Remedies for Anxiety from the Quran and the Sunnah |

Remedies for Anxiety from the Quran and the Sunnah

Anxiety is a condition that affects everyone no matter their strength or spiritual resolve. It is normal to feel anxious from time to time, but for some people, anxiety can be a crippling mental illness. Cases of anxiety have skyrocketed in years since the Covid-19 pandemic when forced restrictions like masking and isolation intensified fears of infection in 2020. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly a third, 32.3%, of American adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in 2023. 

Even more concerning is that 50% of young adults surveyed (ages 18-24) admitted suffering from those same symptoms. Data showed that this age group is more likely than older adults to experience mental health problems. Young adults of any race, ethnic origin, or religion in the United States are more likely to have anxiety or depression than other age groups.1 These findings are especially alarming given that Muslim Americans are the youngest faith group in the U.S., with one-third under 30 years old. Additionally, a study published by the American Psychiatric Association stated that religious discrimination against Muslims is associated with depression, anxiety, and other adverse mental health outcomes.2

If a person is experiencing persistent symptoms of anxiety, the best course of action is to contact or visit a licensed professional or clinic. A medical expert can determine if the anxiety is a normal result of external stressors or a more serious problem that requires therapy. Clinical treatment for anxiety can entail psychological counseling, medications, or both. Natural remedies and lifestyle changes may also aid in managing symptoms of anxiety. Some examples are lifestyle changes and implementing self-care methods like prioritizing sleep, reducing stress, getting regular exercise, and finding effective support networks. 

Spiritual care is equally important, and our Islamic tradition places great emphasis on caring for the mind, body, and soul. Throughout the Quran there are references to grief, suffering, and fear as part of the trials of this worldly life. In contrast, a portion of the ultimate reward in the Hereafter is a complete severance from those negative emotions. Allah says:

“Indeed, those who have said, ‘Our Lord is Allah’ and then remained on a right course - the angels will descend upon them, [saying], ‘Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised.’” 

(Surah Fussilat, 41:30)

Until we reach the end of our lives, we will experience varying degrees of stress that may or may not trigger episodes of anxiety. Thankfully, the Quran and the Sunnah provide us with spiritual cures for anxiety much like for other diseases. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Allah did not send down any disease but that he also sent its cure.” 

(Sunan Ibn Majah)

Prophetic Remedies for Anxiety

The following is a list of ways that we can combat anxiety by putting our faith into practice.

1. Turn to Allah sincerely.

There is no worse anxiety than the one that is caused by disbelief or persistent sin. When our relationship with Allah is not well, then our minds, bodies, and souls will be in a state of suffering. Allah says in the Quran:

“But whoever turns away from My Reminder will certainly have a miserable life, then We will raise them up blind on the Day of Judgment.” 

(Surah Taha, 20:124)

Despite the severity of this warning, Allah reassures His servants in numerous other verses that the door of repentance is always open. Additionally, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Allah Almighty says: Whoever comes with a good deed will have the reward of ten like it and even more. Whoever comes with an evil deed will be recompensed for one evil deed like it or he will be forgiven. Whoever draws close to Me by the length of a hand, I will draw close to him by the length of an arm. Whoever draws close to Me the by length of an arm, I will draw close to him by the length of a fathom. Whoever comes to Me walking, I will come to him running. Whoever meets Me with enough sins to fill the earth, not associating any partners with Me, I will meet him with as much forgiveness.” 

(Sahih Muslim)

2. Make dua.

Dua is the weapon of the believer; no matter what trial we are facing, raising our hands up to Allah can provide us with the remedy we need. Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported that the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, recommended the following supplication to ward off stress and anxiety:

 “Never is a servant struck by worry or grief but let him say, ‘O Allah, I am Your servant, the son of Your servant, the son of Your maidservant. My forelock is in Your hand, Your decision over me has passed, and Your decree upon me is in justice. I ask You by every name with which You have named Yourself, or revealed in Your Book, or taught to one of Your creatures, or kept hidden in the Unseen with You, that You make the Quran the spring of my heart, the light within me, the banisher of my depression, and the expeller of my anxiety,’ then Allah will expel his worry and replace his grief with joy.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, should we study these words?” The Prophet said, “Of course, whoever hears them should study them.” 

(Sahih Ibn Hibban)

3. Read, recite, and/or listen to the Quran.

The Quran contains timeless wisdom through its lessons, rulings, and stories. Reading the Quran and reflecting on its verses can help a person put their worries into perspective. The stories of the Prophets and their perseverance through countless trials can inspire us to endure our own adversities with patience. Similarly, descriptions of Paradise and the reward promised for those who remain steadfast can aid us in pushing through hardships. The recitation of the Quran provides many benefits for the reciter and the listener. Both provide endless rewards, a distraction from the stressors that trigger anxiety, and healing. Allah says in the Quran:

“O humanity! Indeed, there has come to you a warning from your Lord, a cure for what is in the hearts, a guide, and a mercy for the believers.” 

(Surah Yunus, 10:57)

4. Focus on the positive.

Having a positive outlook on life can get us through the hardest times and is a characteristic of true believers. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for all his affairs are good, and this applies to no one except the believer. If something good happens to him, he gives thanks, and that is good for him, and if something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience, and that is good for him.” 

