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Social - What could bring sunshine into this dark life ?

Q: I've been trying to fight depression for more than 4 years. But I keep failing miserably. My life has completely fallen apart.

I feel so weak mentally, I can't even pray properly, I can't even
think straight. I'm depressed almost all the time except in the company of my friends when we just chat and laugh wasting hours unnecessarily.

Personal problems have been hitting me one after the other. My prayers don't seem to improve me or my life. I'm in total despair and obsessively wish that I never had to exist. I'm not
suicidal but I hate my life very much. I wish there was at least a ray of hope in my life that could help me love life.

I'm a very gifted girl, very intelligent and with many talents. But I don't seem to have the strength and will power to even use them for a good purpose. I wish I were a leaf or a stone. My mental pain keeps on getting me into problems that worsen me. I need some inspiration that could create an everlasting effect on me about my religion and could make me an excellent Muslim. What should I do to live a more purposeful life and fight this depression? What could bring sunshine into this dark life full of tears and screams?

A. Respected Sister in Islam

Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Your wholehearted submission of your inner condition is admirable and desire to be a successful and happy Muslim is inspiring.

The answer to your collective dilemma is found in one important verse of the Noble Quran. In Surah Ra'ad, Allah Ta'ala says

"Listen attentively, It is only in the remembrance of Allah will hearts find contentment."

Allah Ta'ala is announcing that the criteria for peace, contentment happiness and success lie only in His obedience and remembrance.

You should not despair as achieving happiness and bliss is very simple provided you take the right road. To enjoy peace and bliss is the desire of every person on this earth. Humans from every walk of life work, toil and earn, to acquire luxuries and comforts which are deemed to bring happiness.

However, as Muslims we believe that peace, comfort and ease fundamentally do not lie in any worldly commodities or in materialism. True peace lies only in firm belief and obedience to Allah Ta'ala and in His remembrance.

To feel low and depressed is a natural human feeling, which can be overcome by removing the causes. One major cause of unhappiness and restlessness is sin and vice. A person who seeks pleasure in that which is unlawful can never be happy. It will bring short term excitement and long term misery. The first remedy is to forsake any form of disobedience to Allah. The abandonment of wrong habits may not be easy at first and if you happen to slip then renew your repentance.

Once a person develops resistance to sin then it becomes easy to fulfill ones Islamic obligations.  Perform your five daily salaah regularly, make zikr of Allah for some time in the morning and evening and recite some portion of the Noble Quran daily. If you are consistent about these for the pleasure of  Allah there can be no doubt that you will begin to experience peace and happiness within yourself. Outwardly there may be certain cause for grief or sadness as this world is a place of test and trial but in the midst of trial you will draw strenght from this strong bond and link with your Creator.

You may also involve yourself in some Islamic activity e.g. learning about Islam or helping people learn Islam etc. Attend programmes that are Islamically motivating and keep good company. Do not wait for instant success as you may not feel that you have achieved or that your quality of life has improved, but you will indeed reap Allah's pleasure which ultimately means that you will be happy.

Moreover, remaining obedient and loyal to your Creator despite your circumstances will not only reap you good in this world , but will also be a source of perpetual pleasure and happiness in the life of the hereafter - Insha Allah.

We make dua "Adhakallahu sinnak" for you which means, May Allah keep you smiling (and happy). Aameen.

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