When the going gets tough… what does a believer do?


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Samreen Awam

Life consists of ups and downs for each individual. There are many different shades of happiness, sadness, challenges and victories.  The pattern of life is anything but uniform and it’s this constant change that truly defines the full circle of life. So what happens when life throws a huge problem at us? How do we deal with disappointments and setbacks? They come unexpected and pull the ground from underneath our feet. No self-help book or course could ever prepare us for the inevitable and so-called “tough times”.

As a student of Qur’an I have learnt a few things that have helped me greatly in dealing with issues and life as a whole. This Book has the power to change our outlook, our reactions and basically our entire life. The condition is that we have to believe in its power and be able to act.

While browsing the social media or surfing FaceBook, one may feel at times that most people around us are having a great time and leading carefree lives full of just fun and delight. The true picture could not be more different than this, as there are many who are depressed and down and need a helping hand to pull them up from the darkness of despair and hopelessness. Unfortunately, this is not reflected in the real perspective on their “status update.”

Here is my short step-by-step guide that may help you, and will Insha’Allah become a Sadaqah-e-Jariah for me and my teachers.

1. When problems arrive remember the first lesson of the Quran:  

الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“[All] praise is [due] to Allah , Lord of the worlds -“

[Al-Qur’an – Surat Al-Fatihah (The Opener): 2]

Alhamdulillah. We must be grateful to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى)  in all circumstances and all times. Being grateful and giving thanks to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) is a part of the Emaan of a Believer.  If we look at our lives and make a list of all the blessings and khayr (goodness) that we have received and then compare those with all the setbacks that we have come across, the latter will be a much shorter list for sure. Then how come we tend to forget that and let a few tests and trials take over our thinking so completely?  Hence tip number one is when you lose something or encounter a problem immediately think of all the good that Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) has bestowed on you and say Thank You to your Lord for it.

2. Stay a Believer under all circumstances:

When calamity strikes, the first thing we let go of is our connection with Deen.  Salah is ignored, so is the Qur’an. While in fact this is the time we should further strengthen and deepen our connection with the Creator as we need His mercy all the more.

Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) aptly explains our behavior in the Qur’an in the following ayaat:

وَلَئِنْ أَذَقْنَا الإِنْسَانَ مِنَّا رَحْمَةً ثُمَّ نَزَعْنَاهَا مِنْهُ إِنَّهُ لَيَئُوسٌ كَفُورٌ.

وَلَئِنْ أَذَقْنَاهُ نَعْمَاء بَعْدَ ضَرَّاء مَسَّتْهُ لَيَقُولَنَّ ذَهَبَ السَّيِّئَاتُ عَنِّي إِنَّهُ لَفَرِحٌ فَخُورٌ.

إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ أُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ كَبِيرٌ

“And if We give man a taste of mercy from Us and then We withdraw it from him, indeed, he is despairing and ungrateful. But if We give him a taste of favor after hardship has touched him, he will surely say, “Bad times have left me.” Indeed, he is exultant and boastful – Except for those who are patient and do righteous deeds; those will have forgiveness and great reward.”

[Al-Qur’an – Surat Hud: 9-11]

3. Our biggest weapon is Dua:

الدعاء سلاح المؤمن وعماد الدين ونور السموات والأرض

“Du‘a is a weapon of a Muslim, a Pillar of Deen and the light of the skies and earth.”

[Narrated by Hakim from Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah and Abu Ya’la from Sayyiduna ‘Ali al-Murtudah, Hadith 6163]

Nothing can beat the power of this tool that is a hot line between a believer and Allah (سبحانه وتعالى). Whether it’s an illness or a financial issue, emotional trauma or a material loss as a believer we can always turn to supplicating and ask for Allah(سبحانه وتعالى)’s help and mercy.

4. It’s never a hopeless situation:

يَا بَنِيَّ اذْهَبُواْ فَتَحَسَّسُواْ مِن يُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ وَلاَ تَيْأَسُواْ مِن رَّوْحِ اللّهِ إِنَّهُ لاَ يَيْأَسُ مِن رَّوْحِ اللّهِ إِلاَّ الْقَوْمُ الْكَافِرُونَ

“O my sons, go and find out about Joseph and his brother and despair not of relief from Allah . Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.”

[Al-Qur’an – Surat Yusuf (Joseph): 87]

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

“Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”

[Al-Qur’an – Surat Az-Zumar (The Troops): 53]

5. Problems are a test from Allah (سبحانه وتعالى):

If a true believer faces loss and pain in this world he will surely be recompensed in the hereafter. This gives us hope and motivation.  In any case the Believer is very clear about the reality of this world and its temporary nature. The gains of the Hereafter are the real and eternal successes.

When the going gets tough, we should remind ourselves:

الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ

“[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving”

[Al-Qur’an – Surat Al-Mulk (The Sovereignty): 2]

6. With every hardship , there is ease: 

فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا

“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.”

[Al-Qur’an – Surat Ash-Sharh (The Relief): 5]

This is the promise of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى)and His Sunnah.  Going through the kalam of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى), we learn that Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) tests His servants but only to their capacity and with every hardship He also gives us ease. This is the word of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) and there is no doubt about it hence the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is not just a metaphor but a conviction for us.

7. Prescription from the Quran… Seek forgiveness:

فَقُلْتُ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّارًا

يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاء عَلَيْكُم مِّدْرَارًا

وَيُمْدِدْكُمْ بِأَمْوَالٍ وَبَنِينَ وَيَجْعَل لَّكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ وَيَجْعَل لَّكُمْ أَنْهَارًا

“And said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers. And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.”

[Al-Qur’an – Surat Nuh: 10-12]

During testing times we have all received various advise relying on the word of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) comprising some specific dua, surah and tasbeeh pertaining to specific issues. For example it is common for people to prescribe Surah Muzzammil for abundance provisions and in How wonderful however is the prescription straight from Our Creator mentioned in the Holy Book, the seeking of Istighfaar. This is source of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) mercy and blessings and we must remember to make it a habit generally and rely on it specifically during times of hardship.

8. Rely upon Allah(سبحانه وتعالى):

And the rest will sort itself out. The seerah of our Prophet (صلي اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) is an incredible lesson in facing all challenges of life with much trust on Allah (سبحانه وتعالى).

وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْحَيِّ الَّذِي لَا يَمُوتُ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِهِ وَكَفَى بِهِ بِذُنُوبِ عِبَادِهِ خَبِيرًا

“And rely upon the Ever-Living who does not die, and exalt [Allah] with His praise. And sufficient is He to be, with the sins of His servants, Acquainted -“

[Al-Qur’an – Surat Al-Furqan (The Criterion): 58]

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About Quran Reflections

Al-Huda's branch at Khayaban-e-Sehar is one of the few Quran courses being regularly conducted in Karachi, Pakistan, where the mode of instruction and examination is English. The students and teachers have decided to upload their reflections on the Quran and class notes on this blog, in order to be available to a global audience for the latter's benefit and inspiration.
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One Response to When the going gets tough… what does a believer do?

  1. Deeba says:

    Subhan Allah.may Allah guide everyone In sha Allah.

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