When we mention the word “blessings” or nikmah we will think of happiness, ease, and life’s comforts. However, we realise that life is not one that is free of sadness, disappointments and trials. However, no matter what happens or whatever the situation one faces, a true believer (mukmin) will strive to remain positive. Rasulullah once said:
“How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” [Hadith reported by Imam Muslim]
Subhanallah (praise to be Allah who made this beautiful thing), how is it that a Mukmin can attain that level of gratitude even when he is facing a great trial? It starts with the realisation that when one is tested, it is an opportunity from Allah to raise their standing in His sight. Allah says in Surah Al-Baqarah verses 155-157:
Which means: “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.” Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Baqarah, verse 155-157].
When we are tested with trials, be thankful for it is a sign that Allah still loves us. As humankind, if we were to continuously enjoy wealth, comfort, and ease in our affairs, we will easily become complacent and forget the need to be close to Allah. Thus, at times Allah tests us. And it is through His tests that we will realise the need to return to Him, to prostrate in submission to Him, seeking His help. Thus Rasulullah said:
Which means: “The people who are tested most severely are the Prophets, and then those who are like them. A man is tried according to his religion. If he is strong in his religion, then his trials will be more severe. If he is weak in his religion, then he is tried according to his strength in religion.” [Hadith reported by At-Tirmidzi and Ibnu Majah]
For example, if Allah is currently testing us with family problems, then we should remember that the Prophets themselves faced challenges and problems with their families. Prophet Nuh had a son who did not accept Allah and did not believe in the faith that Prophet Nuh preached. Prophet Ibrahim had a father who wanted to throw him into the fire. Prophet Lut had a wife who was not attracted to men anymore. Prophet Yusuf had siblings who were initially extremely jealous toward him and left him in a dry well.
Hence, if Allah is testing us, be assured that it is indeed a nikmah, and holds many amazing rewards because the prophets too were tested by Allah. But that doesn’t mean that we just sit around and do nothing about it, we have to strive to find a solution. What is most important is that when we are tested, the first thing we should do is to seek strength from Allah as taught to us by our beloved messenger, Prophet Muhammad in a hadith:
Which means: “A servant when struck with misfortune should say: Which means: Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him is our return. Oh Allah reward me for my affliction and compensate me with something better. Rasulullah said: “Allah will surely reward one from the test and compensate him with something better.” [Hadith reported by Imam Muslim]
Once we have revived our spirits to face the trials of life, then we must work toward improving the situation. Often, when one is faced with problems, they are too focused on grieving and lack attention to finding the solution. In fact, this can then lead to stress and depression.
Take for example, if we are afflicted with an illness that affects our lifestyle or quality of life. We might not be as active as we once were. But that doesn’t mean we should continuously be sad and give up. If we continuously wallow in sadness and feel depressed, our loved ones around us will be affected. Hence, let us rise up above our sadness, and plan with our family on how we can manage a new way of life that can fit our new situation. If, in the past we lacked exercise, performing acts of worship or spending time with our family, let us now do more of those. Perhaps the blessing behind the affliction is that it makes us realise the importance of these deeds, and help rebuild our relationship with our family and with Allah.
May Allah grant us the strength to be patient in facing all of life’s trials and challenges, Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin.