasure of Allaah, We shall give him a great reward”
Part of that great reward is relief from worry, distress,
3 – Another of the means of warding off anxiety that stems
from nervous tension and being preoccupied with disturbing thoughts is to
occupy oneself with good deeds or seeking beneficial knowledge,
for that will distract one from dwelling on the matters that are causing
anxiety. In this way a person may forget about the things that are making
him worried and distressed, and he may become happy and more energetic. This
is another means that believers and others have in common, but the believer
is distinguished by his faith, sincerity and hope of reward when he occupies
himself with that knowledge which he is learning or teaching, or with the
good deeds that he is doing.
The work with which he occupies himself should be something
that he likes and enjoys, for that is more likely to produce the desired
results. And Allaah knows best.
4 – Another thing that may ward off worry and anxiety is
focusing all one’s thoughts of the present day, and not worrying about the
future or grieving about the past. Hence the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sought refuge with
Allaah from worry and regret, from regret for things in the past which one
cannot put right or change, and worry which may come because of fear for the
future. So one should focus only on the present day, and focus one's efforts
on getting things right today. For if a person is focused on that, this
means that he will do things properly and forget about worry and regret.
When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said a
du’aa’ or taught a du’aa’ to his ummah, as well as urging them to seek the
help of Allaah and hope for His bounty, he was also urging them to strive to
attain the thing they were praying for through their own efforts and to
forget about the thing which they were praying would be warded off from
them. Because du’aa’ (supplication) must be accompanied by action. So a
person must strive to attain that which will benefit him in worldly and
spiritual terms, and ask his Lord to make his efforts successful, and he
should seek His help in that, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) said: “Strive for that which will benefit you and seek
the help of Allaah, and do not be helpless. If anything (bad) happens to
you, do not say, ‘If only I had done such-and-such, then such-and-such would
have happened.’ Rather you should say, ‘Qaddara Allaah wa ma sha’a fa’ala
(Allaah decrees, and what He wills He does),’ for (the words) ‘If only’ open
the door to the Shaytaan.” (Narrated by Muslim). The Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) connected the matter of striving to achieve
good things with the matter of seeking the help of Allaah and not giving in
to feelings of helplessness which are a harmful kind of laziness, and with
the matter of accepting things in the past which are over and done with, and
acknowledging that the will and decree of Allaah will inevitably come to
pass. He described matters as being of two types:
1 – Matters which a person may strive to achieve or to
achieve whatever he can of them, or to ward them off or alleviate them. In
such cases a person must strive and make the effort, and also seek the help
2 – Matters where such is not possible, so he must have peace
of mind, accept them and submit to Allaah’s will.
Undoubtedly paying attention to this principle will bring
happiness and relieve worry and distress.
5 – One of the greatest means of feeling content and
relaxed and of acquiring peace of mind is to remember Allaah a great deal
(dhikr). That has a great effect in bringing
contentment and peace of mind, and relieving worry and distress. Allaah
“verily, in the remembrance of Allaah do hearts find rest”
Remembering Allaah (dhikr)
has a great effect in achieving this aim because it has a special influence
and because of the hope that it brings of reward.
6 – Another of the means
of bringing happiness and relieving worry and distress is striving to
eliminate the things that cause worry and to achieve the things that bring
That may be done by forgetting about bad things in the past which cannot be
changed, and realizing that dwelling on them is a waste of time. So a
person must strive to stop himself from thinking of that, and also strive to
stop himself from feeling anxious about the future and the things that he
may imagine of poverty, fear and other bad things that he thinks may happen
to him in the future. He should realize that the future is something
unknown, he cannot know what good or bad things are going to happen to him.
That is in the hand of the Almighty, the Most Wise, and all that His slaves
can do is to strive to attain the good things and to ward off the bad
things. A person should realize that if he diverts his thoughts from
worrying about his future and puts his trust in his Lord to take care of his
situation, and puts his mind at rest concerning that, if he does that, then
his heart will be at peace and his situation will improve and he will be
relieved of worry and anxiety.
One of the most effective
ways of dealing with worries about the future is to recite this du’aa’ which
the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to
“Allaahumma aslih li deeni
alladhi huwa ‘ismatu amri, wa aslih li dunyaaya allati fiha ma’aashi, wa
aslih li aakhirati allati ilayha ma’aadi, waj’al al-hayaata ziyaadatan li fi
kulli khayr, wa’l-mawta raahatan li min kulli sharr (O Allaah, correct
my religious commitment which is the foundation of my life, and correct my
worldly affairs in which is my livelihood, and grant me good in the
Hereafter to which is my return. Make my life a means of accumulating good,
and make death a respite for me from all evil).” (Narrated by Muslim,
And he said, “Allaahumma
rahmataka arju fa la takilni ila nafsi tarfata ‘aynin wa aslih li sha’ni
kullahu, laa ilaaha illa anta (O Allaah, for Your mercy I hope, so do
not abandon me to myself even for a moment. And correct all my affairs.
There is no god but You).” (Narrated by Abu Dawood with a saheeh isnaad, no.
5090; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Kalim al-Tayyib, p.
