How to cope with adversity? Spiritual-Islamic View

How to cope with adversity?

Spiritual-Islamic View

By Nida Jawed

In Oct 2016, mother of three and 3 months pregnant with twins gets the devastating news that her husband has stage 4 blood cancer.  Her world cripples down with no help and nowhere to turn except Allah.  Doctors had decided to put her husband through chemo and radiation during which she was not allowed to be present and be with her husband due to her pregnancy.  Every single night turned into a battle, she feared the loss of her husband, birth of her children, and uncertainty of the future with her three children.  Doctors show little to no hope on her husband’s condition.  Her due date was Feb 25th, 2017.  The months between Oct 2016 and Feb 2017 were the hardest this woman ever endured and bared patience to.  During this time she did her best to keep her children safe, took care of her husband, and prayed to Allah as if she had never called on him before.  She had never imagined she will have to be the strongest during the weakest moments of her life.

” Allah Doesn’t burden a soul beyond that it can bear.” – Surah Baqarah/ Verse 286

Two weeks before the birth of her children, her husband had his final scan after going through the agonizing treatment. Doctors witnessed a miracle, he was clean of cancer cells; wife in a state of prostration, thanked Allah as she never thought her husband will get to see their twins.  End of Feb 2017, she gave birth to twin boys, and her husband was present to witness the birth.  Today,  Alhumdililllah they are going through normal struggles of raising five kids together, and not taking a single moment for granted.

This wonderful woman’s story of patience and its reward is a lesson for anyone who finds his/herself hopeless in the time of a test.  I got to witness this whole experience as she found support in my words, and strength in my advice.  However, her determination and will was the strongest I had ever witnessed.  Thus, her reward was most deserving.

Realizing Allah wants us to find our strength:

Our difficulties and our weaknesses become unbearable at times, the tests from Allah make us feel as if we are lost, “Is Allah not listening? Why am I being punished?” These questions are just a fraction of what goes through an individual’s mind.   However, the answers we seek are not very far, Allah says, ” call to me and I will answer.”  He wants to strengthen our faith,  us, and he wants us to communicate/pray to him, he wants us to show patience rather than bickering, he wants us to be guided.   The chains of our pain suffocate us, and our faith is the key to set ourselves free.  How we cope with our struggles is more of a mindset, staying positive though is a process; however, we shall, inshallah, find peace as we learn to cope and practice his guidance.

” And we will surely test you with something of fear,  and hunger and loss of wealth, and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.”  -Surah Baqarah/ Verse 100

First, we have to come to an understanding that there is no escaping a test.   It is in Quran, and it is guaranteed.  Scary right?  However, it is also in the same Quran that,

with every hardship, comes ease.” – Surah Al-Inshirah/ 94:4

Not before, not after, WITH!  The keyword is “WITH”  but in our moment of struggle, we become so consumed by our pain, we feel neglected and abandoned by Allah that we don’t really try to see where he has offered us “ease”?

For example,  there is a child who is learning to walk, he falls when he stands on his own, stands up again, takes a few steps, and falls again.  His tiny mind maybe fearing to fall and maybe wondering why he can’t stand?  He trusts his mother though, she holds his tiny hand, and help’s him walk, and she helps him each time he falls.  This child now has developed trust in his mother that she will be there to catch him if he falls.  Slowly he gains confidence, strength, and faith in his own abilities; now he grabs a chair, sofa, table, and walks around.  Soon, this child learns not just to walk but also to run!

Allah loves us 70 times more than a mother.  We all struggle to learn new things,  we fear falling, we fear loss,  we fear change, and we fear risk and chances; nevertheless, our Allah has given us the promise to never burden us with more than we bare.  Like a mother who grabs her child’s hand, Allah has asked us to raise our hands in prayers, ask for help, and audience.  He will teach us how to break through chains of our pain, he will help us in learning to walk as we embrace change.   Once he shows us the way, we will discover our strength and be pleasing to Allah; we will not just walk, we will then run!

Evaluating and checking ourselves: 

“Allah will not change the condition of people until they change what is in themselves.” ( 13:11)

Second, we have to stop and take a moment to breathe,  and evaluate ourselves, and our situation.  We have to see what choices we have made, where we have been, where we are going, and where we want to be?  We have to see what has gotten us where we stand.  We have to really look into our circumstances that are causes of our choices.  As we pray we have to decide and evaluate where we stand, how can we change, and where to go from here?

