When the Going gets Tough…

Bismillahir-rahman-nirahim

In the Name of Allah SWT-the Always All Merciful, the Especially Merciful

Asalamoalaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

May Allah’s Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you all!

A lot of people give up on their Deen once the going gets tough. Although many show outwardly that they still adhere to the Quraan and Sunnah but in reality due to the calamities that they might’ve suffered, deep inside, they lose their trust on this Deen. And when that happens, they give up the Nawafil practices that they once used to indulge in and just do what they think is ‘important’ that they must do as a Muslim. In addition, some of these people take it as their moral obligation to ‘advise’ those who get an Eeman rush to not ‘over-do’ with their religious practices and opt for a ‘moderate’ path.  Sometimes, they conveniently pick those who are active and successful in their Deen and make a mockery out of them. They ridicule them exclaiming in public that they know more. SubhanAllah! May Allah SWT forgive such people because they don’t know yet they are actually a victim of failing the test of patience.

Every failure should be followed up by repentance and not arrogance. We have a clear example in the Quraan of Adam AS vs. Iblees. Adam AS failed the test and he repented, whereas Iblees failed the test and showed arrogance. Surely that is clear enough for a human to understand.

The choice is upto you, either you repent OR debase others because of your own superiority/inferiority complex.

Admit your mistake, be humble  OR increase in arrogance.

And consequently be forgiven like Adam AS OR accursed for your life like Iblees.

However, the whole issue of arrogance started with a failure in the test of patience and as a result failure in remaining steadfast with obedience, i.e. good deeds. It’s very easy for anyone to jump and down for the Sake of Allah SWT serving the community while he/she has time/wealth/health. Does his/her level of commitment remain the same once one of his/her dearest blessings are taken away, for e.g. his/her job?  Does he/she keep up with his/her daily portion of Quraan memorization during his/her university exams? Does he/she give up being compassionate towards one’s parents/spouse/sibling once they hurt him/her? Does he/she neglect his Fajr Salah in the Masjid just because his/her body is aching? Does he/she decrease in duaa’ just because it’s being delayed?

There a million questions that could be asked. The answer of all those lies in a very wise snippet from Imam ibn Al Qayyim’s Al Fawaid [pp. 283], in which he [rahimullah] says:

There is a great difference between observing duties while in difficulty and observing them while in a good condition.

“O you who believe! When you meet (an enemy) force, take a firm stand against them and remember the Name of Allâh much (both with tongue and mind), so that you may be successful. ” [Surah Anfal, 8: 45]

Which means, ‘the real servant of Mine is the one who remembers Me at the time of distress (fighting).’

It is not astonishing to see someone in good health, free and performing religious deeds, but the astonishing thing is to see someone who is weak, unhealthy, has many irons in the fire, does not have a stable condition and at the same time observes his religious duties without failing to perform anything he is supposed to do.

There are roughly two major domains in which one needs patience:

(1) the patience exercised when calamity strikes

(2) the patience needed to remain steadfast on good deed and to avoid the prohibited matters

Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “There are two types of patience: good patience when the disaster strikes, and a better patience while avoiding the prohibitions of Allah.” Ibn Abi Hatim said that Al-Hasan Al-Basri was reported to have said similarly. [Ibn Kathir]

So with high expectations for Muslims to show patience, where do we start? Do we attend elaborate ‘anti-depression’/’anger-management’ etc. workshops or should we for once trust Allah SWT’s words and look for solutions in the Quraan?

Interestingly enough, the recipes to both the  kinds of patience are mentioned in Surah Al Baqarah.

–For the first kind of patience: patience exercised when calamity strikes –>Allah SWT mentions in the following verses their characteristics:

And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sâbirun (the patient) (155) Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allâh we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” (156) They are those on whom are the Salawât (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones. (157)

Now this doesn’t mean that you just do lip-service and say ‘Innalilahi wa-inna ilayhi raji’oon’. The real idea is that you believe it in your heart, say it and show it in your actions that you firmly believe that it is to Him that you will return to, therefore you should be conscious about how you behave right now for He SWT’s watching you as you go through this test.

–For the second kind of patience: patience needed to remain steadfast on good deed and to avoid the prohibited matters–>Allah SWT starts addressing Bani Israeel in v.40 and continues on and admonishes them that they preach and they don’ t practise it themselves so in order to be able to get back on track (i.e. walk the talk, in other words do good deeds) one should seek help from Allah SWT:

“Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allâh) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture [the Taurât (Torah)]! Have you then no sense? (44) And seek help in patience and As-Salât (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khâshi’ûn [i.e. the true believers in Allâh – those who obey Allâh with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise,) and in His Warnings (Hell, )]. (45)(They are those) who are certain that they are going to meet their Lord, and that unto Him they are going to return. “(46)

The best way to fight lack of patience in Ibadah is do more Ibadah! We have a huge example during Ramadan in which 90% of the Muslims pray Tarawih late night, doing long qiyaams, yet those very Muslims don’t show up for Fardh prayers e.g. Ishaa’ after Ramadan saying that ‘they’re too tired after work’. Well, if you were able to pray Tarawih that just shows you are actually able to pray, you just don’t let yourself do that. Of course you need to carry some patience with you but just force yourself to pray a little extra and inshaa’Allah you’ll have that ‘everlasting’ Ramadan effect even months after Ramadan when you’d actually enjoy standing infront of Allah SWT!

A very fascinating pattern that I want to point out is that soon after mentioning that one should seek help through patience(v.44),  in verse 46 of Surah Al Baqarah, Allah SWT describes that the characteristics of those who are Al-Khâshi’ûn:

“(They are those) who are certain that they are going to meet their Lord, and that unto Him they are going to return.

And again  in reference to patience, Allah SWT says that those who are afflicted with calamity they say:

“Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly! To Allâh we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’ ” (156)

Notice the common denominator? At the times of difficulty, if one shows patiencem seeks help through it and the Salah annnd also affirms by his/her actions/tongue that he/she is going to return to Allah SWT, then he/she’ll become one who is amongst the Khâshi’ûn! I leave it to the reader to research what is the significance of being amongst the Khâshi’ûn. But those who know, isn’t that an amazing characteristic to develop? Allahu Akbar!

***

Of course, it’s not going to be easy. But who said the price of Paradise is going to be cheap? Not everyone will be entering it you know! Therefore, constantly remind yourself of the following verse:

(But those who had been given (religious) knowledge said: “Woe to you! The reward of Allah (in the Hereafter) is better for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and this, none shall attain except As-Sabirun (the patient).”) (28:80).

Finally, I leave you with Imam Sha’fee’s beautiful lines of poetry which you should probably write down on a sticky note and put it in your room:

“O my Soul, it is only a few days, bear them patiently.

A lifetime seems but a fleeting reverie.

O my Soul, through this world pass swiftly,

And leave it for true life ahead does lie.”

[Imam ash-Shafi’I, Diwan,pp.123]

O Mo’min if you’re a true slave then be grateful of the next moment given to you for it’s very likely that whether you’re gifted with something or are being tested: either you’re doing something to free yourself from Hellfire or going one step closer to Rafeeq al ‘Ala. Your home is not this dunia. You are destined for Paradise but you can’t enter it without working for it. So don’t give up just yet :)

And Allah SWT knows best.

[A gentle reminder to myself first then others]

May Allah SWT grant us with firmness of resolve and make our heart firm on His Deen and make us powerful against the whispers of Nafs and Shayateen either in the form of humans/jinns. Ameen.

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4 Responses to “When the Going gets Tough…”

  1. Take care. Leaving soon for the mosque, may Allah swt bless you in the next 10 days. Pray hard for me please.

    Love
    R x

    • Asalamoalaykum wrwb Dearest Sister!
      I was just thinking about you and how Allah SWT has hand-picked you and granted you the Tawfeeq to make an intention for I’tikaaf. Mashaa’Allah la howla wala quwata ilabillah! May Allah SWT grant us all Qalb As-Saleem (sound heart) and unite us all in Rafeeq al ‘Ala. Ameen.
      Insha’Allah I’ll make Duaa for you, pls remember this lost slave of Allah SWT too! Also, pls don’t forget to make duaa for our Ummah’s hidaya,forgiveness and security of Eeman of our current and next generations.Ameen.
      Wishing you a wonderful spiritual journey to His Friendship inshaa’Allah.
      Love,
      UmmS.

  2. Asalamoalaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

    If you have a hard copy of the book translated by Bayan Translation Services (Umm al Qura), it starts on the bottom of pp. 283 with the title ‘Three Precious Gems’. If you have a pdf then it is at the bottom of page 299.

    If you have a translated version by Rizq Wahid Sediq (Dar al-Manarah), then it’s page 282 and it starts with the title ‘Three Benefits’.This translation is a little different and for my purposes, I have used the previous translated version.

    And Allah SWT knows best.

    -UmmS.

  3. Walaykum asalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

    Wa iyakkum.
    It sure is and it needs high level of Khushoo’ while those multiple readings to be able to grasp its hidden gems. Do try out his other books as well although their translations are not satisfactory which overall makes the process of understanding his works much harder. Anyhow, another reason why we should learn classical Arabic.

    Ameen to your dua.

    May we also do something in the service of Islam which grants us Rafeeqal ‘Ala.ameen.

    -UmmS.

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