In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Trials are an inevitable part of life
The article is collected by Ummu Mariam.
Verily, all praises and thanks are due to Allah, we praise Him, seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our souls and evils of our deeds. One whom Allah guides none can lead him astray, and one whom He misguides, none can guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad (SAAS) is His servant and His messenger.
"O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. (Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always), and die not except in a state of Islam [as Muslims (with complete submission to Allah)]." (Al-Qur‘aan 3:102 - interpretation of the meaning)
"O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you." (Al-Qur‘aan 4:1 - interpretation of the meaning)
"O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (SAAS) he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise)." (Al-Qur‘aan 33:70-71 - interpretation of the meaning)
Ammaa ba'd (as for what follows), the best of speech is the speech of Allah that is the Book of Allah. The best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAAS). Of all matters, the worst are innovations; and everything new is an innovation, and every innovation is a deviation, and every deviation leads to Hell-fire.
The following questions and answers concerning difficulties and trials man faces on his path towards Allah (SWT) were taken from: www.islam-qa.com.
Question # 82866:
I am a sister who came to Islam about 11 years ago. I had always been curious about Islam because of my exposure to Malcolm X. I used to always see Muslim women and I absolutely adored them because I thought they were so dignified and beautiful from the way they dressed. However, after leaving home at the age of seventeen, I moved to a city where there were a lot of Muslims. I was again exposed to Islam and was given a Koran as a gift. I was so happy and always felt in my heart that there was something so special about this way, though I was ignorant about the teachings. Anyway, it came at a very tender time in my life when I needed direction and help. I had no one, family, or anything but all the negativity surrounding me, from prostitution, drugs, gambling, murders, robbing, and every thing under. Even all of my aunts and uncles were drug abusers, and there children soon became the same. Thank Allah I never allowed myself to get consumed with all the bad things that were happening around me. My sister and I started to read the Koran at night and right away it touched my heart in a way that nothing else before had done. We would start to cry when we would read passages about the Hell Fire, because we always believed in Hell and did not want to go there. We knew without a doubt that this book was the truth. I felt that it was just similar to the Bible in many ways but was the next step. Two weeks later we went to the masjid (mosque) and took our shahaadah (testimony of faith). Anyway, years passed and the different stages I had gone through were unbelievable. I have now been married three times by brothers who basically treated me very bad and abandoned me. One of them asked for a divorce when I was pregnant. And when he told me that he didn't love me I began bleeding profusely until I lost the baby. And the other two husbands had mental illnesses that I was unaware of before I married them. Now that all of this has passed, it has broken me down completely. I used to be so strong and resilient and now I feel like I am floating in a cloud and lost. How did I lose my Lord when He is so near? How do you get it back? Why did I leave Allah when I know that He says He will test the ones He loves the most? I feel so weak and broken, I feel that I have no value or beauty and now after all this time I have self destructed and I am doing some of the things that I said I would never do. I get drunk every day at home all by myself and I smoke cigarettes. I really don't want to live nor do I want to die because I know that I am not right. All the while I just wish I could have been protected from all of the fitan (trials and afflictions) and been with Allah by His side. Help me.
All praises and thanks are due to Allah.
O dear sister, may Allah help you, relieve your distress, guide your footsteps and forgive your sin.
Your soul is still in your body, your heart is still beating and your mind is still thinking, so we will start from there.
Allah's Messenger (SAAS) said: "Allah accepts the repentance of His slave so long as the death rattle has not reached his throat." (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi; classed as hasan by al-Albaani.)
You are not too weak and you are not a pile of dust like those who are in the graves, rather you still have the strength to start again, and in shaa‘ Allah you are stronger than you think. The strong person is not the one who never falls, rather the strong person is the one who can get up again if he falls.
Were you not following the religion of your forefathers, associating others with Allah and disbelieving in His Prophet (SAAS), then Allah gave you the strength to leave all that behind, and you moved to a new religion that you were not used to and had not followed before? That is a thousand times harder than leaving the state you are in now.
