Tuesday, December 29, 2015

When help is near...

I remember a time when I was a little girl, I was stuck in a small dark room. I had locked the door, not knowing that the lock was broken. Once I had locked it, I couldn't unlock it and so I ended up locked inside.
I was alone. Stuck. And scared.

I started crying when I realized I was stuck, but soon enough, my shouts were heard and help came quickly. On the other side of the door, they tried to console me, they told me not to cry because I would be out soon, as soon as they got the tools to fix the lock.
I was stuck only for a few quick moments, I knew I would be getting out and yet I still cried anyways.

Why did I cry?

I knew I would get out. I knew my fear was temporary. I knew the solution was coming about.
But even though I knew help was coming, I couldn't see past that moment of fear, so I was stuck in the fearful present.

Why do we cry, even when we know that help is near? Why do we cry when we know that the solutions to our problems are underway, soon to be fixed? Why can't we bear moments of difficulty with peace and patience?

وَاسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلَّا عَلَى الْخَاشِعِينَ

"Seek Allah's help with patient perseverance and prayer. It is indeed hard except for those who are humble." (2:45)

I think this is the mentality we hold towards hardships too, we know the help of Allah is near, if we have patience and maintain taqwa, we know that what we are facing will end, even if we don't know exactly when it will end. And yet, we still fear, we still go through the hardships and cry.

Sometimes Allah locks us alone in a room so that we may only turn to Him (forget about all alterior motives and incentives, leave our intention solely for Him and yearning to be closer to Him) In relinquishing all other helpers we turn completely to the only One who has the power to help us all along. In seeking Him we find our keys.

Allah is الفتاح, The Opener of the Way. He will open doors for you, even when you think there is no key, even when you feel like you're stuck inside.
If you are locked inside: Who else can let you out?
If you are stuck in a storm: Who else can save you?
Who else can mend your heart?
Who else can cure you other the Allah الشافي?
Who else will answer your prayers other than المجيب?
Who will protect you other than المهيمن?
Who can light the path for you other than النور?
Who can fulfill your needs other than الصمد القادر?
Who else knows what's best for you other than العليم?
And who can help you other than الناصر?

يَا غُلَامُ إِنِّي أُعَلِّمُكَ كَلِمَاتٍ احْفَظْ اللَّهَ يَحْفَظْكَ احْفَظْ اللَّهَ تَجِدْهُ تُجَاهَكَ إِذَا سَأَلْتَ فَاسْأَلْ اللَّهَ وَإِذَا اسْتَعَنْتَ فَاسْتَعِنْ بِاللَّهِ وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ الْأُمَّةَ لَوْ اجْتَمَعَتْ عَلَى أَنْ يَنْفَعُوكَ بِشَيْءٍ لَمْ يَنْفَعُوكَ إِلَّا بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ لَكَ وَلَوْ اجْتَمَعُوا عَلَى أَنْ يَضُرُّوكَ بِشَيْءٍ لَمْ يَضُرُّوكَ إِلَّا بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ رُفِعَتْ الْأَقْلَامُ وَجَفَّتْ الصُّحُفُ
O young man, I will teach you some words. Be mindful of Allah and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him before you. If you ask, ask from Allah. If you seek help, seek help from Allah. Know that if the nations gathered together to benefit you, they cannot benefit you unless Allah has written it for you, and if the nations gathered together to harm you, they cannot harm you unless Allah has written it for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages dried. (Sunan At-Tirmidhi)
وَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ فَإِنَّكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا ۖ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ
Therefore, wait for the judgement of your Rabb with patience, We are surely watching over you. Glorify your Rabb with His praises when you wake up (52:48)

Allah tell us in the Quran that for all things He has created an “appointed term’. This includes our hardships and struggles.
لِكُلِّ نَبَإٍ مُسْتَقَرٌّ ۚ وَسَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ
Every tiding [from God] has a term set for its fulfilment: and in time you will come to know [the truth]." (6:67)

I wrote this in July 2015. I find that often times I write something, intending it to be advice for others in general, and then later I find myself in the exact situation where I need to take the same advice. And it's a test to me if I will take my own advice. Allah guides me towards writing the exact counsel I need for myself, before I even know it. And as I retrace my footsteps I see that this has been a pattern repeated many times. 
Everything that happens in our lives, whether we consider it to be good or bad is a blessing from Allah. Hardships and ease are both blessings because maybe Allah has planned for you to go through hardship which will make your life easier and better in the end.
The only true tragedy-the only "bad" that can affect us is anything which distances us from Allah. and keeps us from following His commandments. And everything that brings us closer to Him is a blessing (even if it comes to you disguised as a hardship.) The fact is that we can handle and understand any hardship and difficulty if we remember that Allah alone holds the knowledge of what is best for us regarding our present and future affairs. We should not just try to seek a way out from any hardship we are inflicted with, when something happens which we dislike, that hurts us or causes us pain, we have to be careful not to get lost in the illusion created by that pain. Look through it, strive through it with the help of Allah and find the purpose. We always ask Allah for signs, we are looking for Allah's signs and asking Him to speak to us, to guide us, to point out the direction for us. But there are signs all around us, Allah is always "speaking" to us but we may not always be listening:
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ لَوْلَا يُكَلِّمُنَا اللَّهُ أَوْ تَأْتِينَا آيَةٌ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ قَالَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ مِثْلَ قَوْلِهِمْ ۘ
تَشَابَهَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ ۗ قَدْ بَيَّنَّا الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ
"Those who have no knowledge ask: "Why does Allah not speak to us face to face or send us a sign ?" The same demand was made by those before them: they all have the same mentality. We have already shown clear signs to those whose faith is firm." (2:118)
What is Allah trying to teach me?
He withholds, only to give.
He tests in order to aid.
He breaks, in order to mend.
"From the perfection of Allah’s ihsan is that He allows His slave to taste the bitterness of the break before the sweetness of the mend. So He does not break his believing slave, except to mend him. And He does not withhold from him, except to give him. And He does not test him (with hardship), except to cure him." -Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah
إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ
قُلْ هُوَ رَبِّي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ مَتَابِ

اللَّهُمَّ أَسْلَمْتُ نَفْسِي إِلَيْكَ، وَفَوَّضْتُ أَمْرِي إِلَيْكَ، وَوَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِي إِلَيْكَ، وَأَلْجَأْتُ ظَهْرِي إِلَيْكَ، رَغْبَةً وَرَهْبَةً إِلَيْكَ، لَا مَلْجَأَ وَلّا مَنْجَا مِنْكَ إِلَّا إِلَيْكَ، آمَنْتُ بِكِتَابِكَ الّـذي أَنْزَلْـتَ وَبِنَبِيِّكَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلْتَ
O Allah, I submit myself to You, entrust my affairs to You, turn my face to You, and lay myself down depending upon You, hoping in You and fearing You. There is no refuge, and no escape, except to You. I believe in Your Book (the Qur'an) that You revealed, and the Prophet whom You sent.

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