By Deana Nassar
– Freelance Writer
While joy comes naturally during the easy times of life, it takes effort to find moments of happiness during adversity.
It’s easy to get caught up in our own stress and anxiety, and I for one plead guilty of this, however, I try to remember that our life is short and temporary, and that the everlasting life is in the Hereafter. This will to some extent help put our worries in perspective.
Losing a valuable family member recently, I have been jolted to recognize our belief in the transitory nature of the life of this world remembering that whatever difficulties, trials, anxieties, and grief we suffer in this world are something we will only experience for a short period of time. More importantly, if we remember to handle these tests with patience, God will reward us for it.
By remembering God in the way He has taught us to, we are more likely to gain acceptance of our prayers and His Mercy in times of difficulty. When our heart feels heavy with stress, worry or grief we must communicate with the only one who not only hears and knows all, but who can also change our situation and give us the patience to deal with our difficulties.
The Qur’an reads:
Remember Me, and I shall remember you; be grateful to Me, and deny Me not. (Al-Baqarah 2: 152)
If you are grateful, I will give you more. (Ibrahim 14: 7)
As believers, we must be aware of the fact that the trials we encounter are there so that God can develop and strengthen our character. They remind us of our limitations as human beings and our complete need of God and His guidance.
At times we may feel our faith wavering through difficult phases in life. It’s hard to still believe that we can look forward to God’s blessings when we feel everything tumbling around us. Keeping faith in God and strengthening ties during these times is imperative even when it means taking the first step when you don’t see the whole staircase.
God says in a sacred hadith:
“Whoever comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.” (Al-Bukhari)
We should try to live in the moment. Without doubt there are moments of joy in even the most painful times of life and we should make every effort to look for them. We must open our heart to these moments, rest in them and ultimately turn to God.
It is impossible for us to turn to God, and He rejects us. We are replete with hadiths which demonstrate this. One such hadith reads:
“Allah is happier when a servant of His repents to Him than a man who was on his camel in a waterless desert and the camel escaped from him with his food and water. When he has lost hope of finding it, he retired to a tree and lied down under its shade. As he was there, the camel suddenly appeared in front of him. He took hold of its halter and said in his state of excessive joy: ‘O my Lord You are my servant and I am Your Lord.’ He uttered this erroneous statement as a result of his being overjoyed.” (Muslim)
Counting our blessings not only helps us to be grateful for what we have, but also reminds us that we are so much better off than many others, whether that is in terms of our health, family, financial situation, or other aspects of our life. Being grateful for all we have helps us maintain a positive attitude in the face of worries and challenges we are facing almost daily. Taking the time out to thank God for His blessings will not only overwhelm us because we will never be able to enumerate them, but will truly help us recognize God’s undeniable presence in our life.
And remember when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you in favor. (Ibrahim 14: 7)
Do You Trust God?
Now that we have acknowledged the significance of turning to God and remembering Him during difficult times we must also grasp how reliance or tawakul on God is just as important.
With the blessed months of Rajab, Sha’ban and Ramadan we are living, what better time to strengthen our resolve to leaving things to God and putting our faith in that He knows what’s best for us even if at the time they seem incomprehensible. The Divine works in ways too sophisticated for our minds, just reading chapter Al-Kahf with Moses (peace be upon him) and Al-Khidr reveals many instances of our limitations.
Developing and maintaining this reliance and ties with God requires time, effort and the desire for closeness. Just as relationships with other people take work and devotion, so does a relationship with God. Putting forth that effort often leads to a greater sense of self-worth, inner peace, compassion and love. Choosing to pursue this relationship and keep it strong is something we must all work on to improve ourselves and our outlook on life.
In light of this, we should definitely take time to develop our relationship with God and reap the rewards and the peace it brings. By thanking Him we also recognize and appreciate Him. The more we thank, the more we will see how He has blessed us, and again realize His presence in our life. This in itself will truly create a certain soothing of the heart. Prophet Muhammad said:
“Remember Allah during times of ease and He will remember you during times of difficulty.” (At-Tirmidhi)
God says in the beautiful hadith:
“O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind.
O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you.
O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as its.” (Ahmad)
As mentioned above, the blessed months we are living leading up to Ramadan is a perfect chance for us to reevaluate, strengthen and develop our relationship with God. By depending on and trusting God fully you will realize how much simpler life can be.
This can be realized when reading:
And He will provide him from sources he could never imagine. And whoever puts their trust in Allah, and then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Indeed, Allah has set a measure for all things. (At-Talaq 65: 3)
He is the Most Gracious Allah in Him we believe, and in Him we put our trust. So, you will come to know who it is that is in manifest error. (Al-Mulk 67: 29)
While knowing that our responsibility for what happens is limited and comforting instilling in us an enormous amount of peace and contentment, we must understand that our success depends on our sincere efforts to the best of our abilities. Take for instance the popular hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said to the Bedouin who had left his camel without tying it, to tie your camel and place your trust in God.
By ‘tying the camel’ we have done the best that can be done as humans, what happens after that is up to God for He knows best. We have utilized all our means without simply waiting for a miracle to as they say ‘drop from the sky’.
Our reliance though shouldn’t be mistaken with giving up our efforts thinking that somehow our challenges will get resolved. It means however striving and working with the attitude that God will take care of our affairs and will help us in getting through our trials remembering all the time that this too shall pass. This full conviction will be reached when we work on building a solid relation with God while leaving the overall results to Him.
What we all want from life is continuous and genuine happiness and while it seems impossible, it can be reached simply by acknowledging and trusting that God is All-Knowing, He is our Sustainer.
We must make God a priority in our life. To help improve our bond with God we should surround ourselves with good positive friends who will pray for us, encourage us and share with us their testimony and how they have made it through the bad times in their life by putting trust in and tawakul or reliance on God in turn strengthening our faith and renewing the right spirit within us.
Deana Nassar is a published writer, and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce, but freely left a promising career to be a stay-at-home mom. As a mother of four, in her home she’s the sole expert on all things related to marriage, children’s psychology, motherhood and creative survival. She loves charity work, reading and writing poetry, and is mostly known for writing articles discussing family and social issues, faith, freedom, and purpose that comes through God. She can be reached at [email protected]