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Finding faith in difficult times

by Musa Bukhari

“Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried? But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident those who are false.” [Qur’an 29: 2-3]

From the moment we enter this world, we are being tested. People will be mean to us. They will hurt us. They will mock us. For some they will be abused by family members. They will be racially attacked. They will be lied to. They will have things taken from them. Then what happens is more interesting. Our response to all these moments. We will then lie. Manipulate. Hurt people. It will become a cycle. Until one day you will be shown a sign. You will learn about a man in 6th century Arabia who was orphaned, attacked, mocked, abused, but he was always kind to those who hurt him. He forgave those who oppressed him. Than you will learn about great men and women who came into this world, who were hurt so much yet they always seemed to do the right thing. What made them so different? Their response. The choices they made.

The Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment." (Bukhari)

One of the greatest virtues a human can attain is healing through all the chaos and trials of dunya. To develop your mindfulness, your presence, and your emotional intelligence and empathy when interacting with the world. From Humans, to animals to trees. It all matters because they are all connected. We are told that for every ailment, every pain, every illness there is always a cure for it. So seek the cure. Sometimes we have to travel far and wide seeking. We travel to distant lands, to escape. To find answers. We climb mountains. Sit gazing over an ocean. Prostrate in new places. Connect with people who look different to us. Learn the language of different nations. Learn the language of people. Learn the language of the heart. We will cry. We will run. We will come back. We will run back. We will fall, and fall and fall again. We will become numb from the fall and realise we are becoming numb so we will take action. We will open our hearts to people and the risk of being hurt again. They will promise to love us, and they will, but as is the nature of life, they will hurt us too. We too will hurt people we promised to love.

The Prophet (saw) said: “No calamity befalls a Muslim but that Allah expiates some of his sins because of it, even if it were the prick of a thorn.” [Bukhari, Muslim].

In the novel, “The Alchemist”, Santiago travels the world in search of treasure. He encounters much hardship on his journey, trusting people who deceive him, being deceived by his pain to suspect the trustworthy; all of this is important, because he is supposed to be cautious. Pain makes you cautious, how else will you avoid the burn of fire that touched your skin? How else will you avoid dangerous places? But Santiago believed and still opened himself up, even after falling and being hurt. He still opened his heart to the hope of possibility.

We learn this example from our mother Hajar (as) as she ran in the desert, hurting. Trying. Scared. She ran and she found nothing. She ran again. Nothing. She ran again and again. Seven times again. Driven by hope. Illuminated by courage, she believed. She went to places that deceived her. That hurt her. That came up empty. But she continued. Hajar (as) found her opening. In the place of desolation. She found what she was seeking. Santiago travelled. Robbed, beaten, shaken, he returned home: and there all along he found what he had been seeking. His treasure. It was in the place he started. It was with him. The storm of nuh (as) did not destroy those who did good, it purified and protected them. The storm saved them.

"And construct the ship under Our Eyes and with Our Inspiration, and address Me not on behalf of those who did wrong; they are surely to be drowned." (Surah Hud 13:37)

This world is designed to hurt us, so it can shape us. We spend so long looking for treasure. When the external journey becomes perilous and tiring. Take all that you’ve learned, those are your keys. Now go inward. It will hurt to go inward. But you must. You need yourself more then you think. There, all lies become apparent. There, you will wrestle with the guard at the door of your heart. Your ego. Fight it. Fight it because it is not protecting you, it is stealing from you. It is keeping you from yourself. Your true self: the self that took an oath in the realm of the souls. The purest version of your being. Run inside. Behold. There you heal. There you will choose to do better, and then you will know yourself and know Allah. This life is incredibly short. In comparison to the hereafter this life is described as being the blink of an eye. We will be tested and suffer in this world, we are being purified to be prepared. Always believe your purpose is greater than your pain. You have to believe that it is part of your development and having a healthy mindset can greatly affect the way you navigate through life’s challenging junctures.

May Allah heal us and grant us the blessing of recognizing the ease with our tests, may He grant us the ultimate goal of Jannah, a reward for those who patiently persevered, ameen.

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