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Prophet Muhammad Never Saw a Therapist, Why Should I?


That's a valid question and this came up when I was watching a really good video on the Yaqeen Institute Youtube channel titled "Prophet Muhammad's Approach to Mental Health | Holistic Healing with Dr. Rania Awaad (Part 1). However the question that the Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) never saw a therapist is simply not true*.


Some Muslims might think this and it might actually hinder them from getting the help they need when it comes to mental health challenges. Even when it comes to seeking peer-to-peer support, Muslims might be hesitant because they might think it simply isn't part of our Islamic culture.


Prophet (PBUH) Pioneered the Treatment for Psychological Issues


Our beloved Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) actually laid the foundation for psychological matters and issues. He showed grief and sadness at various occasions. In fact, there is a whole year in his life time termed as the year of sadness where the Muslims were boycotted, he lost his beloved wife Khadija (may peace be upon her) and his uncle and protector Abu Talib.

Moreover, the prophet's weren't immune to mental health challenges. For example, Prophet Yaqub (may peace be upon him) eyes turned grey over his endless crying over the loss of his son Yusuf (may peace be upon him). Some scholars say, he even lost his eye sight.


Thus, the prophet Muhammad first pioneered the treatment for psychological issues by acknowledging their mere existence.


Islam Teaches Therapeutic Tools: Cognitive Reframing


Islam teaches that suffering is actually a blessing. When you see someone who is in deep pain, they are actually deeply beloved by Allah. When you have that mind frame, the stigma around the mental health issues actually decreases. You are no longer an outcast or someone who is shunned because you are someone Allah loves.


You are no longer an outcast or someone who is shunned because you are someone Allah loves.

"How wonderful the affair of the believer is! Indeed, all of his affairs are good for him. This is for no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is grateful to Allah, which is good for him. And if something bad happens to him, he has patience, which is good for him."


This hadith shows cognitive reframing. No matter your situation, as long as you see it as an opportunity to get you closer to Allah, it is good for you. It is all about how you frame the picture and put it on the wall in your mind. The more Allah-focused cognitive reframes, the better.


Validation and Choosing Your Narrative is Part of Therapy


An important part of seeking therapy is to first acknowledge emotions you have. Validate them instead of dismissing their existence by saying things like "it's okay" Control the story you tell yourself in your head.


Verily, the eyes shed tears and the heart is grieved, but we will not say anything except what is pleasing to our Lord. We are saddened by your departure, O Ibrahim.”(Sahih al-Bukhari 1241)


The Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) said this when he was buring his son Ibrahim. These words show that he validated the sadness he felt and verbalized it. At the same time, he was vigilant of what he said therefore controlling his narrative.


Using Physical Posture as Therapy for Anger


The Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) also gave practical solutions for emotions like anger. He taught us to change our position when we feel angry. I personally have tried this and it definitely works. He (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) that when you are angry and you are standing, then sit down and if you are sitting then lie down.


Seeking Therapy Through Healthy Diet and Sleep Habits


The prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) also taught us about healthy diet and sleeping habits.


Abu Dhardha decided to dedicate his entire life to worship. The shahaba Salman said “Your Lord has a right upon you, your self has a right upon you and your family has a right upon you. Fulfill your rights towards each one.”


The prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) also taught us to find cures for psychological illness and to not suffer in silence.


"Seek out cures for God has placed a cure for every illness except old age."

Using Physical Remedies as a Mental Therapy


Ayesha diagnosed psychological illness and made talbinah to treat depression, bereavement induced psychosis and anxiety.


"Talbinah (barley syrup cooked with milk and sweetened by honey) has the potential to reduce depression and enhance mood among the subjects. Ingestion of functional foods such as talbinah may provide a mental health benefit to elderly people."

Source: National Library of Medicine


Talbinah is an example of how the prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) used physical remedies for psychological illnesses.


Using Quran as a Therapy


The prophet SAW used dhikr and Quran as healing. He would tell Bilal {RA) to call the prayer and say, "Oh Bilal, call the adhan to allow us to find comfort in it."


The Prophet SAW would stand at night in prayer. He would recite the ayat and pause after each one to reflect on it's meaning.



ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ ٱلْقُلُوبُ


Those who believe and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of Allah. Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.



- Ar Rad, Ayah 28


Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) also had a morning and evening dhikr routine. He would say this dua:



اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَالْحَزَنِ، وَالْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ، وَالْبُخْلِ

وَالْجُبْنِ، وَضَلَعِ الدَّيْنِ، وَغَلَبَةِ الرِّجَالِ


O Allah, I seek refuge in You from grief and sadness, from weakness and from laziness, from miserliness and from cowardice, from being overcome by debt and overpowered by men (i.e. others).


When you see all this, you can't say that Islam doesn't acknowledge mental health. Prophet Muhammad's teaching came as a package and he showed how seeking therapy in various forms could be used to treat mental disorders.


*Note: I didn't provide any references for the material in this article because everything in this piece is drawn from the videos by Dr. Rania Awad of Yaqeen Institute. She is a psychiatrist and an Islamic scholar and as such her sources are authoritative. This article is based on her video series Prophet Muhammad's Approach to Mental Health | Holistic Healing with Dr. Rania Awaad (Part 1).

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