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“When He gives, He shows you His Kindness; when He deprives, He shows you His power. And in all that, He is making Himself known to you and coming to you with His gentleness.”

Ibn ‘Ata’Allah al-Iskandari

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“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.”
~ Washington Irving

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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.”

And

“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/

shhy_17_tn17 Benefits of Tribulation” is a remarkable talk given by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf many years ago, based on the treatise of the seventh century scholar Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam – Sultan of the `Ulama’ (may Allah be pleased with him).

This must be one of the talks I actually listen to quite often, especially when I’m feeling down. All of Shaykh Hamza’s talks leave a strong impact on one’s heart; however after listening to this specific talk, it leaves the person with a deeper sense of inspiration and himmah to snap out of the “feeling low” state and to invigorate the high aspirations one has set themselves.

One of the profound analogies Shaykh Hamza makes in the talk, and which I love is:

…we/you are all in the ocean of this duniya; if you panic or have anxiety about things or situations, you will drown. Just RELAX, and you will float because you are in good hands!…. [Paraphrased]

Shaykh Hamza focuses on the hardships the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam went through but never allowed any of those afflictions to perturb him. After listening to this lecture, I can say for sure that one will have a different attitude and outlook on calamities and hardships; and it will heal the broken or agitated heart no doubt.

The 17 Benefits of Tribulation are listed below:

  1. You realize the power of Lordship over you.
  2. You realize your object servanthood and your complete state of resignation and brokenness before the will and power of God.
  3. Sincerity to God; one has no place of return in putting off or defending against the calamity except to Him.  It makes you sincere because the muhsin is the one who call on God without any shirk. A moment of ikhlas in this world is enough to save a person.
  4. He returns to God and suddenly is fervent in his desire of his Lord.
  5. It leads to a humbled state before God and it leads to prayers (du’a) that you call on God.
  6. You’re forbearing towards the One who has afflicted you.
  7. You forgive the one who has wronged you.
  8. To be patient during the tribulation.
  9. To be happy about what’s happening because of those benefits.
  10. To be grateful for it.
  11. Purification that these calamities have towards peoples’ wrongs and sins.
  12. Compassion that God enables you to show to people who are in tribulation and to help them.
  13. Tribulation gives you the blessing of having true knowledge of the extent of well-being.
  14. God has prepared rewards for the calamities that you’ve beared patiently or with contentment.
  15. What is hidden inside the folds of these calamities are blessings.
  16. Tribulations prevent you from arrogance.
  17. Contentment.  Tribulation afflicts the good and the evil (people), whoever doesn’t like it, it’s on Him, he’s lost the dunya and the akhira.  Those who are pleased with it, it’s because he knows it, because paradise is better than anything in this world and if these tribulations are what it takes for him to get to paradise, then he’s content with it.

[Courtesy of ihsaan.wordpress]

I strongly recommend everyone to buy a copy of this lecture and listen for themselves.

May Allah elevate Shaykh Hamza’s rank in both worlds, and protect him from all harm and evil. May we use each trial and tribulation as a means of reaching closer to Him Ta’ala.

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