With increasing frequency I suffer from bouts of melancholy. It exhibits itself in periods of unhappiness which come upon me unexpectedly and seemingly for no reason. It also appears – as it has done this afternoon – in the form of heightened emotions. I have written about this in the past, identifying spiritual causes as the source of this discomfort; if I focus on purifying my heart, I have concluded before, this sadness will leave me. But it is not this simple. Recently I learned that the cause may well be physical; it may be linked to the fact that my body cannot produce enough of a certain hormone. I felt extremely low on Friday and could not concentrate at work. I felt that I wanted to start getting treatment straight away, instead of waiting for the result of yet another blood test. I should have patience, for what did our predecessors do in this situation? They just lived it out. Yet I felt miserable and became impatient. The clinical rationale for treatment include stabilizing or increasing bone density, enhancing body composition by increasing muscle strength and improving energy and mood. Prayer is always an ally, but there comes a time when we Muslims have to accept that not all our problems are spiritual. No doubt this is the reason why we refuse to capitulate to the demands of those who wish us to keep faith a private matter.

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