Hardships In Life

Question

My problem is that I am a victim of continuous problems. I face one after the other difficulty. I do not find any chance for peaceful survival. On the insistence of my wife I even ended up to people like Qadri sahib of Lahore but of course to no avail. I am requesting you to kindly help us. This all started in 1994. My wife was diagnosed and had mastectomy. When she came back home my twelve year old son fainted in the school and turned out to be a victim of brain tumor. Two years of struggles ended with his surgery.

He is fine now. As soon as he came back home my younger daughter who was 11 years old started to have heart problem which turned out to be WPW (a rare heart disease). After her surgery when we took a sigh of relief my mother got burned in Pakistan. I have to rush back to look after her. Before I reached there, she was already died. During my 17 days stay in Pakistan stock market plunged in USA and I lost about 100,000 dollars.

But unfortunately that was not the end of it. Then I got admitted in the hospital for chest pains. And then..... Life goes on. I am just not getting any break. My trust in people is vanishing but fortunately my belief is there as strong as ever. But I need your help. Please guide me through this period of time. It is almost a period of 17 years that I am suffering things one after the other.


Answer

My dear brother, I cannot even start to think how you have suffered during the past few years and therefore do not feel comfortable to give you any religious advice. However, I want to try my best to assure you that no matter what has happened and what might happen in future, you are in God's hands and subjected to His plans.

There are of course worldly and rational explanations and causes for our sufferings, however a religious person like yourself appreciates that these natural and rational causes are themselves part of a much wider plan that is set by the Almighty.

In commenting on a similar subject, Moiz Amjad has written:

"As a general principle, an individual, according to the Qur'an, may be faced with extreme 'hard times' for any of the following reasons:

1.The person faced with the particular situation is tested with such a situation while others are made to realize the blessings of God and the privileges that they enjoy in life. Such a situation normally is to point out to others the great blessings of God that we tend to take for granted. A normal person suddenly loses his eyesight and is turned into a blind. This extra-ordinary event in the life of one person may point out to others the great blessing of "eyes that see", which we normally tend to ignore in our lives and may also help us realize the duties that are incumbent upon us for enjoying this extra-ordinary privilege in life. On the other hand, the particular individual faced with such a situation is tested for his steadfastness and perseverance in the God's ways. Our hardships, normally, fall into this category. The ideal attitude that we all must aspire to develop is that every time a hardship comes our way, we should consider it an opportunity of success in our ultimate life and pray to God to help us succeed in this test.

2.Sometimes God selects a person, on the basis of His absolute knowledge, to behave as an epitome of gratitude toward God for all those around him. In such cases, the primary objective of putting an individual through an extremely severe situation is to teach others of the correct attitude of thankfulness and gratitude toward their Lord. In this situation, others are made to see the individual's faithful and thankful behavior toward his Creator in a very severe situation and thereby realize the importance of the good things God has given them and also to compare their own behavior with that of the person put in such a severe situation. The basic difference between this situation and the one described in number 1 above is from the particular individual's perspective that is taken through such extra-ordinary situation. In number 1, it is primarily a test for the individual, while in number 2, it is a privilege for the particular individual that he is selected by God for the purpose of teaching others of the right attitude and to act as an example for them. An example of this may be seen in the life of Hadhrat Ayyub (pbuh).

3.To cleanse an individual of the bad deeds that he might - knowingly or unknowingly - have committed in the past. If the person remains steadfast and faithful to his Lord in this cleansing process, all his bad deeds are washed away in the life of this world, which guarantees his success in the life hereafter.

4.To punish an individual for his general attitude of transgression against God in life In such a situation the severe condition is only a preamble for the real punishment that the person shall face in the life hereafter.

http://www.understanding-islam.com/related/text.aspx?type=question&qid=30

"End of the quote"

I would like to add another reason to the above that is only slightly different from number 3, and that is, to cleanse an individual of a haram that is running in the family, even if it is coming from past generations.

Accordingly, no matter how extensive and how sever your pain is, please bear in mind that it is part of the God's plan (related to one of the first three points above, the forth point does not apply to a religious person like you).

It is enough assurance to know that we are in His hands, no matter what. The worry and nervousness should start when we think we are on our own!

It is true that sometimes these extreme difficulties seem to be too much and even unfair to us. However we need to see the whole scenario rather than only part of it. When you staying in a terminal building to catch a flight and go to a beautiful place to stay for ever you would not bother much if the conditions of the terminal building are not very good. You would be more Patience against any bad conditions in the terminal simply because you know that it is only a temporary stay before reaching the main everlasting place. Only those will find it difficult to bear the bad conditions in that terminal who think they need to stay there forever or think there is nothing beyond that for them.

