Allah created this life and made it filled with challenges. Allah has promised us, that this Dunya, as it’s called Dunya, which is something lower, will never be perfect for anyone. It will not go smooth all the time for anyone. No matter how old or young you are. No matter how rich or poor you are. Healthy or sick. A good doer or an evildoer. Righteous or not. Every one of us will have his share or her share of challenges and difficulties that they will go through. Allah says:
O mankind, indeed you are laboring toward your Lord with [great] exertion and will meet it. [84:6]
We have certainly created man into hardship. [90:4]
Part of living on this earth is to meet these challenges, to go over them. To deal with these difficulties in life. And also,
Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing. [76:2]
If you notice all these three verses, it refers to all humanity. It did not specify one category or one group of humanity. We are all going through this. ~hen we reflect on our own challenges in life; every one of us has their own set of problems that he or she deals with. It might be a job that you lost or a business that you’re struggling with. Or maybe a boss or an employee that is giving you a hard time and sometimes it can be very painful and stressful; Also, a marriage that is not working out; or a debt that you cannot climb yourself out of. It could be a love that you were not able to fulfill in a halal way; someone that you wished to marry. Or sometimes the challenge will be a social problem; maybe your in-laws are giving you a hard time, or maybe you have relatives who have taken your rights and have been abusing you. Maybe it’s even somebody close to you. Maybe it’s a problem dealing with parents that is giving you a hard time. Or you’re so worried about them. Or maybe it’s a sickness; a physical sickness. Maybe it’s stress.
And also not only as individuals we have our own problems, but we as a community also have our own challenges as well. As a society, as a community, we have a lot of challenges ahead of us. Actually, globally there are so many problems one can think of. The Prophet ﷺ said:
There is no disease unless there is a cure and a solution for it. (Sunnan Ibn Majah)
And ibn al Qayyim rahimaullah said it will be very, very, narrow-minded to look at this hadith and only see it as the physical illness. This is a very general statement of the Prophet ﷺ.
It’s not what happened to us in life that is the most important thing. Actually, the most important thing is what we are doing with what happened to us in life. You will not live a life free of challenges. You don’t need to face them alone. You can face them with the advice of a sincere friend, or the support of a community, or the support of your family. And in this way, we can all face our challenges, and we can overcome them.
The most important point is to start with that every time you face a challenge in your life, always have that faith in Allah. That you don’t ever give up hope in Allah. When Yacoub (alayhi salam), years after he lost his son, any ordinary person would think that son is gone forever But he says to his other children,
“O, my sons! Go you and enquire about Yusuf (Joseph) and his brother, and never give up hope of Allah’s Mercy. Certainly, no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.” (12-48)
The only disbelievers are the ones who forsake Allah. The only disbelievers are the ones who are going to lose their hope and trust in Allah. We all should remind ourselves.
All the verses inspire us to always remember, to put our trust in Allah. It’s needed that you let Allah do it His way. We don’t always understand Allah’s method, we don’t always understand Allah’s way of handling and doing things, but at the end of the day, we have the trust that He is handling it. And we have trust that the one who is handling is the Most Merciful. The Most Caring one you can ever think of.
When the Prophet ﷺ saw a woman, who picked her child after she lost her child. Can you imagine, you lost your own son for a while and you’re looking for your son and you pick your son and you basically grab him dearly to your chest. The Prophet ﷺ said:
Do you think that this mother will ever throw her child in hell-fire with her own hand? With her own choice?” They said, “No way Ya Rasoul Allah”. He said “Wallahi, Allah is more merciful with you that this woman with her child.”
Don’t ever think for a second you are away from Allah’s sight. Or Allah is not hearing and seeing what you’re going through. Allah always has a way, even when it looks like there’s no way out.
And we all know the story of Musa (alayhi salam), when his people saw the dead end, the sea. And what made it even more difficult, that Musa told the Bani Israel, The Children of Israel, that no one is allowed to bring weapons. Everyone leaves their weapons at home. So now they told Musa you told us not to bring, not even a tool to protect ourselves. At that moment you might ask, what is Allah’s way out? How can He get us a way out of this? What would be the way, the dead end, and the sea? And an army, a well-trained army against its citizens and those citizens don’t even have weapons to protect themselves. But look at the answer of Musa (alayhi salam). It is a lesson that was heard and recorded by Allah:
No way, no, “Allah is with me and He is going to guide me.”
As Allah said, “with difficulty comes ease“
Ibn Abbas said I’m so glad that Allah said, WITH it, and He didn’t say AFTER difficulty comes ease.
He didn’t say that he said WITH it. That’s knowing that if you’re going through hardship, I want you to know that your payday is coming. When you start saying to yourself, you know what, this is not going to work out between me and her, or me and him. It’s just the divorce. When you’re just willing to give up on your son, and you said, this boy is never or this girl is never going to go straight, is not going to change. When you’re willing to quit, when you are willing to say, you know what, I can’t quit this habit, I can’t change myself. When you’re about to say these words, “that’s not going to work out, I’m just giving up, I’m going back to the bad way I used to be.” Whenever you’re ready to throw in the towel, I want you to remember that this is the moment not to back down. This is actually the exact moment you should dig your heels in and stand your course, and to push forward.
Look at the moment of victory in history, as Al-Qur’an recorded for us.
“When the messengers despaired and were certain that they had been denied, there came to them Our victory.” (Yusuf: 12: 110)
And do not you forget, that maybe the only reason that Allah put you in that challenge, is not to change your circumstances, it’s to change YOU!? Maybe Allah wants to send you a message to tell you that you need to change yourself. And you need to wake up.
Remember what Allah said.
Allah will not change your situation until you change yourself first.
I believe 100%, I have no doubt in my heart that these challenges in life are not ever meant to break you apart. They’re meant to make you stronger, because the value of a person is not when he or she stands in the time of ease and comfort. Actually, the value of you will appear and will clearly determine when and how you stand in times of difficulty and in times of challenge. That will make a man a man, and that will make a good person recognized as a good person.
Brothers and sisters, when we talk about challenges in life, don’t ever be led by your problems. Don’t let your problems cover your eyes. Don’t let these challenges in life, these bad things that are happening to you, don’t let it lead you. We should be led by our dreams, we should be led by our plans for the future. We should be led by our trust and love for Allah. We should be led by our faith, not by our problems, not by our negative feelings. We should be led always by our positive feelings and attitudes. Don’t let these problems take over your mind and settle deep in your heart. Put it in front of you, look at it, deal with it, but don’t ever be led by it. And know, that ignoring problems will never help you in solving them. We have to deal with them. Do not ignore it because so many people have problems in life and they’re ignoring them, they just keep accumulating. Don’t ignore it, deal with it, but don’t be led by it.
When the Muslims lost the battle of Uhud, in the beginning, what did Allah tell them?
Don’t be sad, don’t feel defeated, you are the higher. You are stronger, you are better, even if you lost a battle, from inside you are a winner.