Suicide and Mental Health in the Muslim Community
Channel: Yaser Birjas
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Here for us in Dallas, we were shaken by the news about a sister who committed suicide somewhere in the area, a mother of three, and then some hannula as we're trying to cope with the news, trying to make sense of it and understand what happened exactly where did we fail as a community to protect them, and help them out before we get to that level of desperation of harm and despair. Then we hear another news coming from Virginia, when another mother, who was also very well known in the community, active and went on on many different levels of hannula, mother of two boys also took her life, you know, through suicide.
as a as an Imam, as a community leader, as a counselor, well, it was overwhelming. For the past two, three days, I've been trying to put words together for this hope, but I just cannot make sense of it. It is so hard to put these things in words, the lung, Stan, just the thought, the thought that I could think of the sisters, and many more probably, you know, struggling in privacy, without exposing themselves to anybody out of fear of of being, you know, a feeling ashamed in this community because of these thoughts. So can you imagine now the thought of losing hope, the thought of loneliness, feeling lonely alone, and the thought of just failing into complete full despair,
that they realize there is no exit out of their circumstances, there is no exit out of their situation. And then they eventually they justify their tragic exit from this world, hoping in the mercy of Allah subhanho wa Taala. Now that in itself, just that thought itself is so tragic, Subhanallah overwhelmingly emotional, and I was trying to kind of think, put myself in their shoes, May Allah forgive them and protect our families are a bit I mean, why would people do that? But then, I was shocked, I was surprised by another thing, the reaction of the Muslim community,
the number of questions I received, in person and also online, about people worrying about the theological and the juristic issue of suicide.
Are they going to be in general Johanna? Are they allowed to enter the funerals or not? Are we even allowed to bring their janazah into the masjid or not? Are we this, just like, what happened to the Muslim Ummah, what happened to the compassionate Juma? Well, I had the loss of compassion in a moment like this is scarier than that the loss of life through suicide. This is much scarier, that the community is so worried about rules of folk than worrying about the loss of life. Have you thought about why this happened in the first place? Are you responsible for it?
We are one community, we supposed to care for each other? Who is not supposed to allow this from happening? But why is this happening under our watch?
If you read the news, you have understand that there is a surprising number around the country of people committing suicide. You know, people might not think that sort of it's correlated and connected to it to each other. No, it is actually the rise of, of committing suicide in the society here among non Muslims as well, can also be connected to the Muslims as well. Why we live in, in one community, one society, when people hear about so called celebrities committing suicide, and the latest set of death of antidepressant for example, or Kate Spade or Robin Williams, many, many people who entertained the world in many, many ways.
Like even Robin Woodlands entertained the world made them laugh for, for for 10s of years, he couldn't make himself happy Subhanallah so he commits suicide. Now, when this happens, this is called like permission givers. A lot of people who feel the same now they realize if they can do it, why not me.
And the Muslim community is not immune of this. It is possible that the rise of this of these thoughts and even attempts of committing suicide is actually because of now we see this happening. And we're not showing compassion.
We don't go and investigate, you know, to help. We only care about condemning, and holding on to certain traditions and cultures or maybe even some physical rulings in a manner that is now required from us to pay attention to what's going on on a human level right now. That's what we care about over here. The human tragedy, the loss of life is definitely is so scary, but the loss of compassion will lie is even scarier. You see when the profits of a lot of a sudden during his lifetime he allowed people to grieve.
He's not there to condemn them in many, many ways. Whatever reason for people to grieve the profits or some give them the chance look at the loss of for example of a loved one. When someone dies, we were allowed to grieve for three days at least three days and three nights. One woman loses her husband. She has a degree for four months and 10 days give her the chance. This is another time to condemn her for you know
grieving over the loss of her husband, when the Prophet sallallahu Sallam was coming back from the Battle of Muhammad, and as the news are spreading the last 70 plus among the Sahaba Shahada on the battlefield, one lady stopped the prophets, Allah them and and the procession and she asked about her father, she was told, you know, he was killed on the battlefield. So she said in Allah and Allah Raja, we all belong to Allah until our return will be. And then she asked about her brother.
And they told her he was killed as well. She said in that Allahu alayhi Rajaram we all belong to Allah and to Him will be our return. One the one she asked about her husband. She said when she when she was asked about my husband, and she was told that he was also killed on the battlefield. She lost it.
