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 Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 49-53

Stress management in disasters based on holy Quran


1 Health Human Resource Research Center, School of Management and Information Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz; Department of Health and Emergencies Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Student Health Management in Disaster Research Center on Social Determinants of Health, Isfahan Univerity of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
3 Assistant Professor, General Course Group, Persian Language and Literature, School of Management and Information, University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Web Publication12-Feb-2015

Correspondence Address:
Akbar Kolahdouzan
Persian Language and Literature, School of Management and Information, University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan - 81745
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2347-9019.151299

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  Abstract 

Disasters and accidents usually have adverse and serious consequences. Psychological problems such as stress are among these consequences. Therefore, the goal of this study is to propose a method for managing stress and achieving peace of mind for the victims and survivors of accidents and disasters based on the verses of the holy Quran. This is a review study in which keywords related to stress, peace of mind, psychological health, accidents and disasters, religion, Quran were searched in credible sites, articles, dissertations and known religious texts such as holy Quran and Nahjolbalaghe. The findings of this study is presented in two parts: Verses and Hadith which present accidents and disasters as means of achieving peace and humans spiritual growth and verses that present methods for counter stress and reaching peace of mind. The subjects presented in these parts are pointing out the pre-ordained nature of revenues, faith, remembering God, prayer, sound of reading Quran, daily prayers, trust in God, thinking about the goal of creation and patience which are described in length. Quran is the best shelter for the faithful and among the most effective ways of dealing with stress in accidents and disasters. Believing in religion and spirituality gives propose to accidents and disasters and somewhat grantees a person's spiritual growth as an aftermath of such disasters which can lead to peace of mind.

Keywords: Accidents and disasters, holy Quran verses, peace of mind, stress


How to cite this article:
Mohammadinia L, Samouei R, Kolahdouzan A. Stress management in disasters based on holy Quran. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage 2015;3:49-53

How to cite this URL:
Mohammadinia L, Samouei R, Kolahdouzan A. Stress management in disasters based on holy Quran. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage [serial online] 2015 [cited 2022 May 20];3:49-53. Available from: https://www.ijhsdm.org/text.asp?2015/3/2/49/151299


  Introduction Top


Although the reactions of people to accidents and disasters can have similarities, each disaster is in fact unique. Whatever the reason behind any accident or disaster, these happenings cause great amounts of stress and distress and serious emotional reactions. Evidence suggests that some of the victims of accidents and disasters might feel the effects of their experience for as long as they live, having great feelings of fear, sadness and lack of security. [1]

One of the most common effects of accidents and disasters on the victims is stress and anxiety. [2] Stress is caused due to pressures outside of tolerance level of people and can be impossible to deal with in long term [3] and needs to be controlled due to its adverse effects on people.

For religious people, one of the best ways of dealing with stress and anxiety caused by accidents and disasters is familiarity with religion texts such as holy Quran. [4]

Holy Quran proposes two key methods for dealing with accidents and disasters. (A) Holy Quran considers natural disasters such as flood, earthquake, storms and many accidents as calamities and has a supportive approach in their regard. Quran calls these accidents and disasters as part of Allah's wisdom and by granting understanding about this wisdom help create optimism and therefore peace of mind. (B) As an intellectual concept, Quran calls these disasters and accidents tests from Allah and thus creates a positive approach for dealing with them in a constructive manner and aims to maintain positive moral and piousness of the victims. In this way, Quran promises happiness to follow any hardships. [5]

Religion helps people to deal with negative effects of stress inducing happenings and also helps them to find meaning in otherwise helpless situations. [6] There is an extensive collection of literature regarding the relation between religion and mental health [7] some of which are presented below. Tajvidi (1999), Majidi (2005), Nikbakht Nasrabadi (2005) and Mirbagher Ajorpaz (2011) in different studies investigated the effect of the sound of reading Quran on reducing the stress of patients that had undergone surgery and compared their stress to that of a control group. [8],[9],[10],[11]

In another study, Javadi investigated the religious views of people in Iran and 50 other countries and concluded that religious people live better, act more positive and have better physical and mental health [3] and therefore can better adept to accidents and disasters and are quicker to resume their normal lives.