(Sahih Muslim)

It is understandable that when we see others suffering, it affects our hearts and shakes our faith. This is also a cause of anxiety that can have a negative effect on our own physical and mental well-being. Sheikh Ibn Taymiyah, may Allah have mercy on him, said: 

“Many people, when they see evil or when the Muslim ummah goes through a lot of trouble, panic, lose hope, and start complaining as people who are beset by calamities do. But this is forbidden; rather what is enjoined is to be patient, to put one’s trust in Allah, to be steadfast in adhering to the religion of Islam and to believe that Allah is with those who fear Him and those who do good, and that the best end is for those who fear Him; whatever befalls him is because of his sins, so he should be patient, for the promise of Allah is true; he should seek forgiveness for his sins and glorify and praise his Lord morning and evening.” (Majmoo al-Fataawa, 18/295)

5. Practice dhikr.

As Muslims, we know that our purpose in life is to worship Allah alone. Thus, one of the causes of grief and anxiety is forgetting about this innate requirement. If we are experiencing anxiety and are unable to pinpoint its cause, we should question whether we have been forgetting the remembrance of Allah. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“No people stand up from a gathering in which they did not remember Allah but that it is as if they have risen from the carcass of a donkey, and it will cause them grief.” 

(Sunan Abi Dawud)

It is easy to make it a habit to mention Allah simply by incorporating phrases like Alhamdulillah (All praise is due to Allah), SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah), and InshaAllah (If Allah wills)  into our everyday speech or after every prayer. Learning the ninety-nine names of Allah and calling out to Allah by those names is another way to practice dhikr. Constantly calling upon Allah is an instant remedy for anxiety, as He mentions in the Quran:

“Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.” 

(Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:28)

6. Do not compare yourself to others.

Comparing our lives, wealth, accomplishments, and even appearance to others is a detriment to our mental well-being. Social media has added an extra layer to this deeply troubling human tendency to compete against other people, leading us to chase after material possessions and “likes.” Unfortunately, this rat race only leads us down a path of anxiety, depression, and deviation. Allah warns us about this in the Quran when He says:

“Competition for more ˹gains˺ diverts you ˹from Allah,˺ until you end up in ˹your˺ graves.” 

(Surah At-Takathar, 102:1-2)

Instead, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, advised his followers to look to those people who have less to appreciate the things we have. He said:

“Look at those below you and do not look at those above you, for it is the best way not to belittle the favors of Allah.” 

(Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

Additionally, the Prophet said:

“Whoever is mainly concerned about the Hereafter, Allah will make him feel independent of others and will make him focused and content, and his worldly affairs will fall into place. But whoever is mainly concerned with this world, Allah will make him feel in constant need of others and will make him distracted and unfocused, and he will get nothing of this world except what is decreed for him.” (At-Tirmidhi) 

7. Practice self-care.

Life in the West tends to be hectic, and we often find ourselves going from one task to another with little to no breaks in between. The never-ending struggle to simply get everything done is tiring and extremely stress-inducing. It is no wonder that so many Americans are suffering from anxiety and depression. Sometimes symptoms of anxiety occur because we fail to take time out for ourselves amidst the endless hustle and bustle. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, advised his followers to take things easy. He was once informed that one of his followers was fasting all day and refusing to sleep, so he said to him:

"Do not do that! Observe the fast sometimes and also leave them (the fast) at other times; stand up for the prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your wife has a right over you." 

(Sahih Bukhari)

Practicing different forms of self-care can help us and our loved ones reenergize and ward off stress and anxiety. Some examples are reading, taking a walk or hike, relaxing with family, traveling, getting a facial, painting, or watching a movie. There are other forms of self-care like avoiding stressful situations, places, or people. It may be as simple as learning to say “no” to things that make us uncomfortable or anxious. 

Of course, reconnecting with Allah is the greatest form of self-care. Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, said: 

“When a person spends his entire day with no other concern but Allah Alone, Allah, may He be glorified, will take care of all his needs and take care of all that is worrying him; He will empty his heart so that it will be filled only with love for Him, free his tongue so that it will speak only in remembrance of Him (dhikr) and cause all his faculties to work only in obedience to Him. But if a person spends his entire day with no other concern but this world, Allah will make him bear its distress, anxiety, and pain; He will leave him to sort himself out, and cause his heart to be distracted from the love of Allah towards the love of some created being, cause his tongue to speak only in remembering people instead of remembering Allah, and cause him to use his talents and energy in obeying and serving them. So, he will strive hard, laboring like some work-animal, to serve something other than Allah … Everyone who turns away from being a true slave of Allah and obeying Him and loving Him will be burdened with servitude, love, and obedience to some created being. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allah), We appoint for him a shaytan (devil) to be a qarin (intimate companion) to him.’ [Surah Az-Zukhruf, 43:36].” (Al-Fawaid, p. 159)

The remedies mentioned are inspired by the Quran and the Sunnah and offer solace to those who are battling with feelings of anxiety. However, it cannot be overemphasized that if you or someone you know is suffering from constant symptoms of anxiety or signs of a serious anxiety disorder, it is important to also contact a professional. Our religion not only offers faith-based treatments for our ailments but also practical solutions that address our humanity with compassion and understanding.

End Notes

1 Latest Federal Data Show That Young People Are More Likely Than Older Adults to Be Experiencing Symptoms of Anxiety or Depression

2 Mental Health Disparities for Muslim Americans

Wendy Díaz is a Puerto Rican Muslim writer, award-winning poet, translator, and mother of six (ages ranging from infant to teen). She is the co-founder of Hablamos Islam, a non-profit organization that produces educational resources about Islam in Spanish ( She has written, illustrated, and published over a dozen children’s books and currently lives with her family in Maryland. Follow Wendy Díaz on social media @authorwendydiaz and @hablamosislam.

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