Emotions are a natural part of a person; sadness, crying, happiness, they are all normal states that a person can find themselves in. The issues surrounding men and their mental health is lacking the awareness and support it requires, which arguably stems from a deep notion that men should not show their emotions, especially during times of difficulties. This is an aspect that becomes instilled within individuals to the extent that when a serious mental health problems arise, seeking help becomes a difficulty. The individuals in the life of a man, unexpectedly, feed the problem. Changes in behaviour, anger and fluctuating attention span may be seen as problems within a relationship as opposed to a mental health problem.

A widespread cultural phenomenon is one which leads us to believe showing any signs of sadness or upset is in line with being weak. Weakness is associated with being unmasculine; in order to upload masculinity, feelings and emotions during poor mental health are suppressed. This only leads to further problems given appropriate help is not sought. Among reasons why men may suppress their feelings and thoughts, is the idea of providing a foundation for their family. The role of a man is to be the breadwinner and provide sustenance to his wife and children. This same concept can be a factor that drives a person to seek help when necessary; by ensuring the foundation remains strong, it provides a better platform for a family to stay strong. By ignoring these issues it puts added strain on an individual and their family in the exact way that they are attempting to prevent.

When suffering from a physical illness we are quick to ensure we seek the relevant medication, particularly because those around us see our pain and disability; being unable to function physically results in events cancelled, loss of earnings, less time spent on enjoyable activities and so forth. We strive to maintain a routine in our lives and stability to those around us. Yet, with mental health issues, particularly in early stages, there is scope to hide and suppress the reality towards others. Admitting you have a problem will lead to that stability being shook; why shake your world if nobody else but you can visualise or feel the problem that is brewing?

In this day, to see a man crying can be thought of as him demonstrating weakness, or due to a really huge intense event taking place. Looking to the Prophet (saw) we see that he shed tears in numerous situations:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

The Prophet (ﷺ) had informed us of the death of Ja`far and Zaid before the news of their death reached us, and his eyes were shedding tears.
(Sahih Bukhari)

The best man that walked this earth shed tears upon hearing of death. He shed tears when hearing the Qur’an be recited, when passing by graves, when making dua, in salah and in times of happiness. He showed his emotions in these times, so where do we get this notion that a man should be a statue with no demonstration of his feelings? This is an oppression upon the creation of Allah; Allah placed emotions within us all, male or female, and we should not act in ways that are to pretend otherwise. An individual should be balanced in their emotions, not crying unnecessarily or laughing excessively. However, in times of difficulty where the mind is not calm, these emotions needs to be demonstrated for the sake of the individual. By suppressing emotions to this extent is nothing but damaging to oneself in both physical, mental and spiritual sense.

Cultural expectations state a man to be a strong provider and to sustain those who he is responsible for. The only true way to fulfil this role is to ensure you do your best to maintain both your physical and mental health. How would you suggest a male balances his emotions?

Aishah Muhammad

Author Aishah Muhammad

Aishah is a medical student due to graduate next year. Having worked with psychiatrists, she has a special interest in mental health. She regularly blogs on personal development, particularly health and fitness on her blog Grains & Gains. She feels increased mental health awareness is required as she believes it is an underestimated phenomena amongst the Muslim population.

More posts by Aishah Muhammad
  • Excellent article. Agree 100%. Thank God, I am acutely aware of these things and much more! Of course the NWO synthetic false system seeks to oppress the male as well as the female through such stifling customs and traditions. Not forgetting another severe blow to male ego and simple manhood – the NWO hairless face of man!!! What an utterly wicked and cruel thing to have done to man.

    While such articles written with strong and commendable empathy is no doubt the need of the hour, methinks we must jump the process and move to the next step pronto and look at how we can make overnight radical changes across the ummah. Man being the leader and head is clearly sick and ailing and totally unfit to lead which is why he bosses instead – look where man (kalifa) has led us; to a historic all time low in morals and ethics and blinking nuclear world war!!!

