Thursday, March 12, 2015

Have Faith in Allah's Timing

قُلْ لَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۚ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ 
“Say: No one in the heavens or the earth have knowledge of what is hidden except  God.  Nor shall men ever know when they will be raised to life.” (Quran, 27:65)

Why do we always want everything
right now?
When I was younger, I always thought that when I make dua, as long as I had faith in Allah سبحانه و تعالى  and pray to Him as consistently as I could, He would grant me whatever I asked for. And so I poured my heart out in Salah, but I was impatient, I didn't yet understand that just because I want something, it doesn't mean that it’s the best thing for me.
وَيَدْعُ الْإِنْسَانُ بِالشَّرِّ دُعَاءَهُ بِالْخَيْرِ ۖ وَكَانَ الْإِنْسَانُ عَجُولًا 
 “Yet man prays for evil as fervently as he prays for good.  And mankind is ever hasty in his judgments.” (17:11)
I was treating dua as if it’s, enter your order and your package will be delivered in 3 days. There is no time frame on the delivery of Dua!  Having faith (تَوَكُّل‎) in Allah means that we must have faith in His timing. 
This brings us to three questions: 1.Why can't I be patient? 2.Why does Allah want me to wait? and 3.How can I increase my patience?

1. Why can't I be patient?
We all know that patience (صَبْرٌ) is one of the most important qualities for a believer to possess.  All of us have struggled to be patient at one point in our lives.  A lot of us are probably dealing with matters that make us impatient right now. You struggle to be patient because you believe that your plans are better than what Allah has planned for you. (May Allah protect us from such thoughts.)  But we forget, that Allah is the Best of Planners and The Knower of All العليم.  Allah knows what is best for you, and when it is best for you to have it.
An ayah that always calms my heart when I am feeling anxious and fearful of future matters is from Surah Kahf, when Moses' companion says to him:
قَالَ إِنَّكَ لَنْ تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا
وَكَيْفَ تَصْبِرُ عَلَىٰ مَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ خُبْرًا 
“’You will not bear with me,’ replied the other. ‘For how can you bear with that which is beyond your knowledge.’” (18:67-68)
Similarly, we may feel that we cannot bear certain matters and we cannot bear waiting because we have no knowledge of the unseen. 
How can you bear your burdens when you don't realize, that everything Allah has ordained for you, (even waiting) has a purpose?

2. Why does Allah want me to wait?
When some people are afflicted with trials or hardships, they turn to Allah devoutly, and become the most faithful believers for a short time (twjihi students come to mind) yet when they reach their goals they turn back to their ways of heedlessness.
وَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنْسَانَ ضُرٌّ دَعَا رَبَّهُ مُنِيبًا إِلَيْهِ ثُمَّ إِذَا خَوَّلَهُ نِعْمَةً مِنْهُ نَسِيَ مَا كَانَ يَدْعُو إِلَيْهِ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَجَعَلَ لِلَّهِ أَنْدَادًا لِيُضِلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ ۚ قُلْ تَمَتَّعْ بِكُفْرِكَ قَلِيلًا ۖ إِنَّكَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ 
“When evil befalls man, he prays to his Lord and turns to Him in repentance; yet no sooner does He bestow on him His favour than he forgets what he has prayed for and makes other dieties God’s equals.” (39:8)
فَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنْسَانَ ضُرٌّ دَعَانَا ثُمَّ إِذَا خَوَّلْنَاهُ نِعْمَةً مِنَّا قَالَ إِنَّمَا أُوتِيتُهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ ۚ بَلْ هِيَ فِتْنَةٌ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ 
“When man is afflicted by trouble, he calls out to Us; but when We bestow Our favor upon him, he says: "This has been given to me because of certain knowledge I possess." Nay! It is but a test, yet most of them do not know.” (39:49)

As we can see from the above ayat, patience is a form of test, and we should always be wary of turning our backs to Allah once we have been blessed with goodness.  Remember that most good things take time, and what comes fast, may go faster. 

