3 Ways Islam Teaches Us Self-Care

Learn how Islam teach us about the importance of self care​ and get some easy self-care strategies to incorporate into your busy lifestyle.
by Ahmad Ubaidillah 2020-01-15 • 9 min read
Ahmad Ubaidillah studied at Madrasah Al-Irsyad Al-Islamiah and Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah. He’s a third-year undergraduate student currently studying Islamic Law and Jurisprudence in Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan.
2020-01-15 • 9 min read

In the busyness of our lives, we often overlook the purpose of Islam. It is a religion that is ordained by Allah s.w.t to benefit humankind, to guide us and grant us goodness in this world and the Hereafter. 

Islam is a religion that encompasses several aspects of our life; spiritual, mental, physical, familial, and social. From practising Islam according to the teachings in the Qur’an and the Prophetic Tradition, goodness and positivity will shine from our actions and words. 

However, while Islam teaches us to be selfless and to think of others, it also undoubtedly places importance on caring for our well-being too. Aishah r.a reported the Prophet s.a.w said:

"Verily, your own self has rights over you, so fast and break your fast, pray and sleep."

(Sunan Abi Dawud)

 

Thus,in this article, I will share three out of the many ways Islam teaches us to care for our well-being, in hopes that it will benefit the readers.

1. Islam teaches us how to overcome our negative feelings.

The beauty of Islam is that it doesn’t deny that humans possess the baser-self that is harmful to us if left unchecked. Islam acknowledges this fact and teaches us how to overcome it.

One negative notion of the baser-self is anger. Anger is a powerful emotion that can consume us. It is initially a component of the self that leads us towards courage if managed wisely. But if we’re not careful, it can render us destructive towards our surroundings. Here is one of the ways that Islam teaches us how to manage our anger.

Abu Dharr r.a reported: The Prophet s.a.w said to us,

"If one of you is angry while he is standing, let him sit down so his anger will leave him; otherwise, let him lie down.”

(Sunan Abi Dawud)

Another emotion that can consume us negatively is jealousy. 

In our modern world today, where we are always able to see the blessing of our brothers and sisters, it is possible that a twinge of envy might appear inside of us. How does Islam teach us to overcome this? 

The Prophet s.a.w said, “Lurking towards another is the diseases of the nations before you. Envy and hatred are razors. I do not say they shave hair, but rather they shave the religion. By the one in whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you have faith and you will not have faith until you love each other. Shall I tell you what can affirm that for you? Spread peace between yourselves.”

(Sunan at-Tirmizī)

To overcome envy, Islam reminds us that this emotion is a disease that harms us spiritually and emotionally, eating us from the inside and tainting our souls. As Muslims, we must always look for the blessings in believing in The All-Merciful. This means being grateful for our own blessings and being happy for the blessings of others.


2. Islam teaches us to take care of our physical health.

As the aforementioned point shows how Islam impacts us through our mental health, it also teaches us several ways on how to manage our physical health. Our bodies are our vessels after all that are given to us by Allah s.w.t. It is, therefore, our responsibility to take good care of our physical bodies. One of the ways that Islam teaches us is to take care of our diet. The Prophet s.a.w said:

"There is no vessel which the son of Adam can fill that is worse than his stomach, for it is enough for him to take a few bites in order to straighten his back. Yet if he is unable to do so, then he may fill it with a third of food, a third of drink, and a third for his breath.”

(Sunan Ibn Mājah)

In hadith, our Prophet s.a.w warns us about the danger of gluttony and teaches us the alternatives on how to overcome it, which is limiting our portions. Islam too places great importance upon our cleanliness, as stated in the Quran.

And Allah loves those who seek to purify themselves

(Surah At-Tawbah, 9:108)

There are several ways that Islam emphasises on cleanliness, such as taking the daily ablution and washing on certain occasions. Perhaps one of the Prophet’s most held onto Sunnah is the using of the siwak to clean his teeth, which holds many benefits for those who practice it. The Prophet s.a.w said,

"Were it not bring burden for my nation, I would have obligated them to perform the act of siwak at every prayer, just as I obligated them to perform ablution.”

(Musnad Imam Ahmad)

3. Islam teaches us to preserve our relationships with people.

Being a Muslim means that we have roles to play in our community and society. This means that our relationships with the people around us play an important part in our lives. In fact, they can impact our happiness and mental well-being.

There are several ways that Islam teaches us how to preserve our relationship with others. One would be ending an argument with someone despite being in the right. The weight and virtue of this action can be seen in its high reward. The Prophet s.a.w said,

"I guarantee a house on the quarters of Paradise, a house in the middle of Paradise, and a house in the highest part of Paradise for one who gives up arguing even if he is right, who gives up lying even while joking, and who makes his character excellent.”

(Sunan Abu Daud)

 

Another way that Islam teaches us is to exchange gifts, as this will only foster affection between one another. Abu Huraira r.a reported that the Prophet s.a.w said,

"Give each other gifts and you will love each other.”

(al-Adab al-Mufrad)

However, while Islam advises us to preserve our relationships with others as best as we can, Islam also advocates that we exercise caution with who we build our relationships with, as not all are good for us. This means we have to prune away unhealthy and negative relationships.

Abu Darda r.a, the Prophet’s companion said, “A righteous companion is better than being in solitary, and solitary is better than a bad companion.”

***

These points that I have shared are just a few of the pearls that exist in the vast ocean of Islam’s teachings that have been perfected to guide us onto the right path. Its light radiates on all aspects of our lives if we seek enough knowledge to realise and implement it. As Allah s.w.t. said in the Quran, 

"This day, I have perfected for you your religion and completed my favour on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion.”

(Surah Al-Maidah (5:3))

 

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