There will come bad times in your life. There will come terrible times in your life. But whoever follows this advice will not only survive those times – he will become empowered.

The purpose of this article is to help Muslims whenever they go through bad times. My intention in this article is to help make your life’s pain and struggle meaningful. First, I give you the underlying principle behind successfully rising above your trials and tribulations. Second, I give you reasons to remain hopeful in bad times. Lastly, I remind you that you can overcome the pain and struggle.

Underlying principle:

It is not punches and kicks which breaks the spirit of man; it is despair which breaks man’s spirit. Only when despair prevails does a man lose. Remember that.

Remember it. Never forget it.

Reasons for hope:

The following key points will help to make sure that despair never prevails in your life.

1) Just because you are in bad times right now, it does not mean those bad times will continue forever.

Let us look at the blessed life of Prophet Yusuf, alayhi salam. Even though he was thrown into a prison on a false accusation, he did not lose hope. He stayed in prison for years. Then, when Allah decreed so, he was freed from jail with his reputation cleared.

It is a weakness of human nature to think that bad times will never stop. Identify this weakness in yourself and uproot it.

The patient and forbearing life of Prophet Ayyub, alayhi salam, is also a model for us. He went from rags to riches. He went from “child-full” to childless. He fell sick and suffered poor health for years and years. Then, at the appointed time, Allah healed him and rewarded him in this life. His bad times came to an end one day.

It is a deep mistake of human nature to focus on the negative and to forget the positive. Good times always come after bad times. After the darkness of the night, comes the sunrise.

At this point, many Muslims might have an objection that following the example of the Prophets of Allah is too unrealistic. It is too hard to follow their examples. I have an answer for that:

It is a firm principle in Islam that the Prophets of Allah were the most tested out of all human beings. A hadith says:

It was narrated from Mus’ab bin Sa’d from his father, Sa’d bin Abu Waqqas:

“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, which people are most severely tested?’ He said: ‘The Prophets, then the next best and the next best. A person is tested according to his religious commitment. If he is steadfast in his religious commitment, he will be tested more severely, and if he is frail in his religious commitment, his test will be according to his commitment. Trials will continue to afflict a person until they leave him walking on the earth with no sin on him.’”  (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Okay. So we are agreed that the Prophets of Allah have had the most difficult testing. This means that our test is less difficult than the test of the Prophets of Allah. This then means that following their example should be easier for us, rather than harder. Following their path is much less difficult for us.

2) The very reason you are suffering will become the reason you are handsomely rewarded on the Day of Judgment IF you make an intention only to please Allah by being patient for His sake.

Let me give you an easy example. Suppose that a man is falsely accused by his colleagues of committing fraud. He loses his job because of this. Now, if this man remains patient in order to please Allah, his suffering will become the reason he is rewarded on the Day of Judgment.

3) Hope is obligatory in Islam while despair is forbidden.

Yes, it is true. Despair, forbidden. Hope is obligatory.

Why don’t we obtain guidance from the words of Prophet Ya’qub alayhi salam!

“O my sons, go and find out about Joseph and his brother and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.”  (Surah Yûsûf, 12:87)

Do you know when Prophet Ya’qub, alayhi salam, said these words? He said them when his second son, Binyamin, went missing. However, notice the fact that he still has active hope that his previous missing son, Yusuf, will be found. Such was his hope in Allah. Such was his strength.

4) The Higher Man

Be higher men. Be greater people. Rise to the level of your testing.

Who is the higher man? What is the higher man? Wait just awhile. Your thirst for empowerment shall soon be satisfied, my dear reader.

When a whole confederation of tribes descended on Madinah to attack it. When polytheist tribes allied with each other and helped one another in order to overcome the believers…  It was the Battle of al-Ahzab.

While the Sahaba were preparing for the coming attack, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), promised his Sahaba that Syria, Persia, and Yemen would be conquered by the Muslims. The hypocrites mocked this prophetic news because they were about to be killed by the coming polytheist tribes. But the Sahaba and Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), were rejoicing at this news. Can you guess why?

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), was the higher man. He was and is the highest man. Those who followed him were also higher men and higher women. The higher man is someone whose life force and life affirmation prevails over any and all difficult times. He never loses hope in the face of adversity. The higher man faces all difficult times with resolve, bravery and stout-heartedness. Well, then. Be higher men!

When the Battle of Hunain took place, the enemies of the Muslims set an ambush for them through their archers. The ambush took place. The Muslims started to scatter and run back. Can you guess who did not run back? Can you deduce who held his ground?

It was the highest man – Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).

The higher man is one whose spirit cannot be crushed by pain or hurt or sorrow or grief or anxiety or worry. He is above that. Worry and grief are below him. Let all of those things be below you, too!  Be then higher men!!

5) The Will to Believe [1]

Imagine a desperate man trying to jump from a burning building. If he believes that he cannot jump, he will not jump. And if he will not jump, he will die in the fire.

But if he believes that he might survive, he might take the jump. This is better than dying in the fire, surely.

Do you dare to believe? Do you dare to think that you might survive your pain and suffering, your trials and tribulations?

Here is the equation. If you won’t dare to believe such a thing, you won’t be giving yourself a chance. And if you don’t give yourself a chance, you will definitely and surely fail.

But on the other hand, if you dare to think that you will survive and thrive and prosper and succeed, you have given yourself a fighting chance. You might win.

So then, dare to believe.

6) Overcome your soul

The soul dislikes patience, for patience requires self denial. But only through patience and forbearance is the soul strengthened. The soul is strengthened when it is dominated by the concern to please Allah alone.

Allah is on the side of those who are on His side: Those people who are patient, and those people who are oft-repenting, and those people who are the doers of good. When you will choose and really choose to implement patience, the help and support of Allah will arrive. He will help you to be steadfast and righteous.

7) The Different Man

I and you have eyes to see with, and ears to hear with, and minds to understand with. Identify something wrong with this world which you can definitely change. Start with something small, a “sure thing.”  Then choose to make a difference by changing it.

Choose to be a different man from others. If all other people are selfish, choose to be generous. If all other people are jealous, choose to throw aside envy. If all other people are dishonest, choose to be honest. Make a difference in this world by starting with yourself.

Trying to change yourself will, at once, add meaning to your life. It will give you a sense of direction. And this will definitely destroy your despair.

Conclusion:

Finally, I wish to leave you with a technique I call The Hope Technique:

Whenever you are in tough times, remind yourself that it will be all right in the end, no matter how bad life gets. For in the end, it is Allah who will judge and reward. And who is better in judgment than Allah?

For the righteous, it shall be rest in Paradise. For the oppressors, the opposite.

Maybe you are filled with sorrow. Maybe you are going through some other calamity. Once you enter Paradise, all of that shall be over. It shall come to an end.


[1]   The name of a lecture by American psychologist and philosopher William James

Muhammad Ahsen Khan

Muhammad Ahsen Khan

Muhammad Ahsen Khan is a critical and creative writer. He wishes to use his talents in reading and writing for the good of the Muslim Ummah. His passions include Islamic Aqeedah and Islamic Apologetics, with the ambition to become a recognized religious thinker. He is currently in his fourth year of a Bachelor's degree in Accounting.

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