If a person utters these
du’aa’s, which ask that his spiritual and worldly affairs may be set right
or corrected, with proper presence of mind and sincerity of intention,
whilst striving to achieve that, Allaah will grant him what he has prayed
for, hoped for and striven for, and He will turn his worry into joy and
7 – If a person
experiences anxiety and distress because of a disaster, then one of the most
effective means of relieving himself of that is to think of the worst
scenario to which that may lead, and try to accept that.
When he has done that, then he should try to alleviate it as much as
possible. By means of this acceptance and these efforts, he will relieve
himself of his worries and distress, and instead of worrying he will strive
to bring about good things and to deal with whatever he can of the bad
things. If he is faced with things that cause fear or the possibility of
sickness or poverty, then he should deal with that by striving to make
himself accept that, or something even worse, with contentment, because by
making himself accept the worst-case scenario, he lessens the impact of the
thing and makes it seem less terrible, especially if he occupies himself
with efforts to ward it off as much as he can. Thus as well as striving to
achieve something good which will distract him from his worries about
calamity, he will also renew his strength to resist bad things, and put his
trust and reliance in Allaah. Undoubtedly these matters are of great benefit
in attaining happiness and peace of mind, as well as bringing the hope of
reward in this world and in the Hereafter. This is something which is well
known from the experience of many who have tried it.
8 – Steadfastness of heart
and not being disturbed about the imaginary things that bad thoughts may
bring to mind.
For when a person gives in to his imagination and lets his mind be disturbed
by these thoughts, such as fear of disease and the like, or anger and
confusion stirred up by some grievous matter, or the expectation of bad
things and the loss of good things, that will fill him with worries,
distress, mental and physical illness and nervous breakdowns, which will
have a bad effect on him and which causes a great deal of harm, as many
people have seen. But when a person depends on Allaah and puts his trust in
Him, and does not give in to his imagination or let bad thoughts overwhelm
him, and he relies on Allaah and has hope of His bounty, that wards off his
worries and distress, and relieves him of a great deal of mental and
physical sickness. It gives indescribable strength, comfort and happiness to
the heart. How many hospitals are filled with the mentally sick victims of
illusions and harmful imagination; how often have these things had an effect
upon the hearts of many strong people, let alone the weak ones; how often
have they led to foolishness and insanity.
It should be noted that your
life will follow your train of thought. If your thoughts are of things that
will bring you benefit in your spiritual or worldly affairs, then your life
will be good and happy. Otherwise it will be the opposite.
The person who is safe from
all of that is the one who is protected by Allaah and helped by Him to
strive to achieve that which will benefit and strengthen the heart and ward
off anxiety. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And whosoever puts his
trust in Allaah, then He will suffice him”
i.e., He will be sufficient
for all that is worrying him in his spiritual and worldly affairs. The one
who puts his trust in Allaah will have strength in his heart and will not be
affected by anything he imagines or be disturbed by events, because he knows
that these are the result of vulnerable human nature and of weakness and
fear that have no basis. He also knows that Allaah has guaranteed complete
sufficiency to those who put their trust in Him. So he trusts in Allaah and
finds peace of mind in His promise, and thus his worry and anxiety are
dispelled; hardship is turned to ease, sadness is turned to joy, fear is
turned to peace. We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound, and to bless us
with strength and steadfastness of heart, and complete trust, for Allaah has
guaranteed all good things to those who put their trust in Him, and has
guaranteed to ward off all bad and harmful things from them.
If bad things happen or there
is the fear of such, then you should count the many blessings that you are
still enjoying, both spiritual and worldly, and compare them with the bad
things that have happened, for when you compare them you will see the many
blessings that you are enjoying, and this will make the bad things appear
al-Mufeedah li’l-Hayaat al-Sa’eedah by Shatkh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Sa’di
Ibn al-Qayyim summed fifteen
ways through which Allaah may dispel worries and regret. These are as
(belief in the Oneness of Divine Lordship)
(belief in the Oneness of the Divine nature)
Tawheed of knowledge and belief
(i.e., Tawheed al-Asma’ wa’l_Sifaat, belief in the Oneness of the
Divine names and attributes)
Thinking of Allaah as being
above doing any injustice to His slaves, and above punishing anyone for no
cause on the part of the slave that would require such punishment.
The person’s acknowledging that
he is the one who has done wrong.
Beseeching Allaah by means of
the things that are most beloved to Him, which are His names and attributes.
Two of His names that encompass the meanings of all other names and
attributes are al-Hayy (the Ever-Living) and al-Qayyoom (the Eternal).
Seeking the help of Allaah
Affirming one's hope in Him.
Truly putting one’s trust in
Him and leaving matters to Him, acknowledging that one's forelock is in His
hand and that He does as He wills, that His will is forever executed and
that He is just in all that He decrees.
10-Letting one's heart
wander in the garden of the Qur’aan, seeking consolation in it from every
calamity, seeking healing in it from all diseases of the heart, so that it
will bring comfort to his grief and healing for his worries and distress.
15-Declaring that he
has no power and no strength, and leaving matters to the One in Whose hand
We ask Allaah to keep us
safe and sound from worries and to relieve us of distress and anxiety, for
He is the All-Hearing, Ever-Responsive, and He is the Ever-Living, Eternal.
See Alhomoom – Dealing
with Worries and Stress, in the Books section of this site.
And Allaah knows best. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.