How Islam’s Prohibition Against Unlawful Transactions Protects Our Mental Health
Recently, many people have become more aware of the importance of mental health. How does Islam view mental stability? What do Islamic transactions have to do with our mental soundness? This article aims to explore the benefits of Islamic transactions for our mental stability. Keep reading to find out more
What is Mental Health?
When we think of mental health and stability, what comes to our minds is simply the absence of mental illnesses. However, the definition of mental health is more complicated than that.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Consequently, mental health is defined not only as the absence of mental disorders but also as a state of well-being where individuals realize their abilities and are able to cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to their communities.
What Puts Our Mental Health in Peril?
We can argue that mental health is one of our greatest assets because it can affect our productivity and our ability to make sound decisions in dealing with our daily affairs and business transactions. However, our mental well-being can also be severely affected by socio-economic pressure, including the pressure from unmanageable debts.
A study from the Royal College of Psychiatrists shows that half of all adults with debt problems are living with mental illnesses, from anxiety and low mood to actual diagnosed mental health conditions. Incurring debts can lead to anxiety that can have a severe impact on our sleep. In turn, it will can also negatively affect one’s relationship with their friends and families, as written by the Mental Health Foundation on their website.
Additionally, a survey of 10,000 participants conducted in the United Kingdom found that people struggling to pay off their debts are twice more likely to suffer from mental disorders like severe anxiety and depression.
What’s the Islamic View of Mental Health?
Islam considers our inner peace and mental well-being as the real wealth. As mentioned in a hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari, Prophet Muhammad said, “Wealth is not in having many possessions, but rather (true) wealth is feeling sufficiency in the soul.”
Based on this hadith, Joe Bradford, an American Islamic scholar specializing in Islamic economics and finance, argues that the preservation of our peace of mind is the main objective of sharia when it comes to dealings and transactions.
“So if we say that Islam’s philosophy of wealth is to preserve wealth over making it, and the wealth is the wealth of the soul, then preserving one’s contentment, one’s emotional stability, one’s peace of mind is paramount,” Joe Bradford said in an Instagram video in which he explained about Islam’s philosophy of wealth.
He further elaborated that the three major prohibitions in Islam related to transactions i.e. Riba (interest), Gharar (uncertainty), and Dhulm (wrongdoing and misappropriation) essentially aim to protect us from the disruption of our peace of mind.
“Gharar leads to the feeling that we’ve been deceived. Riba leads to the feeling that we’ve been coerced. Dhulm leads to the feeling that we’ve been manipulated. Therefore, it’s important that we avoid these things when we’re doing business as a Muslim,” he elaborated.
Although the Islamic financial outlook is driven by prohibitions, he added, its objectives are crystal clear. It aims to protect our emotional, social, and physical capital.
“So when you have a healthier mindset and healthier relationships, you make better decisions with your money, and you’re able to protect your money now as well as build money for the future,” he concluded his explanation.
Sharia-compliant Transactions Bring Peace of Mind
Islam emphasizes the importance of preserving the soundness of our mind, as Muslim jurists consider the preservation of our intellect (hifz al-aql) as one of the main objectives of sharia.
For this reason, we can conclude that one of the pearls of wisdom behind the prohibition of riba and other Islamically unlawful business transactions is to prevent conflicts that will disrupt our peace of mind and mental health.
As we make hijra from interest-based transactions to Sharia-compliant ones, we must ensure that every transaction and dealing that we make does not involve injustice, oppression, and wrongdoing that can damage our emotional, social, and even physical capital.
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