Life is difficult, we all have something we struggle with in life. Whether that is a stubbed toe, bad exam results or a death in the family.
In his book “Don’t Be Sad”, Sheikh ‘Aidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni writes: “Whatever has befallen you was not meant to escape you, and whatever has escaped you was not meant to befall you: If this belief were to be firmly ingrained in your heart, then all hardship and difficulty would become ease and comfort. The Prophet (saw.) said: “Whoever Allah wishes good for, He inflicts him (with hardship).”
Allah (swt.) tells us in the Qur’an:
“No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things.”
[Surah At-taghabun : 11 ]
Two of the names of Allah (swt.) are Al-Muhyi and Al-Mu’mit, the Giver of life and the Bringer of death. It is Him that blessed us with the birth of a new child in our midst, but it is also His Will for a beloved to leave us. As well as everything, that is in between those two certainties.
“Every soul must taste death”, it says in the Qur’an. Not just experience death for ourselves, but as Shaykh Shafi Chowdhury said in a lecture, someone you love will die and you will have to bury them. He reminded us that Allah (swt.) is behind every single interaction, every single situation that befalls us, that this is our test. How do we act when something good or bad happens to us?
As the Prophet (saw.) said:
“How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” [Narrated by Muslim, 2999]
Another narration from the Prophet (saw.) says:
The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allah loves a people He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath.”
[ Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2396)]
With everything that may happen whether good or bad we are asked to bear it with patience. Something good that may occur to us might not be that good after all, and something bad may in fact be good for us. Does a baby know that a vaccination will protect him or her in the long run? It will still cry no matter how much you try to explain it, it hurts. In the same way Allah (swt.) loves us more than a mother loves her baby, He wants only good for us.
“On the Day of Resurrection people will wish that their skins had been cut with scissors in this world, when they see the reward of those who were struck with calamity.” [marfoo’ narration in Al-Tirmidhi]
So He may cause us to have distress in this world, so that He may shower us with the pleasures of the next. He may cause us pain in this world and with that erase our sins and grant us entrance to Paradise and non-imaginable rewards. In times of hardship we say, Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon. (Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return) Reminding ourselves that this world is not much more than a stay under the shade of a tree.
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.
Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.
Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.”
[Surah Al-Baqarah : 155-7]