EVERY AYAH IN the Quran is important as it is the word of Allah, but then there are some âyât which touch us particularly depending on our state of mind and situation. It sometimes happens that we are going through a certain scenario and we randomly hear an âyah being recited. Or we read an ayah that somehow gives an answer to our worry, or otherwise soothes the heart and mind regarding that worry.
When there is no one there for us, it is as if the Quran comes to speak and console us in our time of need. If you think you were alone in experiencing this, then you’ve never been more wrong. Problem is, we think of the Quran as a material book because that’s how we have always seen it. But the Quran didn’t come down as a complete book. Rather it came down, over 23 years, in bits and pieces, addressing one or another situation faced by our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
What we stumble upon in the Quran, something that helps us subconsciously, is something that used to happen to him in actuality and consciously. The Quran used to be revealed as an answer, support, reassurance, upliftment, confidence-builder and a booster throughout the mission of our Prophet ﷺ.
Keeping this point in mind we move on and read the ḥadith of Aisha where she described the Prophet ﷺ as,
His character was just (a reflection of) the Quran. (Muslim)
Coming to the crux of the matter, we focus on one ayah:
Verily with hardships/difficulties comes ease [Sûrat Al-Sharḥ, 94:5]
This is, I guess, one of the most widely shared ayah on Muslim Internet –yeah, there IS such a thing. I had just read this ayah on a large poster before I started reading one of the Sîrah books going in depth into the life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
From the beginning of the book till the very end this ayah kept popping up, not in the text but in essence. Wallahi, it blew my mind away. It was like tadabbur but of the Sîrah. I could go on and on –and if we focus on the lives of the Ṣahâba and the first three generations, I think this would become a whole book in its own. Though there are countless incidents, I’ll try and point out a few of them that stand out from the Sîrah specifically, Insha’Allah.
Arabia before the Prophet
Arab society was engrossed in evil acts and had completely moved away from the religion of Ibrahim by worshipping idols and burying their daughters alive, to name just a few practices. They had hit rock bottom of the darkness which had engulfed the world since ʿIsa.
Though the low point generally was in Arabia, it was the world at large experiencing this darkness. It was at this point of difficulty for the world that the light of mercy shone and Allah sent Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to expel darkness.
Oppression against ‘Abd Al-Mutallib
ʿAbd Al-Muṭṭalib the grandfather of the Prophet ﷺ came from Madinah to Makkah with his uncle. The people thought he was a slave of Al-Muṭṭalib and when Al-Muṭṭalib passed away his relatives in Makkah tried to take possession of him.
Not only did Allah aid him by helping him overpower and regain his rights but he also blessed ʿAbd Al-Muṭṭalib in enabling him to rediscover the well of Zamzam –hence highlighting his status with the Quraysh: from being mistaken as a slave to being established the leader of the Quraysh.
The Passing of ‘Abd Al-Muṭṭalib and Âminah
The Prophet’s being left an orphan with not much to his name, scholars say was a key point to take note of. Here Allah was teaching our Prophet humility, being down to Earth, not letting the tribal pride get to him, understanding the pain of the poor, needy and orphans and much more.
He grew up living the life of a shepherd. Along with all these life lessons we see that Allah blessed him ﷺ with marriage to our ‘mother’ Khadîjah, who at that time was a rich businesswoman, sought after by the crême de la crême of the men around her and who despite all that chose to marry Muhammad ﷺ.
Because of his honest and truthful character, he would stop bloodshed amongst the Quraysh and would get the honor of replacing the black stone in its place when it was being reconstructed following, in the footsteps of Ibrâhîm.
Abû Lahab Abusing the Prophet
When the Prophet lost his second son, Abû Lahab came and instead of fulfilling his responsibilities as an uncle, that ‘dog of hell-fire’ called the Prophet ﷺ, “the man cut-off in offspring” or “he whose bloodline has been cut off and there will be no one to carry on his name.”
Allah blessed the name of our Prophet by:
- Mentioning it in the Quran and making this Book a ‘tent’ of faith which will be read and memorized till the end of the world.
- Muslims naming their children after their Prophet so much so that it would become one of the most popular names in the world.
- Xazillion books mentioning and glorifying his name would be written.
- Being part of the adhân, that is continuously being called around –not just Arabia but also– the whole wide world, proclaiming his name.
Well, Allah didn’t forget Abû Lahab either. He immortalized his curse against him by enshrining his deed in the Quran, in a sûrah which will be recited till the end of the world.
Oppression Against Muslims
Muslims were being oppressed left, right, and center. Not only this but the Prophet’s clan was boycotted because of him. After all such difficulties in practicing their dîn, Allah blessed them with the conversion of Ḥamzah ibn ʿAbd Al-Muṭṭalib and ʿUmar ibn Al-Khaṭṭâb.
For the first time Muslims would be able to pray at the Kaʿbah. This eventually would open doors of migration to Abyssinia and Madinah.
Passing away of Abû Ṭâlib and Khadîjah
This occurred at a very bad time. People were rejecting our Prophet; his followers were being persecuted; and then he was tested with the passing away of the closest of his family. This period was termed the Year of Grief. He was rejected by the people of Ṭâ’if and stoned till he bled.
It was during this period that Allah blessed our Prophet ﷺ by taking him –in a night– from Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarâm to Al-Masjid Al-Aqṣa. He had his heart washed clean by Jibrîl. He led all the Prophets in prayer as their Imam. He was raised and given a VIP tour of heaven. He was allowed to a point close to Allah which even Angel Jibrîl was not allowed to access. He was given the gift of Salah and âyât (Sûrat Al-Baqarah, 2:285-286) from the base of the tree that grew under the throne of Allah. On his descent eventually he was given permission to migrate to Madinah.