Weren't the cups of wine filled around you and paths of temptation open to you, with no one watching for you to feel ashamed and thus be protected? But Allah gave you strength and protected you from immorality and drinking alcohol. So now how can you give in to the situation you are in?
You have the strength to recover. Do not help your enemy against yourself. If some wrongdoer slaps you, do not slap your other cheek. "He is not from our group who slaps his cheeks, tears his clothes and cries in the manner of the people of jaahiliyyah." (Sahiih al-Bukhari)
There is a difference between the one who falls into a ditch and gives in to the fall, and laments his luck, blames fate and thinks badly of his Lord, and one who falls and knows that he deserved it because of his sin and bad deeds, and because he chose that for himself. "…And verily, Allah is not unjust to His slaves." (Al-Qur‘aan 8:51 - interpretation of the meaning) So he gets up after stumbling, and seeks the help of his Lord in ridding himself of sin first of all, then relieving his distress, as he learns to say every day: "You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)." (Al-Qur‘aan 1:5 - interpretation of the meaning) Such is the strong believer whom Allah loves. Allah's Messenger (SAAS) 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 Satan." (Narrated by Muslim)
Sheikh-ul-Islam ibn Taymiyah rahimahullaah said: Man is not commanded to refer to the concept of the Divine decree with regard to the deeds that are enjoined upon him, rather he should refer to the concept of the Divine decree with regard to calamities that he has no means to ward off. Whatever befalls you as the result of other people's actions or otherwise, bear it with patience, accept it and submit. Allah, the Exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): "No calamity befalls, but by the Leave [i.e. Decision and qadar (Divine Preordainments)] of Allah, and whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart [to the true Faith with certainty, i.e. what has befallen him was already written for him by Allah from the qadar (Divine Preordainments)]…" (Al-Qur‘aan 64:11)
One of the Salaf – either ibn Mas'ud or 'Alqamah – said: This is the man whom calamity befalls and he knows that it is from Allah, so he accepts it and submits. [Majmuu' al-Fataawaa (7/278)]
Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullaah said: This hadiith confirms some of the most important principles of faith, which include:
Man's happiness lies in his striving for that which will benefit him in this life and in the Hereafter. Striving means doing one's utmost. As man's striving and deeds can only be done with the help of Allah and by His will, He has commanded him to seek His help, so as to fulfil the meaning of the verse: "You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)." (Al-Qur‘aan 1:5 - interpretation of the meaning) His striving for that which will benefit him is an act of worship of Allah and can only be achieved with Allah's help. So He commanded him to worship Him and to seek His help.
Then he (SAAS) said: "And do not feel helpless", because feeling helpless is the opposite of striving for that which will benefit him, and it is the opposite of seeking the help of Allah. So the one who is striving for that which will benefit him and seeking the help of Allah is the opposite of the one who feels helpless. This principle applies before what is decreed happens, and it guides a Muslim to that which is one of the greatest causes of attaining it, which is striving for it whilst seeking the help of the One in Whose hand are all things, from Whom they originate and to Whom they will return. If what is not decreed for him does not come to him, there are two scenarios: the first of which is feeling helpless, which opens the door to the works of Satan, and this helplessness leads him to regret and say "if only" and there is no benefit in saying "if only", rather this opens the door to blame, anguish, anger, regret and sorrow, all of which are from Satan and the Prophet (SAAS) forbade opening the door to Satan in this manner. Or in the second scenario, he may look at the Divine decree and think about it, for if it is decreed for him (to get what he wanted) he would not have missed it and no one would have beaten him to it ... Hence he (SAAS) 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.'" So he (SAAS) taught him that which will benefit him in either case: if he gets what he wanted and if he did not get it. Hence this hadiith is one that a person can never do without. (Shifaa‘ al-'Aleel, 37-38)
Once you have understood this, there is no room for wishing for something different than what was decreed, for that is in fact like suggesting that Allah should have decreed something else. There is no point in wishing that Allah had spared you from these trials that you went through and that made you so alterable and confused after you had been guided to Him.
