According to Public Health England (PHE), one in every five Briton suffers from moderate to critical depression. PHE also predicts an increase in the number of people suffering from dementia by up to 22.5% in the near future. Immigrant communities tend to show even higher trends in having mixed anxiety, lack of satisfaction in their lives, lower self-image and well-being due to lower living standards and lack of access to help relative to the rest of the UK.

Hopelessness is the most favourite weapon of the Shaytan. The Quran mentions “hopelessness” or ‘Al-Yas’ when it orders its believers to either ‘not consume it’ nor let it ‘not weigh down’ on the believer because there is absolutely no benefit from it. The prophet Muhammad (SAW) asked his followers to pray to Allah for His protection against ‘the darkness of the soul’. Depression and hopelessness weaken the heart, reduces patience and faith and deters the believer in progressing in life and in deen. It profits the Shaytan over and over again, like an investment with a heavy interest, because the believer of Allah keeps spiralling deeper and deeper into despair and darkness, further and further away from the way of Allah.

The pilgrimage to the House of Allah restores the believer into his most optimal and prime state. Rather than spiralling he hastens back to the centre of the deen, regaining his life purpose and strength that he had lost over the years to fear, sin and regret. The Umrah can be a great right-hand punch in the face of the Shaytan who has been devouring on your soul for far too long.

Allah the Al-Mujib

All the names of Allah are soothing for the soul, but of the ninety-nine names of Allah, the name Al-Mujib should be kept in the mind of the person who is suffering from depression. Al-Mujib means ‘One who is Responsive/ One who Answers’. Our Allah responds, if you do not hear Him, that does not mean He is not talking back. Find His voice, which cannot be clearer in the corridors, courtyards and patios of the Majid-al-Haram. The Umrah makes the believer believe again that he is already victorious, in this life and the next and his sadness and grief are but only dampening that victory. Do not give up on the happiness of today, for the regrets of yesterday and the inhibitions of the future. Nowhere else does a Muslim remain in the present than in the masjid-Al-Haram.

You are not alone

Once standing in the courtyard watching that galaxy of white-clad pilgrims swirling around the Ka’abah, you will understand that you are not alone. You are not a speck, floating in nothingness but like a string, woven into a fabric. You are not alone, there are others there with you bowing with you, sharing the prayers you ask, repenting for the sins you have made from a Benevolent God who you all share. It feels like home; like a blanket has been placed around your soul after a very long time.

The Water of Zamzam

The Saying of our holy Prophet (SAW) is “The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for.” [Sunan Ibn Maajah (al-Manaasik, 3062)]. Depression is a disease, which can be healed from the spiritual blessing the Zamzam water contains. If your grief is deep, rather than drinking it from a plastic bottle, drink it from the well itself. Maybe this act alone lifts the curtains of darkness from a saddened heart.

Umrah, a break in your routine

Every single day we get up, we check our phone and instantly we begin to worry. Worry about how to get the kids to school and yourself to the office, how to get the work done at the office, worry about how unhealthy your life choices are and how to better manage your time between your friends, work and your family. Sometimes, rather than pressuring for a fix-all solution to your problems, one should part ways from the worries for just a while, at least to get the mental situation online. The Umrah break will help you reflect on your life more calmly and more intelligently. The Umrah detaches the believer, elevates him to a higher level of consciousness and by the time the believer returns home, most worries seem trivial.

The Alwa Ajwa Dates

The Alwa Dates are a kind of Ajwa Khujoor that is grown in the Madinah region, although they are exported all over the world, fresh dates are hard to come by. The Umrah gives you a chance to buy those dates, which contain, Tryptophan that is a mood-boosting chemical compound that usually denatures when the date is dried and shipped. It also contains a higher content per serving of carbohydrates that trigger the release of the happy hormone serotonin in the brain.

The Umrah Exercise

Exercise is necessary. The Umrah teaches the believer and tries to instil this habit by asking him to walk and run around the Ka’abah and between the mounts of Safa and Marwa. Getting tired is natural and healthy. It would trigger a response in your body, to amend broken muscle fibres and make new ones for the next day. It will also harden your bones, as micro fractures in your feet and around your joints calcify and glue to each more strongly. This would also make you sleep deeper and because you would be praying with more intent, and rising up with the rising sun and going to sleep when the stars are just about to appear, your biorhythms would start to be more in sync with each other. This would heal your inner self, give you a chance to combat the depression ailing you and curb the control of the Shytan over your life.

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