Understand that Allah is not ignoring your dua.  Allah is المجيب (The Responder to Prayer), but He responds at His pace, not our pace.  How foolish are we to rush He who is the controller of time and the controller of our affairs? 
وَمَا اللَّهُ يُرِيدُ ظُلْمًا لِلْعِبَادِ 
“God wills no injustice against His servants.” (40:31) 

If what you desire is best for you, Allah has all the power to give you what you wish for immediately:
بَدِيعُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ وَإِذَا قَضَىٰ أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ 
 “…and when He wills a thing to be, He but says unto it, "Be" - and it is.” (2:117)
But if you find yourself waiting, it must be because Allah sees it good for you to wait.  Maybe because waiting for something will increase your gratitude, or Allah is waiting to bless you with something better than what you have asked for.  If you approach Allah with an impatient heart, this could be why your dua is not being answered.
If you are making dua, already impatient for Allah's response, know that your dua will not be answered until you come to Allah with a humble, patient heart, ready to be content with what Allah bestows or withholds from you.
The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "The invocation of any one of you is granted as long as he does not show impatience by saying 'I have invoked Allah but my request has not been answered.'" (Hadith Sahih al-Bukhari)

There is a saying, "The teacher appears when the student is ready."
Similarly, what you pray for will appear when you are ready for it!  And if it doesn't, you can be sure that Allah is protecting you from something that would have proved a barrier towards Him, or He is waiting to bless you with something better than what you've asked for.

The way in which the Quran was revealed is in itself a sign to us.  Although Allah could have revealed the Quran all at once, He revealed it over 23 years.
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ الْقُرْآنُ جُمْلَةً وَاحِدَةً ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ ۖ وَرَتَّلْنَاهُ تَرْتِيلًا 
“And those who disbelieve say: Why is the Qur'an not revealed unto him all at once? (It is revealed) thus that We may strengthen thy heart therewith; and We have arranged it in right order.” (25:32)
There would be months at a time when the Prophet wouldn't receive revelations, and during this time he was susceptible to despair, after which the following ayah was revealed:
 مَا وَدَّعَكَ رَبُّكَ وَمَا قَلَىٰ 
"Your lord has not forsaken you nor is He displeased." (93:3)
Nothing is revealed all at once, just as the Quran was revealed slowly, the destiny of your life will unravel and reveal itself to you over time. And practicing patience is a way for us to strengthen our faith. But do not be impatient:
خُلِقَ الْإِنْسَانُ مِنْ عَجَلٍ ۚ سَأُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِي فَلَا تَسْتَعْجِلُونِ 
 “Man is a creature of haste (impatience) You shall before long see My signs: you need not ask Me to hasten them.” (21:37)
Before long Allah's blessings will be bestowed upon you, for He is the most Just and gives everything in due measure.

3. How can I increase my patience?
We can increase our patience by submitting ourselves completely to the will of Allah, having complete reliance on Him in all matters, both seen and unseen.  Tawakul does not mean that we make no efforts to reach our goals but rather, we realize that both success and failure come at the will of Allah, and there exist blessings and lessons in both.
Studying the lives of the Prophets is an excellent way to gain insight into the trials they faced and the patience they showed which should serve as examples for us.  The Prophet Job أيّوب had his wealth, children, health and spouse taken from him, and he didn't submit to despair throughout all of his trials. When he had been sick for 7 years, his wife asked him why he did not supplicate to God to relieve his affliction.  He replied that he had lived in wealth for 8 years, and was too embarrassed to ask God to heal him when his time of ease overcame his time of hardship. Instead, he exemplified perfect compliance and patience with what befell him. 
Don't stress about the future because no matter how well you have planned it, you could never possibly plan it as well as Allah already has.
Learn to leave your cares and your worries with Allah, for nothing is lost that is in His care.
لَا يَضِلُّ رَبِّي وَلَا يَنْسَى
"My Lord never errs nor does He forget." (20:52)
He does not make mistakes when it comes to His servants and He does not forget their prayers.
When we resolve to have patience we free ourselves from the chains of anxiety and distress, if you believe that Allah will  give you all due things in time, the heart will finally know peace. Nothing is more stressful than fretting about the unknown, for none of us can understand it but Allah! 
I know that we all become impatient, and we all are eager to see the destiny of our lives unfold, but instead of asking Allah to bless us with what we want, when we want it, let us learn to pray that Allah bless us with what we desire when the timing is best.
“…Whoever strives to be patient, Allah will make him patient.” (Hadith Sahih al-Bukhari)

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ 
“When my servants question you about Me, then indeed I am near. I answer the prayer of every suppliant when he calls Me; therefore, they should respond to Me and put their trust in Me, so that they may be rightly guided.” (2:186)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ 
“O' You who believe! Seek My help with patience and prayer: surely, Allah is with those who are patient.” (2: 153)

Ya Allah, may we always have faith in Your timing, and may you make us of those who are able to bear the burden of waiting and bear with that which we have no knowledge.

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