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IslamQA: Is depression a character flaw or weakness if it interferes with Islamic duties?

AO, on your answer about depression and anxiety, a lot of times I struggle with faith bc depression & anxiety deprives me of motivation & energy and fills my head with all these thoughts, and I feel so guilty because of the way it interferes with my ibadah, I wish I just had the will power to overcome it but I always stay stuck in my old ways,whereas the Prophets PBUT were able to overcome their weakness by their good character, I feel like a loser bc of it, hope what I'm saying makes sense

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Depression is not a character flaw. It is not something you are doing to yourself, it is being done to you by your brain. I know there are many people who think they have strong characters because they have never suffered depression, but if they take a large dose of retinol (a type of vitamin A) they can become suicidally depressed within hours regardless of how “strong” they think they are. Retinol depletes serotonin from the brain, which is also what happens when someone is depressed.

You are not your brain. You are a soul connected to a brain. If you intend with your soul to do good but your brain and body do not cooperate, then you are still a good person. This is why Islam rewards us for our intentions. If you really want to perform tahajjud but mental or physical fatigue doesn’t let you, then inshaAllah God will still reward you, since He knows you would have done it if you had the energy. God only holds us responsible for the powers He has given us.

I recommend that you seek medical help. Sometimes depression is caused by a genetic problem that causes your brain to lack the chemicals it needs. No amount of positive thinking and will power can help if your brain simply cannot produce the chemicals it needs. The right drugs can restore the balance and give you back your energy and motivation inshaAllah.

Best wishes.

And God knows best.
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