Hosseini (2010) reported that Islamic teachings have methods for dealing with hardships and adapting to situations which can be divided to three main categories of 'intellectual methods', 'behavioural method' and 'emotional methods'. [12]

Ghadimi believes that the reason behind the calmness of those who has memorized Quran is their closeness with Quran and using it to manage their stress and cites the following verse: 'He (Allah) is the one that set calmness in the hearts of believers to increase their faith'. [13] Mohammadinia (2012) investigated the ways of stress management mentioned in religious texts and suggested ways of reaching calm and peace of mind using Quran and Hadith. [14]

Based on different studies in different countries beliefs, religion and prayer has shown to have a positive effect on the health of patients and such means are proven to be effective in treating diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary and rheumatologic diseases. Pier believes that people with religious beliefs are less likely to experience emotional reactions such as anxiety and sadness. Alexis Carrel believes that religious patients are easier to treat. Also the result of a study in Italy on 27,100 patients showed religious patients to have a higher change of full recovery. [15]

Thomas Hayslop reports that prayer is the best mean for creating calm in psychological patients. Alexis Carrel believes that prayers create the most powerful force in the patients. Religion philosophers and psychologists are not the only one to believe in the effect of religion on mental health of the patients and reduction of anxiety however. Ernest Poole, a specialist in General Surgery from University of Pennsylvania believes that the most important factors in successful treatment of patients are hope and faith, not medicine, diagnosis and surgery. [3] Ventis also emphasized the effect of religion on treatment of patients diagnosed with depression. [16]

Due to the role of religion texts and holy Quran in reaching peace of mind and mental health, this study aims to introduce methods of dealing with stress and anxiety in disaster victims based on the verses of Quran.


  Materials and Methods Top


This is a review study in which keywords related to stress, peace of mind, psychological health, accidents and disasters, religion, Quran were searched in credible sites, articles, dissertations and known religious texts such as holy Quran, Nahjolbalaghe, Alvsayl Mustadrakat, Al Mafatih, Tafsir al-Mizan, Meraj Alsadh and other religious texts. Some computer software dedicated to Quran such as Feyz-e-Tamam ( version 2), Habl-Al-Matin, Nasim-e-Rezvan and pars Quran were also used in gathering of information. Then the gathered information was classified and coded under the supervision of religion specialists.

Findings

The information is categorized in two parts: (A) Verses that introduce disasters and accidents as means for reaching enlightenment and peace of mind and (B) verses that introduce methods for dealing with stress and anxiety.

Accidents and disasters as means of enlightenment

The verses of Quran and Hadith presented in this section believe that faith and spirituality give reason to accidents and disasters and even grantee spiritual growth of men as a result of these happenings, leading to peace of mind. Al-Baghareh-156 'Those of you who are struck with tragedy, say we are from Allah and to him we shall return'. When one believes accidents, tragedies and disasters to be part of a divine test and that patience is needed in order to pass this test, it is easier to keep one's peace of mind. 'And we shall test you with fear and hunger and loses in property, loved ones and profits' (Al-Baghareh 155), if one were to tolerate these tests Allah promises his mercy and 'And their god shall bless them and show them mercy and these are the ones that persisted' (Al-Baghareh 157) or in Alle Imran 154 says 'After the sadness and despair that came to you (in Badr), calmness came to your lives' and interestingly at the end of the verse says 'those of you whose destiny was death would have been struck down even in the safety of their homes and this is a test for you all'.

The first five verses of Fatah (victory) shows that sometimes victory can remove one's peace of mind and in other words anxiety after victory is possible and Allah is the only one that can bestow calm: 'And the one that puts peace in the hearts of the believers increases faith upon their faith' (Fatah 4).

When Mohammad Prophet (Peace be upon him (PBUH)) and Abubakar were hiding in a cave during their departure from Mecca, he said: 'Do not despair for Allah is with us'. Also in other verses such as Towbeh (repentance) says 'And Allah delivers peace and calmness to them and they would not despair' (Towbeh 40) and 'And then Allah sent calmness to the Prophet and believers'(Towbeh 26) which points to the peace of mind granted to believers after hardships.

In Sahife Sajadieh book, there are prayers for times of hardships, disasters and sadness (prayers 21 and 22) which care good examples of prayers that can calm the hearts of the victims and bring them peace. [17]

And Quran says 'Truly those close to Allah will not fear and have no despair' highlighting that since they do not have attachments to the material world, they do not feel sadness and despair and remain calm.

