Heartwork #1: The Sweetness of Struggle (notes inside)

Assalamualaikum dearest readers,


Alhamdulillah, the first round of Heartwork series was successfully held on 24/7/2018. Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy delivered a very beautiful lecture on mental health problems from the perspective of Islam.


About the Shaykh: Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy is an American-Syrian Islamic scholar. He holds a degree in Microbiology and a PhD in Islamic Studies. He is the founder of Madina Institute and authored books in theology, hadith, usul, and Sufi sciences.


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We feel truly blessed to have organized this lecture in collaboration with Madina institute. Here we’d like to share the notes from the lecture, created by one of our volunteers. Please feel free to share it around with your friends and families. May we all gain benefits from the sharing, ameen. (PS: Download the PDF by clicking the button below)





  • Earth is a place for struggle, not like Paradise which is for comfort
  • We’re a soil and a soul (soil = our physical body; soul = our nafs, qalb, ‘aql, and all of the unseen parts of us)
  • Usually, humans misplace their happiness on the perishable things (worldly life)
  • Neglect of the soul and over-fulfilment of the soil often brings despair
  • Khawf = fear; Huzn = sadness, grief
  • Mental health problems usually consist of khawf & huzn
  • Quran: Human beings are created “dha’if” – vulnerable, weak



  • Solat & zikir unplug and detach us from the stress of worldly life. It begins with the acknowledgement that Allah is the Greatest (Allahu Akbar) and ends with peace (salam)
  • Love & remembrance of Allah makes our heart peaceful
  • Islam & mental health: Islam offers decompressions / buffers / moments of solitude with Allah, Our Creator
  • Tahajjud is the best time for solitude where noise and worldly distractions are at minimum level
  • Islam gives us resilience by building our spiritual immune system
  • Tahajjud lets us connect with Allah in a spiritual sanctuary, to seek for His Help. Allah is NEVER ABSENT!
  • Islam offers 3Ps: Patience, persistence, and perseverance
  • The 3Ps help to push us towards worthy goals
  • So reach out to Allah
  • Surround yourself with positive people, and do not be close with negative people (negative vibes), but pray for them so that may Allah replace their negativity with positivity
  • Love of Allah is a form of worship
  • Don’t let the struggle overtake you. Allah is with you. Stay strong!
  • Connection to Allah gives us stability, including psychological stability. Being good to our parents gives us family / social stability
  • When you positively contribute and give to others, it’ll ease your struggles. So by helping others, you’re helping yourself in the first place
  • By doing good to others, your children will also receive goodness (so the benefits are not only for your own self)
  • When we help others, we give positivity to them but we are also absorbing negativity around us. Hence, we need to check ourselves, our connection with Allah too. The rewards of helping others is tremendous obviously, but there must always be a balance
  • You can’t struggle in a negative mode. Because evil does not extinguish evil. Instead, good extinguishes evil, peace extinguishes violence, knowledge extinguishes ignorance. So struggle in a positive mode.



  • Don’t just be ritualistic in worshipping Allah. Instead, bring your heart into it so that you become spiritual, so that you heart is present in the worships. Let’s be the spiritually religious and not ritually religious
  • Don’t pretend like you’re better than others. Don’t walk in arrogance. Don’t feed your ego
  • At face value, both Adam a.s. and Iblis committed sins. But Adam a.s. was forgiven and was raised as a Prophet, while Iblis was condemned and thrown into Hell. The reason? Because Adam repented, while Iblis was (and is still) arrogant.
  • Raise the level of your contributions, ideas, knowledge, etiquette, and good manners, NOT your voice. It’s the rain that brings forth vegetables and flowers, not the thunder. (meaning: be humble, don’t be rude or loud)
  • Syaitan, after sinning, becomes increased in his arrogance and made the lives of others miserable (by misleading & deceiving them to Hell)
  • To conclude, the struggle will become sweet with the accomplishment of overcoming it with Allah’s Help.


Additional lessons during Q&A:

  • Start your spiritual journey by checking in with your heart during solat. Practice zikir in the heart. During solat, when you notice your mind wandering, call it back to Allah. Bring it back to the solat. “Come to solat, come to closeness”
  • Da’wah is not something that we do once in a while; it’s a prophetic journey because we’re following the paths of Muhammad s.a.w.
  • Before doing anything or taking any steps in your life, ask yourself these questions: (i) Is it good for your religion? (ii) Is it good for your dunya? (iii) Is it good for your akhirah?. If yes, then do 2 raka’ah prayer (solat istikharah). Then, go on and do it.
  • RELY ON ALLAH. Do not second guess your decision. (you must also do istisyarah – asking for advice from trustworthy and wise people – before istikharah).

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