Leaving Sins, Both Manifest and Hidden

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani expands on Sura al-An‘am 6:120, detailing what it means to leave manifest and hidden sins, and to find contentment in Allah.

One of the times when people really hurt themselves is in trials, because outwardly the trial itself doesn’t harm you in any way whatsoever. Whatever happens outwardly doesn’t harm you in any way whatsoever. What harms you is how you respond to what happens to you.

If you drown in a tsunami you’re not harmed in any way. If you respond to it right; you accept that you die. You die a martyr. You’re eternally in paradise. You weren’t harmed. Someone beats you up, but you were patient. It’s not the outward that harms you. It is how you respond to it.

So in trials, knowing how you turn to Allah Most High, how you respond, is one of the greatest of possibilities, because if Allah loves the servant He sends them trials.

Whoever Is Content Shall Find Contentment

If you respond to the trial in the way that is pleasing to Allah, you are the beloved of Allah Most High. At the same time the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, told us that Allah sends us trials. Whoever is content with Allah shall find contentment. Whoever is angered, whoever is upset, shall find anger and upset.

Whoever is content shall find contentment, meaning that they’ll find Allah’s contentment and Allah will place contentment in their hearts. Whoever is angered and upset will find the anger and upset of Allah upon them. And they will find a heart state of anger and upset.

This is one of the hidden sins. No one sees it. And it’s subtle because it is not simply what you claim, but actually how you are. One way of looking at leaving outward and inward sin. Leaving outward sin is leaving disobedience to Allah Most High. Leaving inward sin is leaving objection to Allah Most High.

That is integral to faith. One of the pillars of faith is that you believe, that you have conviction in, and accept and submit and surrender to the reality of divine decree. That it’s good and it’s bad are from Allah Most High.

Trials Are Tremendous Opportunities

This is why trials are a tremendous opportunity from Allah Most High. The righteous would rejoice more in trials then the common person rejoices in blessings. As the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him said: “The people most tested are the prophets, and then the righteous, and there were those from the people before you who would rejoice more in tribulations than you rejoice in blessings.”

Why? Because they saw the trials, the tribulations, the difficulties as being opportunities of expressing one’s love of Allah. Of expressing the true thankfulness to Allah. Of expressing one’s slave-hood to Allah. Of expressing one’s recognition of the Lordship of Allah Most High.

Shaykh Abd al-Rahman al-Shagouri said: “The slaps of the beloved, how sweet they are.” Because the lover realizes that everything is from the Beloved, and everything that is from the Beloved is beloved.

Ibn Ata’illah al-Sakandari said: “Let your knowing that it is He who is trying you diminish the pain of trials.” And are you accustomed to anything from Him except excellence and has He has he made you habituated to anything but what is good for you? You just need to learn how to turn in each situation in the way that is entailed by that situation.

What Is Entailed by Leaving Sin

Part of what is entailed by leaving sin that is hidden his contentment and surrender to Allah Most High. This is from hidden sin and from the sin that a lot of people are in. “Why is a lot doing this to me?” You are married you wanted a happy marriage. That’s not the way of the believer.

What should the believer seek? “I consign my affair to my Lord. And Allah indeed knows well His servants.” He knows what they need. He knows what they’ll benefit from. He knows what’s good for them. Allah is telling us that He will test us both with good and with bad as a trial. And the trial of good is sometimes more intense than the trial of difficulty.

One of the great Imams of the spiritual path, Ibn Ajiba, in his dictionary of spiritual terms, says that rida (contentment) is to face destruction with a smiling face. Everything that’s coming to you is coming from Allah, so you face it with a heart that is smiling.

The Vision of the Believer

The believer sees with two eyes. One eye is the eye of faith. “Say, It is all from Allah.” At that level the believer is smiling regardless of what’s happening. It’s from Allah. This is the creating of Allah. If He is your beloved, the lover has no objection to their beloved.

Ibn al-Farid says: “Punish me with what You will other than distance from You. For You will find me the most loyal of lovers.” And this is love. This is how love is, otherwise it’s mere pretense.

Another definition of contentment is happiness that one finds in one’s heart as destiny (qada) descends. Qada refers to the blows of destiny. You lost your job and the heart should be smiling. It’s from Allah. You take the outward means because that is what slave-hood entails. You take the means but you see everything as being from Allah Most High.

Another definition of contentment is to leave your choice for the sake of Allah – in what Allah has chosen and made to pass. We make our plans, we take our means, but it is Allah’s choice that comes to pass and you surrender your choice to His.

