Sorrow. Anxiety. Anger. Melancholy. As much as we try to live a steady, happy life, discomfort of the soul is inevitable. Our peace of mind will one way or another be challenged at various points in our lives. A troubled soul from time to time is far from pleasant, but along the way, we will come to realize that it is part of the human condition.
At times of hardship, try to pause and take a look at the people around you. Everyone has his or her own concerns; some may be experiencing issues unimaginably worse than your own. Doing this provides a greater perspective and some comfort as you know that you are not alone.
This is perhaps rather a cliché, and is probably the last thing we would want to hear at times of hardship, but life really is a test. This reality has been stated multiple times in the Holy Quran. Like it or not, our Creator tests us in various ways. Mental and physical discomforts may be the obvious ones, but worldly pleasures and successes are tests too. In short, we have been created to be tested. If there were no tests, there would be no victories and so, there would be no spiritual elevation either.
We were created for a reason – to worship God, and heaven and hell were created to serve a purpose, as a recompense for how one responds to the tests in this life. The Quran states, “Do the people think that they will be left to say, ‘We believe’ and they will not be tested?”(29:2). The tests are ordained by God and unavoidable, but there are several lessons about the tests from God that I have personally picked up along the way.
The night prayer is probably one of the best anti-depressants available. There is no word to describe the beauty of the night prayers and you will only understand it once you wake up some time before dawn, get down on your knees and talk to the Lord that created you. Pour your heart out. Say what you want. Ask for what you desire. Feel with sincerity whatever emotion comes, be it gratitude, awe, sorrow, guilt, or joy. Crying is normal. And know that He is listening; you are not alone. The peace that follows is profound.
When you are regularly praying and talking to God, your trust in Him distinctively increases. The closer you are to Him, the more you realize how dependent you are upon Him. Allah is the best of planners; He only wants what is best for His servants. Praying, doing our very best to achieve our objectives, and then leaving everything to Him takes the edge off worries, and counterbalances them with hope and trust that everything will unfold for the best. The fact is we are human and if a family member is seriously ill, one loses their job, or one’s child is doing poorly in school, it is normal to have concern, worry, uncertainty, or other distress. We must always remember, however, that no matter what situation we are in, Allah has chosen it for us. He knows best and He will provide for us no matter how difficult the circumstances. Continue praying and believing, for once we have Allah on our side, every adversity is a means to increase the ultimate good in our destiny. Allah takes care of what is His. He keeps reminding us of this compelling truth time and again in the Quran. Thus, just make sure to be His genuine servant, knowing that your life, death, and whole being belong to Him alone.
At times of hardship, try to pause and take a look at the people around you. Everyone has his or her own concerns; some may be experiencing issues unimaginably worse than your own. Doing this provides a greater perspective and some comfort as you know that you are not alone. Everyone has challenges, sorrows, and hardships. These are the tests by which we demonstrate our faith. Acknowledging this makes us thankful and appreciative. It gives us the strength and patience to work our way through the tough times. Pause and say “alhamdulillah.” Thank Him because you are still alive. Thank Him because you have supportive family and friends. Thank Him because He did not give you a test greater than you can bear. Acknowledging and appreciating the blessings in our lives lays the foundation for peace of mind.
Life is a roller coaster; it has its ups and downs. How we manage it is entirely up to us. The better we manage our lives at times of hardship, the more our eman grows, the more devoted we become as believers. God tests those whom He loves to bring them closer to Him, to strengthen their faith and expiate their sins. The lesson is clear – we should always work to deepen our relationship with Allah Almighty for when He is the source of our strength and hope, there is always room for happiness amidst the turmoil of life.