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Moving forward through difficult times

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Moving forward through difficult times

At some point in our lives, we will be in some very difficult times. We will be like in a cave with no light. All our plans will become merely forgotten dreams, and our hopes will be cut short. Nothing will make sense. Our friends will leave us. We may be jobless. We may be single and lonely. We may be in debt and have no income. We may have eduction problems. We may have immigration or political problems. To make things worse, we may have health problems to deal with. This may be the most difficult time we have ever been in.

We will be overwhelmed with problems. You could say we have hit rock bottom. We have nobody to help us. The only real friend we have is our self which we don't know its full potential yet. We have always had it easy. We never needed to use our own light to guide ourselves. But we have no choice now. It is time to face our problems head-on.

As new adults, the first thing we learn about us is that, it's "Us Alone" Vs. the World. Nobody will fight our battles. Nobody will stand for us. Nobody can help us but ourselves. We cannot escape our problems until we deal with them. We must be courageous and find the inner champion that is hidden in us. We must bring it to use. We have all the resources to find solutions to our problems, and no problem is greater than us.

If you are a new adult and are going through a difficult period, don't be discouraged. Everyone as they mature into adulthood, will go through difficult periods. Nobody is exempt from the trials of life as we become adults. As we mature into young adults, we need difficulties to change us from the way are. It is necessary to lose friends, be jobless, and have increased responsibilities to become adults. Difficulties help shape our morality, our judgment, and improve our logic. Our mental and physical capacity increases as well. The sooner we realize that trials are here to better us, the better of we will be.

Feeling like we have the whole world in our shoulders is normal. It is a natural process that everyone will go through as they become new adults. The adulthood change may be a difficult time for us, but it is just the start. As we mature and become better productive adults, we are just starting to live and enjoy life. But God has a totally different plan for us, and will send real tests our way to prepare us for the real purpose that He has created us. We need to be aware that God is always working his plan for our lives at all times. He wants us to grow into better beings that will better service His creation. He has a plan that we do not know nor understand yet. The way God makes His plan known to us is through difficulties which will come in all shapes and forms.

This is one of the very first things we learn about God as we live in this world. His way of guidance and reward come in a form of hardships. He will continually send hardships to test and reshape us. He wants us to grow into better and more productive beings. He did not create us to just wonder around. Trials will be very frequent, and God sent to redirect and enrich our lives. God will continue to test us as long as necessary to complete His purpose and justice in us. He is preparing us for a great future which we may be unaware of. Allah s.w.t mentions in the Glorious Qur'an about the testing that His creation will undergo. He says: "We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and life and fruits of your toil. But give good news to the steadfast: Those who, when disaster strikes them, say, “We belong to Allah and to Him we will return”. Those are the people who will have blessings and mercy from their Lord; they are the ones who are guided. Qur'an 2:155-157"

In the above verse we learn that blessings and mercy, and guidance are associated with difficulties, and we should expect no less. We should always be prepared to face the various trials that God has in store for us. It is His way of forgiving and rewarding us. As we read the Qur'an more in depth, we learn from the Qur'an that this whole life is a test and we must use these tests to better ourselves and earn an everlasting life in the hereafter. That is our purpose; to be tested and worship Allah s.w.t. Allah specifically tells us that He created all mankind to test them. He says: "Verily, We created man from a drop of mingled sperm so that We may test him; and therefore We made him hearing and seeing. We have indeed showed him the way, now he be grateful or ungrateful. (Qur'an 76:3)"

We learn from the above verse that we have a choice between guidance and misguidance, and that all our striving is for our own benefit. Whatever we chose, it is for us only. Allah does not benefit from our striving. Whatever we do, we will have to answer for it in judgement day. God does not test us because He does not already know our individual fates, but He does so to reveal our true natures to ourselves. God is most-just and gives us the opportunity to prove to ourselves that what He has for us in the hereafter is in accordance with His knowledge, plan, and justice.

In the Qur'an, Allah poses a question to all His creation. It is a rhetorical question to make us think and understand His mercy and justice. "Do people think that they will be left to say, "We believe," without being put to the test? Qur'an 29:2" By closely examining the above verse, we learn this life is a test. Reading a little bit further in the Qur'an we also learn that many of the difficulties that come our way are as a consequence of our actions. As Allah says in the Glorious Qur'an: "Whatever of misfortune strikes you, it is what your hands have earned. And He forgives much. Qur'an 42:30" Allah makes it clear that we cause all of our own misfortunes, and He also says He forgives much, meaning we don't receive all the punishment for everything we do.

