Spiritual Struggle: The Trial Of Dealing With People

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: I often encounter rude behavior from sisters when I attend the mosque and other events. This burdens my spirit and I’ve concluded that Islam is the relationship between you and God and the ummah part is just extra if you can deal with it. In other words I don’t enjoy the company of many sisters and just rather be at home. Tonight from prayer I was walking towards my door and I thought “maybe I shouldn’t be Muslim anymore” and as soon as I thought it, I fell down a flight of steps, hurt my right hand and nearly broke the fingers on my left. If the shayateen are bounded during Ramadan where is all this from?

Answer: I pray that you are doing well inshaAllah and that Allah will ease the pain in your heart and safeguard and increase your faith.

The scholars of Ihsan (spiritual excellence) note that dealing with people is one of the greatest trials that a person can face. It tests one’s whole being — one’s physical, emotional and mental reactions. Dealing with the ill-treatment of a fellow Muslim and being forgiving is a great mujahada (spiritual struggle) whose reward is commensurate with the difficulty one finds in doing it.

You are right in that one should not have to expose oneself to verbal or emotional abuse. Try to put yourself in situations where you can avoid this. If you know certain people cause you harm, stay away from them. But seek out others who are kind and upright. Each community has members that are difficult to interact with, but each community also has members that uphold the excellence of Islamic character. Look for the good and you will find it.

When you see a person’s bad traits, make a sincere supplication for them, turn away from noticing their wrong actions, and remember that everyone has areas in which they need to improve. However wrong the actions of a Muslim may be, they still have an immense rank with Allah, because He has chosen for them faith (iman), which is the greatest of all deeds. The best way to not have rancour in one’s heart for a person is to replace every negative thought about them with a heartfelt prayer for the person.

The Prophet  (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) told us that the weightiest deed on our scale on the Day of Judgement will be good character (husn al-khuluq). Try to embody this yourself and you will inshaAllah be a source of guidance and an example for others. During these special days and nights of Ramadan, make sincere supplication to Allah to help you find some good company.

In the meantime, do not completely discontinue your socialization and become isolated. There is blessing in the group, for the wolf comes after the lone sheep. I have seen Muslims who have distanced themselves because they were disillusioned by their community, and their connection with the religion became weaker and weaker. There is protection with being with the group, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “ِAllah’s hand is with the group.”

Lastly, Allah tells us, “If you are thankful, I will certainly increase you (Surah Ibrahim, 7).” Gratitude for something is the secret for being increased in it. Thank Allah that you have a masjid, a house of Allah, to attend and that you have other Muslims that you can see and spend time with and He will send you blessings and increase in your company and gatherings. This goes hand in hand with keeping a positive attitude. If one enters a gathering with a warm smile, looking for the good, they will find benefit inshaAllah.

May Allah grant you increase in all things good and grant you righteous company.


Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani