5 tips in MANAGING TRAUMA

This world is a place of a test for the slaves of Allah. It is a place where it will be determined whether the person will be successful and will be admitted into heaven or vice versa. The test can come in many forms to test our patience, obedience, and gratitude. It can come in a form of hunger, loss of someone or something and fear. Wealth and children are among the factors that will cause people to be tested in this world.

Allah says (with English interpretation): “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allaah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allaah knows all that before putting them to test)” [1]. Every believer will go through the test in her/his life and every success will only happen after every test. Each person will experience a test depends on their ability and faith. Allah says (with English interpretation): Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity….[2].

There are many ways taught in Islam to manage tests or in other words known as trauma. Trauma is a psychological or emotional response towards an experience that is very distressing to the person afflicted with a test or trial in life [3]. This intervention is known as spiritual interventions. It helps to enhance coping and reduce the suffering of the sufferer of trauma.

  1. ABIDE BY THE GUIDANCE OF ALLAH AND FOLLOW THE SUNNAH

One of the ways of spiritual intervention is through abiding by the guidance of Allah and by following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Allah has promised those that follow these will find tranquility in their life. During the event of Hijrah, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) found themselves in peace and tranquility, even though they were hiding in a cave and were being chased by the disbelievers. This happened because they have the belief that Allah was with them, helped them and guided them and they followed a life like what Allah has taught them[4]. Research has shown that better coping ability towards trauma is related to higher attachment towards God. The closer the persons with God, the better is their mental health [5].

2. ASK ALLAH’S HELP CONTINUOUSLY AND PERSISTENTLY

A person in trauma should ask for Allah’s help continuously and persistently. Allah will ease the way for the person to overcome the problem and the burden that he/she felt. Remembrance towards Allah shows that a person is submitting her/himself and rely on the Creator of this universe. The person in trauma should make a lot of zikr and dua. Many ayahs in the Quran mentioned this point. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them): I am indeed near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me” [6]. Allaah also says (interpretation of the meaning): “Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allah), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.”[7]. Therefore, we should take advantage of this point and do not underestimate the power of dua.

3. BELIEVE IN THE DECREE OF ALLAH

Besides that, the person in trauma has to strengthen his/ her belief that whatever is happening is because of a decree of Allah. It has been predestined for it to happen. If the person has this belief in mind, it will help to recover from the trauma faster and easier. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):  “No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things.”[8]

4. BELIEVE IN THE EFFECT OF ANGELS

We should also not to underestimate the effect of angels on our wellbeing. The supplication done by angels can help a person in trauma to recover. Angels will make dua for believers, asking Allah to give blessings to them. If a person in trauma attends a gathering of dhikr or the sitting of ilm, he/she can be surrounded by the angels that will make dua for him/her [9].

5. GET SOCIAL SUPPORT

Social support is also an important aspect for a person to recover from trauma. It is known as collectivism. The coping method involved in social support is by helping the traumatic person to accommodate reality. Numerous studies have shown the importance of social support in coping with post-traumatic stress disorder or trauma. High-quality social support has a positive impact to prevent a person from suffering from trauma. Numerous stories in the seerah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) have given us examples of how social support among the sahabah has helped Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the sahabah to cope with the loss of their loved ones and problem that they faced. Trauma is one of the ways of purification of our soul. Allah is testing His slaves with tribulation to forgive His slaves’ sins. We should always ask Allah for repentance. This act can help a person to overcome their trauma with ease.

In conclusion, strong positive social supports combined with spiritual intervention to overcome trauma is a beneficial and very important intervention. From the points and evidence stated above, we can understand that a person’s connection with Allah and by following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is very important to help a person in trauma. Knowledge and understanding about the decree of Allah can help a person to understand and accept the reason behind an event or experience. Understanding about Allah’s presence will make a person continuously ask for His help and make zikr. Allah will not leave His slaves alone [10].

Written by Dr. Fadzidah Ariffin

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In-text Citation:

[1] Surah al-‘Ankaboot 29:2-3

[2] Surah Al Baqarah 2:286

[3] Definition of trauma retrieved from http://centerforanxietydisorders.com/what-is-trauma/ 25 Sept 2018

[4] Retrieved from tafsir Surah at-Tawbah 9:40

[5] Miller & Thoresen, 1999

[6] Surah al-Baqarah 2:186

[7] Surah al-Ra’d 13:28

[8]  Surah at-Taghabun 64:11

[9] Summarised from Hadith Sahih Bukhari/ Muslim.

[10] Tafsir Surah Aal ‘Imraan 3:179

 

Bibliography:

  1. https://islamqa.info/en/answers/13205/this-world-is-the-place-of-trials-and-tribulations
  2. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jmmh/10381607.0007.205/–attachment-to-god-in-islamic-spirituality?keywords=rgn…;rgn=main;view=fulltext
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921311/
  4. Tafsir Ibn Kathir
  5. Influence of Unseen World (lecture notes) by Dr Aisha Hamdan, Islamic Online University (n.d)

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