In Islam, times of hardship and tribulations are seen as a test from Allah and can be a means to gain reward. When a Muslim faces hardship, he or she takes a step back from their difficult situation and thinks about it from a higher level. Difficult times are part of Allah’s laws in this universe; they are part of the tests that people go through. A difficulty we go through, on the contrary, could be a learning experience, a reminder, purification from sins and mistakes, a test of patience and perseverance, or all of these together. Allah says:
مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
“Whoever does righteous deeds whether male or female while he (is) a believer, then surely We will give him l a life good, and We will pay them their reward to (the) best of what they used (to) do.” (Surat Al-Nahl, 16:97)
We can emerge from difficult times closer to Allah, stronger, united, more skilled, and more guided, but only if we know how to live through them and respond to them. When a man goes through a difficulty or faces a hardship, he sometimes loses hope, complains or blames those around him. In a certain situation as a Muslim not expected to lose hope in the mercy and blessing of your Lord, regardless of the situation, you find yourself. Allah says:
قَالُوا أَإِنَّكَ لَأَنتَ يُوسُفُ قَالَ أَنَا يُوسُفُ وَهَٰذَا أَخِي قَدْ مَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا إِنَّهُ مَن يَتَّقِ وَيَصْبِرْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
“They said, “Are you indeed, surely you, Yusuf?” He said, “I am Yusuf and this (is), my brother. Indeed, Allah has been gracious to us. Indeed, he who consciously reveres Allah and (is) patient, then indeed, Allah (does) not let go waste (the) reward (of) the good-doers.” (Surat Yousef, 12:90)
When Allah loves a people, He tests them, and whoever accepts it attains His pleasure, whereas whoever shows discontent with it incurs His wrath. Helping others is one of the best ways to bring positivity into your life. Volunteering in a local centre or aiding a family member can bring a smile that may just wipe away all the despair and negativity you were experiencing during your tough time. Allah says:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِي قَرْيَةٍ مِّن نَّبِيٍّ إِلَّا أَخَذْنَا أَهْلَهَا بِالْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَضَّرَّعُونَ
“And not We sent in a city any Prophet except We seized its people with adversity and hardship, so that they may (become) humble.” (Surah Al-Araf, 7:94)
Hardships and calamities are experienced by everyone and it can sometimes be very hard to respond to these calamities when they strike. It may be common for many to lose hope. Reconnecting with the Deen can help in many ways to instil positivity and hope.
Here are some Ayahs to get you through hardship:
- You may hate a thing that is good for you: “You may dislike something although it is good for you, or like something, although it is bad for you.” (Quran 2:216)
- If you believe you will be tested: “Do people think they will be left alone after saying ‘We believe’ without being put to the test?”(Quran 29:2)
- He never burdens a soul beyond what it can bear: “God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear.” (Quran 2:286)
- If Allah desires good for someone he faces hardship: “When Allah (SWT) desires good for someone, He tries him with hardships.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
- The prophets are tested the most: “If Allah afflicts you with any harm, none can relieve you other than Him; and if He blesses you with happiness, you should know that He has power over everything.”(Anam, 6:17)
- Allah does not change your condition until you change: “God does not change the condition of a people unless they change what is in themselves.” (Quran 13:11)
- Allah Tests The Believer: “Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried?” (29:2)
- Rely On Allah Only:“….And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a (decreed) extent.” (65:3)
- Kindness In Character: “Kind words and the covering of faults are better than charity followed by injury. Allah is free of all wants, and He is Most-Forbearing.” (2:263)
- Supplicate To Allah: “When My servant asks thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.” (2:186)
- Avoid Backbiting:
- Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for Allah loves those who do good;- (Surah Al-Imran, 134)
- Before thee, We sent (apostles) to many nations, and We afflicted the nations with suffering and adversity, that they might learn humility. (Surah Al-Anam, 42)
- When We make mankind taste of some mercy after adversity hath touched them, behold! they take to plotting against Our Signs! Say: “Swifter to plan is Allah.” Verily, Our messengers record all the plots that ye make! (Surah Yunus, 21)
- But if We give him a taste of (Our) favours after adversity hath touched him, he is sure to say, “All evil has departed from me:” Behold! he falls into exultation and pride. (Surah Hud, 10)
- So, verily, with every difficulty, there is a relief: (Surah Al-Inshirah, 5)
- Verily, with every difficulty, there is a relief. (Surah Al-Inshirah, 6)
- “Do people think they will be left alone and they will not be tried?..” (29:2)
- “No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things.” (64:11)
Take this adversity as an opportunity to get closer to Allah. Whatever state and level our faith is in, use this time to improve and turn towards Allah, the only one who can turn things around for the better. This is the number one thing to peace of mind. Allah says:
وَقَطَّعْنَاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أُمَمًا مِّنْهُمُ الصَّالِحُونَ وَمِنْهُمْ دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ وَبَلَوْنَاهُم بِالْحَسَنَاتِ وَالسَّيِّئَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ
“And We divided them in the earth (as) nations. Among them (are) the righteous and among them (are) other than that. And We tested them with the good and the bad, so that they may return.” (Surah Al-A`raf 7:168)
Expressing gratitude isn’t about ignoring your current problems. Rather it is about accepting life’s trials and becoming more humble, knowing that it is not us who created our successes and accomplishments, rather it is Allah who brings both hardship and happiness. Knowing there are rewards to benefit from in the end should be a motivation to be positive during turbulent times.
Here are some practical steps to help you face any difficult situation:
- Read the Quran. This Quran is so beautiful that no matter what difficulties you face, you’ll find solace in it.
- Salah. Make sure you stick to praying on time – 5 times a day. Never miss a Salah. Do your best to pray each Salah with sincerity as if it’s your last in this world. No amount of hustle will ever make up for it
- Make Dua (supplication). Simply and directly speak to Allah from your heart through dua. Know that He hears you and will reassure you.
- Give Sadaqah (charity). Give lots of charity, as much as you can. It helps push away hardship. If you can’t give money, even kind words or physical sadaqah will do.
- Set Goals and Have Vision. Don’t let Shaytaan play with you and keep replaying the video of your hardship in your mind again and again. Move on! Set new goals, new projects. Remember you’re with Allah, so nothing should stop you!
- Wake up Early. Wake up before fajr and work on your ideas and projects, or simply read the Quran. Getting busy before daybreak is a definite way to move away from your hardship and overcome challenges.
- Hardship is Not Lost. Remember, Allah will never forget the injustice/hardship you faced, so don’t worry about seeking revenge or trying to get justice
Going through distress and calamity should not mean sleepless nights and being miserable. A great deal of negativity can occur when not taking care of yourself properly. Keep some time out for yourself just to reflect and have a peace of mind. Allah says:
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
“Those who believed and find satisfaction their hearts in the remembrance (of) Allah. No doubt, in the remembrance of Allah find satisfaction the hearts.” (Surah Ar-Ra ’d, 13:28)
Even in times of struggle, it is important to stop and take an opportunity to express gratitude for the positive things happening in your world today. Practice gratitude. Remind yourself of all the blessings you have and talk about these things with the ones who are closest to you. Acknowledging the positive things in your life will make you calmer, even when bad things happen.