DEPRESSION

Zeinab Alsheraa

What is Depression?

There is a distinct difference regarding situational depression and clinical depression. While one may have felt sad or melancholic at times temporarily, feeling depressed can be a common reaction to loss, struggle, or an injured self-esteem. Profound feelings of sadness—feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless—lasting for many days and keeping an individual from functioning normally, is clinical depression. It is not a sign of personal weakness and cannot be willed away or “gotten over,” for it is a change in the neurochemistry of the brain. Clinical depression needs professional help for treatment.

Causes of Depression

The causes are many: genetic, psychological, and environmental factors are often at hands involved. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it can occur from a variety of reasons. While genetics may play a role, the way one solves their own problems and handles the situations and challenges thrown in life may alter the mood-chemistry of the brain. Those with low self-esteem,who have a constant pessimistic view of life, who are consistently overwhelmed with stress, or who have a severe illness are prone to depression.

Could even a devout Muslim be depressed?

Yes. Being a Muslim means one submits their will to God and has full faith and trust in Him. But this does not make one invulnerable to life and the dunya. Anyone may succumb to grief and loss or have an illness like depression linked in their genes. It is not a sign of weak faith—suicide is. “And make not your own hands contribute to your destruction; but do good; for Allah loves those who do good” ( 2:195 ). God does not try a person beyond what they are capable of, despite the feelings of sadness, one would understand that solutions do not lie in ending one’s life. Islam does not require people to be superhumans, if one is experiencing negative feelings, they are encouraged to resist them, just as they are encouraged to resist any harmful acts or desires. Islam teaches not to hate or harm oneself but to have dignity, self-respect, and protection.

What to do with depression

There is a common misconception that the best way to cure depression is by going to the sheikh instead of the doctor. Allah is the greatest healer and Allah has created medicine and allowed people the ability to understand that and become healers. Allah promotes the use of doctors for they are His instruments to heal as well. This is similar to the concept of working; one works to feed themselves, they do not sit idle and expect God to feed them. A man once asked the Prophet, “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel when I am away from it and trust in Allah, or should I untie her and trust in Allah?” The Messenger of Allah said, “Tie her and trust in Allah.

The responsibilities of having depression is not, however, to demean prayer and disregard the power supplication holds; it is encouraged to pray, but to also seek medical assistance. The responsibilities, on the other hand, are to have patience and consistency. “And never give up hope of Allah’s soothing Mercy: truly no one despairs of Allah’s soothing Mercy, except those who have no faith” (12:87). When seeking assistance from a doctor, one should be patient if medication does not work immediately—depression is an illness, and not all illnesses have cures or medications that are immediately effective. Just like any other illness, the doctor must find the right drug/therapy that works best for a specific patient, so one should not give up.

In an interview done with people who survived suicide attempts by jumping off the Golden Gate bridge, it is often they regret their decision in midair, if not before. One survivor even said “I instantly realized that everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable—except for having just jumped.”

Time for new World Order

(Political insolvency on all fronts is leading to narrower options)

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

Although many observers are skeptic of the phrase ‘world order’, yet its definition in the post 9/11 era has mandated new interpretations regarding many political, economic and social concepts around the world. Discussing any of the previous eras, whether post WWII or post-Cold-War era is bound by one unifying notion, which makes theorizing and governance more feasible and approachable than the current realities around globe. The fact that world order was centered around the concept of STATE was inevitable since the global ideological struggle (Capitalism VS Communism) was based upon application by state. Therefore, neither sides was ready to accept any alternative for the presence of state and its authority, even though the competition between the poles was more like a clash and conflict.

The rise of non-state actors and their overwhelming influence in decision-making circles has placed the international community with several obstacles without any evident solution in the near future. The influence and role of many intergovernmental non-state actors is also bound and limited by many variable and new domestic or regional legislations, which only expands the power of non-governmental actors around the world. In addition, majority of global actors and IGOs have not been able to cope and align themselves with new political guidelines and criterions to contain the means and factors behind emergence of non-state actors. However, there are many non-governmental actors around the world with superb record in helping humanity and aiding states in law and order promotion. Nonetheless, the violent non-state actors or what the modern world call terrorism and rouge elements are the actors that influencing our world today. Unfortunately, the notion of proxies has been transformed into having non-state actors as allies in a certain country or region to mandate certain policies and gains, which only complicates the job for the international community.

Narrowing down the focus of this subject would be facilitated if the Middle East is considered as a study case, where non-state actors have been the real cause of distress and instability or order and stability in some cases. In addition, the influence of this geographical region in the world contains many other aspects other than political variables, due to its complex ethnic, religious and sectarian divisions, which have been politically mobilized and misused.

Fortunately or unfortunately is a judgement for future generations, yet modern non-state (non-governmental) actors have been able to achieve and accomplish much farther goals and gains than many states in the region. Although the resources and means of wealth were always controlled by the states, yet Middle Eastern governments have proven to be the most incompetent around the world, even though they had numerous models and examples from around the world. Therefore, non-governmental organizations have been able to create complex and well-built social networks and popular bases for themselves. The influence of those NGO came to reality and was capitalized through organized and planned political endeavours, armed conflicts, and violent methods and in case of Yemen total take-over of power and ousting a government. The efforts of the international community has proven to be unworthy as the mindset of those organizations is still unclear, since majority of the conflicts are still ongoing. Therefore, finding solutions and placing authority in the hands of legit and elected governments is far from the reach.

The notion of categorizing states by their cooperation with the international community, economic distribution to the world markets and alliances has been useless, as conceptualizing the world based on realism and liberalism is irrelevant.

To be continued

THE ROLE OF WOMEN

Zeinab Alsheraa
In some countries there is very little attention given towards the rights of women. While it is true that it occurs in some Muslim countries, it is also true that it occurs in non-Islamic countries as well. This has happened in times before Islam where women were treated as property, transferring from one property to another. Women were even buried alive at birth, giving no merit to their value of life. Then when the dawn of Islam approached, it brought an equal look of both man and woman, granting them both respect. The rights of women were guaranteed and placed for by Islam when first revealed. Today, women may be brought back to a time of ignorance with the woman’s modesty and personality prone to misuse by those with evil intentions. The true value of women, nevertheless, should always be one equal in soul to that of men and empowered as such.
Women in Islam
In a hadith, a man is reported to have asked the Prophet Muhammad, “Who is the one most worthy of my care?” The Prophet then responded, “Your mother.” Again the man asked, “And then whom?” The Prophet repeated, “Your mother.” The man asked a third time and the Prophet still said, “Your mother.” The fourth time the man asked, “And then whom?” The Prophet finally responded, “And then your father.” This signifies the responsibilities and values a women is cherished upon placed by God. The status of a woman as defined by Islam is as a mother “Heaven is beneath her feet” as said by the Prophet.
Women are looked as blessings and members of equality. As wives, she is the source of comfort to her husband as he is to her. A line in the Quran states “And among His signs is this, that He created wives from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts)” (30:21). Women take on many roles as mothers, wives, daughters, etc. and have the responsibility of imbuing principles and faith within the souls of the nation as mothers. They are given the noble and significant task entrusted by God of being the bridge between worlds carrying souls into life. They are a clear necessity for humankind raising and nurturing generations. These sense of care and motherhood remain long with sons and daughters after they have left the mother’s arms.
Misconceptions
There is no decree stating women are of lesser value than men or are seen as a “second class citizen.” Islam differentiates by faith, not gender. In actuality, a woman’s duties in faith are exactly like that as a man. She is expected to have morals and act justly just the same and will be held accountable for her actions similarly. She must guide and teach herself of faith and will be punished and retributed as such.
In regards to marriage, women cannot but placed in a forced marriage, for then the matrimony is not valid. There are rules regarding marriage in Islam that comply with the harmony with upright human nature. In the physiological and psychological make-up of man and woman, both are equal with the same claims on one another. The man, however, has claims of another responsibility: leadership. This is a matter which is natural in any collective life and is consistent with the nature of man. This does not mean men are to be more superior over women, it implies that natural differences between the two and that the man must protect the woman; just as the woman protected the man as a mother.
Women also are not limited in Islam, they have rights of liberty. They can buy and sell to their heart’s content as long as there is nothing unIslamic being done. Women should not be put down, for they are equals with the same basic rights. They can even be of certain posts and responsibilities in the body of the Islamic government.
The Strive for All Women
Women have came from the time before Islam where ignorance was prominent and rights were not given, then Islam had stated them as equals. Over the years, women still faced an equality issue and endured a long struggle with many sacrifices. Their status has been achieved through their struggles and only when society needed their contribution and work, especially during World War I and II.
The compassionate and dignified status of women was decreed in Islam because of its intrinsic truthfulness, not because of the era.
This indicates that the divine and truthfulness of the message of Islam was far from proceeding its human environment, which only gave women equality and rights through the course of time after many centuries. Through all this, the message of God and wisdom and knowledge and conveyed to be far beyond the ultimate in human thought and progress.