Do you not know that tests and trials are an inevitable part of man's existence in this life? Allah, the Exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): "Verily, We have created man from nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge), in order to try him, so We made him hearer and seer." (Al-Qur‘aan 76:2)
People are like metals. Some are pure gold, some are a mixture, and some are less than that. The test is like a fire which will show whether the gold is truly gold or not.
Allah, the Exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): "Alif-laam-miim [These letters are one of the miracles of al-Qur‘aan, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings.] Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: 'We believe,' and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test)." (Al-Qur‘aan 29:1-3)
Sheikh ibn Sa'di rahimahullaah said: Allah tells us of His perfect wisdom, and that His wisdom does not mean that everyone who says that he believes will remain as such, free from tribulations and tests, and not be faced with that which will confound his faith. If that were the case, then there would be no way to distinguish between one who is sincere and one who is lying.
But His way with the earlier nations and with this ummah (nation) is to test them with good things and bad things, with ease and hardship, with good times and bad times, with wealth and poverty. He tests them by causing their enemies to prevail over them sometimes and He tests them when they strive against the enemies in word and deed, and other kinds of trials, all of which result from specious arguments (doubts) about faith, which are contrary to certain faith, and desires which undermine the resolve of the believer.
If a person's faith remains firm in the face of doubts and does not waver, and he wards them off with the truth that he has, and if, in the face of desires that call him to sin or to go against that which Allah and His Messenger (SAAS) have enjoined, he does that which is required by faith, and strives against his desires, this indicates that his faith is sincere and valid.
But if his heart is affected by doubts and desires, and they lead him to sin or divert him from his duties, this indicates that his faith is not valid or sincere. People are of varying degrees with regard to this matter, which are known only to Allah. We ask Allah to make us steadfast in this world and in the Hereafter, and to make our hearts steadfast in adhering to His religion. As for trial and test of the souls, they are in the position of the bellows which brings out their dross and good.
O maidservant of Allah, you do not want to live and you do not want to die.
We say: We too would not like you to have this life of sin, and we hope that you do not die in this state, rather our Lord, the Lord of the Worlds, does not like you to live such a life, nor does He accept it, and He does not like you to die in this state.
This situation is not as confusing as you think, and the solution is not for you to give in to loss, as you are doing now. Allah does not want you to meet Him, after you die, in any state other than Islam. Allah, the Exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): "O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. (Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always), and die not except in a state of Islam [as Muslims (with complete submission to Allah)]." (Al-Qur‘aan 3:102)
Nor does Allah want you to live except in a state of Islam, which He has chosen for His slaves. Allah, the Exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): "Say [O Muhammad (SAAS)]: 'Verily, my salaah (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the 'aalamiin (mankind, jinn and all that exists). He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.'" (Al-Qur‘aan 6:162-163)
So what is the solution? Where should we start?
The solution is to turn back to Him, and He will love you when you turn back to Him: "…Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves." (Al-Qur‘aan 2:222 - interpretation of the meaning)
He will grant you relief when you come back to Him, no matter how far astray you have gone.
It was narrated from Abu Huraira (RAA) that Allah's Messenger (SAAS) said: "Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says: 'I am as My servant thinks I am, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers me to himself, I remember him to Myself; if he remembers Me in a gathering, I remember him in a gathering better than it; if he draws near to Me a handspan, I draw near to him an arm's length; if he draws near to me an arm's length, I draw near to him a fathom's length; if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.'" (Narrated by Muslim)
So what about sins and alcohol?
Our Lord, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, says (interpretation of the meaning): "Say: 'O 'ibaadii (My servants) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.'" (Al-Qur‘aan 39:53)
You still have a way to turn over a new leaf and make the record of your deeds white and clean. We do not mean that it will be white with no good deeds or bad deeds written on it so that we will go back to zero and start from scratch. No; what we mean is that we want it to be white with no sins on it, and by the mercy of the Most Merciful of those who show mercy, it will be filled with good deeds instead of every bad deed that you did and every sin into which you fell.
