A Memorable Lecture at my place,
by Sister Umm Muhammad
Allah (subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has said: “And perhaps you hate something while it is good for you, and perhaps you love something while it is bad for you. And Allah knows while you know not.” (Sūrah al-Baqarah : 216)
And the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alyhi wasallam) said:
“How amazing is the affair of the believer, for all of it is good, and that applies to no one except the believer. If something good happens to him he gives thanks, and that is good for him; and if something bad befalls him he is patient, and that is good for him.” (Muslim)
Trust that there is benefit in the matter according to the perfect knowledge of Allah. The Prophet (sallAllahu alyhi wasallam) had to leave his beloved city of Makkah; nonetheless it was for a great benefit. When we believe in Allah’s justice and wisdom we know for certain that He does not decree except what is good. Appreciation of blessings is complementary to patience. One can appreciate his own condition more when comparing it with others whose afflictions are greater than his own. The believer praises Allah that his affliction was not greater than it was and for whatever is left to him that could have been taken away. He acknowledges that the remaining blessings are far greater than what he lost. Undoubtedly, this attitude is the source of much forbearance and peace of mind.
Allah has blessed man in countless ways that cannot compare to the limited problems he faces. These blessings are sufficient to instill in a believer gratitude to Allah, acceptance of His decree and patience to endure it. The Prophet (sallAllahu alyhi wasallam) taught this du‘aa’: “O Allah, make not our affliction in our religion and make not the world our greatest concern or the sum of our knowledge.” (At-Tirmidhi)
(This is the whole du’aa in Arabic)
O Allah distribute amongst us such awe and fear of You that will be a means of intervening between us and Your disobedience; and grant us such obedience to You that will enable us to reach Your Paradise; and such conviction which will ease out upon us the afflictions of the world . O Allah, ‘as long as’ You give us life, benefit us by means of our hearing, our sight and our bodily strength / faculties and make each one of them our inheritor; and avenge for us those who wronged us and help us against our enemies; and do not place any difficulties in our deen, nor make the world the greatest of our sorrows (worries) nor the limit of the source of our knowledge; and do not impose upon us one who has no mercy for us. (Tirmidhi)
A believer recognizes Allah’s blessings during good times and bad. He acknowledges the aspects of divine care and mercy even during misfortunes. ‘Umar bin al-Khattāb remarked,
“No disaster strikes me in this world but that I see in it three blessings: that my faith was not shaken, that it was not worse than it was, and that Allah will reward me for it.”
The life of this world fluctuates between periods of relative ease and difficulty. Problems and tests are decreed for believers to develop reliance on Allah and to earn His approval as well as a reward infinitely greater than the adversity. And there even may be some benefits of which we are not aware at present. Keep in mind that in the Hereafter you can receive such a great compensation it will make you forget everything you have endured during the worldly life.
There are varying degrees of loss and hardship. The Prophet (sallAllahu alyhi wasallam) said,
“Look at those with less than you and do not look at those with more than you, for this makes you less likely to underestimate Allah’s blessings upon you.” (Muslim)
In times of trial one should turn to Allah for consolation and compensation. When patience is practiced, seeking blessing and reward from Allah, and when the Muslim is certain of the positive results, it will turn into acceptance, which overcomes bitterness in the soul. Patience is undoubtedly one of the most difficult forms of worship, but that is why it earns unlimited reward in the eternal life to come. Allah has said: “Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account.” (Sūrah az-Zumar : 10)
Unhappiness and discontent help us to remember Allah; we tend to forget Him when all is well. If not for this problem we would probably not be making as much du‘aa’ to Him. Allah instructed, “O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer…” (Sūrah al-Baqarah : 153)
We long for Paradise due to the many discomforts and inconveniences of this world. We must constantly deal with trials and misfortunes throughout life by practicing patience and reliance upon Allah. So the believer always repeats what he was taught by his Prophet to say at the time of disasters:
“Alhamdulillah álaa kulli haal–Praise is due to Allah in every condition.” (Narrated by At-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah) and
“Allah has done what He decreed and willed.” (Muslim)
The Prophet (sallAllahu alyhi wasallam) also said: “Nothing can avert divine decree except du’aa.” (Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi – hasan) He meant that when a person avails himself of the prescribed means and calls upon Allah in du‘aa’, this is also part of the divine decree, so one decree is repelled by another when Allah wills it.
And the Prophet (sallAllahu alyhi wasallam) said, “No Muslim prays to Allah with a du’aa free from sin and from that which cuts ties between relatives without Allah giving him one of three things: the answer to his prayer during his lifetime, the accumulation of its reward for him until the next life, or the prevention of some evil from striking him which is equal to it [i.e., his effort in du’aa].” (Ahmad)
Allah (subhanahu wa Ta’ala) knows best which one of the three responses is most beneficial to the person who calls upon Him. So may He enable us all to accept His decree in every matter and to find and appreciate its benefits.