Keeping belief during tough times
In hardships and calamities, it is natural to get swept away by the affliction of the moment. During such trials of faith, unless we are careful, Satan can inject fear and plant doubts in our hearts and minds.
With more than 30,000 libraries in 40+ countries, chances are there’s a library near you. Access to the most content Borrow eBooks, audiobooks, and more from your local public library – anywhere, anytime. All you need is a library card. Available for iPhone®, iPad®, Android, Chromebook, Windows Phone, Windows, Kindle Fire HD, and NOOK® HD/HD+. wwwpages: overdrive.com
Our beliefs in such vulnerable states may become overpowered by feelings of the moment resulting in the dwindling of our faith. Some of us start questioning the fairness and wisdom underlying such divine decisions while others get mired in a blame game. All in all, we may find ourselves lost, helpless, and stalled finding it difficult to gather ourselves and move forward.For such situations specifically and others in general, Islam teaches us to stay in control by hanging on to the Mercy and Grace of Allah. We pray that Allah keeps us safe from the challenges and trials of life, but as Muslims we should know and understand Quran’s message and the prophet’s guidance for handling tough moments in life. The following summarizes some of the key guidance related to this matter.
Do not feel helpless
Even when all doors appear to have been closed, as true believers we should never let feelings of helplessness succumb us. Consider the following Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and ibn Al-Qayyim’s commentary on that Hadith:
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive to do that which will benefit you and seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless. If anything befalls you, do not say ‘If only I had done (such and such), the such and such would have happened,’ rather say: ‘Allah has decreed and what He wills He does,’ for ‘if only’ opens the door to the work of the shaitan.” (Muslim, 2664).
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: This Hadith includes several important principles of faith, including the following: “Do not feel helpless”: Feeling helpless is contrary to striving for that which will benefit him, and it is contrary to seeking the help of Allah.
The one who strives for that which will benefit him and seeks the help of Allah is the opposite of the one who feels helpless, so this is telling him, before what has been decreed happens, of that which is one of the greatest means of attaining it, which is striving for it whilst seeking the help of the One in Whose hand is control of all things, from Whom they come and to Whom they will return. If he does not attain what was not decreed for him, then he may feel either of two things: Helplessness, which opens the door to the work of the Satan, so his sense of helplessness leads him to say “if only,” but there is nothing good in saying “if only” in this case, rather that opens the door to blame, panic, discontentment, regret and grief, all of which are the work of the Satan.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade us to open the door to his works in this manner, and told us to adopt the second option, which is looking at the divine decree and bearing it in mind, for if it was decreed for him it would never have missed him and no one could have prevented him from attaining it. Hence he said: “If anything befalls you, do not say ‘If only I had done (such and such), the such and such would have happened,’ rather say: ‘Allah has decreed and what He wills He does,’” and he taught him that which will benefit him in either case, whether he gets what he wanted or not. (Shifa Al-Aleel, 37-38)
Revive your faith
As mentioned in the Hadith above, a strong faith can help us to hold our heads high. When faith seems to be dwindling, we should get back to Quran and remind ourselves that only Allah can let us out of our ordeal and problems. You must, therefore, keep that faith and not let Satan instill thoughts that could weaken your faith. Allah says in the Quran: If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allah (Alone) let believers put their trust. (Qur’an, 3:160)
A strong faith can keep you focused on the fact that Allah alone ultimately controls all destinies and has power over all things. Remembering that fact alone at the moment of affliction can help you in conquering the pain and provide you hope and the energy to keep moving forward.
Believe in the divine decree
When facing difficulties, our weak faith can sometimes drive us to question the fairness of it all. In this context, we should remind ourselves that believing in Al-Qadr (Allah’s divine will and decree) is one of the pillars of Islamic faith.
As the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, it means belief in i. Allah, ii. His Angels, iii. His revealed Holy Books (Qur’an, Bible, Torah, Zabur), iv. His Messengers, v. Day of Judgment and 6. To believe in Al-Qadar (the divine decree) both good and bad.
As part of that belief, we should, therefore, recognize that Allah does what He wills for reasons that are only known to Him. Any attempt to comprehend the wisdom of it all using our limited faculties, or to understand how our current situation fits in His overall plan can only lead us to erroneous conclusions resulting in increased frustrations. We, as Muslims, should accept Allah’s Decree both as it manifests itself around us and in our lives. It should be a relief to us that only Allah is the master of our destiny and we are only going to be tested about whether we reacted to what befalls as true believers and Mo’mins, i.e. being patient in adversity and grateful in prosperity.
Ask for Allah’s Mercy and Grace for an Out from Tough Situations. As believers we should recognize that only Allah’s Grace and Mercy can deliver us from challenging situations. Allah tells us in the Quran: “They after that you turned away. Had it not been for the Grace and Mercy of Allah upon you, indeed you would have been among the losers.” (Qur’an, 2:064)
Another way to ask for Allah’s Grace and Mercy is by asking for His forgiveness and seeking repentance. Allah tells us in the Quran: And (commanding you): “Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding Grace to every owner of grace (i.e. the one who helps and serves needy and deserving, physically and with his wealth, and even with good words). But if you turn away, then I fear for you the torment of a Great Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection). (Qur’an, 11:003)
Stay patient in hard times
One of the best remedies for tough times is to be patient. It requires that we do not resort to complaining, but remember Allah often.
