Tafweez - The cure for depression

Part 1: Introduction

Depression, it seems, has become synonymous with living in a society overrun with innumerable problems. It is an ailment which has unfortunately reached epidemic proportions. In the search for a solution, we sink deeper and deeper into the abyss of depression. Hardly a day passes, without some person complaining about his failures or of the acute depression that he is suffering, due to various factors. What I wish to discuss very briefly is Tafweez. If we learn Tafweez, then we have indeed found the antidote for depression. We have to clearly understand, that we cannot escape the decisions of Allah Ta'ala with regard to any matter in our lives. Whatever Allah Ta'ala has decided will happen, no matter how much we may wish otherwise. Our anxieties, depression and worries are all created because we first make the decisions and then expect Allah Ta'ala to conform; whereas what we plan and decide is subject to Allah Ta'ala's confirmation.

Advice of a Sheikh
One Mureed, after having spent many years in the company of Sheikh Abdul Qader Jailani (R.A.), requested some parting advice before taking leave from his Sheikh. Sheikh Abdul Qader Jailani (R.A.) told him: "Do not claim Divinity and do not claim Nabuwwat (Prophethood)." The Mureed asked : "Does Hazrat think that after all these years in Hazrat's company, I will make such a claim ?"
Sheikh Abdul Qader Jailani (R.A.) then explained what he meant... It is imperative that we understand certain sayings of the Auliya Allah, otherwise we may misunderstand and then start issuing Fatwas on the basis of our misinterpretation.

A Famous Anecdote
Once, in Delhi, a Wali of Allah was heard saying : " You are not my ALLAH and I am not your servant. So why should I listen to you; why should I obey you ?" Those who heard these statements regarded them as statements of Kufr. However, one sensible person asked the saint : "What do you mean ?". The saint answered : " My Nafs was inciting me to fulfil its desire. I thus addressed my Nafs and said : 'You are not my Allah and I am not your servant. I am a servant of Allah so why should I worship you?'"
Returning to the advice of Hazrat Abdul Qader Jailani (R.A.): He explained to his mureed that, "Do not claim to be Allah." means that do not wish that everything happens according to your will and desire. If you do so, then you are claiming to be Allah; whereas whatever Allah Ta'ala wills, will happen, for it is HE who makes the final decisions in all matters.
As far as we, human beings, are concerned, if we feel that our whims and fancies have to be fulfilled as is, then we are claiming to be Allah. "Do not claim Nabuwwat" means that no matter how much of piety and Taqwa you acquire with your Tarbiyah and Tazkia, don't make the claim that you are sinless and never in the wrong. This is the sifat (attribute) of the Ambiya (A.S.), for they are 'ma'soom' (sinless) and 'mahfooz' (protected from sin).
Therefore, no matter how much of time you have spent in the suhbat (company) and khidmat (service) of your Sheikh and no matter what high rank you attain to, do not think that you are like the Rasul of Allah and that no slip can occur in your life. Do not claim that you will never err because of the years spent with your Sheikh and because of the Wilayat conferred upon you. Being human beings we are prone to slip.

The Story of the Snake-catcher
Moulana Jalaluddin Rumi (R.A.) relates a story of a snake catcher who once went to the mountains. Due to the winter cold and heavy snow, many very big snakes lay motionless, as if they were dead. The snake-catcher picked up one of these seemingly lifeless snakes and took it to Baghdad, with the purpose of using it for a show. Showing it off, he made big claims as to how he had brilliantly captured the snake. However, when the sun began to shine and its warmth cloaked the snake, the coldness in its body disappeared. The signs of life were soon apparent and when the snake began to move, the snake-catcher and all those around, fled. Moulana Rumi (R.A.) then explains that our Nafs is like that snake. With Tazkia (purification), Mushaqqat (effort), our nafs (self) becomes frozen. It appears to be dead. But give it a little heat from the fire of sin and it will bite again. A little exposure to some past sins and the nafs swings back to life.
We should not think that we have killed our nafs and thus become unmindful. Yes, with some mujahadah (striving), suhbat (company) of the Sheikh, tilawat (recitation) of the Qur'aan Sharif, Zikrullah, following Deen and Shariah and in building up that contact and love for Allah Ta'ala and Rasulullah e , the nafs can be frozen. However, a little taste of sin revives the evil nafs. Hazrat Khwaja Azizul Hasan Majzoub (R.A.) says most aptly: " Have no trust in this nafs, O devout one! Even if it becomes an angel, remain distrustful of it. Look at the snake of your nafs. As soon as you are negligent here, it bites there." The point being discussed was: "Do not claim divinity." (i.e. that you are Allah) and that everything must happen according to your will and desire.

Let us now consider the various causes of depression to be found presently in our lives. These simple, little things, which if ignored and we adopt a little Tafweez, we will find our lives free of depression. To cite an example (and there are true incidents of this nature): A woman goes to a certain family with a proposal for her son, considering her son to be the best person in the world. If the son, himself, goes, then he believes that there is no one like him as a prospective husband. He has everything : the qualities, degrees and character. He is handsome as well. Hence, mother and son believe that the moment a proposal is put forth, the girl's family will definitely accept, without any delay or further consideration. Thus, a decision has been made: If I propose, they are going to accept it. This family rejects the proposal. Immediately there is depression and enmity. The mother starts thinking about the reason as to why the proposal was turned down : "What is wrong with us ? ... Are we bad people ? ... Is my son a drug addict ? ... What is wrong with him ?". Because Tafweez is not adopted, such thoughts surface and depression seizes the person.
Tafweez in this case would have been that the person put forward the proposal and thereafter left the decision to Allah Ta'ala. If Allah Ta'ala had willed and put an acceptance into their hearts, then they would have accepted. Since everything was done correctly there is no need to be annoyed or upset. Rather believe that there must be some good ('khair') in that. If we can only learn and understand this that behind each and every decision made by Allah Ta'ala there is goodness and wisdom. It may appear that this person is very good but we can neither predict the future, nor can we foresee into the future. How many times have we heard of a person who was in the Musjid, in Zikr, etc. etc. but after some time the person suddenly changes? (Allah forbid. Allah protect us all.)
"There were so many who were good, who later in life became bad;
And there were so many who were bad,
Who later in life became 'Walis'"
Thus, we do not know what is to happen in the future. The knowledge of what is to occur in the future lies only in the knowledge of Allah Ta'ala.

In Istikhara, as well, we must not think that whatever we have been directed towards is going to be problem free. Take for example : A girl is proposed . She makes Istikhara. The Istikhara is positive. She feels satisfied, with an inclination to accept and she follows this inclination and accepts the proposal.
After some time, problems arise and the marriage breaks down. Such persons come back to us and say : "Moulana, when I made Istikhara and related the dream (or the feeling) that I had, then you told me that it is good and that I should proceed. Now why is it that the marriage didn't last?" Istikhara does not mean that the person will have a problem-free life. It means that at that time this was much better than perhaps marrying someone else. It was "the lesser of the two evils". The problems being experienced presently could have been worse had she married another person. It could also mean that at the time of Istikhara, this was good, but then again, this is no guarantee that the marriage will be successful, if after the Istikhara, the person leads any kind of life, indulges in any Haraam he or she wishes to and displeases Allah Ta'ala and Rasulullah(Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)
It does not give a license to both, husband and wife, to watch plenty of filth on Television, read any sort of literature, neglect Salaah and then ignorantly and foolishly say : " We made Istikhara, therefore it must work out." ... It does not work like that. So, perhaps, that Istikhara meant that that was 'better than', probably another person she would have married. Here again arises Tafweez : If the person made Tadbeer i.e. made use of the means that Allah Ta'ala has created, but after doing so, the marriage fails, then she adopts Tafweez; accepting that this is the will of Allah Ta'ala, and He knew before hand that this is how the marriage would end.
She knows that both, she and her husband, did not purposely do those things which were contrary to Shariah or against the normal effort that a person should put in. They tried to the best of their ability but it failed ... now this is Tafweez : " Whatever Allah Ta'ala is happy with, then I too am happy with that." This understanding immediately brings consolation and peace to the heart. The person's depression will disappear.

A person had in mind that when a certain property or building comes onto the market, or comes under his control then, because of the ideal location, etc., business will thrive and he will be successful. The person bids but someone else is successful and the property is gone. If this person has Tafweez then he will think : I did what was in my capacity to do but it was not in my Taqdeer. It was written in the Taqdeer of the other person, thus he got it. I must search for something else. Allah Ta'ala does not provide rizq (sustenance) through one business house in the world. It is not that I would have succeeded and received my sustenance and livelihood through only that. The effort, which needs to be made, must then be made. What transpires thereafter is Taqdeer. Rasulullah(sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has said : "Strive to acquire what is beneficial for you; seek the aid of Allah; do not lose courage and if a setback overtakes you, do not say : 'If I had done this then it would have happened like this (i.e. not what had happened).' Instead say : 'Allah has ordained this. Whatever He has willed, has happened.'"

If a person fails after having made the correct effort, there is no need to resort to alcohol, drugs and suicide. Many students succumb to such drastic measures. Some students work and study extremely hard but fail. Due to failure, they sink into such depression that they feel they have to take or inject themselves with drugs, tranquilizers, etc. for sleep. Why ? Because they failed. If a person did not make Tadbeer, did not make a serious and concerted effort and thereafter fails, then he must blame himself. However, generally, we do make a reasonable effort but sometimes still meet with failure. For example : A person is fit and healthy when he started something but later becomes sick and is unable to complete what he undertook. Tafweez is handing our matters over to Allah Ta'ala, trusting Him, placing our matters before Him and believing that in whatever Allah Ta'ala has decided, there is goodness. Outwardly, it may appear as if there is some problem that we are faced with, but great wisdom lies in the decisions of Allah.

Hazrat Moulana Yunus Patel Db
Part 1: Introduction