A person may ask why must we be tested. God knows our hearts. God knows the future and the past. He knows everything that has happened and will happen. So why test us? Without going deep into the scriptures, we can conclude that the testing is for us not God. When we are tested we learn many things about ourselves and God. We learn many of His attributes and experience them directly. We also see His plan in action. We find out about our limitations and abilities. There are many purposes in the tests we face, and they are distinct to each individual. But in general, they are for our own good.

The test which we will go through are not meant to add to the knowledge of God. Although God knows everything, it still is necessary that all men and women be put to test so that the true form of God's justice and mercy may emerge on the Day of Judge­ment. If God were to send all persons to Paradise or Hell according to His own knowledge without put­ting them to test for their beliefs and deeds, then those sent to Hell could rightly complain that why were they being punished without any sin on their part while others enjoyed bliss of Paradise without any good deed in their credit? God's knowledge is not enough for humans to understand. So in order to uphold the principle of justice and fairness, it was necessary for God to test all persons before sending them to Hell or Paradise.

A truthful person will receive true tests until he or she becomes a true believer, and the ranks of the righteous and the wicked are clearly distinguished. This message has been conveyed throughout the Qur'an. We will continually be tested with all sorts of tests. Some of us are easily swayed away from what is good and true. At the slightest misfortune or difficulty, we turn away from God, forgetting that we owe Him everything. We forget who our creator is. Others are more patient and remain steadfast on what God and His Messenger have given us in the form of guidance. They remain God-Conscious in good and bad times and never forget their true purpose in this life.

This guidance, which comes by way of tests and trials is to be followed for our benefit, not God’s benefit. Indeed he is most high, and does not need our thankfulness nor our worship. Therefore, We are strengthened by adversity, knowing full well that each test provides an opportunity to prove our faith, and to turn to Him in prayer and gratitude. We do not know what is good for us and only through tests can we come to know whats best for us. What is best for the believer may be found in what he hates, and what is bad for him may be found in what he likes. The true believer is the one who loves that which Allah has chosen for him. So, if He tests him with something that he loves, he thanks Him, and if He tests him with that which he hates, he is patient and thanks Him in this case, as well. And Allah – the Glorified – gives the believer in accordance with what will lead to his happiness in either this World or the next.

Whatever difficulty you are in, know that you are where God wants you to be. There is a purpose in all our affairs. Sometimes we may need a difficulty to just learn to listen to what God has to say about us. Sometimes our own arrogance makes us deaf to people around us and God has a way of softening our hearts. You will learn through every difficulty that the decree of Allah is at full force, unstoppable. Some problems you may walk away from them but you will never truly defeat them. Each problem will go away when you truly face it and learn from it. Each problem is there to shape us and teach us about life, and to prepare us for a great journey in life.

God is always directing our footsteps. He wants us to go in places we don't know they even exist. He is constantly guiding us and showering his mercy upon us. We should embrace the light that is guiding us, not fight the darkness that surrounds us. Sometimes we must let difficulties be and let them do their purpose in us. Difficulties may be here to bring out the best in us. We are not meant to fight every difficulty. Some difficulties are there to fight the darkness in us. Difficulties will not leave us until change happens in us.

We may curse our difficulties, but they won't go away that easy. Difficulties are here to reshape us. It is time we grow into the beings God wants us to be. We have been living in mediocrity for too long. We have had it easy. But now we have a reason and a need to fight. Difficulties are here to reveal to us what we are made of. It is necessary to undergo through difficulties to understand the capabilities we have. We may not know anything about us. In order to find the great qualities we have, we must be tested.

In hardships we always ask God, why? We want to understand why God is being so unfair to us. Why is life so difficult. We are faithful and truthful to God so why do we encounter many difficulties in life. We need to trust God and lean not on our own understanding. We don't need to know everything that happens. Some things we will know when the next phase of life comes. In time when God knows best, we will understand and thank God for these very difficult moments. They may be the reason we reach greatness in this world and the hereafter.

