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Handling Trauma from Islamic Perspectives

Trauma is a type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a distressing event. Trauma may result from a single distressing experience or recurring overwhelming events that can be precipitated in weeks, years, or even decades, as the person struggles to cope with the immediate circumstances. But this can eventually lead to serious, long-term negative consequences – trauma.

Trauma tends to affect about three to four group of persons; the person who experiences the event, the person who witnesses the even, the person who perpetrates the event and even the one that fails to help the victim during such an event. The last two categories remind me of a picture that went viral on social media a long time ago.

It was a picture of a vulture waiting for a starving Sudanese girl to die and feast on her, during the 1993 famine in Sudan. It was taken by Kevin Carter, a South African photo journalist who later won the Pulitzer Prize for this ‘amazing’ shot.

Kevin, however, lived only a few months to enjoy his supposed achievement because he later became traumatic and then depressed and took his own life!

His depression started during one of his interviews (a phone-in programme), where someone called and asked him what happened to the child. He replied, “I didn’t wait to find out after this shot as I had a flight to catch…” And the person replied, “I put it to you that there were two vultures on that day; one had a camera”. It was reported that his constant thought of that statement led to depression and his ultimate death.

It is no doubt that trauma causes people to make unsafe choices but these unsafe choices are attempts to making them feel better. However, this is not usually the case because they end up loosing their minds and, even worse, their lives, as in the scenario above.

In the western world and contemporary science, there are various means provided by the medical profession such as therapists and other experts like exercise psychologists. These are usually wasteful because they do not help the soul reconnect with its Maker. They do not help us achieve our purpose of existence.

Now, to the crux of this work which is; Handling trauma from Islamic perspectives…

What are the Islamic perspectives on handling trauma?

To begin with, Islam isn’t just a “religion”, but a holistic life system of rules for individual as well as for the entire human community, which completely initiates one to all aspects of healthy social and mental life. Islamic belief and its practices fill the Muslims with security and peace as well as with optimistic regard of life, looking into full human reality. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to give significant amount of attention to Islam not just as a religion but as a way of life!

Probably you are like many of the victims who want to get out of this dilemma but cannot afford to pay a therapist. Below are among the most effective and best means of total recovery from trauma, bi-ithniLlah.

Note: the most important remedy is the last one, so keep reading…

First, as a Muslim you need to understand that nothing happens in your life without Allah’s {Subhanahu wa ta’ala} knowledge. He is your Maker, your Protector and everything you can think of. He promises In Surah Al-Inshiraah that,

فإن مع العسر يسرا، إن مع العسر يسرا 

Meaning, “After every hardship comes the relief * Indeed after every hardship comes the relief.”

Do you know why your ‘relief’ carried a defiant article while your hardship doesn’t? Well, it is because Allah’s trials are limited while His Mercies are unlimited, thus same goes to what ever it is that is making you become traumatic!

Second, I have a question for you; do you know that the more Allah loves you the more he tries you? In fact, some of our predecessors asked for Allah’s trials. Allah asked us a question in The second Verse of Surah Rúm.

Do you think that We will leave you alone and not try you just because you say, ‘I believe’?


Who are we without Allah’s trials? Only if you know the mountains, sacks and heaps of rewards that we get; only if we know how many of our sins Allah wipes away as a result of our patience during His trials; only if we know how our Maker solves our problems for us, our hearts would have melted out of love for Him instead of breaking out of distress!


Third, it is said – on a lighter note – that if you don’t wake up for Tahajjud to ask Allah for what you claim to want, it goes therefore that you really do not want that thing!

So I ask you; have you interrupted your sleep, performed wudhu’, pray some units of salah, have your forehead on the ground with tears flowing off your eyes and poured out your sincere heart to Allah? Have you ask Him to heal your heart, your condition and replace it with that which is the best? If you haven’t done that, I’m afraid that you may have fallen in the group of those who claim to need but don’t truly ask, for this brings us to the question, how close are you to Allah?

He Said in Surah Al-Baqara, Verse 186:

And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.

Fourth, do you listen to sermons? Do you offer your salah on time? Do you try increasing your Islamic knowledge, like learning Tafseer, Hadith, Fiqu, etc?Do you send salutations upon the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam? Do you read Islamic books like ‘dont be sad’ or ‘the happiest woman in the world’ or’ reclaim your heart’, etc? Have you communicated to some good sister or brother, professional or not about your problems?

Nonetheless, you have to work by yourself to get out of this. Make yourself busy! Get something you love doing and do it. Define your goals, work a little on them every day. Do not become hopeless. Do not be on the brink of giving up? Allah has given us common sense to find acceptable and possible solutions to our problems. He has given us hope for every disappointment, hence this should gives you so much to live for, so much courage to never relent.

Finally, and most importantly, as a Muslim, you need to embrace our Qu’ran! No matter that which burdens us, be it physical or psychological, your Qu’ran is the provider of your remedy. Recite your Qu’ran whether you can do that fluently or not, whether you understand the meaning or not, wAllah! It is just our best remedy!

Allah {SWT} said

“و ننزل من القران ما هو شفاء ورحمة للمؤمنين…”

This again reminds me of a poem I once read in an Islamic fictional book about the Qu’ran and I wish to share it with you;

“Rich in cover and nicely bounded
In heart of Muslims, I rarely found

High on shelf, I’m kept
Forgotten there, I’m kept

With respect, I do get losts of ‘kiss’
My point is what they always ‘miss’

In a meledious voice, they recite me
Neglecting the message, inside me

At times l, I’m used for phony swear
My true use is very, very rare

A miracle, I am, that can change the word
All one, has to do is understand my word

I have wisdom I have treasure,
S much wisdom that there’s no measure.

In your savior, I’m your guide
But who’s there to follow my bide

Right from wrings is my fame
Holy Qu’ran is my name.

So, whether your trials is a result of the natural consequences of your actions, or as a result of your honest mistakes, or recklessness (or somebody else’s), or a deliberate act of yours or another’s, or even a pure trial from Allah {Subhanahu wa ta’ala}, remember your creator , الرحمان burdens not a person beyond his scope.

Moreover, this becomes your personal problem to deal with. You should accept it, be determined to walk out of it. It is not going to be an easy journey, every beautiful rose has it’s thorns hidden.

I leave you with these three questions and a quote from an affable sister:

Who doesn’t learn from his mistakes, is there anyone too clever to escape from Allah’s trials?

Again, the affable sister once said,

No one understands the burden of an aching heart like its sufferer. Its crunching, discontent feelings, its unsettled resilience to life’s betrayal, its unraveled dissatisfaction. No one. But if it trusts Allah, If it believes in its Maker’s Abilities, then it will find peace, like the soul which is not troubled before…

So, I ask you, beloved slave of Allah; why are you still living in trauma?

As-salaam ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.

Author: Ruqayya Modibbo

Editor: Umm Naml


The author ummnamlreads

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