Your Lord Has Not Forsaken You: Addressing the Impact of Trauma on Faith
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
For more on this topic, see Trauma: Your Lord Has Not Forsaken You
Giving a Voice to Unbearable Pain
The Science Behind Trauma
Growth and Healing Are Possible
- A greater appreciation of life – After being buried in grief and overwhelming trauma, emergence from the rubble can lead to a changed perspective and much gratefulness, making the mundane details of life seem like extraordinary blessings.
- Increased closeness in relationships – Experiencing the severance of a relationship or living through trauma can increase the appreciation we feel for significant people in our lives and allow us to be more empathetic toward them.
- Identification of new possibilities – Life-changing events shift our priorities. Suddenly things can seem clearer and opportunities that may have been there all along are suddenly discernible.
- Increased personal strength – Before enduring particularly difficult circumstances, you may have thought that everything you are currently handling would have been impossible for you. Once you’ve been through tremendous hardships, future challenges do not seem as daunting.
- Greater spiritual development – Going through suffering can result in a sense of spiritual and religious renewal and a greater sense of closeness to Allah ﷻ. When our priorities change, God becomes a more integral part of our daily lives, which adds to a sense of stability and growth.
Goals of this Series
1. A Healing
2. Establishing the Connection Between Trauma and Faith
3. Provide a Comprehensive Approach and Framework
4. Promote Psychology Literacy
Paradigm Used in this Series
[We sent them] with clear proofs and written ordinances. And We revealed to you the message that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought. (Qur’an, 16:44)
Say, “I only advise you of one [thing] - that you stand for Allah, [seeking truth] in pairs and individually, and then give thought.” There is not in your companion any madness. He is only a warner to you before a severe punishment. (Qur’an, 34:46)
Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.” (Qur’an, 3:190-191)
So have they not traveled through the earth and have hearts by which to reason and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the chests. (Qur’an 22:46)
There lies within the body a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound; and if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. Verily, this piece is the heart. (Bukhari and Muslim)
…Then woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allah. Those are in manifest error... (Qur’an 39:22)
Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth? And let them not be like those who were given the Scripture before, and a long period passed over them, so their hearts hardened; and many of them are defiantly disobedient. (Qur’an, 57:16)
And he turned away from them and said, “Oh, my sorrow over Yusuf,” and his eyes became white from grief, for he was [of that] a suppressor. (Qur’an, 12:84)
- A Case Study
- Why is this Happening to Me?
- Understanding your Thoughts and Emotions
- Changing Your Mind, Body, and Heart
- Inspirational Hadith and Ayat for Reflection
- Practical Exercises
- The Case Study Revisited
‘Umar bin Al Khattab reported the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) as saying “Actions are to be judged only by intentions and a man will have only what he intended…” (Sunan Abi Dawud, 2201)
O Allah, please reward me for seeking the first steps in my healing journey so that I can become the best possible version of myself and Muslim I can be. Allah, please accept my attempts in seeking nearness to You and building a stronger relationship with You. Allah, please open my heart to receive the contents of this series in the best way, and make it easy for me to work through and implement the strategies. Allah, please count me as those who seek knowledge for the betterment of myself, my faith, and those around me.
Seeing things in black-and-white categories. Falling short of perfection is viewed as a total failure. This involves the inability to see gray in between the two extremes.
Coming to a general conclusion based on a single event or one piece of evidence. A single negative event leads to assuming a never-ending pattern of negativity.
Skews how a person views the world, making everything perceived from a negative bias. This includes focusing on a single negative detail and dwelling on it to the extent that it appears that your entire reality is painted through this lens.
Disqualifying the Positive
Rejecting positive experiences by insisting that they “don’t count.” Only negative beliefs are maintained due to not allowing positive experiences to play a role in determining your reality.
Jumping to Conclusions
Creating a negative interpretation about something even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support that conclusion. Jumping to conclusions can occur in two ways:
- “Mind-reading” involves a person thinking that others are negatively evaluating them or have bad intentions toward them.
- “Fortune-telling” involves predicting a negative future outcome or deciding that situations will turn out for the worst before the situation has even occurred.
Magnification & Minimization
Magnification: Occurs when you look at your own errors, fears, or imperfections and exaggerate their importance. This also includes overly focusing on negative events in your life.
Minimization: Occurs when you look at your strengths or positive things in your life as small and inconsequential.
Assuming that your negative emotions reflect reality. It is the assumption that because you feel something, it must be true.
Using “should,” “ought,” or “must” statements, which can set up unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others. It involves operating by rigid rules and not allowing for flexibility.
Overgeneralizing by taking one incident or characteristic of a person and applying it to the whole person rather than considering the situation or behavior objectively.
Seeing yourself as the cause of a negative external event which you were not primarily responsible for. This involves accepting fault with the main purpose of making yourself feel bad or punishing yourself.
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20 van der Kolk, B. A. (1994). The body keeps the score: Memory and the evolving psychobiology of posttraumatic Stress. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 1, 253-265. doi:10.3109/10673229409017088.
22 Dunphy, K., Mullane, S., & Jacobsson, M. (2013). The effectiveness of expressive arts therapies: A review of the literature. Psychotherapy and Counselling Journal of Australia. Retrieved on November 7, 2018 from http://pacfa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/expressiveartsreviewnov20131.pdf