Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
I want some insight on how to have high hopes in Allah. Like Jacob (may Allah bless him and give him peace) endured pain but continued to have hope in Allah (the Most Merciful and Compassionate). I’m a single girl, and I can’t seem to meet anyone. I have prayed for so long and will continue to do so, but now it feels insincere as I’m afraid I’ll never get married. I have been trying so hard to pray, practice the sunnah, give charity, read Qur’an, and treat my family well. How could I expect the best from Allah when I feel I’m at rock bottom?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide our hearts, tongues, and deeds to that which perpetually pleases Him.
Thank you for your question. May Allah help you through this challenging phase in life. We admire you for your piety, patience, and submission. We urge that you continue on this path and seek a husband through lawful means. You may find the following very beneficial, and Allah knows best:
How to Have Hope in Allah
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Allah (the Most Merciful) said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me personally, I remember him personally; if he remembers Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than that. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I come to him hastily.’” [Bukhari]
The Scholars (may Allah have mercy upon them) commented on the above divine narration (hadith qudsi), where the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said that Allah said, “I am as my slave expects Me to be”:
Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “meaning, I can do whatever he expects I will do.” [Fath al-Bari]
Imam Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “The scholars say that expecting the best of Allah is to expect that He will have mercy on him and relieve him of hardship.” [Sharh Sahih Muslim]
Your Hope in Allah
Your hope in Allah will increase when your faith in Allah increases and you think positive thoughts about Allah. Thinking positively about Allah entails conscious recall of all of Allah’s favors upon His creation, including yourself.
Positive reflections of Allah can also take the form of marveling at Allah’s beauty as described in the Qur’an or as witnessed when reflecting on His beautiful creation.
These positive thoughts should lead you to gratitude. Gratitude to Allah for His favors will, as Allah promised, lead to an increase in goodness and blessings.
Allah says: “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’” [Qur’an 14:7]
Increase in Allah-Consciousness (Taqwa)
You are doing well by constantly turning to Allah, and we implore you to continue. If you are steadfast and patient in your servitude to Allah, He will surely make a way “out” for you.
Allah says: “And whoever is conscious of Allah, He will surely make a way out for them, and provide for them from sources they could never imagine. And whoever puts their trust in Allah, then He will be sufficient for them. Indeed, Allah achieves His Will. Allah has already set a destiny for everything.” [Qur’an 65:3]
Feeling like you’ve reached “rock-bottom” could have hidden opportunities if you respond to the feeling appropriately. As long as your desperation brings you close to Allah, then it is good.
Allah says: “Is it not He (Allah) who responds to the desperate person when he calls upon Him (Allah) and (Allah) removes all hardship and makes you inheritors of the earth? Is there a deity with Allah? Little do you remember. [Qur’an 27:62]
If desperation turns to despair, this is bad and requires immediate action, repentance, and reframing of your situation. Allah says: “And who despairs of the Mercy of his Lord except for those astray?” [Qur’an 15: 56]
This type of despair will also impede Allah’s response to your prayers (dua). The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) warned us about trying to hasten a response from Allah: “The prayers of any one of you will be answered as long as he is not impatient and says, I prayed and prayed, but it was not answered.” [Agreed upon]
Prayers Answered in Different Ways
A final but important point is to realize that the response to prayers may take different forms: either Allah will respond and fulfill the desire of the person who made the prayer, ward off some evil from them, make something good easy to attain, or reserve it with Him for the person on the Day of Resurrection when they will need it most, And Allah knows best.
I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. He served as the resident Imam of Masjid al-Munowar in Retreat, Cape Town for several years.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.