She lost it, she starts crying and weeping and in that moment the Prophet sallallahu wasallam he didn't condemn her for this. Instead, he says in Laval, Marathi when Hannah McCann that indeed the husband in the heart and the life of the woman has a special place.
Like she was taught about her brother and her father, she didn't grieve as much when the love of her life was lost. She grieved so much that the prophet SAW Selim says, You know what, that's a very special thing for her. And let her grieve. One Jaffa rhodiola did and was killed in the Battle of Mota. And the news came to Medina that he was lost even though he was only for almost a year when he arrived from Abu senior to Medina. And then he was killed on the battlefields of Han Allah, the Prophet sallallahu wasallam. He already ordered the family of Jafar to be taken care of. He called his kids and the children and he took care of them. salaatu wa Salaam, Allah and then he instructed
the families around them. He says, make food make sure you make food for the family of Jafar, for cassata, Julio mama Shalom,
make sure to take care of them, take care of them in terms of food and sustenance and so on. Because they have just received news, they'll make them very busy,
which means they're going to be grieving. They don't have time to cook or take care of themselves and their children. So he was taking care of the children while the women are grieving. SubhanAllah
when a woman she lost her son, she was crying on the grave of her child Rasulullah sallallahu sallam, he saw her for some time. And then after when he realized she had enough grieving, then he came to her colorama Tila Tequila was pretty, you know, he said, if you have a conscience of Allah subhana wa Taala, like saying, Allah is with you. Like, listen, Allah is with you right now. And then he said, just have patience.
But that woman wasn't ready yet to break away from that moment. And that's a human thing.
She without even turning to the Prophet sallallahu sallam, she said, la can even come to Serbia mostly, but just leave me alone. You have no idea what happened to me? And the prophet SAW some laughter. He said, Sure. And he left. And that was the Messenger of Allah. He could have, you know, kind of like,
called her out in front of everybody saying, What are you talking about? tequila onto Muslim stock for law? How could you do this? Instead, he said, shoot, and he left her because she wasn't radiant. But then when she was told that was the Messenger of Allah that you answered back, she freaked out. She remember right now that it's the Messenger of Allah, He came to, you know, given support and condolences and so on. And then she rejected him that way. So she ran to his house, and he was there Salawat de la was to Ramallah and she said to me, also de la jasola. Allah, hi, Martha. I swear I didn't recognize him. He said, it's okay. But a server under submitted Allah, patients should be
observed at the first strike. That's a lesson too for all of us. That the prophet SAW salami allowed her to continue to grieve, that's fine, allowed her even if she's now
prolonging it, but still, he did not condemn her for that sort of what the law who was the nominee, and in the story of burrier of movies and variera, when when movies, wife, barilla, she left him, he suddenly woke up, that I lost my wife. And she started start crying after her and going all over the place, crying, can you imagine an adult mature man crying because his wife decided, you know what, I'm sick of this life. I'm tired of you. I'm leaving. And trust me, there are so many movies in the community. But it's struggling in silence, ashamed of coming, seeking help for counseling, why? because they want to be exposed. And there's so many sisters out there just you know, crying for
help, because their husband not paying attention to them, and not fulfilling what they should fulfill of their heart and their rights. panela because in so much stress, and anxiety, and depression and even suicidal thoughts in the minds and the hearts of many, many brothers and sisters, our communities. But then here's Rasulullah sallallahu wasallam. He tried everything possible to help them out movies, he came to America to study and then he came to the Messenger of Allah asking Rasul Allah, could you please talk to barrier for me
And also the law is the law said, Sure. Can you imagine the great messenger of Allah take out of his busy schedule and his important mission of guiding the people to Allah subhanho wa Taala taken few minutes to go and walk to his wife, the wife of movies and talk to her. Hopefully he will reconcile between her and her husband. So he goes to her saltwater lava zone and says, Yeah, but why don't you go back to Malaysia? Why don't you go back to him? So she said, Yasser Allah, and Milan um, shafa. Is that an order that I should follow? Or is that an instruction and I can advise you given me? He said, No, it's not an order. Like it's your choice, but I'm just telling you, why don't you go back
then. She said if there was if that not an order, then la Hagit le V, I'm not interested to return back down.
So the prophets Allah sent me didn't condemn her like many people culturally, they go under pressure the brothers and the sisters to maintain in relationship that is so hard and difficult to maintain. And he didn't say to our staff from LA tequila, what are you talking about? He is you get to Agenda he didn't say that.
Instead, Rasulullah hasta la Sam said shoot, okay. And he went back to movies. Now movies are they allowed that Anwar he was expecting if you send the prophets Allah same as an envoy on his behalf to speak to his wife, what is the result that is expected out of this conversation? She should respect the Prophet salla Selim interference, right? Like many people they expect if I come to the Imam, Mashallah, he's gonna she's gonna be okay. Like some of the incidents of Han Allah, some people came to my office and asked him to help with their wives. So he said, The reason I'm here because I want you to tell her what she should do and what she how she listened to me.
And I'm like, really?
Is that what you're here for? I thought you came here so you could listen to her. So you can see what she has to say. So you can at least you know, reconcile with each other. Instead, he came already making his case clear that she's wrong, and I am right, and you should tell her what she listened to.
And I said, let's talk about inshallah we can do something. The point is a prophet sallallaahu salam, then later on, when he told movie movies collapsed, he starts crying, and grieving the loss of his love. For some today that's a really that's not manly thing. So Hannah. Yeah. When we don't know what people go through a lie. Stop condemning others for something you are not aware of.
Don't look down on people because they're suffering Subhanallah we don't know what they're going through a mela protect to protect your families. Because we don't know who's going to be next.
We just have that compassion for them, care about them. Look, why is this happening? How can we help them avoid going to these suicidal thoughts and so on. So Rasulullah sallallahu sallam, one day he sees movies in the streets of Medina, crying, crying on the ground, as very raw is basically passing by and so on. And then he turns to his uncle at bus. And he says yeah, bus to go getters uncle also realized as I was saying, isn't this so strange? elata Jabu Minh hobby movies in very raw book the barrier automata isn't this so astonishing, like so surprising, so astonishing how much movies loves barrier, and how much barrier hates movies.
That love doesn't have to be reciprocated love, could be one sided somehow on some relations, they survive on mercy, not on passion.
They just survive just for because of the compassion they have for one another because of the compassion they have for their children. But when the relationship now completely becomes void of love and mercy, no passion, no compassion, people feel completely trapped.
And they'll feel trapped. That's when the shaitaan comes in.
Our duty is not to condemn the people, if they decided to commit suicide or hurt themselves. Our duty is to try our best to save them before this happens.
It is important upon us as a community to stand together. And that's what the prophet SAW said about the Muslim Ummah and the Muslim community. We are like one body. If one part aches, the whole body should ache as well.
We are like one wall
and that wall stranded itself when it's together. That's what we supposed to be. So what is happening to us, Allah Subhana Allah says in the Quran about saving lives woman African American. So Jamia and whosoever saves one life, it is written with Allah subhana wa Taala in the book, that as if you have saved the entire humanity
and this is our duty to ensure that these things don't happen we should really understand why it happens. See my dear brothers and sisters, it is very naive, alive, very, very naive on some people. They justify this situation, this circumstance and mental health issues and so forth. By saying well, they have you know,
Low Eman. They lack spirituality in if they have strong email, they wouldn't do that. You know, may Allah subhanho wa Taala protect us all from the from the lack of a man and faith say Amina Gemma. But we don't know what people go through. It's not just because they were not spiritual. It's not just because they were not faithful, they were faithful. And believe me, some of the people probably they would commit suicide, having hope and allies or just mercy, not because they lost it. But because they lost hope from the people.
This is the problem. This is the crisis that we're dealing with. They lost hope from the community. They don't see health, they don't see x or they don't see exit, they feel trapped. And then their only hope that allows us to forgive them for the shortcoming.
Their only hope is admitting their shortcomings and their fault, and they will take their lives.
Now, that's not an excuse to do it.
I'm not saying this to allow people to take this as an exit for themselves. No, oh, Bella, there is no doubt. It's mentioned the Quran and the Sunnah. That is not acceptable.
That is not acceptable. But it's not an act of coup for our duty now is to understand why this is happening. I'm telling you a lot of these brothers and sister who probably do that not because they lost their faith in Allah azza wa jal, it's because they lost their faith in humanity.
They lost their faith in the in the community, they don't see that help from them. And that's why the only hope they are left for them is with Alaska origin, and they want to expedite their departure to be with a large region.
They're doing it the wrong way, unfortunately.
But still, they had hope in the mercy of Allah subhana wa, Tada. And May Allah forgive him.
Now, what are the main reasons we have these issues in our communities, and I want to share with you a few things in Sharla, not to claim that I have the solution for this. But I just want to bring awareness to that. I want people to focus on what really matters and these issues, to focus on being human beings, being compassion for one another, and being real. And then focus, see yourself, see your family, are you contributing to the problem? You know, when we talk about when we make surveys, and there's a lot of alignment in the Muslim community, we have so many resources, even here in Dallas, we have so many resources for people to seek help insha Allah tala anonymously. There are so
many numbers out there, you can find them online. And they're anonymous number just call you don't have to identify yourself, let them know that you need help. Let them know that you know somebody who needs help, so that we can shell out Allah prevent any anything wrong from happening afterwards. But we need to be proactive in this matter. So according to some of the research that you can find online about the Muslim community in particular, why would people have these thoughts why we deal with anxiety with depression, with suicidal thoughts and so on, here are a few things that we're talking about, number one, cultural shame.
One of the biggest issues with a very conservative community, you guys know that right? very conservative community. And shame plays a major factor in the culture, whether it's Islamic or otherwise.
So the culture of shame leads people to feel isolated. Specially when they suffer certain things in their lives like harassment,
it is very serious matter. People, they go through this and they don't find anyone to talk to why because everybody's telling them Be quiet. Don't you ever open your mouth about this? And if you do, so we don't know you anymore.
So under all this pressure, they feel isolated, because no one is going to take their word seriously. Living in denial, a lot of people, they don't want to believe that this is happening to us or in our family, because they're afraid what people are going to say about them. SubhanAllah when some people complain that you have all this big family, what are they going to say about this? You can imagine what happens now, take the case of marrying, for example, outside of the culture. That's a big taboo in some cultures, it just like an act of cover.
Think about divorce, if the relationship is not doing well, and it becomes very abusive, and it's quite close to losing faith and lose power lose any heart in humanity. Can you imagine the amount of shame people they have? You know, when the woman came to the Prophet sallallahu wasallam complaining about her husband, and she wanted to leave that relationship. She came to the Prophet salla seminary Saqqara, Jarrah surah Allah Allah, Allah to Allah, if you hold open wallet in our messenger of Allah, I don't complain about his faith. I don't complain. I was the like, he's the best religious man ever. What I can do chrome COVID Islam, but I'm afraid if I stay with him, I'm gonna lose it.
Like I'm gonna lose my man because of it.
And that's when the professor some asked him if he's okay. That she wants to leave us to serve you. But the man he is
With ego that came in, he said, Okay, what about that bridal gift I gave her I gave her something very expensive. And he says, Sure, would you give it back then she said, I'll give it back to him. And that was the first insert of cola as we know it in Islam. But the point I'm making here is that Rasulullah sallallahu Sallam didn't consider, you know, leaving an abusive relationship or a difficult relationship to be something shameful not to encourage people to take the exit door right away from the relationship. No, we should try everything possible to make it work out in shallow diabolical Ouattara. The second thing that we have seen that cause people to go into depression and
anxiety and so on social comparison, somehow, especially when the culture comes from poor backgrounds, and then they become rich along Stan. I was just watching actually, a clip earlier about a Muslim community in Pakistan, where most of the people are expats living elsewhere in Europe and America.
The mansions they're building in these small villages does to show off when no one is living them. that's similar to what we do. And the Arab culture as well. I've heard that in my family, too. They have houses, some people brag that they have 36 bathrooms in their mansion.
how many people live there, nobody.
It just a summer vacation house. All of this comparison, social comparison makes people depressed, anxious, unable to achieve. And then competition, expectation children, they feel that they can never meet their parents expectation.