Looking at people who have suffered a great deal more than many of us could ever imagine, puts things in perspective. Understanding that hard times are a source of reward gives us great comfort. Knowing that we are not the first to walk this path, and that as long as we stay on the path of righteousness, God will help us and will ensure we are victorious gives us hope and encouragement.

If God has created you, and all that exists, He can surely get you through the very difficult times when you cannot see hope for the future. Believe in your heart that what God has you going through is for you benefit. Commit your way to God; trust in Him, and He will act on your behalf. 

Know that we should walk through our difficulties not set camp in them. Inactivity leads to prolonged suffering. Whatever difficulties we are going through is not here by chance but by design. We need to face our difficulties and learn from them. We need to decipher why they are here to begin with, in order to not face the same difficulties over and over again.

Sometimes in darkness God will fight for us and we need to be still and obedient. God could be showing us His glory and Power and at the same time testing our trust in Him. When we need to be still, we need to be obedient and reflect of everything happening in our lives. There is much wisdom that God wants to convey to us. Looking at some of the great people of God, they did not go through difficulties by themselves, but sometimes with God guiding each way to give us hope and increase our trust. Sometimes we must see action to know the full force of God.
Many times in our lives something happens to us and we feel that this is the worst thing that has happened to us. But then after the smoke has cleared, we realize that this is the best thing that has happened to us. So we have to be patient and know that Allah s.w.t is sufficient for us and is the best disposer of all our affairs. He will guide us to that which is good.
Whatever difficulty you face, realize that patience is your best friend. Allah says in the glorious Qur'an: "Oh you who believe! Seek help with patience, perseverance and prayer, for God is with those who patiently persevere. Qur'an 2:153" Furthermore, for those who exercise patience, Allah s.w.t will help and show a way out of every difficulty. As stated in the glorious Qur'an: "And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out, And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose. Verily, for all things Allah has appointed a due proportion. Qur'an 65:2-3"

In various places in the Holy Qur'an, Allah links patience and perseverance with success. "Seek Allah’s help with patience perseverance and prayer. It is indeed hard except for those who are humble. Qur'an 2:45"

Ordinary people when afflicted with a calamity lose all self control and might even question why Allah was punishing them though they had trusted Him. But not Ya’qub (Jacob) peace be upon him, the epitome of patience. He shows what steadfastness in faith is, and again alleges his trust in Allah’s Help.

Patience requires the passage of time to express itself. We can’t claim to be patient when we expect our sorrows to end immediately. The true believer does not lose hope in Allah though he may have to live with his sorrow for years. Through Ya’qub's example, Allah gives us a vivid illustration of patience and gratitude – the hall marks of a believer. 

Patience is an attribute of a believer and we can learn the real reward of patience be examining a beautiful story about patience in the glorious Qur'an of Prophet Yusuf A.S.

His brothers threw him into the well, but he was patient and so Allah s.w.t raised him out of that well. He ended up in the house of one of the most powerful people of Egypt, but then Allah tested him again. The wife of Al Aziz, the finance minister, tried to tempt him, but he was patient. Then Allah tested him again and threw him into prison. But he was patient for the sake of Allah s.w.t. In the end, Allah raised him to a lofty station and he became one of the most powerful people in Egypt. This is the reward of patience.

As mentioned in the hadith, a strong faith can help us to hold our heads high when difficulties come our way. When faith seems to be dwindling, we should get back to Quran and remind ourselves that only Allah can let us out of our ordeal and problems. You must, therefore, keep that faith and not let Satan instill thoughts that could weaken your faith. 

Here are few ways to cope with difficulties:
  • Trust Allah with your affairs. Know that whatever you are facing will surely end. It is mentioned in the glorious Qur'an twice: Verily with hardship comes easy. Twice to emphasize that all things will end; whether good or bad.
  • Don’t let Satan play with you and keep replaying the video of your hardship in your mind over and over again, move on! Remember you’re with Allah, nothing should stop you! Who ever has Allah as a helper none can defeat him. And however Allah forsakes, who is there to help him?
  • Fast, pray, and charity help decrease our problems. So increase your participation in them.
  • Know that a better you will come out ready for greater and bigger things in life. So be patient.

Remember, only those who endure the climb can enjoy the view from the mountain top. Therefore, endure the tests of this life with patience and enjoy the bounties of Jannah which God has prepared for His true believers.
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