Stress…How To Cope With It?
(alsalafyoon article)

All human beings are exposed to stress without exception. Even the Prophets of Allah, human beings as they were, had to undergo tests and trials, which resulted in temporary stress. Furthermore, optimum stress may be necessary for human survival. Therefore, it is not possible to have a completely stress-free life, but, nevertheless, it is vital to manage the stress to minimize its adverse affects on life.

In the true religion, we do not have the concept of ownership of property and life as everything belongs to God and returns to Him, man being only a trustee. So if we do not own a particular thing then why mourn or grieve for the loss. God says in the Qu'ran:

"Be sure We will test you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and fruits; but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere." [2:155]

"Who, when a misfortune overtakes them, say 'Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.' " [2:156]

Religious teachings tell us that our destiny is predetermined, therefore, we do not have control over tomorrow's events, as they are not related to our actions. We have only control over a limited free will, our actions, our choices, and our belief. Thus worrying over future events such as whether or not we will have accident tomorrow or someone may die, is of no use.

People without faith behave differently than those having faith, as they have no one to turn for help, to ask for mercy and forgiveness. Therefore, they have no control on their life; they get more depressed and consequently get further and further involved in their wrongdoing. Contrary to this a believer can cope very easily by following certain actions recommended by his religion, such as the following:

*Increase remembrance of Allah as in this action heart finds rest. Allah says in the Qur'an:

"Those who believe, and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of Allah. For without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort." [13:28]

Increase prayer, as this is the best way to ask Allah's help. Allah guides mankind in the following verse of the Qur'an:

"O ye who believe, seek help through perseverance and prayer; surely, Allah is with those who patiently persevere." [2:153]

* Ask forgiveness from Allah Almighty, as he is ever forgiving.

The Qur'an speaks in the following words:

"Seek forgiveness from your Lord; for He is Oft-Forgiving." [71:10]

* Ask Allah's help to enable us continue to struggle and upgrade ourselves so that God will change us to the better.

The Qur'an confirms this action in the following words:

"O mankind! There indeed had come to you an admonition from your Lord and a healing for whatever disease there is in the hearts, and a guidance and a mercy to the believers." [10:57]

* Increase recitation of the Qur'an as this action reduces stress and provides maximum benefit to those who understand and enjoy the recitation with a firm belief that it is a Word of God.

* Follow Prophet Muhammad's (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) guidance during stress.

Almost all the prophets of God had to face tests and trials resulting in temporary stress condition. They constantly remembered God, which helped in establishing peace in their hearts. Prophet Muhammad (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) practiced and advised a specific prayer at the time of distress in the following words:

"Allah (God Almighty) is sufficient for us, and He is an excellent Guardian, and we repose our trust in Him. Surely we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. O Allah, I beseech you for the reward of my hardship. Reward me and compensate me by substituting (this hardship) with good."

Religious belief has a very important bearing on our personality and outlook toward life. By putting our trust in Allah, the Almighty, we minimize the stress level by reducing our responsibility and power to control our failures. If we firmly hold on to the true religious faith and follow its teachings, then coping with stress becomes very easy.

"Allah burdens not any soul more than it can bear. It shall have the reward it earns, and it shall get the punishment it incurs. Our Lord, do not punish us if we forget or fall into error, and our Lord, lay not on us a responsibility as You did lay upon those before us. Our Lord, burden us not with what we have not the strength to bear; and blot out sins and grant us forgiveness and have mercy on us: You are our Master; so grant us victory over the unbelievers." [2:286]

If a worshipper is struck by grief or sorrow and says the following prayer, Allah will drive his grief and sorrow and give him happiness in its place:

"Allah I am your worshipper, the son of your worshipper, my strength is in your Hand, my progress is in Your Command, just is Your Judgement, I ask you by each of your names, by which You called Yourself or revealed in Your Book, or which have taught to one of Your creatures, or which You have chosen to keep in Your Secret Knowledge to make the Qur'an the joy of my heart, the light of my eyes which removes my grief and drives away my sorrow thus replacing it with happiness." [Ahmad,ibn Hiban]

O Allah, make me adhere properly to my religion, on which all my affairs depend; make this world good for me in which is livelihood. Make my hereafter good for me, in which is my ultimate destiny; make my life increase in every good thing and make my death a respite from every evil.



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