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How Can We Say Allah Loves Us, yet He Puts Us in Difficulty?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Allah is putting me through test after test.
I understand that life is meant to be a test but what I don’t understand is how you can test someone that you love? Surely if Allah loves us, He should try and help us and ease our worries. I have done a lot of acts of worship but things are only getting worse…

Shouldn’t we just all hope to die?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah grant you tremendous relief after all of your heartache.

Tribulations

“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, which people are most severely tested?’ He said: ‘The Prophets, then the next best and the next best. A person is tested according to his religious commitment. If he is steadfast in his religious commitment, he will be tested more severely, and if he is frail in his religious commitment, his test will be according to his commitment. Trials will continue to afflict a person until they leave him walking on the earth with no sin on him.’ [Ibn Majah]

Trials are an inevitable part of this life. Reflect on the stories of the Prophets (upon them be blessings and peace), and how much they were tested. Being in the dunya can be unbelievably painful. It can also contain tremendous joy. All this passes – the good of it, and the bad of it. I pray that Allah grants you a multitude of ways to cope, out of His Mercy. InshaAllah your heartache is expiation for you, and an elevation of your rank in Jannah.

Losing hope

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “None of you should wish for death because of a calamity that has afflicted him, but if he must do something he should say: O Allah, keep me alive so long as life is good for me and cause me to die if death is better for me.” [Sahih Bukhari]

“Verily, with the hardship, there is relief.” [Qur’an, 94:6]

Dear sister, please do not despair and wish for death. For as long as you are alive, the doors of repentance remain open. Trust that Allah’s promise is true. Verily after every hardship is ease. Although you might not feel this right now, take a deep breath, exhale, and reflect on the moments in your life where Allah granted you ease after difficulty. Have a good opinion of your Lord. Shaytan wants to trick you into despair, so safeguard yourself from his trap.

Purpose of Hardship

Please take the time to read this brilliant explanation on Suffering and Divine Wisdom, and take the time to reflect on the role of suffering in our journey towards Allah.

Creation

One of the realities of being a created being is accepting that we cannot place demands on our Creator. Allah does whatever He wills. At the same time, remember His Mercy.

Alhamdulilah, all of your acts of worship are praiseworthy, so please continue them, but shift your attitude. Surrender to His Decree, instead of holding onto this idea of a transaction: “If I do x then Allah will give me y.” Allah is under no obligation to answer our duas on our timeline, as painful as this can be for us. Seek comfort in the reality that there is always, always, always wisdom in what He withholds, and in what He gives us, as much as it can hurt.

Solutions

1.Perform the Prayer of Need during the last third of the night. Come to Allah, brokenhearted. Beg Him for relief.

2.Reflect on your contribution to your difficulty. Do you need to repent? Is there someone you have wronged? Seek to redress these immediately.

3.Continue to give in charity and make dua for ease.

4.When you perform these acts of worship, do so with an attitude of humility.

5.It sounds like you are overwhelmed and in need of help. Could you find a kind therapist, psychologist or life coach to speak to? Do you have good friends or family members who can give you a listening ear?

6.Exercise daily, eat nourishing foods and get enough sunshine.

Please refer to the following links:

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

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment? [Follow-Up Questions]

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalamu alaykum,
I have follow-up questions regarding this answer: How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment?
1) Can you further distinguish between expiation of sins vs raising of ranks?
2) Specifically, how is calmness distinct from mere patience?
3) How is contentment distinct from merely avoiding complaining?
4) What is obedience of heart? (versus mere obedience of body)?
5) If we find ourselves in the first category or second (i.e. that of sins or expiation of sins), can we “raise” the purpose/goal of the trial through intentionally altering the “symptoms” i.e. complaining less, so that it becomes an expiation of sin rather than a punishment?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
(1) Expiation of sins is for them to be covered over, which is distinct from being raised in degrees.
(2) Patience is remaining firm upon that which will be pleasing to Allah. Calmness is serenity after uneasiness and worry. [see: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah]
(3) Contentment is the heart’s joy at the unfolding of destiny. [see: Contentment: the Property of the Believers – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus – Video and: Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life] Complaint is objecting to Allah. [see: Things Inconsistent With Accepting Fate – Imam Ghazali]
(4) Obedience of the heart can include actions which pertain to the heart such as sincerity, trueness, and good opinion, as opposed to obedience of the body, such as prayer and fasting.
(5) Yes, and this realization is a gift from Allah.
See also: Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Abuse and Breaking the Ties of Kinship

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: As-salamu alaykum,
Fisrt: Can you please tell me the Islamic ruling for a person who wants to distance themselves from a family who repeatedly subject them to various kinds of abuse such as emotional, discrimination, neglect almost on an everyday basis over many years, with no signs of stopping?
Second: is it permissible for this person to talk about their situation to other people in order to get help, without the fear of punishment from Allah, especially when it comes to parents due to their high status?
Third: is it better for this person to remain patient with the calamity Allah has decreed and only seek help from Allah alone through prayer, supplication etc. or should they also seek help from the people; who would qualify as the right people to contact?
Fourth: if this person forgives the family, even if they do not ask for forgiveness, what will be their state in the eyes of Allah in this life and the life to come? Also what will be the state of the person being abused in the eyes of Allah in this life and the life to come?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
(1) Harm is to be avoided. You should get in touch with somebody who can assist directly in your situation.
(2) Yes, it is permissible. However, do so in a manner that is not simply venting. See: When is Backbiting Permissible?
(3) No, we are called upon to take the means. Nobody said to sit still and suffer. Seek out somebody who can help. As for whom, it depends on the situation. Consider getting in touch with a local, reliable scholar.
(4) Forgiving those who have wronged one is from the high, noble sunna. Allah knows well the difficulties people face. Stay strong, ask Allah to lift the trial, pray the Prayer of Need [see: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?], seek out some righteous company, and keep asking Allah for help.
And see: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and: How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment?
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Is Allah Punishing me for my Past Sins through the Trials in my Life?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Salam  Alaykum
I have just become infertile and I want to know if I caused it by sinning in my past or if it was always destined to happen? I am afraid of losing everything else. I always thought everything that occurs was pre ordained now I’m afraid it was my fault.
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
No, trials aren’t necessarily the result of sins. [see: How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment?]
Have a good opinion of Allah, remove the unlawful from your life, repent from all sin, get up before Fajr and pray, asking Allah to give you contentment (rida) and make the trial easy to bear, and work on your state with Allah, striving for an increase in gratitude and patience.
Please also see: Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a and: Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life and: Can Supplication Change Destiny? and: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: My family and I are currently going through a lot of difficulties. My question is, how does one differentiate between a test from Allah and a punishment? What should we do in either case?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states. May Allah grant you and your family ease and relief from your trials, amin.

Some Criteria and General Advice

One’s own behavior during the trial is a strong clue as to why the trial was sent.

It is related that Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jaylani (Allah have mercy on him) said that trials occur for one of three reasons, each of which has a sign:

(1) Due to sins, the sign of which is the person’s lack of patience and much restlessness and complaining during the trial; or

(2) As expiation for sins, the sign of which is patience and not complaining or being restless, along with obedience being easy on the body; or

(3) As a way to raise one’s rank to the highest of degrees, the sign of which is contentment and calmness, along with obedience being easy on both the body and the heart.

[Nahlawi, Al-Durar al-Mubaha fil Hazr wal Ibaha]

In any case, one should strive to remove the unlawful from one’s life; seek much forgiveness and make much repentance; and focus on being patient and content with Allah’s decree, all the while continuing to make dua that Allah bring ease and relief from the trial.

Related Answers

How Do I Cope With the Constant Hardships and Challenges in My Life?

A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

Family Problems: Maintaining Conviction in Allah During Difficulty & Tribulation

Advice to a Young Cancer Patient

Prophetic Supplications to Cure Illnesses

Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a

 

And Allah knows best.

wassalam
Faraz

Checked and Approved by Faraz Rabbani