By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All Praise is due to Allah, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him), is His servant, and His Messenger.
“O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, with correct awareness, an awe-inspired awareness, and die not except as Muslims.”
“O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His Prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.”
“O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Be conscious of Allah, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah always watches over you.”
Dear brothers and sisters! Know that in hardships and calamities, it is natural to get swept away by the affliction of the moment. During such trials of faith, unless we are careful, Shaitan (Satan) can inject fear and plant doubts in our hearts and minds.
Our beliefs in such vulnerable states may become overpowered by feelings of the moment resulting in the dwindling of our faith. Some of us start questioning the fairness and wisdom underlying such divine decisions while others get mired in a blame game. All in all, we may find ourselves lost, helpless, and stalled finding it difficult to gather ourselves and move forward.
For such situations specifically and others in general, Islam teaches us to stay in control by hanging on to the Mercy and Grace of Allah. We pray that Allah keeps us safe from the challenges and trials of life, but as Muslims we should know and understand Qur’an’s message and the Prophet’s guidance for handling tough and hard moments in life. The following summarises some of the key guidance related to this matter:
(1) Do not feel helpless: Even when all doors appear to have been closed, as true believers we should never let feelings of helplessness succumb us. Consider the following Hadith of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim’s commentary on that Hadith:
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive to do that which will benefit you and seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless. If anything befalls you, do not say ‘If only I had done (such and such), the such and such would have happened,’ rather say: ‘Allah has decreed and what He wills He does,’ for ‘if only’ opens the door to the work of the Shaitan.” [Muslim]
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
“This Hadith includes several important principles of faith, including the following: “Do not feel helpless”: Feeling helpless is contrary to striving for that which will benefit him, and it is contrary to seeking the help of Allah. The one who strives for that which will benefit him and seeks the help of Allah is the opposite of the one who feels helpless, so this is telling him, before what has been decreed happens, of that which is one of the greatest means of attaining it, which is striving for it whilst seeking the help of the One in Whose hand is control of all things, from Whom they come and to Whom they will return. If he does not attain what was not decreed for him, then he may feel either of two things: Helplessness, which opens the door to the work of the Shaitan (Satan), so his sense of helplessness leads him to say “if only,” but there is nothing good in saying “if only” in this case, rather that opens the door to blame, panic, discontentment, regret and grief, all of which are the work of the Shaitan (Satan). The Prophet (Peace be upon him) forbade us to open the door to his works in this manner, and told us to adopt the second option, which is looking at the divine decree and bearing it in mind, for if it was decreed for him it would never have missed him and no one could have prevented him from attaining it. Hence he said: “If anything befalls you, do not say ‘If only I had done (such and such), the such and such would have happened,’ rather say: ‘Allah has decreed and what He wills He does,’” and he taught him that which will benefit him in either case, whether he gets what he wanted or not. Hence this Hadith is one which a person can never do without.” [Shifa Al-Alil, page 37-38]
(2) Revive your faith: As mentioned in the Hadith above, a strong faith can help us to hold our heads high. When faith seems to be dwindling, we should get back to Qur’an and remind ourselves that only Allah can let us out of our ordeal and problems. You must, therefore, keep that faith and not let Shaitan (Satan) instill thoughts that could weaken your faith. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allah (Alone) let believers put their trust.” [Qur’an, 3:160]
A strong faith can keep you focused on the fact that Allah alone ultimately controls all destinies and has power over all things. Remembering that fact alone at the moment of affliction can help you in conquering the pain and provide you hope and the energy to keep moving forward.
(3) Believe in the divine decree: When facing difficulties, our weak faith can sometimes drive us to question the fairness of it all. In this context, we should remind ourselves that believing in Al-Qadr (Allah’s divine will and decree) is one of the pillars of Islamic faith. As the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: It means belief in:
- His Angels
- His revealed Noble Books (Qur’an, Bible, Torah and Zabur)
- His Messengers
- Day of Judgment and
- To believe in Al-Qadar (the divine decree) both good and bad.
As part of that belief, we should, therefore, recognise that Allah does what He wills for reasons that are only known to Him. Any attempt to comprehend the wisdom of it all using our limited faculties, or to understand how our current situation fits in His overall plan can only lead us to erroneous conclusions resulting in increased frustrations.
We, as Muslims, should accept Allah’s Decree both as it manifests itself around us and in our lives. It should be a relief to us that only Allah is the master of our destiny and we are only going to be tested about whether we reacted to what befalls as true believers and Mu’mins, i.e. being patient in adversity and grateful in prosperity.
(4) Ask for Allah’s Mercy and Grace for an Out from Tough and hard Situations: As believers we should recognise that only Allah’s Grace and Mercy can deliver us from challenging situations. Allah tells us in the Qur’an:
“Then after that you turned away. Had it not been for the Grace and Mercy of Allah upon you, indeed you would have been among the losers.” [Qur’an, 2:64]
Another way to ask for Allah’s Grace and Mercy is by asking for His forgiveness and seeking repentance. Allah tells us in the Qur’an:
“And Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding Grace to every owner of grace (i.e. the one who helps and serves needy and deserving, physically and with his wealth, and even with good words). But if you turn away, then I fear for you the torment of a Great Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection).” [Qur’an, Surah Al-Hud: 3]
(5) Stay patient in hard times: One of the best remedies for tough and hard times is to be patient. It requires that we do not resort to complaining, but remember Allah often.
