• Anxiety and sadness are a direct cause of illness.
  • Causes are due to sinning, love of the world, and jealousy.
  • Therapies include supplications and remembrance, grapes, yellow footwear, ablution before and after food, and patience.

Anxiety and Sadness – Direct Causes

The third direct cause of diseases are anxiety and sadness.  Significant stress from anxiety and sadness, which the Prophet, peace be upon him and his Purified Household, always sought protection of Allah from, is entangled in the life of craving for the ‘worldly life’ success in achieving success in it.  The Prophet, peace be upon him and his Purified Household, taught supplications to recite and foods that should be eaten to control this form of stress.

The Prophet, peace be upon him and his Purified Household, would supplicate after the dawn prayers:

اللهم اني اعوذ بك من الهم والحزن

“Oh Lord, I seek refuge in you from anxiety and sadness…”[1]

Imam Ali, peace be upon him, is narrated to have said:

أشد خلق ربك عشرة الجبال والحديد ينحت الجبال والنار تأكل الحديد والماء تطفيء النار والسحاب المسخر بين السماء والأرض يحمل الماء والريح تقل السحاب والإنسان يتقي الريح بيده ويذهب فيها لحاجته والسكر يغلب الإنسان والنوم يغلب السكر والهم يمنع النوم فأشد خلق ربك الهم

“The harshest of what has been created by your Lord are ten:  The mountains, and iron erodes mountains, fire eats iron, water extinguishes fire, and the clouds that are controlled between the skies the earth carries the water, the winds that carry the clouds, mankind shields himself from the wind with his hands to go about his needs, the drunkenness that overwhelms mankind, the sleep that overwhelms drunkenness, and the anxiety that prevents sleep.  So, the harshest of what has been created by your Lord is anxiety.”[2]

This indicates the emphasis and significance of anxiety upon our health – for it is placed as a harsher creation than the mountains, the iron that can shape it, the fire that can consume it, the water that can extinguish the fire etc… through to anxiety which overwhelms sleep.  Further, Imam Ali peace be upon him, states:

“Anxiety is half of senility”[3]

And if these words of wisdom were to be put to someone who has indeed been afflicted and overwhelmed by anxiety and grief – they would agree – and even go as far as saying it is but all of senility.

Anxiety and Disease

The link between the two can easily be proven through the Divine Words of the Holy Qur’an – for it is be taken as the conclusive evidence to end all discussions – we find the following Ayah:

يَضَّتْ عَيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْحُزْنِ فَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ

And his eyes turned white because of the sorrow that he choked within him. (Yusuf 12:84)

Therefore, this indicates a clear causal relationship between the sorrow and anxiety that was felt with blindness caused, especially that with white eye – leukocoria – be it the pupil or the entire iris, all of it are potential.

And when asked what it was that has brought about his aging, Prophet Jacob, peace be upon him, replied – Anxiety, sadness, and illness, indicating all these three can bring about a quickening of the aging process.

Note that it cannot be determined that anxiety may be a cause of single or group of illnesses, but rather, that it is a cause for diseases in general, not a specific disease.  Yes, some narrations point to specific diseases, and crying may have caused blindness in Prophet Jacob, peace be upon him, as indeed anxiety may not have been the sole cause.  Other narrations do point to a general illness in the body as a result of anxiety, such as the narration of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his Purified Household:

من كثر همه سقم بدنه

Whomever increases anxiety brings upon illness to their body.[4]

And in another narration from the Prophet, peace be upon him and his Purified Household, we understand it to be potentially a poison itself and not simply a cause: “the saying of ‘There is no power or strength except in Allahﷻ’, in it is a cure for ninety-nine poisons, the least of which is anxiety,”[5] and elsewhere, “Whomever says ‘There is no god but Allahﷻ before everything… is pardoned from anxiety and sadness’”[6], aka pardoned from illness.

Further Discussion:

In narrations, we understand that most of causes leading to grief and anxiety are

  1. Sinning,
  2. Love of the world, and
  3. Jealousy

It is narrated from the Prophet, peace be upon him and his Purified Household, that:

“Anxiety and worry will remain with the believer until there is no further sin upon him/her.”[7]

And in another narration:

“Worldly desire increases anxiety and sadness, while ascetism comforts the heart and body.”[8]

Therapy for Anxiety

Details of therapy for anxiety will be presented in detail in the Therapies section, however, it suffices to include the following:

  • Supplication and remembrance of Allahﷻ – “…in God’s remembrance are at rest the hearts” Ar Ra’d 13:28.
  • The Prophet, peace be upon him and his Purified Household, is narrated to have said that whomever been stuck with poverty, should increase the recitation of

    “لا حول ولا قوة الا بالله العلى العظيم”

    for it is a treasure from the treasures of paradise, in it is a healing from seventy-two ailments, the least of which is anxiety.[9]

  • Eating grapes[10]
  • Ablution before and after food[11]
  • Wearing clean clothes[12]
  • Wearing yellow footwear[13], as opposed to black footwear which brings upon anxiety[14]
  • Not over-reacting in times of calamity, but rather exercising patience.[15]


[1] Al Faqih 1:335 H981

[2] Mujma’ Al Wazaid – Haithami 8:132, Al Gharat – Thaqafi 1:182

[3] Nahj ul Balagha 135.143, Alkhisaal 620, Wasael 402:9 H 12337, Tohf al Uqool: 111

[4] Tuhf Iluqool 58, Amali AlToosi  512 H1119.

[5] Qurb Al Asnaad – Humairi p76.

[6] Majma’i Ilwazaid – Haithami 1:137.

[7] Al Kafi 2:445.

[8] Tohf al Uqool: 58

[9] Wasail Al Shia 7:175 H9045, Bihar 90:187 H6

[10] Al Kafi 6:351 H4

[11] Al Kafi 6:290 H5

[12] Al Kafi 6:444 H14

[13] Al Kafi 6:465 H2

[14] Al Kafi 6:465 H2

[15] Wasail Al Shia 2:421 H2347

Sourced: Study of The Medicine of The Prophet Al-Mustafaﷺ – Arabic 1:226-231