Every other day there comes a ‘how-to’ guiding people on how they could make their life better or perform the task which they are undertaking in an efficient and effective manner. Sometimes these guides focus on the change in thinking while at other times their focus is on the doing. Regardless of the approach followed in these guides, the objective is to bring either solution or ease in the achievement of the desired objective.
Out of the major targeted themes of such publications, one of the most commonly addressed one is going through hardship. People search for guides that can help them go through the troubled times they face in life. Sometimes these guides are successful whereas in other cases they fail to provide the solution which the reader searches for in them.
Islam being a code of life also provides the ways in which a Muslim can battle the hardships and get through them. Quran and hadith both contain information on the nature of the hardships and how a Muslim is to behave both physically as well as psychologically when faced by them. This writing tries to give some Islamic tips that can help a Muslim get through the hard times and embrace the joy and happiness that awaits on the other side.
Hardships Are A Test:
The first factor that can prepare a Muslim for an effective battle against hardships is the realization that hardships are a test. Allah Almighty has put humans to this world in order to test them. In addition to the battle between good and evil, the other factor that Allah Almighty uses to test people is with hardships. Allah says in Quran:
“Do people think they will be left alone and they will not be tried?..” (29:2)
It should be understood by a Muslim that difficulties and hardships are inevitable and the objective of all of them is to test the faith and belief of a Muslim. Therefore, in order to score high in this test of hardships, one needs to stay resolved and strengthen the believe in Allah.
They Come From Him:
“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.” (64:11)
Allah is the Supreme and the Lord, therefore, it seems illogical to expect that anything that happens in this world is without His permission. As discussed above that the hardships are a test and it is Allah who takes the test. When a Muslim understands that the origin of the hardship is the same Personality from where all the ease and comfort comes, then he or she can easily go through the hard times with the hope that Allah brought the hardships and He definitely will bring ease as well.
Turn To Him:
There is nothing wrong on relying on one’s strength and intellect and doing everything humanly possible to fight the hard times and strive for ease, however, this is what every person does, therefore, the approach a Muslim should be different and better than this failing strategy. In addition to doing the struggle, a Muslim realizes that the center of everything, whether ease or hardship is Allah, therefore, the logical thing to do is to turn towards Him and seek His help and refuge in the hard times – and there is nothing wrong with it.
In the world, we see that whenever someone is in trouble, he or she finds someone of higher authority, intellect or understanding who can help resolve the problem and do away with the trouble. Similarly, there is nothing wrong in turning towards Allah and asking His help in the times of hardship. A Muslim who turns to Him will realize that His help is far better than the help of some other person or the struggle, which a person makes personally.
Examine Your Ways:
Allah says in Quran:
“Whatever misfortune befalls you is a consequence of your own deeds…” (42:30)
It is established earlier that Allah Almighty is the one who tests people with hardships, however, this ayah reveals that the misfortune that befalls a person is his or her own earning, so which is the cause of hardships? The hardships that Allah Almighty sends upon people is for two reasons, firstly to check them whether they would remain as steadfast and as thankful in the hard times as they do in the times of prosperity and secondly, they come as a warning to people who are on the wrong path. These hardships are the earning of the deeds of those people, however, the objective is to warn the people so that they should mend their ways and turn towards the right path. Therefore, if you as a Muslim are facing hard time, the thing you need to do is to examine your ways and see where you are doing things wrong and then mend your ways.
This goes without saying. The major differentiator between the people who get through their hard times with success and the ones who fail to do so is the fact that the former remain hopeful even in the most adverse situations. A Muslim above all should never lose hope and always remain optimistic because he realizes that Allah has brought the hardship on him and He will take it away as well.
Once Prophet (PBUH) said to His Companions:
“Evil omen is false! I like Al-Fa’al (good omen).”
They asked about ‘Al-Fa’al’, to which He replied:
“A good word.” (Muslim)
The narration shows that Prophet (PBUH) believed in the good word instead of getting worried upon any false omen. Thus, the message of hope is an essential element of Islam and a Muslim who loses hope actually gives up on Allah, which is not the Muslim way of dealing with things.
Above all, the first and perhaps the last resort when it comes to dealing with hardships in Islamic way is praying to Allah. This praying is not limited to Salat only, rather Quran recitation, Tasbeeh, fasting, supplication, and remembering Allah sitting or standing all are the forms of prayers in which a Muslim can find refuge in the days of hardships. The prolongation of hardship does not mean that these means of prayer have failed, rather, a Muslim needs to continue on performing the prayers as they will eventually provide relief from the troubles and would bring religious reward as well.
Experiencing and facing hardships is an inevitable part of life, they fall upon every one of us. It is the way we deal with these hardships that matters and that effects the level and magnitude of suffering we experience in hard times. A Muslim should remain hopeful and complement the efforts he makes with faith in Allah for getting through the troubles gracefully.