Not one person in this world has never experienced difficulties in life and in one moment throughout our life we may be in the lowest and the worst condition that we have never imagined. Everyone is indeed tested by Allah in so many forms of both happiness and sadness, shortage and abundance as mentioned in the Qur’an Surah Al Baqarah Verse 155-157.
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنْفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُمْ مُصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
أُولَٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ
We will certainly test you with some fear and hunger, and some loss of possessions and lives and crops. But give good news to the steadfast (Al Baqarah: 155)
Those who, when a calamity afflicts them, say, “To God we belong, and to Him we will return.” (Al Baqarah: 156)
Upon these are blessings and mercy from their Lord. These are the guided ones (Al Baqarah: 157)
The verse reminds us that anyone, whoever he/she is, even the Prophets are tested by Allah SWT. Such tests indicate how Allah pay attention and want us to be stronger and sustaining in this life. When we can get through all the difficulties and hurdles, Allah will give us good news because we have been patient and resilient in facing all the tests. The good news is given as blessings and mercy from Allah SWT. However, some people may think that the tests are too difficult for them, too hard to handle. This kind of assumption is misleading as Allah SWT tests people because they can bear them. This is mentioned in the Qur’an Al Baqarah: 286).
لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ ۗ رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِنْ نَسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ ۖ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا ۚ أَنْتَ مَوْلَانَا فَانْصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ
God does not burden any soul beyond its capacity. To its credit is what it earns, and against it is what it commits. “Our Lord, do not condemn us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord, do not burden us as You have burdened those before us. Our Lord, do not burden us with more than we have strength to bear; and pardon us, and forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our Lord and Master, so help us against the disbelieving people.” (Al Baqarah: 286)
Even though Allah has confirmed that He does not burden human beings with something that they can not carry, we at times feel that we can not bear any longer. When we feel that everything seems to get worse and even the universe does not seem to support us, we may feel so desperate. When there seems no way out, we may feel so tired. We feel so tired of the complex problems at home, offices, families, even societies. We may feel we will not get over them and seem like the sky is falling down and the Earth becomes narrower and crushing. At this moment, we may think of stopping and not trying anymore. We may surrender, but no…it is not the time to surrender yet.
Let’s think again, clearly and mindfully, as Believers and Moslems. Let this be a self-help and things to ponder.
This life is just temporary. There will certainly another life which is more eternal. If we feel tired, isn’t it this world a place where we have to work and prepare for our future? The future life which is more promising, everlasting, and joyful should not be traded with something fake, temporary, unstable, and sorrowful sometimes. This world is where we have to keep saving goodness for our next life. It is the time when we need to do the compulsory and the voluntary worshipping. It is the time when we have to make everything that we do our saving because of and for Allah SWT. This world is the place where we should make our work, struggles, actions, eating, walking, resting, even breathing becomes valuable saving for our future life. Our hard work, sweat, tears, fatigue, should be turned into Allah SWT blessings and never do those go without meanings.
How, then, should we face all the tests and fatigue in this life? Here are several advices:
- Accept the tests with an open heart
The first thing that we need to do when we are tested is by accepting it. Whatever the kind of tests they are, simply accept them and believe that those tests are the ways to achieve higher levels of faith quality. Students at schools need to pass the exam if they want to level up. Tests given by teachers are those within the students’ competence. In the same way, the tests given by Allah are certainly not the tests beyond our levels that are impossible to be answered. Allah gives us the tests because He knows that we can finish the tests well. Besides, He also wants us to become stronger and get more blessings from Allah SWT.
- Limitless patience and keep doing good deeds
While we are doing the tests, patience is the key and it has no limit. Patience does not mean to do nothing. Even, patience is viewed as half of faith because patience is the confirmation of principles of religion and that the origin of faith is from knowledge and good deeds. According to Al Ghazali, there are two kinds of patience: patience over physical pains and at inclination of evil (Ihya Ulumuddin, page 64). For those who are patience and do not stop from doing good deeds are rewarded by Allah SWT as mentioned in the Qur’an Surah Az-Zumar, Verse 10.
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ ۚ لِلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا فِي هَٰذِهِ الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةٌ ۗ وَأَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةٌ ۗ إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُمْ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ
Say, “O My devotees who have believed, keep your duty to your Lord. For those who do good in this world, is goodness. And God’s earth is vast. The steadfast will be paid their wages in full, without reckoning.” (Az-Zumar, 10)
- If you feel tired, have a rest for a while
It is fine sometimes to take a rest, releasing all burdens and problems. Spending several days for thinking, reflecting, evaluating, and having intensive communication with Allah SWT may be of great help. Repositioning the aim of doing things in life and regaining beliefs about Allah’s Limitless Power may give us strength to continue our struggle. Or else, seeking advice from Ustadz and good Moslem friends can also be beneficial.
- Ikhitar (trying) is a never-ending action
Efforts are everything that Moslems do as the implementation of faith and evidence of their beliefs of rewards given after life. Efforts are obligatory as long as a Moslem lives. These efforts, regardless of the success or failure, are counted as ibadah or good deeds. In this case, process is viewed as more important than the results because the results are within the Power of Allah and His Privilege.
Allah has mentioned in the Qur’an Surah An-Najm 39-42:
وَأَنْ لَيْسَ لِلْإِنْسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَ
وَأَنَّ سَعْيَهُ سَوْفَ يُرَىٰ
ثُمَّ يُجْزَاهُ الْجَزَاءَ الْأَوْفَىٰ
وَأَنَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ الْمُنْتَهَ
And that the human being attains only what he strives for (An-Najm: 39)
And that his efforts will be witnessed (An-Najm: 40)
Then he will be rewarded for it the fullest reward (An-Najm: 41)
And that to your Lord is the finality (An-Najm: 42)
- If you want to stop, does it mean you want to go back home (to Allah SWT)?
Bearing all those hardness, do we surrender? Are we ready to give up and go back to Allah because we do not want to try again? It is not an easy thing to answer such a question as we may always answer that we are not ready yet. However, it is not merely about readiness to return to Allah, it is about our duties to accept Allah’s tests and how to gain His blessings upon what we do to the tests.
To sum up, for human beings feeling tired or want to give up may be a normal situation. However, as Moslems we need to act complying with what Allah SWT has guided us. Accepting tests of life and being patient throughout the tests are never easy. Therefore, those who have succeeded in performing them will get blessings and rewards from Allah SWT. Getting a test is not an option, but performing it in the best way that we could is the rightest decision. Allah is the best of Helpers and to Him we shall ask for help.
Oleh: Dr. Ista Maharsi, S.S., M.Hum.