by Raiiq Ridwan
After focusing on Surah Duha and Surah Inshirah in the first two instalments of”The Quranic Anti-Depressant,” we will now take a slightly different turn. Today we will focus on Surah Burooj, a surah that doesn’t just talk about times of depression but also hardship in general. However, this article will look at it more from a depression point of view.
Depression, to remind ourselves, is different from sadness and grief. Depression is a state caused by a vicious cycle of negative and distorted thoughts, whereas sadness and grief are normal human emotions associated with life events. A depressed person thinks negatively about almost everything, and thus the focus has to be on thought patterns related to the incidents, rather than the incidents themselves. So, how does Allah help change our thought patterns in this surah?
People of the Trench
Allah starts the surah by taking three oaths, two of which are very important for us to reflect on. He says: by the promised Day, by the Witness and that which is witnessed. [Ayat 2-3]
Allah is keeping the promised day, the day of judgement, as a witness to everything, and He is taking an oath on Himself, The Witness, that He is watching it all! And then Allah goes on to explain the story of the people of the trench. The story is beyond the scope of the article, but the part mentioned in the Surah deals with the time when the king of that land ordered that all the believers be killed. A trench was dug, a huge fire was created, and all the believers were thrown into the fire. It was brutal, and Allah is reminding us and those believers that He is Witnessing it, and He keeps the Day of Judgement as a witness that He will exact revenge.
Antidepressant #1: Remember that Allah is always watching. Know that you do not suffer in isolation; Allah is there, and Allah knows it all. And at the end of the day, even if life here is not good, do not forget the Day of Judgement, when Allah will right all the wrongs!
Interesting Names of Allah Mentioned
Some of the many names and attributes of Allah that are mentioned in this surah are very interesting in that these are not usually names and attributes that we would remember in times of hardship, and this is why it is very important to ponder these names and attributes of Allah and take the very important lessons from them.
Antidepressant #2: He is Al-Azeez Al-Hameed (ayah 8), the Mighty and the Praiseworthy. In helpless times remember that Allah is almighty, and that He has power over all things. Our depression is nothing compared to the power of Allah. Whatever is making us sad, Allah is greater than it, and He can help fix it all. And He is Praiseworthy, worthy of Praise in all times and places and even in the hardest of times, because behind it all, there is wisdom and a plan. And as Allah says, If you are grateful, then I will increase you. [Quran 14:7]
Anti-Depressant #3: It is He who originates and ends. [ayah 13] He is Allah, the one who brought the heavens and the earth from nothingness. He gives life to the dead earth, and He gives water to quench the thirst of His slaves. He began creation and He will end it too. He can begin for you and create for you everlasting happiness and joy. He can also end for you the doom and the darkness of depression. Never lose hope in the mercy of Allah.
Anti-Depressant #4: . . . wa huwal Ghafoorul Wadud [ayah 14] – He is the Most Forgiving and Most Loving. In times of depression we remember bad things about ourselves and lose hope in the mercy of Allah. Do not!. Remember that Allah is the Most Forgiving, and He can forgive all sins. And if Allah is so forgiving, can you not forgive yourself? Can you not have a bit of mercy on yourself and go easy?
Also, in times of depression, it is easy to slip into a black hole and lose sight of everything in life. It is easy to think that Allah has forgotten us and that His help will not arrive! But, no, Allah reminds us not only that He is Forgiving, but that He is Most Loving. His Love is beyond anything else in this world, and Allah’s loving of a slave is a cause for the tests of this world. Allah loves you; turn to Him, ask Him for help, and know that help is just around the corner. Do not give up on life, when it was given to you by Al-Wadud!
Examples of the Destroyed Nations
What benefit is it to a depressed individual that Allah has destroyed oppressive nations before? It is in the fact that Allah has destroyed the great kingdoms of Firawn and Thamud, and for Him to destroy that feeling that is killing you inside, of depression, is nothing but easy. Allah can get rid of that for you, and Allah will do so. And Allah ends the surah beautifully, reminding us the of source of everlasting happiness— the Quran.
Anti-Depressant #5: Allah can destroy all negativity for you; just turn to the Quran, and revel in the power and majesty of Allah and in His mercy and benevolence, and find for yourself that long lost happiness!