As it is soon mental health awareness week it is necessary to spread the message that it is not shameful to have a mental illness. It can happen to anyone from any background.
Mental health problems are commonly associated with weak people, but the reality is that even strong people can become mentally unwell, for example Tyson fury the two-time heavyweight world champion who suffers from depression.
There is so much stigma towards mental illness in the Muslim community although our faith teaches us that all illness is from Allah whether it is a physical problem or a mental one.
Our Prophet Muhammad (s) was also accused of being a mad man by his enemies because he was saying that he received revelation from Allah the Almighty via the angel Gabriel.
Some of the earliest psychiatric hospitals were established in the Muslim world, the first such hospitals were founded in Baghdad and Damascus.
Ibn Sina, the founder of modern medicine, was of the opinion that mental disorders are physiologically based. From this, the first psychiatric Bimaristan was founded in Baghdad, Iraq in 705 CE by Razi (one of the greatest Islamic physicians). This was the first of its kind.
According to al Razi, mental disorders were considered medical conditions, and were treated by using psychotherapy and drug treatments.
Physicians from Islamic countries during the late Middle Ages enjoyed great respect. Their reputation was well deserved, for the study and practice of medicine was then led by Muslim societies across immense territories, which extended from modern-day Spain to Iran.
Mental illness doesn’t need to be hidden out of shame, it is like a physical illness requiring medication and therapy to get better.
There have been many unwell people who overcame their mental health challenges and have gone onto live whole, fulfilling lives. They hold down jobs, have families and fulfil their duties and responsibilities.
Yes, as Muslims we believe in Jinn and the Evil eye, but not every person with mental health problems is affected by them. We need to learn more about different causes of mental illnesses and their remedy whether it is taking medication or partaking in talking therapies.
Our Prophet (s) said, “Make use of medical treatment, for God has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it.”
Islam teaches Muslims to seek medical help when it is needed and are encouraged to pray and strive at the same time. For instance, if a person has a broken arm, they will see a doctor to make sure the bones heal properly and pray for complete recovery.
Muslims need to be educated about the comprehensive teachings of Islam; it is a vast religion with rulings on every possible scenario a Muslim may face, including what to do if someone faces mental health problems.