Methods for dealing with stress

There are many methods of stress management in religious texts which are presented in [Table 1].
Table 1: Religious methods for stress management and reaching peace of mind

Click here to view


Methods for gaining peace of mind and stress management

Faith in God and gaining understanding

Believing in God and having a Unitarian view which is mentioned in various verses causes a person to depend on an entity with limitless knowledge, power and mercy; therefore, fear, anxiety and stress caused by the environment are less likely to affect him leading to a feeling of satiety and calmness. As said in Fatah 4 'He is the one that descends calm upon the believers' which refers to the calm of spirit that can lead to the calm of mind. William James, the American philosopher and psychologist says: 'Faith is a force essential for helping people through life. Lacking faith is a warning that shows a person's vulnerability when dealing with hardships of life; we have an unbreakable connection to God. If we put ourselves under the power of the almighty God and surrender to him, all our hopes and dreams will be realized'. [18]

Strengthening the connection with God and reliance of God

Man is the best example of creation which was created in the best possible was (Tin 4) and has a limitless future and eternal life (Najm 42). Paying attention to the reason behind creation and man's role in it makes it easier to tolerate undesirable accidents which lead to searching for ways to reduce the adverse effects of these accidents. The verses mention that God has given the control of nature to man and has planted ways of reaching peace of mind in the nature as well. [19] Reliance on God is a powerful support for people in hardships. Those that rely on God would not become desperate or stop doing their duty. If one relies on God, God will be enough to help him. Also, holy Quran mentioned that the one that relies on Allah receives help from sources he does not expect (Talagh 3). In other words, reliance on Allah is a live and epic concept. [20] Quran always says that 'The people of faith rely only on Allah' (Ale Imran 122) and Imam Sajad asks Allah to grant him truth in reliance and the certainty of those that rely on Allah. [17]

Mention, reading Quran, daily prayers, asking Allah for peace of mind and prayer

As said in Raad Verse, 28: 'Certainly the mention of Allah calms the hearts'. In Amin-Allah pilgrimage, certainty is among the 13 requests asked of Allah. Imam Bagher used to often say: 'O Allah! Hail the prophet and his family and grant me calm and peace'. [21] Other prayers such as Makarem-Al-Akhlagh (Munificence of ethics) are full of sentences asking Allah to grant peace and calm in this world and beyond. [22] About this characteristic of Quran Imam Ali says: 'Learn Quran because Quran is the spring of hearts and use its light to balm your injuries and troubles because it's a relief for hearts and read it in a nice voice because it's the most useful of stories'. [23] Quran itself mentions this in Raad 28: 'Certainly those that believe, their hearts are calm due to mention of Allah and know that the mention of Allah calms the hearts'. Saying prayers and humble awareness of Allah gives people a certain spiritual quality that leads to purity of soul and calmness of heart and a sense of security.

Saying daily prayers and the fact one must remove himself from daily hardships and troubles leads to peace of mind. This peace of mind caused by prayer has a great effect on controlling emotional tensions. [24] In Taha Quran says: 'And say the (daily) prayers in my remembrance'. In the first order of revelation Allah says: 'Say the prayers so you remember me and my remembrance calms the hearts'. [25] When the time for daily prayers arrived Mohammad Prophet (PBUH) said: 'O Ballal! Give us calm with prayer'. Prayer is an axis of perseverance during sadness and hardships. Allah says: 'Use patience and prayer in your hardships and overcome them'. [26] Dr. Thomas Hayslop (physician) says: 'The most important tool for calming the nerves and emotions known to me is prayer'. [18] Servitude is what gives meaning to life of men which is best shown in prayer. Jesus Christ says: 'And God had ordered me to say prayers until I draw breath' (Maryam 31). [27]

Praying is also among other recommendations. Praying is a link between man and his creator who is omnipotent and is closer to man than anything else: 'And we are closer to you than the vein of your neck' (Ghaf 16) and will grant anything asked of him: 'And when my creations asked you about me (say) I am close and will answer the one that prays when he calls me, so they need to accept my guidance and believe in me to find their way (and reach the intended goal)' (Baghareh 186). Praying to Allah is among the ways of gaining patience during hardships and disasters of life. [28] Praying gives people confidence and prevents them from falling into despair and incites them to try harder; prevents needless worrying and gives calm and peace of mind. A Hadith says: 'Praying is the key to mercy and a light in the darkness'. [29] Other verses such as Ghafer 60 and Forghan 77 also mention the importance of praying.