Remember Allah in ease
We know from the Qur’an that when we remember Allah in good times, Allah will help us in tough times. We learn that lesson from the story of Prophet Yunus (peace be upon him) when he was swallowed by a whale.
Out of His mercy, Allah finally relieved him out of that calamity. He tells us in the Qur’an: “Had he not been of them who glorify Allah, he would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of Resurrection.”(Qur’an, Surah As-Saffaat: 143-144)
- By Christian C. Sahner
Seen from space, the Nile unfurls across the sandy wastes of Egypt like a green ribbon. The contrast between river and desert—between abundance and scarcity—has always defined human life in this ancient land. The cultural and religious consequences of this distinctive landscape are on display at the British Museum’s sparkling exhibition “Egypt: Faith After the Pharaohs,” which tracks a millennium of artistic achievement from the time of Cleopatra’s death in 30 B.C. to the end of the Fatimid Caliphate in 1171.In ancient times Egypt was the breadbasket of the Mediterranean, a place whose agricultural wealth nourished political stability and big populations. These included large numbers of pagans, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, whose artifacts constitute the heart of the London show. On display we find telltale signs of the country’s wealth and sophistication: lifelike funerary portraits of Roman gentlemen and ladies, painted in lustrous beeswax; a statue of the emperor fashioned from porphyry, a purple stone as hard and precious as diamond, mined at a quarry in Egypt’s eastern desert; an ivory block carved with an image of St. Mark—the founder of the Egyptian church—and crowded with images of his episcopal successors; and deluxe codices of the Bible and Qur’an.
Although Egypt’s natural bounties led to the development of great art and architecture, it is the country’s arid wastes—just beyond the Nile floodplain—that have done the most to preserve its ancient heritage. In this dry climate, documents and textiles normally lost to decay have been saved in incredible numbers.These can be found throughout the exhibition, offering us unusually intimate snapshots of daily life long ago. A third-century letter from Oxyrhynchus, for example, tells of the visit of a Christian man named Corpes to a Roman court, where he was required to offer sacrifice to the emperor as a condition for entry. Worried that this would violate his religious beliefs, he explained to his wife with evident relief that he had managed to find someone else to perform the sacrifice for him. Meanwhile, the will of a bishop named Abraham, written around 610, requests burial “according to the customs of the country”—that is, mummification. This only 30 years before the arrival of Muslim armies. In Egypt, old practices died hard.
With so many different peoples living in close proximity to one another, it is no surprise that Egyptian art was often a chimeric blend of influences. Among the most interesting objects in the exhibition are those that reveal how communities could appropriate the visual language of their neighbors and rivals. Take, for example, two statues of the falcon-headed Horus, who in Roman times was often depicted in the guise of an emperor, replete with toga and body armor. Nearby is a stele portraying the emperor Diocletian—who ruled from 284 to 305 and is often remembered as a great persecutor of Christians—here, shown in the rigid, geometric splendor of an ancient pharaoh.
The numerous papyri on display also testify to continuities in popular religious practice, many of which survived the seismic shifts in “official religion” over time.
Egyptians were especially fond of magic, we learn: A Greek papyrus from the fifth century records the pleas of a young man named Theon, who so lusted for a woman named Euphemia that he called on the spirits of the dead to “burn her woman’s body until she comes to me, loving me and not ignoring me.” Meanwhile, a Coptic parchment from the Islamic period, cut in the shape of a blade, invokes a demon named Apollo to make a man leave his wife. For proper effect, the parchment was supposed to be placed beneath the victim’s head while he slept. Hopefully his wife didn’t find it, unless she herself had put it there!
The British Museum exhibition is the latest in a recent string of shows in Europe and the U.S. to explore the transition from late antiquity to early Islam. Given the tumult in the Middle East today, museums seem more determined than ever to present a positive, multicultural picture of the region in the distant past.
When learning about world religions in school, students learn about ones that have had a major impact on the world in history and even today. Students learn about Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
However, for a school in Augusta County, learning about Islam was unacceptable for some parents.
Students were to understand the complexity of Arabic calligraphy and were shown the Shahada written in Arabic. Parents were outraged because they seemed to believe that this was to convert students to the faith, when in fact it was to teach students about the faith and the cultures associated with it. It’s unfortunate that when a religion is given such bad press, it isn’t even given the chance to be learned about in schools when it has been in the curriculum for years.
Muslims are under scrutiny daily. Isn’t it a good idea to have students learn about this faith they hear so much about? The only way to end this “fear of the unknown” is to teach those of the next generation everything they need to know to be able to live in a peaceful, coexisting society — which is to teach them about all types of people and to embrace them all, regardless of personal opinion.
I confess I was initially wary that current concerns about sectarianism and the Arab Spring would color the show, especially given the video about Muslim-Christian relations in modern Egypt that greets visitors as soon as they enter the galleries. The exhibition, however, is a masterly and evenhanded take on a world that defies easy stereotypes. In first-millennium Egypt, pagans, Jews, Christians and Muslims lived on top of one another, often in tense, cacophonous competition. Yet it is precisely this competition that served as a catalyst for their terrific creativity, a creativity the curators at the British Museum have highlighted so ably.
- Inside America’s first Muslim-majority city
- Tacoma imam describes life and Islam in the Northwest
- Muslim leaders to hold summit on protecting non-Muslims
- View Muslim culture through the movies
- Islamic Scholar Fethullah Gulen promotes peace, understanding
- Muslims and Christians are more similar than you think