Have you not heard the words of Allah which tell us of the characteristics of the servants of the Most Merciful, where He mentions a number of their beautiful attributes that are beloved to Him, among which He mentions (interpretation of the meaning): "And those who invoke not any other ilaah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such person as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse – and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace; except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds; for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds; then verily, he repents towards Allah with true repentance." (Al-Qur‘aan 25:68-71)
Do you not see how Allah does not just forgive those major sins, but by His grace He turns them into good deeds!
It was narrated from Abu Taweel Shatab al-Mamduud that he came to Allah's Messenger (SAAS) and said: "What do you think if a man has committed all kinds of sins, and has not left out any of them, and he did not omit any minor or major sin but he did it, can he repent?" He (SAAS) said: "Have you become Muslim?" He said: "As for me, I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, with no partner or associate, and that you are Allah's Messenger." He (SAAS) said: "Do good deeds and abstain from bad deeds, and Allah will make them all good deeds for you." He said: "Even my betrayals and immoral deeds?" He (SAAS) said: "Yes." He said: "Allah is Most Great," and he kept saying takbeer until he left. (Narrated by at-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer (7/314); classed as sahiih by al-Albaani in Sahiih at-Targheeb.)
So, O maidservant of Allah, change your state and do good deeds, and give up bad deeds, and they will all be turned to good deeds in your record of deeds. Then you will know that you cannot lose that closeness to Allah, for you will still have the opportunity to be with Him in Paradise.
Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullaah said: Come and be with Allah, and draw close to Him in an abode of peace, with no exhaustion or tiredness or suffering via the closest and easiest routes. You are in a time between two times, which in fact is your life, your current time, between the past and the future. What has passed can be set right by repentance and regret and prayers for forgiveness, and that is something which will not exhaust you or tire you out and is not difficult. Rather it is an action of the heart. As for the future, you should refrain from committing sin, and refraining from sin will give you a great deal of peace of mind. It is not a physical action that is too hard to do, rather it is resolve and firm intention, which will bring physical and mental peace…
But what matters is your life, which is your time between two times. If you waste it you will lose happiness and salvation. But if you take care of the present as well as correcting the past and the future as described above, then you will be saved and will have peace of mind, pleasure and tranquillity.
Taking care of it is more difficult than setting right that which comes before and after it, for taking care of it requires you to do that which is best and most beneficial for you, and which is most likely to bring happiness, and people differ greatly with regard to that. (Al-Fawaa‘id, 117)
So seek the help of Allah to deal with your situation and roll up the record of the past with all that it contains, and move on to set the rest of your life straight. Strive to keep company with good people who will help you deal with your situation, and if you can move to a new place, close to good and righteous people, then do that, for it will be better for you. Be mindful of Allah and He will take care of you; be sincere towards Him and He will compensate you with good for what you have missed.
Allah, the Exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): "O Prophet [Muhammad (SAAS)]! Say to the captives that are in your hands: 'If Allah knows any good in your hearts, He will give you something better than what has been taken from you, and He will forgive you, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.'" (Al-Qur‘aan 8:70)
In shaa‘ Allah, we are sure that you will do this, and we look forward to another message from you with good news of a new journey towards the light, just as we were saddened to hear of your stumbling from the path.
And Allah knows best.
Question # 72252:
I am an 18 year old student from Greece. About two weeks ago I became a Muslim. I pray normally five times a day, I go to the mosque and I study al-Qur‘aan. However, I have faced some problems since then. My girlfriend has accepted this and we plan to get married in the future. My sister also accepted the fact. My mother is the problem. She has become very cold with me. She wants me to become a Christian again and she cannot accept Islam by any means. She told me that Christians will think of me as a traitor and that Muslims will say that I am inferior to them, because I was born Christian. I haven't told my father anything yet (my parents are divorced), because he will not accept it (he is Christian, too) and he will argue with my mother. My best friend is Muslim and he has helped me a lot, but my mother thinks that he made me become a Muslim, which is not true. I studied Islam and I realized it is the true religion, so I embraced Islam. What do you advise me to do with my parents? I don't want them to be disappointed, especially my mother, because she already suffered a lot with the divorce. Thank you for your attention.