When order prevails result is: …

 

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The title of this article can be presented as a statement or a question and since the answer is unconditionally assented and acknowledged, it would be meaningless to discuss any possible ambiguity of such statement. Abiding by order, rules and guidelines is not only an essence of showing class, it is a path to success and being able to accomplish based on outlined and set goals and progress. The holy Quran grants great importance to order and discipline, where the 4th verse of chapter 61 presents the perfect metaphor for orderly conduct and order. “as though they are a single structure joined firmly”. The holy Prophet of Islam emphasizes on the notion of order in all affairs and actions, where it seems without order the emergence of effectual results are doubtful.

The primary foundation of Islam as a religion and a path of life is solely based on orderly fashion conduct of deeds, decisions and action that includes every aspect of a Muslim’s daily affairs, whether personal, religious or interactional. Among the most repetitive advices by elders and teachers to youth, is the importance of organization and allocating time and efforts accordingly to have successful results. We all remember the famous quote, which has probably been said by majority of teachers around the world (Don’t leave your studying and projects till the last moment). The core of this statement is linked to organization and having order as a way of life, which will reflect on personality, characteristics and someone’s view before the public as well.

Imam Ali (P.B.U.H) has placed order and its importance in second place after being pious, which in addition shows that among the primary signs of being a pious person, being organized and adherent to order is given. Therefore, majority of Islamic scholars have determined that Islamic jurisprudence prohibits breaking the laws and orders of a society, such as speed limits and traffic rules. Failure to adhere with these rules, would destabilize the order and safety of a society and those two aspects are the primary essences of an innovating and smart society.

The notion of order in supplication is also among the important in Islam, where moderation and wise time allocation for supplication and prayer is necessary. Imam Al-Sadiq states in a narration that over-doing supplication would lead to reluctance from prayer and supplication, which means this spiritual and religious aspect of a Muslim’s life must abide by rules and orders of life. The five prayers/day are the obligatory prayers and anything else such as random supplications can be done during other daily tasks, as only repeating certain phrases and words are sufficient to be considered as supplication. In addition, unlike other religions granting total time and self to religion and its institutions has been disavowed by Islam, and the importance of forming family and working to provide for this family is considered among the best deeds and supplications to Allah.

Fortunately, Islam has presented the perfect means of organizing and adhering to orders and feasible rules in society, whereas as mentioned earlier the entire length of an individual can be covered by Islamic order and organization codes. Islam presents advice and solutions in maintaining order for:

  • Social interactional order
  • Personal life affairs, such as personal hygiene
  • Time management
  • Fulfilling covenants and contracts
  • Management of supplication and prayer order
  • Expenditure order and management
  • Military order and organization

There are numerous other aspect, where the lives of Prophet Mohammad and his holy household would present hundreds of examples and models for ordinary humans, where order becomes the essence of any action and decision in their lives.

Terror in Baghdad

 

The continuous bloodshed and ravished life in Iraq

SHIA WISDOM

It is heartbreaking that not long ago the world mourned the innocent lives of Belgium terrorist attacks and Paris, where Daesh claimed responsibility for, yet today a new wound has been added to the devitalized body of Iraq. Yesterday the Iraqi Capital witnessed a series of terrorist acts against innocent civilians in crowded sites and markets, where dozens of people mostly women and children lost their lives. The pictures being circulated from after the attacks are devastating and heartbreaking and the amount of innocent children with severe wounds or ravished corps would only translates the horror and pain a parent would have to experience.

According to early statements by Iraqi interior ministry, the cars carrying the explosives and terrorists were entered to the area with official badges, license plates and uniforms belonging to the ministry. This statement only shows the incompetency of Iraq’s political and bureaucratic elites in diminishing corruption and favoritism that has costed Iraq thousands of innocent lives and billions of dollars. In addition, the continuous failures of Iraq’s ruling elites to establish healthy, transparent and strong infrastructure and steady service of basic necessities is beyond apprehension. Meanwhile, the international community must place enormous pressure on the Iraqi government to implement influential and actual steps toward crushing and diminishing corruption and favoritism in Iraq. The massive flow of suspicious transactions, the normality of bribe and bribery in government’s institutions and infiltrated security agencies must be the priority of any Iraqi government.

Shia Wisdom urges the respected religious authority in Iraq, illustrated in Grand Ayatollah Sayed Ali Al-Sistani, the Iraqi people and all conscience and patriots of Iraq to form a unified front that supports drastic change and reform through peaceful means. The past months and weeks have shown the Iraqi masses are capable of change and reform, yet they need to be cautious for any political entity that might use their march and movement for own interests.

Shia Wisdom and staff offer their sincere condolences to the families of all those fallen in the terrorist attacks of Baghdad, asking the almighty to grant them patience and tranquility and gives mercy to the victims.

Shia Wisdom