Leaving Your Plan for His Plan

You are planning to do your PhD and you’ve saved for it and worked for it, and done this and that. Then something happened and your parents need you. They need you to work and not to do your PhD right now. So you leave what you planned for what Allah is pointing you towards.

Yet another definition of contentment is for one’s hard to find expansiveness and to leave all objection to what comes to one from the One and Overwhelming: Allah Most High. That’s contentment. Surrender.

This is a reality of Islam: it is taslim. To leave self-direction. That is that you try to force your preferences in life rather than submitting to what is from Allah and what Allah is pointing one too. Leaving your personal choice.

You take the means. This is what you’d like to do. This is what appears to be good. But as things unfold, if you are awake and conscious and reflective, other things are entailed. So as things unfold you leave your choice for what is preferable with Allah Most High. You leave what you would like to direct yourself to to what Allah is directing you to.

Consigning One’s Affairs to Allah

This is the meaning of consigning one’s affairs to Allah Most High. How do you attain this contentment in surrender? Ibn Ajiba says: “It begins with patience,” which is to hold yourself to what is pleasing to Allah. “And to struggle.” To force yourself to be content. To surrender. To say, “Okay, this is what is right. I’ll do it even though I don’t feel like it.” Fake it…

The first step is patience. The intermediate level of contentment and surrender is to find serenity and to hold yourself to serenity. When the thoughts of objection and dislike come, you don’t even listen to the whisperings of why. “The lover is death to those who deny love.” To be a believer you need to learn how to love.

The end of contentment and surrender – to be fully realized by contentment and surrender – is when you find rejoicing along with that serenity and no impulse towards objection or dislike. These are stations of believers, because in every moment you are in a state of being completely enveloped by divine bounty, and by divine mercy, and by divine blessings.

The Lover Moves by the Grace of the Beloved

Hence the divine command: “Say, in the bounty of Allah and His is blessing, in that let them rejoice,” (Sura Yunus 10:58) because the contentment and surrender is with Allah and to Allah, so that whatever comes from Allah is accepted. True contentment and true surrender is with Him, Most High.

This is a little of what can be mentioned regarding this great verse: “Leave sin, both manifest and hidden.” (Sura al-An‘am 6:120). One has to be careful that one not only leaves disobedience manifest and hidden, but also leaves objection to one’s Lord, Most High.

The first step on the path to Allah is to leave the thing that calls you to turn away from the path to Allah, or that holds you back on the path to Allah, which is what the essence of sin is. May Allah make us of those rush to Him and who draw close to Him. Amin.

I Don’t Feel Content About My Future Husband. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I have gotten to know a good man for marriage. My parents really like him. I have agreed to marry him. But why do I not feel content? I don’t know if I can be with him for the rest of my life.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for the delay.


I encourage you and your fiancé to enrol in and complete this course: Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.

This course contains many gems, and I pray that it will help you attain tranquility about your decision.

Prayer of Guidance

Please perform the Prayer of Guidance up til 7 times about this person, and watch what Allah unfolds for you. For example, if He places many obstacles in your way, then this is a sign that marriage to this man is not good for you. On the other hand, if He makes it very easy, then that is a sign that marriage to this man is good for you.

From what you have described, it looks like Allah is facilitating your path towards marriage to this man. The only obstacle left is your anxiety. Please be assured that everyone gets nervous before a big life decision. This is why we pray istikhara, because Allah knows what we do not. Place your trust in Allah, and take it a step at a time. Fear and worry are weapons of Shaytan, so seek refuge in Allah from his deception.


I encourage you to worship Allah in the last third of the night, even if it is 5 or 10 minutes before the entry of fajr. This is truly a blessed time, and I pray that you find solace in reaching out to your Creator. Increase in your recitation and listening of the Qur’an, and make daily salawat and istighfar.


Within the guidelines of the Shari’ah, I encourage you to bring up your concerns with your fiancé. Is there something specific you are concerned about?

If you cannot think of a specific worry but you have an overall unshakeable anxiety, then perhaps it is worthwhile for you to speak to a culturally-sensitive counsellor. The first year of marriage is a big adjustment, even in the best of circumstances, and it would be wise for you to have supports in place beforehand.

I pray that Allah brings about whatever is best for your dunya and your akhirah, and makes you content with it.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

What Does True Contentment Entail?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalam alaykum,

It is mentioned that the having contentment in the decree of Allah is a thing to strive for. Does it imply passivity through life, along with reliance on Allah? Does it mean not fighting a wrong done to one, or not striving for a promotion at work?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam,

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.

