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Keeping faith in good and hard times
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 29 - 05 - 2015

Samar Yahya
Saudi Gazette

Why do people keep close relations with Allah at hard times, while only some keep this strong strand during ease?
Suffering and hurt are prevalent everywhere we look. Many people I know are going through hard times right now, facing personal calamities such as the loss of a loved one, financial difficulty, or dealing with family conflicts.
All people, everywhere, go through hard times. I myself went through an awfully harsh experience when I lost my mother all of a sudden. One day when I was in my office, I received a call at midday from my sister, howling and crying, saying that our mother passed away. The following few moments were the worst in my life.
All that I can remember is that I kept repeating, “Allah, give me patience and strength.”
My reaction in the following days was what doctors call ‘grief reaction' which is a state of denial where one behaves, speaks, and acts as if nothing happened.
Five months felt like five years. It was a time of grief, distress, psychological pain, and worrying about my father who could not tolerate the death of his wife. He passed away on the first day of Hajj five years ago.
At that time I had my husband and family around me, offering support and kind words. Still, I felt that I needed excess support which I sought from Allah, by praying, going to perform Umrah, and giving in charity. I always had in mind the verses from The Holy Qur'an, {Indeed, with the difficulty there is ease. Indeed with the difficulty there is ease.}
In another experience, a daughter of one of my friends developed diabetes at the age of seven. The mother acted strong and positive in front of her daughter, but the mother was very distraught and fragile on the inside. She kept praying and praying and was very close to Allah, and slowly she was able to tolerate the reality of having a seven-year old diabetic daughter.
During harsh times and experiences, one never feels spiritually secure and peaceful unless he/she comes closer to Allah. In the above two stories, my friend and myself continued the strong connection that we had developed between us and Allah.
We can emerge from difficult times closer to Allah, stronger, united, more skilled, and more guided, but only if we know how to live through difficulties.
On the other hand, we sometimes see the family of a sick parent pray to Allah heal that parent. Once the parent recovers and is back to good health, the family members discontinue their prayers and closeness to Allah.
In another example, before the exams, a student maintains the daily five prayers and recites the Holy Qur'an every day, asking Allah for success. Then after the exams, the student barely even completes her five obligatory prayers, and does not even open the Holy Book until the next challenge in life.
Our connection with Allah, reliance on Him, and remembrance of Him should remain strong, during the good and the bad times.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was in a constant state of remembrance and worship of Allah, at all times.
He patiently endured the death of his uncle Abu Taleb and his beloved wife in Khadijah, in Makkah. And after the migration to Madinah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Muslims were challenged by war from almost every single tribe in the Arabian Peninsula. He witnessed the killing of seventy of his companions in the Battle of Uhud, including his dear, brave uncle Hamzah.
Difficult and hard times are inevitable tests. In Islam, this is an essential concept that we must understand and believe in.
As Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, {Do people think they will be left alone and they will not be tried?} (Chapter 29, verse 3)
It is this hope, this confidence that there will be ease after difficulty, that keep people going through difficult times.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never stopped calling and advising people to Islam because of a difficulty he went through or because of a threat or torture he received from the disbelievers.
By remembering Allah at all times, we are more likely to gain acceptance of our prayers and His Mercy in times of difficulty. When our hearts feel heavy with stress, worry or grief we must communicate with the only One who not only hears and knows all, but who can also change our situation and give us the patience to deal with our difficulties.
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, {If you are grateful, I will give you more}(Chapter 14, verse 7)
Keeping faith in Allah and strengthening ties with our Lord during hard times means we are taking the first steps, even if we cannot see the whole way.
Keeping faith during good times and bad times can change your life for the better.
Difficult times are part of Allah's laws in this universe; they are part of the tests that people go through. They are not necessarily something evil. A difficulty we go through, on the contrary, could be a learning experience, a reminder, or a test of patience.
We all have days, months and maybe years when life does not seem to be going our way. There are times when stress is in the air. We cannot control what happens to us, but we can always control how we choose to respond. And when the ease comes and there is no pain left, it is Allah who we must thank, be grateful to, and remain steadfast in our prayers and worship.

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