And a very, very young age, they get depressed, suicidal thoughts becomes inevitable, because they're going through all these ideas and thoughts, cultural gaps, identity crisis. Kids, they're trying to live their life in Halloween. But we have a lot of cultural limitations. Not so you're going to hold on to Halloween. And then the parents that put some limitation sometimes that the children put pressure on their, on their own, actually parents as well. And the parents get into depression, as a very old age as well. Somehow it's mutual thing. So cultural gap can create crisis as well. The power struggle between the husband and wife, especially when they're young, and they
get married, and they're not adjusting well,
to the marital life. And then you have the power struggle between the mother in law and the daughter in law, and the guys in the middle, get depressed, he doesn't know what to do. And you name it, all these things happening in our communities, and no one wants to talk about them. Because you know what, not my business. That's a family issue.
And that's when we get people losing hope in humanity and start thinking about government, Allah subhanho wa Taala, the sword that we carry over our children's head, the sword of religiosity, people are mixing between what is religious and what is cultural.
And we use that as a sword over their heads to behave in a way that is completely foreign to the context.
And that is a problem. Our kids can survive it. And they become now hypocritical in front of their parents, they act in a certain way. But in school, they act completely different on social media, they're different creatures.
But then in front of their parents, they just have to hold on to this, how long can they keep that you know, hypocritical face without feeling depressed, that is not genuine is not authentic for themselves. And then they hurt themselves. Domestic Violence, parents among themselves husband and wife, I guess their children and sometimes the adult kids against their own adult parents panela it happens and so many cases, their financial losses, substance abuse, you name it, there's so many reasons why the community you know, many members of the computer suffering, but again, they feel ashamed to bring it out and seeking help mother brothers and sisters that handle a lot of blood. I
mean, our Muslim community is not lacking any resources. We have that we have all the resources whether it's financial, or Hamdulillah, human resources, shelters, lawyers, social workers, mental health and handler professionals we have it all. And believe it or not, the Imam is not the only one who can help you with this. Because then a lot of people that are that go to the Imam for a serious matter as depression then go to a professional in the field. Why? Because to the Imam hamdulillah everybody thinks it's okay because he's the Imam, but go on to a professional, a family therapist, man, that is a shame. No, it's not. And it's wajib upon you if you seek if you need help that you're
going to seek that help. It becomes obligatory upon you that if you need that help and if you know someone in the family that helped, then you should go and provide that help inshallah Baraka Allah. May Allah subhana wa Taala protect our families yorubaland amin, Milla protect our children protect the cerebellum and I asked Allah subhana wa Taala to fill our love our lives with with tranquility and peace Allah ask Allah subhana wa Taala to fill our hearts with love and compassion for one another out of blind I mean, a Guru COVID herself through la de la come
through in order for him
hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen wa sallahu wa salam wa barik ala nabina Muhammad wa ala alihi wa sahbihi wa seldom at the Sleeman kathira mama bad mother brothers and sisters, I once again I would like to emphasize that this subject of anxiety, depression, you know, self esteem issues and mental health issues, suicidal thoughts, they're real and they do exist in the Muslim community. So please do not overlook these issues. If you know someone who's in need of help, please make sure that you do so inshallah Allah help them out. Now before you do so you need to be trained and know exactly what to do even on a personal level if it was a friend of yours. And that handler Blimey, I want to
give shout out to some of the Muslim community activists in our area here that Mashallah they're doing great job of providing that service for us and also on a national level. One of the organizations is actually the Family and Youth Institute which is located on the East Coast, Mashallah on their website for those who would like to go and check it out. They have the Suicide Prevention guide, check it out. This is just one example where you can see inshallah Allah an entire guide how to detect these signs, what you could do, how to start a conversation, how to help people, whether they're adults or young, not to go that route and how to become again one community in sha
Allah, Allah caring for one another. Please do so. Check it out, and be in sha Allah. Allah, Allah high alert to see any signs of these things specifically, now that these incidents are becoming more frequent, chances are it will increase because that's when there is something called the tipping point when people see this is happening and becomes normalized on the news. Others will follow and we need to be on the lookout, making sure that doesn't happen in shallow who what Allah Allah Allah man fana one fan of Mr. lantana in the country. rollingwood Hakeem aloha Martin fusina taqwa was that Romans aka Antonio amo la vida la in the llama loco saloon, Allah NaVi yeah yo Latina amanu
sallu alayhi wa sallam Otis Lima Allahumma salli wa sallim wa barik ala nabina Muhammad wa ala alihi wa sahbihi wa Taala man holla Farah Shinobi Mama was Manali one sir savage man, woman. Medina welcome Salam