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The Problem of Anxiety Among Young People and How Islam Addressed it.

MIT
5/2/2017
631 views

The teenage and youthful years are a difficult stage in the lives of every human being. During that time, people are often tested and they would later realize that test had a great impact on their lives today.

A considerable percentage of youth today are subject to some kind of anxiety, so it is important to explore this issue in relation to acquiring balance in youth and providing solutions based on Islamic principles.

Adolescence is a time of self-discovery and experimentation.  It is not uncommon for youth to display emotions such as moodiness, irritability and impulsiveness, or to experiment with drugs and alcohol.  Youth often have to deal with many social pressures and worries, which may affect their self-esteem and sense of identity. 

Children or youth may need professional help if they are so overwhelmed by their anxieties and fears that they have trouble functioning socially and/or academically.  Common signs of an anxiety disorder in youth include: Crying a lot, Constantly worrying about grades,  always trying to be perfect / being afraid to make mistakes, not sleeping well / having nightmares, worrying about something horrible happening to loved ones, feeling like you’re going crazy, obsessing about dying, avoiding friends or social situations, being afraid of speaking up and asking questions in class, blanking out or freezing up in stressful situations (Source: KidsHelpPhone.ca, What is an Anxiety Disorder?)

The persistence of these signs over time may be indicative of an anxiety disorder, particularly if these situations interfere with daily life.

How Islam addressed the issue of anxiety

Firstly, turning to Allah and making Him the center of one’s life while seeking His aid over one’s miseries is a reliable and general therapy for all problems. Youth with anxiety traumas and other disorders such as depression and worries must always turn to Allah for He is the ONE Who answers the prayers of the depressed and avails him of all problems. The Qur’an says:

مَّن يُجِيبُ ٱلْمُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ ٱلسُّوٓءَ وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَآءَ ٱلْأَرْضِ ۗ أَءِلَٰهٌ مَّعَ ٱللَّهِ ۚ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَذَكَّرُونَ

Or, who answers the one in need when he prays to Him, and relieves adversity, and makes you successors on earth? Is there another god with God? How hardly you pay attention.(An-Naml:62)

Secondly, youth with anxiety challenges must work to attain tranquil heart and a state of psychological equilibrium. The activity that leads to this unique state according to Islam is the remembrance of Allah through His beautiful names. The names of Allah contains such powerful effects of spiritual ecstasy that is capable of ejecting out of the heart all worries and fears leaving the individual in a tranquil state with a comforted heart-a therapy for anxiety-indeed, it is this that makes the pious people who remember their Creator often to enjoy such bliss in this life that cannot be compared with the material lots of the wealthy individuals. The Qur’an says:

ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ ٱلْقُلُوبُ

Those who believe, and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of God. Surely, it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find comfort." (Ar-Ra’d:28)

Thirdly, it is noted that one of the symptoms of anxiety among youth is the wish to be in loneliness and remaining quite all the time. This indeed leads to more chaos on such youth as their minds become the center for satanical incitements, which may even be suicidal in some cases. Such people are advised by Islam on the tongue of the final Prophet of Allah; Prophet Muhammad, that they should spend their time in useful activities which will replicate positively on their lives and their societies. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“…be conscious of that which will bring you benefit, and seek help from Allah and do not give way to incapacity….” (Muslim). 

Among the things which are beneficial to man is reading especially the Holy Qur’an; a book of guidance and certain knowledge, a book from none other than the Almighty Creator, a book that is a miracle in all its content and represents the message that came to liberate the world of ignorance, misguidance, physical and spiritual sicknesses and so on. One may read other beneficial books whilst ignoring books written on love episodes as such books themselves are propagators of anxieties.

Finally, being in the company of good and righteous colleagues help much in the struggle against anxiety. Humans have always been social creatures and need friends and companions. Much of our lives is spent in interaction with others. Friends that are very optimistic and are always positive about life help much in fighting the problem of anxiety. In Sahih Al-Bukhari Ali Ibn Abi Taalib, the fourth of the righteous caliphs, (may Allah be pleased with him);  is reported as saying: “Mix with the noble people, you become one of them; and keep away from evil people to protect yourself from their evils.”

It is also worth mentioning that consultation of specialist about the problems of youth is an Islamic therapy to anxiety. Muslims are ordered by the Glorious Qur’an to consult people of knowledge in every endeavor in which one has no knowledge . Also taking lawful antidotes during times of sickness is a recommended act in Islam, hence, youth with problems of anxiety should not hesitate to consult specialist on that. Allah knows best and may His peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad, his family and all companions.






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