All praises and thanks are due to Allah.
Remember that you are not alone in this matter. There are thousands of people whom Allah has guided to the truth and who have chosen Islam willingly, out of conviction. Many of them have met with opposition and resistance from their families, then Allah willed that their hearts should be opened, and the entire family has become Muslim. That will weigh in the balance of the son who was first guided. We ask Allah to make you one of them and to grant you the joy of seeing your whole family become Muslim.
Remember that opposition from family members is a test for a Muslim, so that the sincerity of his Islam and the strength of his faith may be made manifest. Allah, the Exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): "Alif-laam-miim [These letters are one of the miracles of al-Qur‘aan, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings.] Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: 'We believe,' and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test)." (Al-Qur‘aan 29:1-3)
Among these examples of righteous believers is the great sahaabi Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqaas (RAA) who used to honour his mother. When he became Muslim, his mother refused to eat or drink until he recanted his faith, but he refused to do so and remained steadfast in Islam. His mother found no benefit in her "hunger strike" so she went back to eating and drinking. It is narrated that he (RAA) said: "O mother, you know by Allah that if you had one hundred souls and each soul departed one by one, I would not give up this religion of mine for anything. If you wish, then eat, and if you wish, then do not eat." So she ate. See: Tafsiir ibn Kathiir, 3/429.
There is no room for obeying parents in kufr, or for obeying them in sin, but this does not mean that one should not treat them with kindness and respect, and take care of them, and do one's utmost to guide them. This is indicative of the greatness of Islam, for it is the religion of compassion and love. Hence it calls upon its followers to guide people and bring them into the blessing into which they have entered.
With regard to your mother's saying that you are inferior because you were born Christian, this is not true. Rather we say that you are our brother; you have chosen guidance and have returned to the fitrah (natural state of man) in which you were born. You were born a Muslim and a believer in tauhiid (Islamic Monotheism). The Nazarene (and Christian) scholars know that the child is born in a state of fitrah, hence they hasten to baptize the infant, believing that if he is not baptized he will become a Muslim! This indicates that the basic nature of man is Islam, and that if the child was left as he is he would be a Muslim.
In Islam, no one is inferior to anyone else, except to Muhammad (SAAS), because the Prophet is the Messenger whom we are commanded to follow. Apart from that, Islam teaches its followers to be free from the domination of priests, rabbis and monks, and states that a person has no need for any intermediary between him and Allah.
Finally, you say in your question that your girlfriend has accepted that you are Muslim and that you are planning to get married in the future. Here it should be noted that because Islam is keen for its followers to be chaste and for their hearts to be pure, it forbids men to have girlfriends. Islam does not approve of any such relationship between a man and a woman unless it is within the framework of marriage. If your girlfriend is a Christian, then you have to call her to Islam and strive to guide her. This will bring a great deal of good for both of you, in shaa‘ Allah. If she refuses then tell her that Islam forbids this relationship between you and that you can never put pleasing anyone, no matter who he or she is, before pleasing the Most Merciful. You should either get married (and it is permissible for a Muslim man to marry a Christian woman) or separate, preferring to seek the pleasure of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted.
The most important advice we can give you is to treat your mother and father, siblings and relatives, kindly and understand their feelings. Ask Allah to guide them, and choose wise methods of calling them to Islam, such as kind words, gifts, visits, inviting them to visit the mosque, and giving them useful booklets and tapes.
We ask Allah to take care of you and to help you to do all that is good.
And Allah knows best.
Published on Sunday the 28th of Shawwaal, 1427/the 19th of November, 2006