How can you turn tribulations into blessings?
How can you enjoy the blessing of hardship?
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How can you live a tranquil life,
no matter what you’re going through?
How can you approach all matters
with positivity and optimism?
How can you form a deep attachment to Allah Almighty,
so that you fear and ask no one but Him?
How can you develop an unbreakable determination
and an unbreakable spirit?
How can you purify your heart from blaming Destiny,
so that you acquire a sound heart with which you can meet Allah?
How can your love for your Lord, Praise and Glory be to Him, become unconditional?
You will find the answers to these questions and more in this work.
Allah, Praise and Glory be to Him…Our Creator, Provider…the One we love above all else, Whose Mercy encompasses everything!
He created His servants to worship Him… to obey Him…to love Him.
He created them and endeared Himself to them with His blessings and favors, for He is Al-Wadud (the Most Loving). Praise be to Him.
He created them and encompassed them in His Mercy, for He is Al-Rahim (the Most Merciful).
He created them, and He was Gentle and Forbearing with them, despite their sins, for He is Al-Latif (the Most Gentle) and Al-Halim (the Most Forbearing).
He loves to hear the voices of His servants expressing gratitude in prosperity and humility in adversity. If a servant turns away from their Lord, He tests them through trials and tribulations to lead them back to Him and hear their supplications and prayers.
And in His testing of us, He is the Most Wise and Most Merciful.
I have been through difficult circumstances, but Allah has guided me to think well of Him, His Mercy, and His Wisdom. Allah subsequently transformed the torment of my tribulation into serenity and peace. How could He not, when He promised in the Qudsi (Divine) Hadith:
“I am to my servant as he thinks of Me.” [Al-Bukhari]
And, indeed, when you think well of Allah and act accordingly, you will find all good from Him.
If you are confident that Allah can fill your heart with happiness, contentment, and tranquility; regardless of the circumstances, then He will be as you think of Him, for He alone grants joy or sadness:
“And that it is He who makes [one] laugh and weep.” (Qur’an, 53:43)
Yes, Allah, Glory be to Him, has blessed me (by testing me) with many favors. I wrote these blessings as I remembered them in the form of a bulleted list. How I enjoyed writing them, then reviewing and contemplating them! And after Allah relieved me from the hardship, I discovered many other great gifts.
To express my gratitude to my Merciful Lord, I want to share some of His favors with you, brothers and sisters, so we can learn together the art of thinking well of Allah, Glory be to Him.
“And as for the blessing of your Lord, do talk about it.” (Qur’an, 93:11)
Everything in this book is but a few details on some of the favors I listed.
Brothers and sisters, look at how the people of the cave thought well of their Lord:
“Hence, now that you have withdrawn from them and from all that they worship instead of Allah, take refuge in that cave…” (Qur’an, 18:16)
A cave…a dark, dreary, distant place…hard to reach and likely to house insects, scorpions, and snakes…without water or vegetation. But Allah’s Power transformed it into something else:
“…Then take refuge in that cave. Your Lord will spread His mercy for you and help you on to ease in your affairs.” (Qur’an, 18:16)
Allah, Glory be to Him, transformed the cave —through His Mercy and Power— into a place of companionship, kindness, mercy, and ease.
Brothers and sisters, I swear that your Lord is Generous. So, let’s get to know Him —through His treatment of His servants— to realize the greatness of the Lord we worship. Let’s get to know Allah so that we think well of Him, regardless of what Destiny He decides for us and what He does with us.
“…maybe you dislike something while Allah invests it with an abundant good.” (Qur’an, 4:19)
Let’s find companionship with Allah and shelter under His protection. Let’s enliven up our hearts and beautify our gatherings with His remembrance.
I ask Allah the Almighty, Lord of the Noble Throne, to benefit us with this book and increase our love for Him. Praise be to Him.
HOW TO CONQUER YOUR FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
Imagine that you received some gifts —which you knew were valuable and wonderful; some with elegant, flashy wrapping paper and others with ugly wrappings… Would you care about the wrapping if you knew they all contained precious gifts?
Likewise, if you know that you can turn anything that happens in the future to your benefit, then it will not make a difference whether it comes wrapped up as a blessing or as a trial; as you decide how it ends up, Allah willing.
Why do people usually worry about the future? Because the future is unknown to them. This fear dampens people’s joy no matter how many blessings they have in this Dunya (worldly life), as they worry that these blessings will disappear and their situations will be overturned.
The rich may become poor; a healthy person may become chronically ill; a free person may become imprisoned; a secure person may become fearful; another may lose the person they love the most, etc.
Do you want to know how to rid yourself of fear of the unknown future?
Simply decide to be content with the Decree of Allah Almighty, whatever it may be!
Note that contentment follows an event and is the result of what you do before the event.
This question is often asked: “If contentment is an action of the heart that one has any control over, how can it be required of us?” The answer is that you should condition yourself to be content with Allah’s Decrees and to obey His Commandments so that Allah will bless you with contentment when you need it.
So, whenever you fear the unknown, renew your commitment and be content, thankful, and patient, and trust that Allah will help you. If you do that, you will no longer fear the future as it is no longer unknown but is crystal clear. Why? Simply because, with this decision, you know that whatever happens will be for your own good. Didn’t the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, say:
“Strange is the affair of a believer, for there is good in every affair of his, and this is only for the believer; if prosperity befalls him, he thanks Allah, and this will be good for him, and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently, and this will be good for him.” [Muslim]
Thus, after making the decision to thank Allah in good times and to be patient in difficult times, do not say: “I do not know if the future will hold good or bad things for me,” because, according to our Prophet’s words, the future holds nothing but good for a believer.
The beauty of this outlook is that it’s no longer a matter of waiting in apprehension for unknown decrees that may knock you around in every direction. The appearance of things (the wrappings) no longer matters…whether it’s wealth or poverty, health or sickness, the presence or loss of loved ones, because you are the one who can turn anything that happens to your benefit, Allah willing. All you need to do is take the decision to be thankful and patient, whatever may come.
Do not say: “Even if I decide to be patient, Allah may not grant me patience.” Instead, remember the words of Allah Almighty, the meaning of which can be translated as:
“No calamity befalls except with Allah’s permission. Whoever believes in Allah, He will guide his heart. And Allah is All-Knowing of everything.” (Qur’an, 4:11)
This Aya (verse) holds significant meanings: whoever leaves his matters to Allah, truly believing in Him, Allah Almighty will guide his heart and help him, as contentment and patience result from a heart full of faith in Allah and submission to Him.
This fear is also addressed by the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah upon him, who said:
“Whoever strives to be patient, Allah will grant him patience.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
So take the initiative and make the decision. Do not say: “Allah may have decreed that I would not be patient even if I sincerely seek patience,” as Allah is much more Merciful and Forbearing than that. Allah has set the means and methods which —if adhered to— He will reward with patience, contentment, and tranquility. It is your actions that qualify you to earn patience from Allah, so it is not something beyond your capacity.
You may say: “I am trying to be content but feel insincere as the trial may be more than I can bear.” We will work together to eliminate such fears as we contemplate the different aspects of Allah’s Wisdom and Support in the coming pages, Allah Willing.
You may say: “I can make the decision now because I love Allah Almighty, but I am worried that if the test is too difficult, it may impact my love for Him.” We will also work together, Allah Willing, to rebuild our love for Allah on strong, unshakeable foundations to remain confident of His Support and Companionship, no matter what we are going through.
All you need now is to trust in Allah’s Wisdom and Mercy so that you can decide to be content. By contentment, we mean a complete submission and satisfaction untainted by any impurities, such as discontent or objection to Allah’s Decrees and Wisdom. It does not mean you will be unaffected by tribulation or love it, as this goes against human nature. It is normal to be sad and hurt when we are tried with the death of a loved one, but there should be no anger with Allah’s Decree or objections such as, “Why me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” Instead, thank Allah Almighty and be patient so you will be rewarded and enjoy the feelings of contentment and tranquility. One of the Prophet’s prayers was:
“I ask You to make me pleased with that which You have decreed.” [Related by An-Nasa’i, authenticated by Al-Albany]
When you lay your head down to sleep, and you say the prayer that our Prophet taught us:
“O Allah, I submit myself to You, entrust my affairs to You…”
Say it with utmost certainty and complete submission so you are among those under Allah’s watchful eyes:
“Be patient with your Lord’s decree, for indeed you are under Our [watchful] Eyes…” (Qur’an, 52:48)
Meaning: Do not be afraid. You are under Allah’s watchful eye and protection, surrounded by His Mercy and Compassion.
Summary of this section
Take the decision to be content with your Lord whatever comes, so you can forever rid yourself of fear of the unknown, Allah-Willing.