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Being Patient Despite Financial Hardship

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat advises on how to bear the trials and hardships that one faces with patience and acceptance.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I’m a young adult and it seems my family and I have never ending financial difficulties. I feel we are all doing our best, yet we struggle even with meeting our daily needs sometimes. The fact that money controls a lot in your life is taking a toll on me.

This question can go much deeper because everyone has different circumstances but what I”m trying to get at is how do I make sure I’m being patient, pleased with, and grateful when I feel so beaten down by life.

Is there a specific dua you would recommend? At times I do get angry and discontented with my situation. and often at myself because I feel like I’m not helping out in my family financially as much as I should. What limits me is my mental illness, I can’t really function due to it. Any advice will be appreciated.

Thank you.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Everyone is tested in life. The tests are not necessarily a bad thing. Allah changes us through the tests for the better. Sometimes we feel pain because others hurt us, and sometimes our situation in general pushes us to the limit of what we can bear.

Throughout all of this one should remember the words of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, “[I am truly] amazed at the affair of the believer. Everything that happens to him is the best for him – and that is not the case for anyone except the believer! If good times come to him He is grateful and that is best for him. And if difficulties come to him he is patient and that is better for him.”

It is important to note that the one expressing wonder here in this hadith is the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. He was granted more knowledge of the reality of things than anyone else created by Allah. If he was amazed by the great consequences of the tests a believer faces in life, then we should realize that everything that happens to a believer is a gift from our Loving Lord.

Allah Makes Us Grow Through Trials

Our difficulties do not leave us as the people we were before we were tested with them. This growth is on many levels – but most importantly, it is a means of drawing closer to Allah. The key to it is patience.

Patience (Sabr), in many prophetic narrations, is connected to expecting a reward from Allah (Ihtisab). This means that one of the means to getting through a difficulty is to keep your focus on the rewards Allah has promised His believing servants. This will help you look beyond your immediate difficulties and see the bigger picture.

Maryam – the Mother of Isa

It is possible to become overwhelmed with emotions when in very difficult situations, as was the case with Sayyidi Maryam when she was giving birth the prophet Isa, Allah bless them and our Messenger, and give them all peace.

She was from a family of righteous people with prophets as relatives and ancestors. She had been known for righteousness, and had been pledged to worship in the synagogue by her mother from before her birth. She was the paragon on virtue, religiousness, and chastity. And suddenly she found herself all alone, giving birth to a child who had no father.

Imagine all her feelings, her pain, her worry, her fear of people leveling accusations against her out of ignorance, and what her family must endure because of it. All of this, combined with the difficulties of labor made her say, “O how I wish that I had died long before this, or that I was some worthless object, forgotten.” (Sura Maryam 19:23).

Shaykh Ahmad ibn Ajiba, when commenting on this verse said that it is possible to say something unbecoming when overwhelmed by a situation, but one should not stay in such a state. How? By looking at those before us, and how their trials ended up being the means of them being raised above others.

She gave birth to one of the greatest of the prophets, and someone through whom Allah will give the ultimate victory to the Muslims through at the End of Times. She attained the highest rank of iman a believer can be blessed with and was used as a role model for believing women in the Qur’an. She is fortunate to be the mother of Isa, and he is also blessed to be her son.

Where are all these virtues, and where is the pain she experienced in those fleeting moments?

Practical Steps

Keep reminding yourself that Allah – the All-Merciful – is using this test as a means of making you draw closer to Him. He has been giving you blessings all your life. In reality, if we think about matters, we live better than many kings did in the past. Just the blessing of being able to flush your waste down the toilet, and not having to haul it outside to dispose of it is something many people could not do without.

Shaykh Ahmad b. Ataʾillah advised us, “Let the pain of your tribulation be lightened by your knowing that it is He – Transcendent beyond imperfections is He  – who is the one testing you. The one from whom the blows of fate have come is the very same being who has accustomed you to Him choosing the best for you.” (Ibn Ataʾillah, al-Hikam).

If he has granted you priceless gifts such as faith, He certainly has a plan for you. Watch it unfold.

Seek Treatment

You mental issues clearly play a part in your difficulties. Seek medical treatment and try to keep the company of people who will inspire and support you. This is critical. You cannot rise if you spend time with people who kick you down.

One Day at a Time

Don’t worry about the next week, month, or year. Live each day with your concern being the five prayers, and thanking Allah for what you do have in them. Worrying about the long term leads to anxiety.

Part of the trick here is letting things unfold as they do. Resisting leads to pain. Let things happen. Allah will take care of you. Remembrance of Allah helps a great deal with this. Send blessings on the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, with the focus on Allah raising His rank and giving him more blessings. This will help avert your focus on your own pain.

Ask Allah

Whatever the difficulty is – financial or otherwise – the only one who can fix things in reality is Allah. Turn to Him, pray for others in a similar situation, and you’ll see a response. Even if it takes a while to come. It will come.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim.

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

 


 

Why Does Islam Seem So Difficult to Follow?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Why are there so many rules in Islam which are really difficult to follow? Allah does not need us, so why does He punish us if we disobey him?

Answer: Wa’alaikum assalam, jazakum Allah khayr for your question. When anything in life, including religion, becomes difficult or overwhelming, it’s important to take a step back to give yourself some breathing space. You’ve already taken a step in the right direction by asking.

Moral and legal responsibility

The objective of religion is the benefit of mankind in this life and the next. In this life, religion provides the necessary guidance for both individual and social prosperity, as well as providing clear boundaries in which to conduct one’s worldly affairs. The fulfillment of these goals leads to felicity in the afterlife as well.

Like any code of law, the shariah should not be made too difficult for people, but at the same, because this life is a temporary test, and like all other tests (think of exams and interviews!), there is obviously some hard work, struggle, and sacrifice required. The result of which is the eternal bliss of Paradise.

This is why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Paradise is surrounded by hardships and the Hellfire is surrounded by desires’ [al Bukhari, Muslim]. Imam Nawawi, explaining this hadith says, ‘It means that nothing will help you to reach Jannah except experiencing hardships. … Hardships include striving in worship and persevering upon that, and patience in the face of hardships.’ [Sharh Sahih Muslim]

Everything in steps

The Qur’an tell us that, ‘Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship’ [2:185], and that, ‘On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear’ [2:286].

This approach to the religion is corroborated by many hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), one of them being, ‘Religion is easy, and no one overburdens himself in his religion but he will be unable to continue in that way. So do not be extremists, but try to be near perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.’ [al Bukhari, Muslim]

Religious practice has to be sensible, so that we do not become so overwhelmed that we’re repulsed by the religion, or repulse others from it. The middle way is to go gently, and keep building our faith and practice gradually. One should not take on too much that it becomes unbearable, yet not do so little that one remains stagnant and stale. It is akin to learning to swim, too shallow and you go nowhere, too deep and you’ll drown.

In practice, this means,

1. Start with the absolutely obligatory acts and avoid major sins. Ensure you are fulfilling others rights as much as possible.

2. Gradually add emphasized supererogatory acts and do one’s best to avoid minor sins.

3. Continue like this until you feel like you want to push into an extra gear in the religion, in learning, practice and observance.

4. Throughout all this, keep learning about the religion by taking beneficial courses that are manageable for you, and attending useful lectures. I recommend a mixture of seerah and tafsir with some basic aqidah and fiqh. The heart and soul need to continually be reminded of knowledge and words of wisdom in order to be motivated to act and to grow.

As you develop in the religion, you will naturally be able to observe more of it and adapt, and at each stage it won’t seem hard or overwhelming. More importantly, the law will stop being simple outward actions, but rather inspired and filled with the spirit of the law, which stems from the love of Allah and His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). At this point, even difficult actions become easy, second nature, and even preferred.

This is the meaning of the Hadith Qudsi, in which Allah Most High informs us, ‘My slave approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him, and My slave keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him.’ [al Bukhari].

Allah does not need us so why punish us for disobeying Him?

It’s true, Allah doesn’t need us, but we do need him for everything, including our very existence. Unlike humans, who act on motives and reasons, Allah has no motives in rewarding or punishing us, because He has no need of anyone or anything. If He wanted, He could punish the righteous and reward the disobedient. Any reward for obedience is purely from the Magnanimity of Allah, and any punishment for disobedience is from His Justness.

For this reason, everything in the Shariah is exclusively for our benefit, whether human wisdom can perceive it or not. Therefore, try to be optimistic and go gently with yourself and others, but always moving forward in the religion, and make Allah your recourse in all that you do. He won’t let you down.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Are My Problems Due to Evil Eye?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalam’aleykum

A project of mine has been afflicted with problem after problem, on multiple fronts. I just can’t explain where these problems are coming from. The worry and stress are making me unwell.

Is it possible it could be due to evil eye? Just in case it is, what can I do to alleviate?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

The most important adab in seeking is complete neediness to Allah. Take this as an opportunity to turn to Him, in utter need—need for the Fulfiller of needs, rather than the needs themselves—and He will respond. The response will be in the best of ways, in the best of times, on condition of patience, gratitude, and trust in Him.

Three practices that facilitate trust in Allah are:

1. Perform the prayer of need (salat al-haja):

How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?

2. Recite this brief Prophetic supplication, regularly:

Some Prophetic Supplications for Difficulty and Distress

3. Many of our teachers, including Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, recommend this practice, an application of a Qur’anic invocation:

After Isha, recite Hasbuna’l Llahu wa ni`ma’l Wakeel (Allah is our sufficiency and is the best of guardians) 450 times, sitting alone in a quiet room, facing the qibla, in state of wudu, with reflection on its meanings.

This is taken from the Qur’anic praise of true believers, in Surah Aal-Imran:

“Those whose faith only increased when people said, ‘Fear your enemy: they have amassed a great army against you,’ and who replied, ‘God is enough for us: He is the best protector,’ returned with grace and bounty from God; no harm befell them. They pursued God’s good pleasure. God’s favour is great indeed.” [3.173-175]

[What About the Evil Eye?]

The greatest protection from all harm is complete trust in Allah, and remaining in remembrance of Allah. Allah Most High says, “And whoever places their trust in Allah, He is indeed their sufficiency.” [Qur’an, 65.3] And He says, “In the Name of Allah, by whose name nothing on earth nor in the heavens can harm one, and He is indeed All-Hearing, and All-Knowing.”

With that, recite Ayat al-Kursi, and the Three Qul’s upon waking, before sleep, and after every obligatory prayer—striving for presence of heart, and with complete trust in Allah.

Means Are a Test

Means are a test in life: our success is simple in sincerity, and right striving—and right responses when we have testing choices. Leave results, ultimately, to Allah Most High.

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

Why Do Fellow Muslims Mock My Name and Ignore Me?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: In English my name is linked with a swear word. The entire school hears my name and starts mocking me. Later they make fun of my personality. I study in a Islamic school filled with Muslims. So answer me: why do my own Muslim brothers make fun of me and ignore my friendship?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Troubles and difficulties in life can be a means of expiation of sins and a raising of one’s rank to the highest of degrees. There are hidden blessings in tests.
As such, and when in troubled times, return back to Allah. Renew your repentance, resolve to follow His Commands and abstain from His Prohibitions, be firm in seeking out truth, keep the company of the righteous, attend gatherings of remembrance and learning, work on your taqwa and character, and live Islam.
Allah Most High says, “And whoever is mindful of Allah, He will grant them a way out, and will provide for them in ways unimagined. And whoever places their trust in Allah, then Allah is their sufficiency. Allah’s affair will surely come to pass–and Allah has made a clear decree for everything.” [Qur’an, 65. 2-3]
Consider making some of the supplications mentioned here: What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
May Allah make you of the greatest of His awliya.
Please also see: How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment? and: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and: The Believer’s Clarity When Tested: The Power of Patience and Prayer in Responding to Tests and Trials and: Qur’anic Reflections: Divine Tests and the Great Virtue of Steadfast Patience
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani