Stories of depression in Islam
While most people do not think depression had occured, there are some stories about it. Depression occurred even in the times of Islam.
Depression has a negative image for many. There is a big stigma surrounding this mental disorder. Also, many people do not know how to deal with it.
1. Story of Al-Tufayl's friend
When the Sahaba emigrated to Medina, Al-Tufayl (a Sahabi) and a friend of his experienced great difficulty. They found the climate and environment of Medina to be difficult and uncomfortable.
The friend of Al-Tufayl's got sick because of the surroundings of Medina. The discomfort came to him and resulted in him struggling with anxiety. He felt so uncomfortable that he decided to kill himself.
Al-Tufayl saw that friend in his dream. And in that dream his friend told him that he is forgiven for his deed, because of the great good deed of emigration from Mecca to Medina.
"When the Prophet (ﷺ) emigrated to Madinah, Al-Tufayl ibn 'Amr also emigrated along with a man from his people. They disliked the climate of Madinah and the man got sick and suffered from anxiety. He took some of his arrowheads, cut the joints of his fingers, and his hands bled till he died.
Al-Tufayl saw him in a dream looking healthy, but his hands were covered. Al-Tufayl said: "How has your Lord treated you?" The man said: "He has forgiven me because of my emigration to his Prophet." Al-Tufayl said, "Why do I see your hands covered?" The man said, "I have been told, 'We will not mend what you yourself have ruined'."
Al-Tufayl related the story to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and he said: “O Allah, forgive also his hands.”
[Sahih Muslim Hadith 116]
The narration proves that suicide is not disbelief, nor that a person will have to enter Hellfire first.
Imam Muslim mentioned that Hadith under the title: 'Proof that suicide is not disbelief'. Allah forgives every sin, except Shirk or Kufr if one comes to die without having repented from it.
2. Story of Ibn Sayyad
This story is one of the most important stories to know. We get a lot of wisdom and knowledge from this. His full name is Abdullah Ibn Sayyad or Saf ibn Saaid. He is a person that the Sahaba believed to be the Dajjal.
His story started as a small boy with a Jewish background. He had connections with the Jinn, which led him to delve into soothsaying.
When Ibn Sayyad grew up he embraced Islam and abandoned soothsaying. Ibn Sayyad fought with the Muslims in wars, performed Hajj and engaged in Islam.
Ibn Sayyad was very upset that the Sahaba saw him as the Dajjal. He even wanted to take his own life.
Abu Saeed Al-Khudri reported:
"We were with an army from Madinah. Abdullah bin Sayyad was in the army, and no one accompanied him, neither ate with him, nor drank with him, and they called him the Dajjal.
Abdullah bin Sayyad saw me and came to me and said, "O Abu Saeed! Do you not see what people do to me, nobody follows me, nobody guides me, nobody shares with me, nobody eats with me, and they call me the Dajjal. Do you not know O Abu Sa'eed, that the Messenger of God (ﷺ) said: "The Antichrist does not enter Madinah." And I was born in Madinah. I heard the Messenger of God (ﷺ) say, "The Dajjal will not have children", but I have children! I was thinking about putting a rope around my neck to commit suicide, so I can get some rest from these people.
I swear to God I am not the Dajjal. But if you like, I can tell you his name, his father's name, his mother's name, and the name of the village where he comes from.
[Musnad Ahmad 7/37]
Abu Saeed Al-Khudri reported:
"We came back after we did Hajj or 'Umra and Ibn Sa'id was with us. And we camped in one place and the people scattered and I and he were left behind. I felt terribly afraid of him because about what was said regarding him.
He brought his goods and put them with my luggage and I said: It is intense heat. Would you mind putting that under that tree? And he did. Then a flock of sheep appeared before us.
He went and brought a cup of milk and said: Abu Sa'id, drink that. I said it is very hot right now, and the milk would be too (while it was a fact) I didn't like to drink from his hands or take it from his hand. Ibn Sayyad then said: Abu Sa'id, I am thinking of hanging a rope from a tree and committing suicide because of what people say about me.
He who is ignorant of the sayings of the Messenger of Allah I can forgive, but are those sayings hidden from you O people of the Ansar?! Didn't the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say that he (Dajjal) would be a disbeliever, while I am a Muslim?
Didn't Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) say that Dajjal cannot have children while I have left my children in Madinah?
Did not the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: He would not enter Madinah and Makkah while I came from Madinah and now intend to go to Makkah?
Abu Sa'id said: I was about to accept the excuse put forward by him until he said: I know the place where Dajjal was born and where he is now. So I said to him, "May your day be bad".
[Sahih Muslim 2927c]
Ibn Sayyad still had some information about the Dajjal that he had obtained in his younger years as a soothsayer. Because he made that known, there was quite a bit of uncertainty about him.
The Sahaba did not know what to believe. Sometimes he claims not to be the Dajjal, but at other times he causes confusion.
Ibn Sayyad died a Muslim in Madinah. He had two sons, both of whom were great students of the Sahaba. He is not the Dajjal, but a Muslim about whom much ambiguity arose.