The last few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions for me. I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m happy, I’m anxious. At the end of the day, I’m physically and mentally exhausted from the whirling dervish that seems to have taken over my head.
As per my experience, they have almost always cost me heavily. This led me to a thought? Why do we have emotions? Being a Muslim is there any connection between emotions and Islam?
The experience of emotions is inevitable. Thus we do not exercise our free will in choosing not to have them. Instead, we practice free will in deciding what to do with them when they arise. In an attempt to rationalize life, we have dismissed the importance of emotion. They not only affect our lives but affect others also as you communicate with others. Like if you are tensed or angry, and respond to someone harshly, definitely your relation is going to be affected.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can also hurt me
Sticks and stones break only skin, while words are ghosts that haunt me
Pain from words has left its scars, on mind and hearts that are tender
Cuts and bruises now have healed, it’s words that I remember!!
First of all, it’s important to realize that if ALLAH has created us with emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear, love, etc. Too many people look at feelings as some human weakness we’re meant to suppress. Even Islam orders us to contain emotions like sexual arousals and anger. Opinions are a creation of ALLAH, deliberately put in us for a reason. Sentiment should be directed and managed–not suppressed and ignored. Although complete obedience and submission are saved for the Creator, Islam highly respects and considers human emotion. For example, when a man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said he was going to marry a woman from the Ansar he had not seen, the Prophet (PBUH) told him to go look at her. When the wife of Ibn Thabit asked for a divorce because of what she felt (despite no ill treatment from her husband), the Prophet PBUH respected her feelings and granted her the divorce. In the Quran, Allah says He returned Musa (AS) to his mother so her eyes would be cooled and she would not grieve. Her *feelings* were that important to Allah. It means Islam values your emotions and Islam teaches you to direct or control these emotions.
Now coming towards the control of emotions. The emotional component consists of two processes:
- the facility of experiencing feelings
- and the capacity to regulate it.
Indeed, the over and under-regulation of emotions is a significant cause of psychological distress. Let’s take the core emotion of fear as an example, and briefly examine how the Prophet ﷺ regulated it. The concern is a powerful, adaptive emotion that screams “danger!” It quickly generates a tremendous amount of energy (hence, your heart is racing, adrenaline, etc.) so you can immediately seek protection. In the time of the Prophet ﷺ, there was one context that we’re sure was fear-invoking for his companions: war. How did the Prophet ﷺ show us how to regulate our fear in these unquestionably fearful times? Did he under-regulate it by staying at home in hiding, overcome by the need to protect himself? Did he over-regulate it by running towards the enemy on his own, without any consideration for his own being? Of course not, the Prophet ﷺ was instead the perfect example of emotional regulation. You see, fear is just a warning sign for danger, and this is an incredibly valuable emotional information; instead of attacking the enemy carelessly (ignoring the doubt), or staying at home (overcome by fear), he put on body armor and planned his attacks precisely. Hence, the concern is a valuable asset from Allah that tells us to be careful. We shouldn’t let it overpower us, nor should we ever ignore it.
And in the last, coming towards the most prevalent emotion these days in our youth. Yes! You guessed right, I am talking about the passion of LOVE, or in other words sexual feelings. These are human instinct, and we cannot deny them. Need is to control them and direct them. These emotions when left unbound, can cause trouble for you and your society too. If someone attracts you, no problem, try the halaal way and let your emotions be expressed freely!
And For situations beyond our control, consider them as part of Allah ’s will and accept them. Develop a sense of gratitude towards Him. The more we thank Allah for what is, the less we get upset about what is not.
Think about it and make the best of it.