Thinking about the reason behind creation (Devotion and Servitude)

Allah in verse 56 of Zariat introduces devotion as the path to perfection and says: 'We didn't create the Jinnee and human other than for them to worship us'. Also in Balad Verse, 4 says: 'We certainly created human in hardships'. As mentioned before, even when human is not yet born and resides in the womb and these hardships only get harder during childhood, adulthood and old age. This is the nature of life and one must not expect anything else from it. Therefore man needs to use his mind, his internal prophet, and chooses the path of salvation which is devotion to the creator which will lead him to peace of mind.

Patience and fortitude

Quran invites people to have rational patience and fortitude when faced with hardships because impatient and uncalculated reactions only cause more stress. [30] In Baghareh 25 recommends that: 'Seek help from patience and prayer (and gain power by controlling your urges and mention of Allah) and this is a difficult task save for those with fortitude'. There are also other religious teachings that invite people to be patient, suspect the best, have certainty, be humble, help each other and have Self-esteem and strength of heart. [12]


  Discussion and Conclusion Top


Accidents and disasters are among the major causes of stress in people. Sometimes the after-effects of these accidents are much worse than the accidents themselves. On the other hand, physical safety and peace of mind is two important goals of rehabilitation stage of accidents and disasters that can help the victims to resume their normal lives as fast as possible.

Given the fact that these accidents, disasters and dangers are unavoidable, it is necessary to increase the defence of the society in the face of these hardships. In this regard, Yaghoubi says that one of the worst dangers to human resources in today's world and one of the common adverse effects caused by accidents and disasters is stress that can have long-lasting and damaging effects on the personal and social lives of the victims of these accidents. [31],[32]

The first method recommended by Islam for stress management is faith and trust in Allah, the practical examples of which can be seen in many religious texts. Imam Ali says: 'The one that relies on Allah will have the hardships made easy for him (Sharh 6) and the tools of easiness prepared for him'. One of the best examples of this is the story of Jacob who tolerated the worst possible disasters and tragedies and prospered. [33] Kolahdoozan believes that reliance of Allah among the family members of patients is of outmost importance. [34]

Mention of Allah removes fear of death from the hearts and removes the stress caused by the possibility of hardships and problems. Remembrance of God also reduces the fear caused by uncertainty of the future. Quran mentions the role of mention of Allah in peace of mind, saying: 'Those that have believed and their hearts are in peace, know that truly the mention of Allah calms the hearts'. Regarding the importance of the mention of Allah, it can be said that mention of Allah means accepting that an omnipotent entity is always and at all times present and close at hand, because Allah is closer to man than the vein of his neck and is a border between him and his life. This closeness and everlasting presence which is the result of the connection and weakness inherit in all creation can cause one to believe that nothing is outside of the power of Allah. The highest possible remembrance of Allah is daily prayers. Although Allah himself does not need the mention and praise of his creations, these mentions and prayers lead to completion of man and help him in reaching divine knowledge. In fact the only reason behind the creation of mankind is the worship of its creator (Zariat 56) and mankind is created in the middle of hardships. This belief makes it easier to tolerate the hardships and problems caused by accidents and disasters. Babasafari and Kolahdoozan believe that religious people do not suffer from stress and anxiety in the face of disasters and tragedies and instead pick the best option for dealing with the situation calmly. [35]

Islam is a complete and comprehensive religion (Anam 56: 'And the keys of unknown are with him (Allah) and no one else knows of them. He (Allah) knows all that is in the seas and on land, no leaf falls (from a tree) without Allah's knowledge and there is no seed in the darkness of the earth and noting wet nor dry that isn't recoded in an open and eternal book'). And the holy book of Islam, Quran, has all the necessary guidelines for the betterment of mankind (Naba 26: 'We have counted and recorded all that is in a book'). Quran covers all aspects of human life, has detailed and careful plans for every problem and even considers problems and hardships as means of returning to Allah's side and recommends people to have patience and fortitude. Quran along with tradition can lead mankind to eternal life. Thinking about the verses of Quran not only helps people avoid stress and anxiety but also grantees ways for keeping one's peace of mind and hope and helps in trying to find was of overcoming hardships of life.

 
  References Top

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