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“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have- life itself”
~ Walter Anderson
Ibn Rajab and others gave an account of a worshiper who ran out of resources while he was in Makkah. He became extremely hungry and was about to die from lack of nourishment. One day, as he was wandering in the precincts of Makkah, he found an expensive necklace. He put it into his sleeves and headed for the Masjid. On his way he came across a man announcing that he had lost a necklace. The poor man later said, ” I asked him to describe it to me, and he did so, perfectly, leaving no room for doubt. I gave him the necklace without taking reward from him. I said,: ” O Allah, I have given it for You, so compensate me with what is better.”
He went to the ocean and began a journey in a small boat. Only a brief period of time passed before a storm came with heavy winds crashing into the boat. The boat smashed into pieces and the man was forced to cling to a piece of wood. The winds were violent, propelling him to the left and to the right. Finally, he was washed ashore onto an island. He found there a Masjid filled with people who were praying, so he joined them. He found papers with parts of the Qur’an written on them and he began to recite from them. The people of the island asked him, “Do you read Qur’an?” He answered in the affirmative. They said, ” Teach our children Qur’an.” So he began to teach them and he took a salary for his services.
One day, they saw him writing and they asked, ” Will you teach our children to write?” Again he answered in the affirmative and began teaching them for a salary. A short time later, they said to him, ” There is an orphaned girl with us whose father was a good man. Will you marry her?” He agreed to the marriage and later related, “I married her and found that she was wearing the exact same necklace. She said that her father lost it in Makkah and a man found it and returned to him. She said that her father would always supplicate while prostrating, for her daughter to become blessed with a husband similar to the honest man. I then informed her that I was that man.”
“O Allah, I have given it for You, so compensate me with what is better.” Abandoning something for the sake and Pleasure of Allah- Allah will definitely compensate with something that is better, either sooner or later, in this world or Hereafter.
Source: Don’t be Sad – Shaykh Aaidh ibn Abdullah Al-Qarni
A great sermon by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad which is well worth the listen (as are all his lectures mashaAllah!)
“In this sermon, Sheikh Abdal Hakim discusses the difference between having patience (sabr) during the struggles of life, and taking pleasure or having contentment (rida’) in them. By Allah’s Mercy, accepting what He decrees with patience for us is a route to salvation, but it is a higher degree for us to embrace and love that decree. By another inspiring aspect of Allah’s guidance, the latter is initially harder but actually makes the path toward Him easier. Instead of religion just being a set of duties or things we have to put up with, it becomes an on-going source of wonder and contentment. May Allah grant us the state of being contented with His Decree.”
May Allah increase and bless Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, and may we continue to benefit from his teachings. Amin.
“If you do not know the blessings you have when you have them, then Allah will teach you about them by taking them away from you”
~ Ibn Ata’Allah al- Iskandari
Storms occur unexpectedly; some last for a few minutes, some last a few hours and some last a few days. Regardless of the duration of each storm, we know that they pass and come to an end eventually. Storms are like the trials and tribulations of this life. Each situation passes and moves onto the next. We may face a certain trial or a series of trials suddenly, abruptly and simultaneously. Often we cannot predict how long we will be under that specific trial for, but knowing that just like storms eventually come to an end, the trial(s) we face also come to an end eventually.
“If you want to be a true follower of Abraham, then do as he did: I do not love that which wanes and vanishes [6:76]. Every circumstance wanes and vanishes. It is ephemeral and will pass away. One poet has said:
Coming from nothing
Going to nothing
It’s called circumstance
Because it circles.
Everything that appears
By necessity disappears.
Look at the shadow as you stand
To what end does it come?
No matter how long it is,
It inevitably grows less and less
As I said, whatever circumstance you find yourself in, whether you enjoy it or despise it, will without a doubt pass away.” ~ Excerpt from The Book of Illumination by Ibn Ata’Allah al-Iskandari
Dealing with one trial is extremely testing and demands incredible sabr (patience), but having a serious of trials one after the other makes one realise Allah’s Lordship over them and that no matter what they do, they have no control over their affairs. Allah is the One who can and will ease things when He wants, not when we have had enough and can’t cope. We must never forget the beautiful words of our Lord ta’ala when He says in the Qu’ran al-Karim:
“On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear” (2:286).
When placed under those circumstances, we have no choice but to submit ourselves to the Lord of the worlds and endure everything, regardless of the excruciating pain we may feel, whether emotionally or physically. Submission is not as easy as it sounds and the heart is in constant turmoil with preconceived thoughts of what the outcome may be, or the length we have to be in that state for. But regardless of how we may feel, we are powerless to do anything about the situation and just have to wait until the Lord most High pulls us out of the situation, because only He has the Power to do that. We all get tested but in different ways; whatever the case, we must know that Allah ta’ala will never leave us and is fully aware of our situation. People may turn their backs, but Allah ta’ala will never leave us. Allah ta’ala knows our state, situation and what we carry in the hearts and only He can bring the ease and fulfil our needs when He wills. As the great Gnostic Ibn Ata’Allah said eloquently in his Book of Illumination:
“Knowing that Allah knows our condition gives us patience with Allah’s decision.”
“Knowing that divine goodness’ subtleties hidden in every difficult gives us patience in high degrees to endure all divine decrees.”
May Allah alleviate the sufferings of all those Muslim brothers and sisters who are going through trials and tribulations, and may each trial be a means of seeking His forgiveness and salvation on the day of judgement. Allahumma amin!
Photo credit: David HR http://www.flickr.com/photos/hdr400d/1517884823/