Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tell them "Allah loves you so much!".

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

"There is contentment in the belief that God and only Him alone knows all of our hardship.." - F.S

Hardship. Difficulties. Trials - No one has ever escaped them. They are part of life. Just like the sky and the soil which exist hand-in-hand in completing the creation of the Earth, life and trial also exist hand-in-hand in completing the creation of this world. This combination is fitrahsunnatullah and natural. In fact, in Islam, hardship, difficulties and trials in life carry meaningful significant. 

Yet, men perspective's towards trials are often, especially at the beginning of its happening, unfavourable, or should I say uninspiring. I would not want to touch upon the ways how a person who is tested with trials usually react. In this writing, I would like to bring our attention to the way a person usually responds to another person who is facing some trials.

Often and many of us, when we hear the news that our friend is experiencing an unfortunate event in his/her life, we would response by expressing "I am so sorry to hear that". I am a Malaysian, and in Malaysia, in Malay, the response would usually sound like this "Kesiannya.... Sabar ya...", which means "I sympathise with you...Be patience...". In our heart, we would feel sympathy. And even deeper in our heart, somehow, we would feel grateful that we are not in that person's situation. 

Actually, there is nothing ultimately wrong with these expressions and reactions. It is indeed normal for us to feel sympathy. To express our sadness as to tell our friend, we feel their grief or burden too. When we realize the trial of our friend is really challenging and difficult, it's also normal to have that feeling of gratefulness deep in our heart, that we are not the one who had to face it. In fact, according to Ustazah Noor Hafizah Musa, a well-known ustazah in Malaysia, it is good for us to make dua, may Allah will not test us with and protect us from such difficult trial, like the one we're witnessing, like the one our friend is facing. 

However, I would like to suggest for us to have a more balanced view and emotional stand in responding towards those who are being afflicted by difficulties. A more soothing, favorable, inspiring and positive response towards our friends who are experiencing trials and tests.

First of all, we have to understand and keep in mind that in Islam, trials that befall men, have great wisdom. The one wisdom that I would like to highlight is trials signify God's love towards His servants. Trials are Allah's way of communicating "I love you and care about you" to His servants.

In a hadith, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said:
"Whoever Allah wants good for him, he puts them to test. He puts them through difficulties. Like a diamond or some metal that has to be burnt and then that which is bad from it is removed so that you have that which is the pure diamond or the pure gold or whatever. Put them to tests, trials and difficulties."- (Recorded in Bukhari and Muslim)
In another hadith, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w reminded:
"The greater reward is with the greater trial or the greater the trial or difficulty of test or hardship is then the greater the reward. And when Allah loves a person He will tests them. So he who will be pleased (with the test) and then He will be pleased. He who is displeased (with the test), then He will be displeased" - (Narrated by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majaah)

Allahu akbar. The greater the trials, the greater the rewards from Allah. And when Allah loves a person, He will test him/her.

Personally, the moment I understand this concept, this beautiful wisdom, I came to a different view and emotional stand towards my friends who are being afflicted with trials. I look at them with the feeling, "Subhanallah, Allah loves him/her!". This may sound a bit strange, but at some point, out of sudden, I'd feel envious, that Allah, Rabbul 'Alameen, is communicating to them through the trials that He loves them and He wants good for them.

Hence, once we understand and be reminded of such concept and wisdom, our perception towards those who are tested with hardship would be different, would be more positive. Therefore, we should change our way of responding to them. I would like to suggest, instead of saying apologetic statements and sympathetic expressions, we should tell them "Allah tests those He loves and this test shows how much He loves you, man!" or simply, "Allah loves you, dear... This definitely means that He loves you!".

Other than that, I have also come across some dua that we could recite when we meet our friends who are facing trials. They were put up by Ustaz Syed Kadir Aljoofre, from Malaysia, in his Facebook status.

These supplications or expressions are to be said when we want to express condolence to someone who is facing lost or death of family members:
أَعْظَمَ الله أَجْرَكَ وَأَحْسَنَ عَزَاءَكَ وَغَفَرَ لِمَيِّتِكَ

(In Malay: Moga Allah besarkan pahalamu, membaiki takziahmu, dan mengampunkan mayat keluargamu itu.In English: May Allah magnify your reward, make better your solace and forgive your deceased [family member])* This is not a hadith, it's a saying by some scholars - Source: Link*
إن لله ما أخذ، وله ما أعطى، وكل شئ عنده بأجل مسمى، فلتصبر، ولتحتسب 
(In Malay: Sesungguhnya bagi Allah apa yang Dia ambil dan bagi-Nyalah apa yang Dia beri, dan setiap sesuatu di sisi-Nya dengan tempoh yang tertentu, maka bersabar dan berihtisab [menghitung diri, muhasabah dan tidak melampau]. 
In English: Whatever Allah takes is for Him and whatever He gives, is for Him, and everything with Him has a limited fixed term (in this world) and so be patient and hope for Allaah’s reward) 
*This is based on a hadith. Source: Link 1 & Link 2*

In his Facebook status, Ustaz Syed Kadir also expressed his concern on the negative expressions that we usually express to those of our family or friends who are facing difficulties and lost. He said, Islam is a beautiful religion that we are taught to look at trials from a more positive light. We should look at trials as way for us to strengthen our aqidah, belief and trust in Allah s.w.t.

So from today onwards, let's respond towards those who are facing life trials in a more favourable way. Let's be the medium to remind them that Allah, who is Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem loves them so much. May we be the medium to help others to remember the greatness of Allah. Hopefully, insyaAllah one day, when we are facing trials, in the midst of our sadness and confusion, our friends would help to remind us too, that Allah loves us so much. May His love for us will be never-ending. Ameen.


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