Friday, October 12, 2007

Depression; A Disease of the Nafs or Endogenous?



I have started listening to and taking notes on The Purification of the Heart 17-cd set of lectures by sidi Sheikh Hamza Yusuf. In this series Sheikh Hamza is translating into English and teaching from the text written by a Mauritanian Sheikh who wrote it originally in Arabic.

The suffering of the world is spoken of in term of wars, starvation, hatred, competition, and the struggle of the survival of the fittest. Yet all the suffering of the world originates in the human heart. Every crime committed, every act of oppression, every callous cruelty, and every injustice to the self or others emanates from the hearts of men.The soundest of hearts was the heart of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) who, through his purity and singularity of intention, transformed the world. His teaching remains and the challenge is for each of us to take it and to transform our hearts with it, thereby, transforming the very world in which we live.

Islam has clearly defined that there are several diseases of the heart, which make the human being shrink further and further away from God (ie in a state of sinfulness, whereas being without sin makes the human being closer to God). Things like envy, fear of poverty, using religion as a means for increasing your worldly position, seeking praise from anyone or anything other than God, and miserlyness ...to name just a few.

I have been told by many muslims that depression is not an endogenous physiological "disease" over which the person afflicted by it has no control and the only hope for them would be to take medication; Rather, many folks have stated that depression is a spiritual disease, and that the cure is to get closer to God, delve deeper into Spirituality, and therein one will find the remedy.

I thought all of that was hogwash until I came across this series of Sheikh Hamza's, mashallah!

What is really really helping me, and Sheikh Hamza said it's medicine, and now I believe him, is reciting the

surah Ikhlas ("Purity"- which is said to be equal to one-third of the Quran!) from the Quran three times, three times a day;

Bismillah irahman iraheem;

Qul hol wal aho ahad

Allah hu samad

Lam yaleed wa lam yoolad

Wa lam yakool ahu kufu wan ahad.

Translation

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful.

Say, He is God, the One; God, the Independent and Besought of all.

He begets not, nor is He begotten.

And there is none like unto Him.

as well as the dua' Istikar (please forgive me if I have pronounced any of this Arabic wrong, my intentions are good! As far as I can tell this is the name Hamza Yusuf gave to this dua', however I can't find it online-) three times, three times a day.

Allahumma inni ma'udu bikka

wa 'ana ba'lamu

wa astafiruka min kulli ma la 'alamu. Ameen.

Translation; Oh God I seek refuge in you that I should make shirk (partners)

with you and I am aware of it, and I ask forgiveness for any (shirk that I make)

that I'm not aware of. Amen.

Jezakallah kharian, Sheikh Hamza, and may Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful bless you.

9 comments:

Madcap said...

I really see the human being as an inextricable mix of body, mind, and spirit. When one is "out", it throws the other two out as well. So yes, depression is spiritual, but it spills over into the other realms; the body chemistry changes, the thought patterns entrain in unhelpful ways. I've been working with a tendency to depression my whole life. I guess what I'm trying to say is a wholistic approach is good - the spiritual aspect needs to be addressed, but give attention to the other possibilities simultaneously.

Just my opinion, though.

Rockin' Hejabi said...

Thanks, sweetie:)

Oh yes, absolutely - I'm a concept person so I guess I'm just assuming what you articulated. Specifics never were my specialty!

The depression is really kicking my butt lately. I seriously am considering adding more than exercise, fasting, and spirituality to the mix of remedies....

Burgundy said...

Rockin' Hejabi, Could you please cite the hadith that mentions reciting Surah Ikhlas 3 times, 3 times a day?

Rockin' Hejabi said...

I don't know if it's in a hadith or not....it's part of this Mauritanian Sheikh's "Purification of the Heart" translated by Hamza Yusuf... Listen to the lecture, it's there somewhere!

-RH

amanda said...

Unfortunately, we live in a time where a combination of stress, money woes, war, bad eating, no exercise, etc. contribute to the problems already faced by those plagued with just minor depression. The medicine cabinets of my family members are full of all sorts of not-so-fun stuff--just to keep their heads straight. I agree that being more active and eating right and having a strong spirituality/faith can help depression, and I think many of the medications are truly toxic. Unfortunately, these meds are often a necessary evil. They -- along with GOOD therapy -- can save lives. I know that from firsthand experience.

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