(6) Remember Allah in ease: We know from the Qur’an that when we remember Allah in good times, Allah will help and remember us in tough and hard times. We learn that lesson from the story of Prophet Yunus (Peace be upon him) when he was swallowed by a whale. Out of His mercy, Allah finally relieved him out of that calamity. He tells us in the Qur’an:
“Had he not been of them who glorify Allah, he would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of Resurrection.” [Qur’an, Surah As-Saffat: 143-144]
(7) Taking action and following the right, proper and sincere ways to bring an end to our problems: Every individual in this world wants comfortable life, they want smooth relationships, they want enough money so that they can live comfortably, they can have their own house, car and enough money to enjoy their yearly or monthly vacations. But to have all this just a dream or plan or vision towards your work isn’t enough. To have this kind of life the most important thing which is required is Action. Action will give you what you always desire about, in order to get your desire outcome you need to take action. Taking action isn’t difficult, only the first step towards your success journey can be little difficult, because that first step will move you out from your comfort zone.
No matter how small baby step you take towards your success journey, the thing which is really important is that step, because that step will going to be your action towards your dream and vision. No matter how knowledgeable and intelligent person you are, but if you do not take action towards that knowledge you will never see the success and accomplishments. For example, no matter how intelligent student you are, but during exams without studying you will never able to top or score good, hence similarly if you want desire outcome you need to work hard and you need to take action. Always remember hard work and actions will always pay you back that too with debt.
As it says In order to get success You need to take action because of knowledge + Action = Result. If you apply continuous actions to your knowledge you will get a result more faster and this will make your life beautiful and satisfied. Even the smallest action in your life can bring a huge difference. To improve every aspect of your life action is must. To improve your action quality you need to improve your belief system and when belief system changes believe changes and when to believe changes you get a positive outcome. Let me share some points which will show how important taking action is in your life:
- Action gives Satisfaction: Suppose you go to a restaurant and you get confused whether to have same old thing which you always have or should try something new, and you also get confused like if I try that something new then of it tastes awful then my money will be wasted, but your confusion will not go until and unless you don’t try it. I know this isn’t the best example but hope you got my point, ones you try that something new only then you will know the answer, like whether its good or bad, and this knowledge will give you satisfaction and from next time you will make more wise decisions and choices.
Hence I am here trying to say that until and unless you don’t take action towards your confusions you will not get your answer, another example, suppose your class teacher asks a question and you know its answer, but just because you are shy and feel if you go wrong what will other say, and because of such thinking you ignore taking action, you ignore to stand in front of the class, and that same answer is given by someone else and after that you regret like I should have given, and this thing will make you feel sad and upset, hence instead of thinking so much if you would have taken action towards your confusion then you must have felt satisfied, no matter if that answer would come up as right or wrong, you would have felt satisfied.
Hence take action towards your confusion, no matter whether you go right or wrong at least you will get satisfaction.
- Actions make your information real: If you read any book or any motivational article tips and get lot of information from it, so what do you think will that information change your life. No, it won’t until you don’t use that information and knowledge in real life by taking action, your action along with information and knowledge can change your life. Reading books can give you way but you need to take action in order to walk on that way, hence Actions make your information real, means your information and knowledge works in wonders only when you take action towards it.
For example, if you have knowledge related to business or real estate, but instead of using that knowledge towards your success, you feel like hiding it from the world and like to stay at home, then this kind of thinking will not work in your favour, instead if you take action and use that knowledge and information is some good particular direction then you will get success.
- Action clear your confusion: You will never know what technique and tips do work and don’t work for you if you never try in real, in order to change your life you need to take numerous actions, this massive actions will help you to understand life and techniques more properly and nicely, this numerous actions will clear your confusion will make you understand what tips techniques work and doesn’t work for you, and while understanding each thing clearly you will get time to focus on things which really works for you and through this you will also get your clear vision and passion.
- Continuous Action = Habit: Just by doing something for one day or for few days will not bring any serious change in your life. You must know that success and changes are a continuous process, and just one day action will not bring any major difference in your life, hence if you want to replace your bad habits with good ones, you need to take action regularly daily, only then your mind will make place for that particular change, for example, if you want to stay fit then one day action of doing meditation of exercise will not help you to stay fit, you need to take action regularly, you need to exercise daily only then major difference will able to become evident.
- Actions give accomplishment and success: Reading books will help to learn new things, will give you way vision and also can make you knowledgeable person, but in order to use that knowledge and information so that can accomplish what you always desire of you need to take action, every accomplishment comes with an Action, Your actions towards the right direction will give you massive success, Success without Action is a Myth. Every accomplishment needs action, and every action gives success.
Respected servants of Allah! Muslims will endure many trials and tribulations throughout their lives. Allah tests us with hardship and also prosperity in order to validate the sincerity of our faith. Allah Almighty said:
“It is he who created death and life to test which of you are best in deed, for he is the Almighty, the Forgiving.” [Qur’an, 67:2]
In all cases, trials and tribulations can be good for the true believer. If he is tested with prosperity, he should remain grateful and he will receive a reward. If he is tested with hardship, he should remain patient and he will receive a reward. Suhaib reported that: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him. If he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him.” [Muslim]
Trials and tribulations can be a sign that Allah intends good for us, because through trials our sins are expiated and we have the opportunity to perform good deeds. Abu Hurairah reported that: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“If Allah intends good for someone, then he afflicts him with trials.” [Al-Bukhari]
Mahmud Ibn Labid reported that: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“If Allah loves a people, then he afflicts them with trials. Whoever is patient has the reward of patience, and whoever is impatient has the fault of impatience.” [Musnad of Imam Ahmad]
All praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Jimadah Ula 5th, 1443 A.H. (December 10, 2021).
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