By Maulana Khalid Dhorat
A sign of perfect belief is when one is happy with his Lord in good times, as well as bad times. Both these conditions should be equal to a true believer. If they are not, this is a sign of hypocrisy: hypocrisy in the sense of “when the going is good, we will worship you; but when the going gets rough, then we will shun You, O Lord!” Does the Almighty owe us any favours that we need to have such an attitude with Him?
Many people apply this type of thinking typically to their worldly relationships i.e. when we can benefit from you, we’ll keep in contact with you, and when you cannot be milked anymore, we’ll look for an excuse to break off with you. We then extend this type of thinking to our Lord, which is totally ridiculous for two reasons:
1. Relationships are meant to be a two-way thing, but our relationship with our Almighty can never follow this principle. This relationship is always a one-way street. We, human beings, have no right to demand things from the Almighty all the time, expect that He keeps us smiling 24-hours a day, and our pockets lined with gold all the time. He has given us all that we need, and much more, and now it is our time to give back. And give, give, give should be our motto. Whatever prayers of ours are answered thereafter, is a bonus for us. We do not deserve it, it is only granted thorough His sheer mercy.
2. Once we realise that our attitude in life should be of constant gratitude and indebtedness to the Almighty, then we need to realise that the Almighty will always be reminding us to show gratitude to Him and to turn to Him for help all the time. The Almighty will create tragic, unfortunate and undesirable situations in our life – as a mercy to us, – in order to teach us gratitude for our times of happiness, prosperity and health. It will also to tell us silently in our hearts: “You forget that I’m still in control. You took a wrong off-ramp on the highway. Now it’s time for you to get back on again.”
Let us read the above two points at least thrice, and let this philosophy of life drench our souls. In it lies the key to our eternal bliss in both the worlds. Accepting the fact that mishaps and problems in life is a sign of the Almighty’s mercy leads to strengthening our bond with Him. This is true happiness. True happiness is not possessing the temporary goods of the world, it’s having a relationship with the Only Eternal Power in this universe – and He is our Lord, the Almighty,
However, our typical western lifestyles and philosophy say otherwise. According to this bankrupt philosophy, the purpose of our lives is to “grab the limelight at any cost,” or “rake in the millions.” When this is not possible, or when obstacles arise in our ambitions, we become disheartened, depressed and even suicidal. On the other hand, when we do attain our goals, we become proud, arrogant and oppressive.
Both the situations of attaining worldly fame and success or meeting worldly failure in a secular framework have misery attached to it. But attaining true spiritual contentment with whatever situation we find ourselves in – good or bad, – is the key to everlasting bliss and happiness. The question of “Why me?” will never appear on our lips when we find ourselves in pricky situations, instead it will be replaced by: “Why not me?”
Today, psychiatrists make a lot of money out of merely listening to people’s problems. Yes, they only listen, just a tape-recorder merely listens, and they do not provide any solutions because the west has no solution to offer – other than profiting from your misery. If a solution is provided, it’s usually in the form of expensive pills that will empty your pocket that makes you more depressed and paranoid. This, dear readers, is a fact that none can dispute.
The School of Life
You see, all of human beings are enrolled, like it or not, in a worldwide school called “The Almighty’s School of Life.” Each day in this school, you will be presented with the opportunity to learn some lessons. You may like the lessons or hate them – but a lesson is what you must take for only the spiritually blind do not take a lesson. Further, these lessons will be unique to you, and will be different for everybody. This will force you to think hard and deep.
You will be presented with lessons in every circumstance that surface in your life. When you experience the pain of rejection, the agony of divorce, the disgrace of grinding poverty, the betrayal of your parents, children and trusted ones, the oppressiveness of the higher authorities … you will learn a lesson. When you experience the joy of success, the feeling of satisfaction after a sumptuous meal, the exhilaration of winning a race or the satisfaction of a stable relationship, you learn another lesson. For every event in your life, there is a lesson that must be learnt. There is really no way of avoiding the lessons you are presented with, nor is there any chance that you will get away learning those lessons!!
Always remember that if the Almighty can take away something you never imagined losing, He can replace it with something you never imagined having. If the Almighty placed you in a certain situation in life, this is the best situation for you – even though it may seem otherwise. Your trust in the Almighty should be absolute at all times. The Almighty’s wisdom can never be fathomed, but our thinking always falters.
When you hear yourself saying: “Why did this happen to me, not him,” or “Why am I here,” then you have asked the wrong question. You haven’t learnt the lesson of life, you have merely questioned it. Instead, you need to ask yourself “What is there for me to learn from this experience?” Learning these lessons is a key to discovering the meaning, purpose and relevance of your own life.
Always keep in mind that life will carry on throwing you the same lessons until you have learnt from it. Open the reflective capacity of your heart – not the limited thinking capacity of your brain, – and read the Qur’an and the Sunnah in order to find your answers.
Help for the Road
Remember that life is the only test where you get the questions already in this life for the afterlife. Your life needs to be in fulfilment of those three questions that will be asked of you in the grave and the five that will be asked of you on the plains of Reckoning. Remember the following to pass life’s tests:
1. The most important step is to accept that everything happens according to the will and plan of the Almighty. He is the controller of all our affairs and always knows what is best for you. Half-heartedly accepting this reality will not allow you to move forward. You will remain stuck in one place. Remember that you did not come in to this world on your own will, and you will not leave this world on your own will. Then why live this live according to your own will?
2. Always forget who and what pained you, but never forget the lesson it taught you. God will deal with the culprits in good time, but you need to move on. Bitter thoughts about people and events are like weeds. Pluck them out of your heart and its place will sprout the seeds of kindness and compassion.
3. Always be thankful – rain or hail, sunshine or pain. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Thank the Almighty in every situation, even if you see no reason to be thankful.
4. Resort to intense prayers and adopt all physical means and strategies to overcome your difficulties. Don’t despair nor lose hope, for losing hope amounts to doubting the power of the Almighty. Remember that trials and difficulties that draw you closer to the Almighty is better than wealth, happiness and success that leads you to arrogance and pride.
5. Lastly, keep your eye on the goal. Although all of us have some good times in our lives, we were ultimately not created to have a good time – eternal happiness is reserved for paradise. Our purpose is merely to worship the Almighty, our Supreme Creator, and to trust Him solely for the direction our life takes.
Lastly, in order to understand the overwhelming mercy of the Almighty and the priceless gift which He has granted us called life, I end off by quoting a saying of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (May Peace be Upon Him) that every moment of a believer is indeed amazing; If he finds goodness, he expresses gratitude at it and he profits from it. If he experiences evil, he exercises patience at it and he profits from it. Every second is a second of profit for him.
Now go on, and drink up every second of your life in bliss and enjoyment.