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by Raiiq Ridwan

1 By the morning brightness 2 and by the night when it grows still, 3 your Lord has not forsaken you [Prophet], nor does He hate you, 4 and the future will be better for you than the past; 5 your Lord is sure to give you so much that you will be well satisfied. 6 Did He not find you an orphan and shelter you? 7 Did He not find you lost and guide you? 8 Did He not find you in need and make you self-sufficient? 9 So do not be harsh with the orphan 10 and do not chide the one who asks for help; 11 talk about the blessings of your Lord. [Quran, 93:1-11]

Surah Duha was one of the earliest surahs to be revealed by Allah subhana wa ta’ala to the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam. It was sent at an especially tough time for the Prophet. Revelation had stopped for nearly six months, and the Prophet had become restless. The Quraysh were saying that Allah had abandoned the Prophet, naudhubillah. The Prophet had become depressed and sad, and Allah then sent this surah and the surah after this, Surah Inshirah, to console the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam. Let us have a look at some of the lessons that this Surah teaches us.

1. Even the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam got sad.

Sadness and happiness are human emotions that Allah subhana wa ta’ala has created in us and placed in us. Allah knows that, and Allah doesn’t expect us to always have one set of emotions for life. It is okay to be happy, and it is okay to be sad. Unfortunately, some Muslims see happiness as a negative— we should only be worried about the life of the hereafter. How can you be happy when you might be going to hell? On the flipside some Muslims see sadness as a lack of imaan, a sign of discontent with Allah’s decree, etc. However, the best of examples to us was the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam and he was sad, and he was happy. It is not the emotion, but rather how we deal with it.

The need for happiness doesn’t allow us to drink wine, party like a madman, and disobey Allah. Similarly sadness doesn’t allow us to break things, shout at other people, or wail and hurt ourselves. We are faced with differing circumstances and emotions in life, and it is how we react to it that makes the difference. The Prophet’s reaction to both would be to remember Allah. In good times he thanked Allah, and in harder times He sought the help of Allah— the best of examples.

2. What made the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam sad

The Prophet got sad because he was not getting a communication from Allah. He missed seeing Jibreel, he missed being given Quran, he missed reciting new verses to his Sahabah and very importantly, he felt he might not be able to save his people from hellfire if he didn’t receive more ayaat from Allah.

The Prophet gets sad because he misses talking to Allah, while for most of us, if Allah waived away the obligation of the five daily prayers we would jump at that chance like anything! The Prophet got sad because he couldn’t give dawah to the Quraysh and save them from the fire of hell. Do we have that love for the people that we worry that they might not be guided? Allah actually had to console the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam about that as well in Surah Kahf, “But [Prophet] are you going to worry yourself to death over them if they do not believe in this message?” [Quran 18:6]

3. In bad times remember the good that Allah has bestowed.

Allah reminds the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam of the blessings that Allah had always given upon him. How Allah sheltered the Prophet when he became an orphan, first through his grandfather and then through his uncle. Allah mentions how the Prophet was in need and Allah made him self-sufficient through the marriage with Khadijah radi Allahu anha. Allah also mentions how the Prophet was seeking a way out of the filth of society and Allah guided him, through the Quran.

Psychologists today help patients suffering from depression, low self-esteem and suicidal tendencies by asking them to count their blessings, and Allah azza wa jal is reminding the Prophet of the blessings that he had been given, and how Allah changed his condition from bad to good, and how Allah can do so again, as He promises 4 and the future will be better for you than the past; 5 your Lord is sure to give you so much that you will be well satisfied.

4. Ways out of the hole of depression— remove other people’s worries

Allah ends the Surah by telling the Prophet to take care of the orphan, the poor and to make mention of the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon us. Another classic activity that is encouraged in depressed individuals is to help other people out. This automatically brings them out of their sadness as they come out of the self-centred approach and suddenly notice that other people are in a worse place off than themselves. So the next time we are sad, affected by something really bad in life, one of the first things we should do is to help someone else. The smile on their face will be a cause for a smile on our own

Ramadan is a month of great barakah. You too can learn to understand the Quran, and benefit from it and understand it. Perhaps then you would not be reading this article, but rather writing one like it or even better! Join one of the UnderstandQuran courses, whether you are just learning to read the Quran, learning 50% of Quranic words or if you are placed better than going forwards to the 70% of Quranic words course!

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