Sustaining Faith

( Trusting God through trials verses / How can I be grateful to Allah in hard times? )

Everything seemed to fall out of place for Rawda. She wasn’t sure how she reached this state or how her life turned from a smooth, well-planned journey into one being swirled up with disasters. Few months back, she had a life changing experience where she entered into the religion of Islam, finally being able to understand the true purpose of this life. However, in just few months everything seemed to be falling out of place. She suffered heavy losses in her personal and professional life, which no friend or family could understand and every endeavour she took up seemed to fail.

This was definitely not what she had signed up for and she didn’t fully understand why all this was happening. One morning after praying ‘Fajr’, she sat down to recite the Quran and came upon this verse:

Do people think once they say, “We believe,” that they will be left without being put to the test? We certainly tested those before them. And in this way Allah will clearly distinguish between those who are truthful and those who are liars. (Surah Al Ankabut, Verse 2-3)

It shook her. She kept reading the verse over and over. Though it made perfect sense to her, she wasn’t able to move pass it and wanted to further understand what Allah (swt) was communicating. She picked up her cell phone and started her research on people who are new to the religion.

She came across the struggles of many like her, who accepted Islam as their way of life and once they put their trust in Allah (swt), when they gave their life in His hand, they were tested severally. She also came across the below hadith:

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon) said: ‘The most severely tested people are the prophets, then the next best, then the next best. A man will be tested in accordance with his level of commitment to God.’

Things started to make sense to Rawda. It was not Allah’s choice to test people, rather it is people who themselves ask for it. Those who expect Allah (swt) to save them from hell fire and admit them into ‘jannah’ by His grace, are driven to do the bare minimum required to attain this status. Then, there are those who ask for more, those like Rawda, who kept making supplication during ‘tahajjud’ for higher levels of ‘jannah’. She never realised that the higher one aims for, the more they will be tested. It happened unconsciously. She believed that Islam will make this life easy for her and all she has to do is understand how to attain what she wants. She never did once realise that she will be tested severally for all that she wants.

Nevertheless, this is what was happening. ‘So, what do I do now,’ she thought to herself. ‘Should I redecide what I want, but won’t that take me away from Allah (swt). At least to some extent? Or should I just continue on this path which is difficult? It feels so exhausting that I might even lose the little bit of faith I once had,’ she calculated, filled with negativity and distress.  

‘It was easy to choose between hell and heaven. It was even easier to choose between doing good and giving up on the bad. These choices only make a person better. Nothing to lose there. But the choice between this life and the next is extremely difficult to make,’ she thought while browsing through other verses of the Quran.

But as for a human, whenever his Sustainer tries him by His generosity and by letting him enjoy a life of ease, he says, “My Sustainer has been generous towards me”; whereas, whenever He tries him by tightening his means of livelihood, he says, “My Sustainer has disgraced me!” But nay. (Surah Al Fajr, Verse 15-17)

There were many blessings in her life she could be thankful for even now. Though things weren’t perfect but the truth is when are they ever perfect. This world is not meant for perfection. The life of this world is a test. How else will we deserve a higher status infront of Allah (swt). ‘If I give up now, I will lose Allah’s mercy, His love, His guidance. Is this world really worth that? I can’t do that,’ she thought. Now that she was questioning herself, it didn’t seem like a sensible bargain. Loosing things in this life felt better than losing an eternity under Allah’s pleasure.

Few days after taking this decision, Rawda received a call from a friend. She invited her to join in her business. A colleague of her had left and a vacancy had come up. Rawda couldn’t believe that it was all happening so quickly.  While at work, her friend happened to introduce her to a guy who was looking for a potential bride. Within few days, Rawda was employed and engaged.

On the day of her wedding, everything around her was bustling and loud noises filled the room. People were laughing with beaming bright smiles. Rawda was dressed in the most beautiful blue and white bridal gown. She was standing near the window, waiting for the ceremony to begin when for a moment she happened to look up at the sky. ‘I know this is all your mercy and love,’ she whispered, as a tear dropped from her eye and spread across her smiling lips.

“So, surely with hardship comes ease. Surely with that hardship comes more ease. So once you have fulfilled your duty, strive in devotion” (Surah Ash Sharh, Verse 5-7)