Contentment means (1) having certitude that everything—pleasing and displeasing—is from Allah; and that (2) one will attain good in it and from it by responding in the right way.

This is what the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him and his folk) was referring to when said, “How strange are the affairs of the believer, because all their affairs are good for them. If pleasing things happen to them, they are grateful, and that is good for them. And if displeasing things happen to them, they are patient, and that too is good for them.” [Muslim]

Patience (sabr) isn’t “being passive.” Rather, it is understood as “remaining resolute on what will be pleasing to Allah.”

As for taking the means, these do not go against contentment, patience, or trust in Allah. Rather, the sunna of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) can be summarized in two principles:

[1] Complete trust in Allah; and
[2] Taking the most effective of means, in the best of ways, with confidence in Allah.

Sahl al-Tustari said, “Trust in Allah was the state of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), and taking the means was his way (sunna). So whoever seeks his state must follow his way!” [Bayhaqi, Shu‘ab al-Iman, and others]

Regarding the trust in Allah, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Were you to rely on Allah as He deserves to be relied upon, He would provide for you as He provides for birds. They leave home hungry in the early morning, and return home full in the evening.” [Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, and Ibn Maja, on the authority of Umar (Allah be well pleased with him)] Note, of course, the effort these birds put in (leaving home early, returning late).

Listen to the following podcast lesson, on positive spiritual thinking: the reality of upholding mindfulness and trust in Allah

Please see also:

Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and translator of several Arabic works to the English language. After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersGuidance to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner.

Being Content Without Consumerism

How can we be content with our lives?

Why did the old man in the palace give the young man olive oil when he was asked about the meaning of happiness? Shaykh Ahmad Saad tells us the story, which serves as a powerful reminder for us to be content in whatever situation Allah has placed us in.  The shaykh also gives practical steps in knowing and achieving the “essentials of Qur’anic contentment”.  Our thanks to ISNA Canada for the recording.

Resources on Being Content

Cover photo by Asim Bharwani

Are You Pursuing Happiness?

Are you pursuing happiness? How do we pursue it in the modern world? Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad discusses the meaning and pursuit of happiness in our lives. He eloquently describes the role of religion and specifically Islam in defining and pursuing happiness.

Shaykh-Abdul-Hakim-MuradShaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, also known as Timothy John Winter, is one of the most influential and highly regarded Muslim scholars in the world today. He is Director of Studies (Theology and Religious Studies) at Wolfson College and Shaykh Zayed Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Cambridge University, United Kingdom. He is Dean of the Cambridge Muslim College, which trains imams for British mosques. He has translated a number of books from the Arabic, including several sections of Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya’ Ulum al-Din. He is a frequent international speaker and writer and also a regular contributor to the prestigious BBC Radio 4’s prestigious Thought for the Day.

Resources on happiness:

Cover photo by Muhammad Irfanul Alam.

I Regret Leaving My Well-Paid Job to Raise My Small Children. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I regret leaving my well-paid job to stay home to raise my small children, and I am angry at my husband for encouraging my decision. I don’t like depending on him to provide for me. I don’t always agree with his decisions and as he brings the money in, he gets to decide. What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah grant you a solution to this predicament, and place contentment within your heart.


I strongly encourage both you and your husband to enroll in Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life

A successful Islamic marriage is a partnership based on sincere concern for each other, for the sake of Allah Most High. Leaving all decision-making to your husband is causing you grief and resentment. It’s time to reassess that approach, and replace it with a more Prophetic strategy of mutual consultation. Even though you are not bringing in money to your household, you are bringing about tremendous good by raising your children.


Dear sister, you have the hardest job in the world. You get no sick leave and no end of year bonus. You are on call 24/7, seven days a week, for your small children. You also juggle your roles as a wife, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, friend – the list goes on.

Who do you have to call on for support? Are you able to schedule regular time away from your children, so that you get a chance to rejuvenate? Even if it’s one morning or afternoon a week, please arrange for your parents, in-laws, or husband to look after your children. Schedule a massage, read a book, have coffee with friends, go for a walk – whatever it is that brings you joy. Nourishing your soul is also important. Strive to schedule in daily spiritual refreshers such as listening to or reciting some Qur’an, making dhikr, and so on.


On the one hand, many single mums who are forced to work would envy you. But each of us has our tests, and this is yours.

Is it possible for you to earn a small income working part-time? Would you consider working from home? It won’t be the same as your previous, highly-paid occupation, but perhaps this will provide you with some relief.

Please perform the Prayer of Need as much as you need to, and ask Allah for contentment, and a way out of your difficulty.


Please perform the Prayer of Guidance up to seven times in regards to returning to work. If Allah makes it easy for you to return to work, then that is an answer for you. However, if Allah blocks off your return to work, then that is an answer for you. The test is in submitting to whatever Allah wills for you.

Take responsibility

Abu Huraira reported that Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “A strong believer is better and is more loved to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don’t say: If I had not done that, it would not have happened so and so, but say: Allah did that what He had ordained to do and your” if” opens the (gate) for the Satan.” [Sahih Muslim]

Shifting the blame to external factors will only increase your frustration. Instead, take ownership of your decision to leave your job. Acknowledge the role that others played, especially your husband, and accept that you are now struggling with your decision. Trust that everything happens for a reason. Work on moving forward instead of ruminating on the past. Don’t give Satan the opportunity to create a rift within your marriage.


1) Learn how to effectively communicate your concerns with your husband. If you struggle to do this on your own, then see a therapist, life coach, or counsellor to help you learn better communication skills. It is important that you feel validated, and not only when you bring in an income.
2) Practise asking yourself, “What is my contribution to this situation? How am I making this better or worse for myself?”
3) Make daily shukr for the blessings that you do have.
4) Look into part-time work from home options.
5) Reach out for support from loved ones.

Please refer to the following links:

What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah


Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Should I Shave My Legs to Avoid People’s Mockery?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I really don’t have a lot of hair on my body, including my legs. My friends are mocking me because of that. I was thinking about shaving my legs to promote growth of hair on them but I am afraid that, by doing so, it would show lack of gratitude towards Allah. Can you advise me on the best course to take?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

Ask Allah to grant you contentment, and worship and a disposition which is pleasing to Him.

Each person has a different test. What matters is not the test itself, but the response. And we should strive to be wary of making that response one of objection to Allah’s Choosing.

See also: Contentment, Reliance on Allah, and Pure Intention – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

And Allah alone knows best.

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Dealing With Difficult Decisions – Sidi Yousaf Seyal

It is quite common to find ourselves in situations where we feel we have little or no control over them. We respond in various ways…
Before I proceed, I would like to acknowledge our humanness and understand that God created us weak. We forget, we are emotional, and we sin. God, the Merciful has gifted us with weakness in order to strengthen ourselves for Him, – through remembrance, rationality, and good deeds. This article is not an attempt to change the nature of man himself but to assist him in directing his nature to the One who understands his nature better than himself; God, the Exalted.
I also believe in prophets who have reached a certain level of perfection and saints who are protected by God from sin. Hence, they are human in their physical nature but angelic in their metaphysical state.

Lastly, I speak in the first person (we/our) to relate to those in a similar situation while realizing that I am the weakest of my audience. May God assist us in all of our endeavours, grant us openings that we cannot perceive of, and forgive our shortcomings.
To Proceed
It is quite common to find ourselves in situations where we feel we have little or no control over them. We respond in various ways. We become emotional, try to come up with solutions, seek counsel from friends, buy ourselves an ice cream (or in my case a new H&M cardigan–retail therapy!), etc… In the worst case, we isolate ourselves, become depressed, complain, and give up; and it is only then that we remember to turn to God, the One who put us in this situation to begin with.

When we finally do turn to Him, we often do not know what to ask Him for. Why? Perhaps it is because at this late stage we begin to look at creation through the lens of the Divine Decree, submitting to God alone, rather than looking at it as the cause and effect itself. In other words, we acknowledge our weakness as being slaves of God and turn to Him for His guidance–we submit to our Creator.
Let us first define the terms ‘Decree and Ordainment — al-Qada wal-Qadar’: according to the Ash’aris and the majority of Sunni Orthodoxy,

1) Qada is the pre-eternal will of God that is linked to all things in accordance with what will be brought into existence in the future, such as God’s pre-eternal will to create a person on the face of the earth, and

2) Qadar is the creating (or bringing into being) of all things according to their specific measure that is determined by His Qada.
Belief in God’s decree and ordainment – its good and its evil – is one of the six pillars of faith that every believer must attest to. The Archangel Gabriel, upon whom be peace, approached the Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him, one day and asked him: “What is faith?”, and the Prophet replied: “Faith is to believe in God, the Angels, the Books, the Messengers, the Day of Rising, and the Divine Decree of  its good and its evil.”
God, the Exalted’s decree is not a compulsion of what He ordains but it is His knowledge of the future; God’s ordainment is based on His pre-eternal knowledge of His servant’s choice, good or evil. God has given us choice (kasb) and we should honor this by implementing His commandments and always seeking elevation.
Hence, we do not accuse God of imposing upon us to do other than what we choose to do, good or evil. We are simply a living reality of what was written in the Tablet based on the pre-eternal knowledge of God.
Part of believing in the Divine Decree is also staying content with it. Staying content with the Divine Decree is difficult because, as humans, we tend to focus on ends, rather than taking meaningful steps in life.
dua_handsMaking an Investment
For example at school, our concern is not on learning but to find a job; at work, our concern it to secure our old age by investing in a 401K plan; and in marriage, our concern is not nurturing a healthy family but fulfilling a desire (ain’t no problem with marrying a beautiful spouse but that’s not the only point of marriage akhi!).
Thinking of ends is important; hence, we work towards perfecting our ends but we do so by way of focusing on perfecting our present. This is the spiritual state of the saints who direct their inner-eye to the Lord in every moment (shuhud). Unfortunately, this is not the state of many of us and therefore we must return to God by praying to Him (du’a).
This is not to say that saints do not pray to God but they have acquired a state of contentedness where they focus on the Divine Decree itself. They realize that every manifestation of the Divine Decree on their hands is a trust from God that needs to be returned back to Him with excellence (ihsaan).
We, on the other hand, are not at such a level and need to constantly ask God, the Merciful to grant us commitment, consistency, and contentment by seeking His counsel.
Praying for Assistance
The Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him, prescribed us a prayer called the “Prayer of Assistance” (istikharah) which is a two-unit prayer followed by a du’a, seeking God’s decision through His pre-eternal Knowledge, Power, and Grace, and then concluding it by seeking contentment in the Divine Decree.
The Prayer of Assistance should be followed by another portion of Istisharah which involves seeking the counsel of others, such as friends, elders, and people of knowledge who, God Willing, will direct us to what is best.
God, the Exalted, says:
“And ask the people of remembrance if you do not know. (Quran 21:7)
God has created us as means (not ends) for one another because the human being is naturally a weak creature who finds comfort in others through sympathy, care, and love. The sincere advice of good folk directs us to God in times of difficult decision making.
Seeking the advice of individuals does not conflict with our reliance in God since He has put us in a terrestrial world of means to facilitate us in our celestial expedition to Him. In fact, we would be in a state of contradiction if we did not take the proper means. It would result in neglecting our humanness; our heart should be engaged with God while our limbs should be engaged with creation.
God, the Exalted says:
“Indeed, the believers are siblings to one another, so make peace among your siblings, and be conscious of God, so that you may be granted felicity.” (Quran 49:10)
Every one of us deals with difficult decisions. Dealing with a problem is not the issue itself. The issue is how the problem is handled and directed. If it is not directed to God, the Creator of every situation and means, then who are we directing it to? And if we aren’t turning to Him first, the Sustainer of every moment, then when should we expect Him to turn to us?

It is in this respect that Imam al-Junaid said:

“If a matter saddens you, then the first person you turn to for assistance is your Lord.”
Once again, this is not to neglect taking the means that God has provided for us. It is rather to reflect on how much easier life would be if we made the root of every difficulty God-central. It has been said that every difficulty should be treated like a guest; a guest should be shown appreciation, which requires patience.
Therefore, the etiquette in dealing with a difficult situation requires turning to God by taking the proper means He has provided us with, namely:

1) Contentedness in the Divine Decree,

2) Turning to God through Supplication (Dua), and

3) Returning to creation in Decision Making.
Related video:

Contentment: the Property of the Believers – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus – Video

YouTube – Contentment: the Property of the Believers’ YAHYA RHODUS (USA)


Shaykh Yahya Rhodus courses on SeekersGuidance (


The Marvels of the Heart

‘The Wonders of the Heart‘ is the twenty-first book of the third quarter of the Ihya Ulum al-Din. This short course offers a detailed explanation of the text, and explores the meaning of soul (nafs), spirit (ruh), heart (qalb), and intellect (’aql).


Faith in Divine Unity & Trust in Divine Providence

Based upon Book XXXV of Imam al-Ghazali’s magnum opus “The Revival of the Religious Sciences” (Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din), this course explains the reality of faith in Allah’s Unity (Tawhid) and trust in His Providence (Tawakkul), and how to attain these vital states of the heart.



Interview with One of Egypt’s Neglected Poor

An interview with a poor, elderly Egyptian lady. A thought-provoking reminder for all of us. What sort of perspective do we have on difficulties?