Author: Maria Zain | Source: onislam.net
Every human being comes into this world by decree of Allaah, and with him or her, carries a life journey that has been pre-ordained, written and endorsed by Allaah Himself, a unique path, a journey throughout a temporary abode, one that is full of obstacles, challenges, punishments and plenty of rewards.
For Muslims la-ilaha-illallaah (There is no deity, save for Allaah), is more than just a saying of conviction, rather it embodies the entirety of being Muslim. “And put your trust in Allaah, if you are believers indeed.” (Qur’an, 5:23)
When a Muslim says this first part of the shahadah, (the testimonial of faith for Muslims), he/she is submitting in totality to the will of Allaah, for the simple reason, there is no deity worthy of worship, save for Allaah.
This may sound simple for some: Just eliminate, for example, statues of worship, or do not submit to any other religious structure. Unfortunately, the human being is easily tempted by other forms of worship, such as a career-path, money, power and a relationship. When this happens, this person’s focus of worship changes into one that is geared toward worldly pleasures and instead of seeking Allaah’s pleasures in life; he or she may become overly focused on his or her object of obsession. “But sufficient is your Lord as a Guide and Helper.” (Qur’an, 25: 31)
For a person who forgets the belief in one single God, it is easier for him or her to fall into sadness, and even clinical depression when the going gets tough. But believers are reminded that “Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allaah has ordained for us.” (Qur’an, 9:51) and are often reminded that there will always be challenges in life that will force them to think and reflect and each challenge has actually been uniquely tailored to fit each person’s situation, surroundings, personality and physical/spiritual or mental strength.
Whether it is the short-change of a promotion, another failed IVF cycle, a difficult final year exam paper, a falling out with a friend, a horrible illness, an attack on a Masjid or the loss of a loved one, those who practice tawakkul — the complete trust in Allaah — will be able to handle the situation in a more positive light, as compared to someone who did not have that trust.
There are many ways to achieve tawakkul. And even if one is certain of one’s trust in Allaah, a booster shot would never hurt the heart or soul.
Spend time to reflect, shed tears.
No human being can escape sadness. But in Islam, there is a way to feel less sorrow or grief, by invoking Allaah to provide strength and patience. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) described his tears over the death of his son, Ibrahim, as part of his humanness. “Verily with hardship, there is relief.” (Qur’an, 96:6)
Tears that come from the eyes and the heart are from Allaah, as with that come sincerity. Shedding tears allows negative emotions to be released rather than transforming into self-consuming anger or bitterness that could eventually destroy one’s tawakkul. However, crying alone is not enough if it is not accompanied with reflective wisdom. Although Allaah catches every tear of a true believer, an overdose of sadness can lead to depression, which is also dangerously self-consuming. “Remember Me, by praying, glorifying, and I will remember you.”(Qur’an, 2:152)
Within the realm of sadness, Muslims need to remember that there are ways of remembering Allaah, may it be through du’a (invocations), prayers such as istikharah (the prayer for guidance), and even zikr (constant remembrance of Allaah). Allaah promises: “For those who are resolute, He will send down calmness and tranquility upon them.”
Although some prayers are best done during certain times of the day or night, invocations and zikr have no time limits, and one can continue strengthening his or her relationship with God while carrying out the normal errands or chores. It is said that Allaah thinks about those who think about Him the most, so by constantly remembering Allaah in times of difficulty, a Muslim solidifies the belief that with every adversity comes a reward.
Remember that what Allaah takes away from a person, there is a plan behind it. Most of the time, Allaah rewards a Muslim, especially a patient one, with something better, because Allaah knows best.
Although tawakkul denotes complete trust in Allaah, every Muslim needs to plan for the next course of action when a challenge presents itself. Sitting back in anger or frustration is akin to giving up in many situations. Allaah loves those who help themselves, who better themselves and who are constantly striving to achieve their goals or overcome problems for His sake. Getting a grip of the situation allows a person to understand why he or she is facing a certain obstacle.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said, (He who Allaah wishes for good, He will firstly inflict him with hardship.) Thus a believing Muslim picks up from calamities and constructively embraces the situation in stride.
One could ask constructively: Why did this happen to me? If I have made any mistakes that may have angered Allaah, how shall I repent? What could have I done to avoid this situation? What should I do now that would please Allaah? What valuable lessons can I learn from this problem? How shall I make myself a better Muslim for the sake of Allaah?