The truth of the matter is,  the moment of struggle has fallen upon us because, Allah wants you to “change something.”  When we are happy we are content.  We do not change what seems perfect; however, when we are put in a test, we rethink our choices,  in some cases we are forced to make choices we wouldn’t otherwise.  Our struggles also show us our capabilities.   Our struggles can make us bitter or better; but as long as we work on strengthening our faith, we will come out a better person, Insha’Allah.

Furthermore,  as we work on our faith, acceptance, and realization that Allah does not want the worst for us, we have to open our eyes, and acknowledge that this world was a punishment for Adam and Eve.  Every single prophet who has walked on this planet was put through tests and struggles tougher than ours.  Our Prophet PBUH was tested and we are ordered to follow his example,  his life, and his hadiths to solve our matters, and know how to act.

What is the difference between the prophets and us? What makes us so special that we question Allah and complain, while these prophets kept thanking Allah for the struggles?  The major difference is that the prophets knew the world is a test and had no love for this world in their heart.  They realized their purpose is to make people aware of the existence of one God and make them aware of right from wrong.  The companions and the Muslims of that era put all their bounties in the line for the sake of Allah, believing his promises.

Taqwa,

“And whoever fears Allah – He will make a way out for him.  And will provide for him from where he does not expect.” At-Talaq 2-3

Tawakkul

“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. “ At-Talaq 3

followed by Prayer, repentance, and Charity.

We, as Muslims of today also need to put the love of this world on the palm of our hands.  Heartbreaks happened because we love the creation more than the creator.  We love our homes, our families, and our blessings that Allah has provided for us, forgetting we are tested with happiness and sadness.  We fall in love with our material so hard and deep that we panic each time we break a plate, each time our loved one gets sick, we suffer financial loss, our loved one passes away and or even worse calamity strikes us.  We are so afraid of a thought of loss.

May Allah protect us all from harsh tests, Ameen.

Positive mindset:

The most important thing we can do for ourselves when we are going through the struggle is to “remain positive”.  Our religion is very optimistic, or trust in Allah is optimistic.  Often time, our attitude towards the hardship, calamity, and struggle is more of what causes stress, then the given situation itself.  Overthinking causes us to create worse scenarios for ourselves because we are expecting it, or fear gets the best of us.  We do not show faith and we show no positivity.  We end up developing the “know it all” attitude making our struggle worse, we end up deciding the worst,  rather than utilizing our recourses and asking for help, our ego and devil’s whispers push us in uncertainty, we start losing faith.   This negativity is the worst thing we can do to ourselves.

Staying positive seems easier said than done; however, be grateful to Allah as he has surely saved us from a worse of the struggles before.  We should notice how far we have arrived in life, and not be concern about how far we have still have to go.  Turn back to Allah when struggling.  He has brought us to it, he will take us through it, Insha’Allah.

How can we help ourselves?

alone man person sadness
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

1)  We should keep the favors of Allah on our palms and remember they are gifts we have received from him.  He has granted them to us, he has favored us, he can also take them away from us.  If we lose the favor of this world, then it will surely be replaced with something better.

2)  If the calamity is such that it is unexpected and out of our control, then bare patience and pray.  We should think about where Allah is granting us ease at this moment and where will we find peace.  Surely, what we are struggling with is better for us, and undoubtedly he has protected us from something worse.

3) We should think about where can we take strategic steps to improve the situation.  Allah has provided us the world of bounties and resources,  where can we get the right kind of help?   We can never be afraid of hard work.  We should be moving forward and make mindful decisions to help ourselves out of adversity.

4) We should stay calm and care for our own wellbeing 1st as well as those in our care,  keep our mind and thoughts positive; the struggle is a journey to help us develop and change.  We should think about what can be, rather than what is,  keeping a positive and productive mindset is very important.

5) We talked about how Allah doesn’t burden the soul beyond endurance, therefore, we should make sure we do not put ourselves in a tough situation either, not complicate things by overthinking and dive in self-sabotage.  Allah has given us the ability to say yes or no.

6) Remain Positive! Practice gratitude and control attitude.  Allah will not let you fall.

In conclusion,  the power of prayer and faith in Allah, the importance of positivity, hard work, and remaining patient during the time of adversity should be embedded in our mindset.  Gratitude and faith is a lesson we should follow from the Prophet’s life and his companions, our goal is the pleasure of Allah not of this world.  Remember the struggle is not a failure, and that should not weaken our faith.   May Allah make it easy for us to change and evolve from our tests.  May he help us turn into the more pleasing human beings, Ameen.  Allah only tests those who he loves, and may he make his tests easy upon us, and may we become best of his dearest people, Ameen.

May Allah SWT increase us in our faith, in our patience, and increase in love for him. May he open the doors of his blessings to all his ummah and ease those who are struggling, Ameen.

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