No matter what happens to us in this world, the fact is, it is only a temporary waiting room for the hereafter. If we have this perspective in mind then we will be able to Insha'Allah stand any hardship in this world and be a good example of faith for others.

It is in fact for restating and emphasizing on the above mentioned perspective that the Qur'an describes those who are patient in His path as people who, when facing harsh difficulties in life, say: (2:156) إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَ إِنَّا إِلَيْهِ راجِعُون‏

Please read the story of Ayyub in the book of Job in the Old Testament that is a helpful aspiration for all, when facing difficulties. Also I suggest you read Ayyub's very short but very effective prayer regularly, as it has been given in the Qur'an: (21:83) وَ أَيُّوبَ إِذْ نادى‏ رَبَّهُ أَنِّي مَسَّنِيَ الضُّرُّ وَ أَنْتَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمين‏

Also reading the Qur'an, as ever, is very helpful with both being patient during a hardship and also recovering from it.

My dear brother, as much as it might surprise you, let me say that I think God has a special attention to you and He is blessing you with these hardships. For this reason I sincerely and wholeheartedly ask you to pray for us.

Allow me to leave you with a selection of prayers you might like to read, all reported from the Prophet as effective prayers in the times of calamities, plus a number of interesting Ahadith from Bukhari that you might find helpful:

إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون اللهم أجرني في مصيبتي وأخلف لي خيرا منها

Muslim 2:631

اللهم رحمتك أرجو فلا تكلني إلى نفسي طرفة عين وأصلح لي شأني كله لا إله إلا أنت

Sahih Ibn Haban 3:250

اللهم إني عبدك بن عبدك بن أمتك ناصيتي بيدك ماض في حكمك عدل في قضاؤك أسألك بكل اسم هو لك سميت به نفسك أو علمته أحدا من خلقك أو أنزلته في كتابك أو استأثرت به في علم الغيب عندك أن تجعل القرآن ربيع قلبي ونور صدري وجلاء حزني وذهاب همي

مسند احمد 1:391

From Bukhari:

- Volume 7, Book 70, Number 544:

Narrated 'Aisha:

(the wife of the Prophet) Allah's Apostle said, "No calamity befalls a Muslim but that Allah expiates some of his sins because of it, even though it were the prick he receives from a thorn."

- Volume 7, Book 70, Number 550:

Narrated 'Abdullah:

I visited the Prophet during his ailments and he was suffering from a high fever. I said, "You have a high fever. Is it because you will have a double reward for it?" He said, "Yes, for no Muslim is afflicted with any harm but that Allah will remove his sins as the leaves of a tree fall down."

- Volume 7, Book 70, Number 547:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "The example of a believer is that of a fresh tender plant; from whatever direction the wind comes, it bends it, but when the wind becomes quiet, it becomes straight again. Similarly, a believer is afflicted with calamities (but he remains patient till Allah removes his difficulties.) And an impious wicked person is like a pine tree which keeps hard and straight till Allah cuts (breaks) it down when He wishes."

- Volume 7, Book 70, Number 548:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials."

- Volume 7, Book 70, Number 555:

Narrated 'Ata bin Abi Rabah:

Ibn 'Abbas said to me, "Shall I show you a woman of the people of Paradise?" I said, "Yes." He said, "This black lady came to the Prophet and said, 'I get attacks of epilepsy and my body becomes uncovered; please invoke Allah for me.' The Prophet said (to her), 'If you wish, be patient and you will have (enter) Paradise; and if you wish, I will invoke Allah to cure you.' She said, 'I will remain patient,' and added, 'but I become uncovered, so please invoke Allah for me that I may not become uncovered.' So he invoked Allah for her."

- Volume 7, Book 70, Number 560:

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

The Prophet went to visit a sick Bedouin. Whenever the Prophet went to a patient, he used to say to him, "Don't worry, if Allah will, it will be expiation (for your sins):" The Bedouin said, "You say expiation? No, it is but a fever that is boiling or harassing an old man and will lead him to his grave without his will." The Prophet said, "Then, yes, it is so."

- Volume 7, Book 70, Number 579:

Narrated 'Aisha:

Whenever Allah's Apostle paid a visit to a patient, or a patient was brought to him, he used to invoke Allah, saying, "Take away the disease, O the Lord of the people! Cure him as You are the One Who cures. There is no cure but Yours, a cure that leaves no disease."

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أذهب الباس رب الناس اشف وأنت الشافي لا شفاء إلا شفاؤك شفاء لا يغادر سقما

I hope this helps.

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