By Dr. Jasser Auda
If He takes you away from people, then know that He is opening to you the doors of His Company. And if He allows you to ask, then know that He wants to give you something.
This word of wisdom is another example related to understanding God’s giving and deprivation. The Sheikh says: “If He takes you away from people, then know that He is opening to you the doors of His Company.”
Sometimes God may test you by the death of a friend, a spouse, a brother, etc. You might travel to a remote country for one reason or another. You may be put in jail or taken to hospital. In all these cases, you feel loneliness and isolation.
The Sheikh makes it clear that all such trials may be a giving from God in the form of deprivation. This word of wisdom is supported by the hadith in which the Prophet says: “If God wishes to benefit someone, He will take him away from people.”
By the loss of your beloved ones and feeling loneliness, God is opening for you the door of remembrance, meditation and being in His Company which you cannot feel if you are mixing with people day and night. You may think that such trials are a form of deprivation which in reality is the actual giving.
One of my teachers always remembers some stages of his life which he spent in jail or in exile and says: “If it were not for the imprisonment, I would not have written my books or developed my ideas.” Therefore, imprisonment and loneliness were a reason for being in God’s Company and benefiting the people with his knowledge.
Then the Sheikh says: “And if He allows you to ask, then know that He wants to give you something.” This means that God may put you to a test for which there is no solution except praying to God. It is likely that before the trial you did not pray to God. You must have thought that you were not in need of praying to God or that you prayed to God without feeling distressed.
Getting Closer to God
Sometimes one faces a serious crisis and the only way out of this crisis is seeking God’s help. So, one earnestly prays to God and seeks His help and immediately comes God’s answer. God says: “Nay – who is it that responds to the distressed when he calls out to Him…” (An-Naml 27:62)
Praying to God may continue for days or weeks, and this is considered a giving from God not a deprivation because you are in a continuous worship. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Supplication is an act of worship.” (At-Tirmidhi)
But the Sheikh says: “And if He allows you to ask, then know that He wants to give you something.” God gives abundant rewards just for praying to Him. Not only that but He answers those who pray to Him either in the world or in the next or both in this world and the next.
Therefore, God allows us to ask because He wants to give us something. If you ask a generous person for help, surely he will answer you. What about if you ask God Himself!
In other cases, God may give you very little providence just to offer a sincere repentance to Him.
Are they, then, not aware that they are being tested year-in, year-out? And yet, they do not repent and do not bethink themselves (of God). (At-Tawbah 9:126)
And, indeed, We tested them through suffering, but they did not abase themselves before their Sustainer; and they will never humble themselves. (Al-Mu’minun 23:76)
God tests you by afflictions and hardships so that you repent to Him, humble yourself before Him, and pray to Him. Such difficulties are forms of deprivation which is an actual giving if understood well.
Deprivation and giving should be measured by human standards which are based on material gains. The true standard is your relation with God.
Sometimes God puts you to a test and after God removes the affliction your relation with Him improves. This is in itself the actual giving from God.
At times gifts from God come only through hardships. For example, if I do not thank God for His blessings or do not perform the acts of worship properly, God may test me by depriving me from one or two blessings. I may show some concern for what happened to me, but soon I repent to God.
The article is excerpted from “Some of Al-Hikam Al-Ataiyyah” (The Path to God: A Journey with Ibn `Ata’illah’s Words of Wisdom In the Light of the Quran, the Prophetic Tradition, and Universal Laws of God- By Dr. Jasser Auda