Why Muslims are rather Happy?


I received a message today about how Corona Virus is not as bad as other causes of death which are far more severe and outnumber death count of Corona by thousands of times. One of those causes were suicide. I was surprised to learn that about 800,000 people commit suicide annually. This means one person commits suicide every 40 seconds. I was reading World Health Organization’s page about suicide around the world (https://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/) and a world map of countries by suicide rate caught my eyes.

World suicide map published by World Health Organization

One of the things you would notice right away when looking at the map is that most of the Muslim countries seem to be least notorious for suicide. Some would argue that may be their suicide rates are not reported because they are economically bad, or that their atmosphere, weather, or climate is to be blamed. But those arguments don't seem to be valid when you look at India and Pakistan. They are right next to each other, almost similar political, economical and financial problems, almost the same climate. Yet both seem to be on the extreme ends of the stats.

Why is it so? Do Muslims never feel sad, ever?

Children play with water at a camp for people displaced from fighting in Raqqa, Ain Issa, Syria June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

I would say that saying 'Muslims never feel sad' would just be wrong, to say the least. By the way when I say Muslims, I don't mean someone who's only Islam is that they have 'Khan' at the end of their names, or who's parents were Muslim, and they ended up getting a Muslim name, and that's is all there is about Islam in their lives. By Muslims I mean someone who understands what Islam teaches about the next life, about the transitory nature of this life, and who have what we call 'imaan' (conviction) about the teachings of Islam.

I think tragedy is part of life. People get sad when someone they love passes away, or when they loose someone or something that was close to them. That probably is just inevitable. However, there is a difference between living in a tragic situation and living in hell. And Subhan Allah, being in a tragic situation is A LOT better than living in hell. Because if you were just tragic may be you could handle that better, as compared to living in hell. If we study the Qur'an and the Prophet ﷺ's Ahadith, we see that a big share of the Ayat and Ahadeeth actually deal with the sadnesses that we go through. And they are not just "Be happy and don't be sad" kind of suggestions, they are actual, practical, real world advices that would help a person deal with whatever they are going through. I am planning write a complete post on the Ayat and Ahadeeth that deal with sadness soon, in sha Allah, but I'll mention a few here just as an example.

So Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) says

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ

i-e, if you are grateful, I will increase you [in blessings]. So Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) is saying that the way to have more blessings and bounties from Him is to be grateful of the blessings that you already have.

Now if you notice, whenever someone is depressed or upset, in their mind they are mostly 'complaining' about someone or something that went wrong. And almost always when we feel happy, we are 'grateful' to someone for doing something or to something that happened to us. I can't think of a situation where someone is happy and is complaining about something, or when someone is depressed and they are actually grateful. Now this is just one of the many practical advices we get in the Qur'an that could really help us channel our sadness that we face while walking through ups and downs of life.

So yes, Muslims do come across things that would make them sad, but because of this amazing thing called "Islam" that they have, which tells them how to channel this sadness, they are able to handle it better. For example, worshiping actually works like a dopamine detox for practicing Muslims since the world we are living in today is just flooding people with dopamine and its a lot more than what humans were designed to handle. But that is a different subject on its own that requires a complete article.

I'm going to ahead and wrap things up there. Hopefully I will get a chance to write about dopamine's effects on our mental health, and how Islam handles our sadness in the most beautiful way possible.

Thank you very much for reading, and I will see you in the next article!


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