More and more people like to plan their lives today. While it is a smart practice to do so, we are going overboard with it. Many generations back, our forefathers led a happy and satisfied life because they left a lot to chance and as long as the basics were met, didn’t worry too much about the outcome. Muslims believe the ultimate plan is from Allah. He also believes that nothing that happens in this universe is a result of chance, rather it is in perfect harmony with everything else in the universe. A Muslim does not believe in miracles; he takes everything as Allah’s decree.
Our parents’ generation was perhaps the last generation who had a balance between when to plan and when to simply believe. It is frightening to the extent how people intend to plan their lives today. This planning has gone so far to the extent of even planning whether their next baby should be a boy or a girl.
But Subhan’Allah, Allah makes them successful in their plans. A believer might think, what is it that they are doing right and I am doing wrong so that Allah is accepting their prayers and not mine? I have faced this dilemma many times in my life because I wanted to know what it is that you do that makes Allah fulfill every wish in your heart. When my dua was accepted, I felt ecstatic with joy and when apparently it was not granted, I fell into misery and complaint thinking Allah does not like me.
It took me a long time to realize that all that happens in this life does not reflect Allah’s opinion about us in any way. Some have an easy life while some have a very tough one. If Allah is leading your plans to success, may be this is part of your ease and surprisingly, it can be part of your difficulty also. You may be blessed with fame, wealth and offspring and your test might be about how you don’t lose sight of your deen despite having all the major attractions of this world. Or your blessing could be not having wealth or offspring and Allah might expatiate your sins and give you an easy questioning in the Hereafter. Sometimes Allah wills forgiveness for his slaves, hence He sheds off his sins by sending trials and tribulations. Whereas some tests come your way because Allah wants you to learn and evolve in your emaan. This is merely an examination hall. We all are given tests and He sees who tries and who does not. The best response to a test that a Muslim can have is keep to his intentions clear and strive towards pleasing Allah. The decision is then left to Our Creator. Narrated in Muslim (hadith 2999),
“How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.”
But, one might ask, how is it that I know that a particular difficulty or a particular ease is from Allah and how may I cope with it when it gets tough for me? Despite all kinds of tests people are inflicted with, Allah has given us a beautiful hope to hold onto. The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallma) said,
“Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.”
This hadith is very close to my heart and has been a source of great comfort in times when I needed a boost in faith. According to this hadith, Allah will be as you expect Him to be. If you expect hope, mercy and help from Allah, He will grant it to you in ways you cannot imagine. But if a believer does not attribute hope from the Almighty, He will show him exactly what he expected from his Lord.
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.”
While the rest of the world may have a different view about life and its success, a true believer will seek success in the next life. Trials and tribulations are not meant to knock you down; they are meant to give you a chance to elevate your status before Allah Azwajjal. If you were to internalize this, you will greet every difficulty with honor because Allah found you worthy to be elevated in rank and status in the aakhirah.
Allah Azwajjal’s love is a gift that is given to each and everyone who seeks Him. This love encompasses all kinds of love because when you love Allah, He surely loves you back; and when Allah loves you, He sets straight all your affairs and all your relations. If you are inflicted with pain, try to look beyond your pain towards Allah and you will see the wonders that happen when your heart clings to the Almighty. May Allah ease your difficulty whether your test is about having everything or having nothing. May Allah give you the heart that seeks Him night and day, in good times and bad, and may He give you the eyes that see life clearly for what it is worth. For a believer, this life is a bridge to the Hereafter where we will meet our Creator and hence, everything he does in this life will be to bring him closer to his Lord. May Allah give you the heart filled with His Love alone.
In the end, when you stand in front of Allah, He will see the purity of your heart and the dedication with which you strive for Him in this world. Make sure you give him a beautiful heart to love and reward. Ameen, in sha Allah.