Life in Madinah
When the Prophet came to Madinah the weather was bad and in general the Muhâjirûn could not adapt to it. They were missing their home. For nearly 18 months Muslims prayed towards Al-Aqsa but didn’t say a word of complain as it was a command from Allah.
Once their submission was complete, we see Allah reveal verses of the change of qibla to the Kaʿbah which was respected, loved by the Muhâjirûn and a sign of worship for all Arabs. Not only this but Allah blessed the weather and living conditions. Yathrib had become Madinah. Our Rabb not only satisfied the Ṣaḥâba physically but also mentally and spiritually.
Battle of Badr and Uḥud
The first main battle fought by the Muslims was at Badr. Muslims marched out to battle the Quraysh with naught but belief in their hearts while the Quraysh were thrice their number and better armed. They are tested and Allah is pleased with them. He sends down rain to bless them and along with the rain comes an army of angels who routed the Quraysh. Allah blessed victory to Muslims that would instill respect for them in the surrounding areas and keep at bay the Jews around Madinah.
At the battle of Uḥud, it was revenge time for the Quraysh. The Muslims were winning but –seeing the booty of war– they disobeyed the commands of their Prophet ﷺ and Allah tested them severely. Many Ṣaḥâba lost their lives. Eventually they realized the error of their ways and rallied around the Messenger ﷺ. Allah blessed the Muslims with an important lesson and another hard fought victory.
The Ḥudaibiyah Treaty
Ḥudaibiyah was indeed a turning point for Islam. At face value it looked like a defeat wherein Muslims were turned back from performing ʿUmrah and were subject to harsh conditions in the treaty. It was very difficult for the Ṣaḥâba to accept.
Those who were sent back to Makkah, as per the treaty, turned into dâʿis –callers to Islam. In this period of peace people began to see the success and understand the message of Islam and became Muslim. A treaty that was thought to reduce Muslim numbers by sending people back to Makkah was now bringing people from Makkah.
This was the time that Allah blessed Islam with the acceptance of Khâlid ibn Al-Walîd. I don’t need to even write how great a blessing this would turn out to be. This treaty further allowed the message of Islam to spread like nothing before –even beyond the borders of Arabia. This blessing, in the long run, would lead up to conquering Makkah itself: from being unable to perform one ʿUmrah to being the possessors of Makkah. Allah had indeed provided relief to the Muslims.
Battle of Ḥunayn
After conquering Makkah, the Prophet ﷺ and his army set out for Ḥunayn. Nearly 13,000 in number, this kind of force could not be matched by anyone else in Arabia. Some Ṣaḥâba got overconfident and said, We surely cannot be defeated now, due to our numbers. Allah tested them by giving the enemy the upper hand and the Muslim army was being routed.
The Muslims realized their mistake and pleaded with Allah for help. Allah eventually blessed them with victory after they had learnt the ills of boasting.
Muslim armies would go on to conquer Ṭâif and eventually the whole of Arabia would accept the message of Islam.
From a man being mocked in the valley of Makkah with no followers to becoming the greatest leader and man to walk the face of the Earth with people thronging around him as far as the eye could see.
From a man having no family to a man whose name would be held onto till the end of the world and loved by his Ummah more than they love their own parents.
From opening his eyes in a period of idolatry to closing his eyes seeing them bow down to Allah.
From darkness to light – From hardship to relief.
Indeed the promise of Allah is true.
A Lesson For Us
If Allah tests us, then there is infinite wisdom behind it which we may not comprehend. But one thing that we can know for sure is that it’s always for our own good. Maybe Allah is testing us so that we may be ready for something greater, teaching us or enabling us to appreciate a blessing once we get it.
You may be hurt and you may not see the plan of Allah but sooner or later it’s all going to work out in ways you would never have imagined and which your mind would never have comprehended.
Tawakkul and duʿa’ are from the most beautiful things in Islam.
Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty, ailments and were shaken in spirit.… [Sûrat Al-Baqarah, 2:214]
Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear. [Sûrat Al-Baqarah, 2:286]
Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest. [Sûrat Al-Raʿd, 13:28]
Verily, if Allah loves a people, He makes them go through trials. (Tirmidhi)
And, last but not least:
Verily with hardships/difficulties comes ease [Sûrat Al-Sharḥ, 94:5]
Hang in there. Indeed, the promise of Allah is true.
James SmithAugust 30, 2016 - 9:56 am
A great read. For the last few years I have been battling mental illness. I was starting to hear my doctor say they are running out of options, maybe I needed to be committed to a long term facility. Luckily, symptoms subsided and I got to go home. After a last ditch effort, my doctor found a procedure that has helped me reach a possible stage of remission.
I must say, it has been rough, if not some of the worst times of my life. I never blamed God for my situation. Oh, it would have been real easy to do. Yes, I did feel the loneliness though. Battling mental illness can be very lonely thing to suffer through. There is a stigma attached which makes it truly hard for others to understand what I have gone through. Thank goodness God created therapy. It has helpful to have a professionally trained person to listen to all my screwed up thoughts and help me work through them. So, even if my fight seemed lonely, it really wasn’t.
I still struggle with this whole test from God thing. How is my battle with mental illness going to make me a better person? Was this just a luck of the draw from a cosmic deck? I will say that it has made me much stronger emotionally and spiritually. I suppose I am so stubborn that God had to really drag me through the mud to help me. Regardless, I am humbled and grateful.
zeeMay 31, 2017 - 2:09 am
thank you for this.