    As a (single and childless) woman I feel it is my absolute duty and responsibility to do whatever is within my means to wreck and prick people’s comfort zones and bubbles and awaken whoever I can to the fact of how late the hour already is – we are on the verge of Armageddon (Al-Malhama). Considering the impact WW3 will have on those who survive, the prospect of starting afresh with a new beginning is indeed the silver lining promise in the clouds of war.

    Subahanallah – how perfect is God!

    We need to initiate and inject a trailblazing optimistic futuristic plan of action into the ummah. We are networked as an ummah, but I don’t have the reach, nor do I posses the required charisma and qualifications to obtain backing for such a daring plan. I can only hope to inspire those in decision making positions to do the needful.

    Thanks for drawing me here via email.
    Wise move on your part. ;)

    Peace be upon those rightly guided.

  • I remember being told at a very young age, time and time again by my adopted Mother that we ‘don’t do emotions and we don’t do pain.
    I think I was about seven and only been adopted for one year. I never cried from pain anyway as I had learnt in my childrens home the unimportance of tears.
    I grew up with cold steel emotions and I hated it. I wanted to scream out, ‘well I do feel pain and I do feel emotions and I don’t want to have my deepest emotions caged like a wild animal,’ but of course, I was far too young to have an opinion, let alone be allowed to voice it.
    Forty years of suffering soon elapsed and suddenly I found myself sitting in front of a clinical psychologist at the pain clinic. A few kind words were spoken,one being,she called me by my first name, the second was the gentle, caring way she spoke with me and thirdly that she wanted to see me again. I felt tears well up but remembering the hard rules of childhood,I sucked it all in and left. For four years and on a weekly basis, I went to visit this clinical psychologist and it there that I learnt about the brutality of the previous forty years. Love that I deserved being abandoned out of me, love I so desperately needed beaten out of me and love i so loned for that was abused out of me and I cried,not once not twice but many many times until I could cry no more. During those four painful eye opening years with this brilliant clinical psychologist (Dr Elaine McWilliams) I learnt that it was not only good to cry it was one of the greatest assets we as humans have at curing our own inner pains. Without tears I was emotionally bereft, with tears,I slowly healed.

  • Adon

    Interesting and marvellous I must say but the mental illness is not removed by speech or action its within themselves hidden in their brain how do you get across to brothers suffering especially as men prefer to hide their emotions.

    Another situation that is difficult is explaining to people that have no idea of what a person goes through and the episodes they have. knowing that it is haram to interact with females alone is a barrier because there is only so much you feel comfortable telling a male. Look at the pattern when Adam alayhis Salam was sent to earth Allah did not leave him to himself there is a reason (ponder) , when the messenger of Allah received the revelation for the first time and he was frightened he did not run back to Abu bakar as sideeq, umar ibn al khattab or Ali he went back to his Wife khadeeja for comfort to recover from his trial.
    Esa ibn maraym had his mother.

    The point I put forward is having a strong supportive woman with understanding is a big reason why males may not come forward with their mental issues and if they come from a non Muslim background I believe it’s even much harder I Maybe wrong it is very inspiring that there are Muslims supporting mental health. But it is still very neglected and attributed to weak faith or not putting trust in Allah. Or why don’t you just leave and go to Saudi or Egypt like it is that simple.

    How does a male ask of a woman for marriage and tell her father that his a Muslim male with mental issues assuming that things such as jinn possession shir and evil eye will come up to the guardians attention but mostly the brother would be rejected as he is not fit enough to work but he is not completely insane where he does not have to pray then he begins to feel it may not be permissible for him to marrythat’s not a positive look for a person on the receivers end and can cause much distress because he knows himself better than everyone. He had issues before Islam so what direction should he take where he feels he is not sane enough to make simple decisions in his life but doing things which are Haram is more easier it’s a touchy subject.

    Barakallah feek

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