Coping With Trials, Tribulations/Distress (I)


Coping With Trials, Tribulations/Distress (I); A Lecture by Dr.Luqman Idris Sekoni (Hafidhahu Llāhu wa ra’aah). Transcribed by; Hikmah Waliyullah (Umm Ammām). Enjoy!

All praises and adorations are to Almighty Allaah for all His blessings over us. May His peace and blessings be upon His Noble Prophet (Salla Llaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). We beseech Him to accept this gathering as an act of ‘ibaadah and to make it weigh heavily on the scale of our good deeds. We ask Him to reward the organizers of this sitting abundantly and not deny them the reward. We beseech Him not to afflict anyone of us with trials greater than what our Eemaan can bear.

There are two independent terms in this topic of discourse which are; the reality of affliction and how to handle trials. What is meant by trial, distress/ tribulation? It is important that the meaning of these terminologies are known before delving into coping with them.

Worthy of being mentioned is the fact that, exhibiting patience when faced with a trial is another trial on its own. This being so, all that Allaah uses in describing trial in His glorious Book are what our hearts detest and always find it hard to contend with. Almighty Allaah says in His glorious Book; “And We shall 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,” [Sūratul- Baqarah verse 155]

This verse is an affirmation that no living being sha escape being tried by Allaah, either you are a Muslim or not, either you are an adherent of the teachings of the Prophet (Ahlus-Sunnah) or not. And as indicated in this verse, it isn’t that our entire lives will constitute of trials. Almighty Allaah blesses us in so many ways but would just test us occasionally.

Also, it can be derived from this verse that no matter how huge an affliction seems, there will surely be a prospect of glorifying Allaah for someone who can truly reflect. Almighty Allaah informs us about significant ways that being tried on them can be very challenging among which is fear. A person blessed with wealth, position and other worldly affluence might be tested with illness or lack of peacefulness, this is a great trial from Allaah because his psychological state of mind will be unsettled. And it is a fact that a person’s affluence are worthless if his mind is unrest.

Another vital way that an individual can be tried is affliction of hunger. Once one’s body lack its elements of sustenance, such a person will become totally weak and his entire body parts can begin to malfunction. Also, loss of wealth is a great affliction which ranges from business bankruptcy to lose of close associates etc. All these are undoubtedly great trials but whoever exhibits patience when faced with any form of trial has being promised glad tidings by Almighty Allaah.

The Islamic scholars define trial as a misfortune that befall an individual to test the firmness of his faith and oftentimes, they are displeasing to the humans’ hearts. According to our nature, no one will be pleased when a misfortune strikes or when afflicted with trails, no matter how high one’s level of faith and righteousness is. To describe the nature of human, Allaah says in Sūratul- Ma’aarij verses 19-21; “Verily, humankind was created fretful;” “Irritable (discontented) when misfortune befalls him;” “but when good fortune comes his way, withholds it”.
Whenever Allaah afflicts any of His servants with a trial, Shaytaan will seize that as a golden opportunity and would move very close to such an individual. This is among the times when an individual becomes most vulnerable to the whispers of Shaytaan. Shaytaan (La’natu Llaahi ‘alayh) will then start suggesting solutions to such a person which if done will attract the wrath of Allaah. Shaytaan might whisper to a distressed person to commit suicide for his problems will be solved after killing himself, unknown to him that a continuous and severe punishment awaits him in the hereafter. Also, some people would inflict pain on themselves in order to show their displeasure towards the trial whereas, these do not in anyway solve them.

When one of the grandchildren of the Prophet (Salla Llāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was on the verge of dying, he placed him on his lap and became tearful when he witnessed how the child was experiencing the agony of death. Then one of his companions (Sa’ad bn ‘Ubaadah) asked him why he was tearful, the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) replied; “This is the compassion which Allaah has placed in the hearts of those He chooses from among His servants who are compassionate” [Related by Imam Al-Bukaariy, Muslim, Ahmad and Abu Dawud]. This indicates that it is perfectly permitted to cry to mourn the death of a loved one as this is a mere natural phenomena and does not in anyway incur Allāh’s wrath. But the act of wailing and lamenting are impermissible as these would even cause the deceased to suffer.

Anas bn Mālik narrated that; The Prophet (Salla Llaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) once passed by a woman who was weeping beside a grave. He told her to fear Allāh and be patient. She said to him, “Go away, for you have not been afflicted with a calamity like mine.” And she did not recognize him. Then she was informed that he was the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) so she went to the house of the Prophet and there she did not find any guard. Then she said to him, “I did not recognize you.” He said, “Verily, the patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.” [Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāriy 1283]

Certain facts and lessons can be deduced from this scenario which are;

• As humans, we tend to react bitterly when overtaken by grief, despite the fact that the woman was not a disbeliever but she reacted that way because of the intensity of her hurt.

• Whenever a misfortune afflicts someone, if such a person does not exercise patience, he might lose control of his reasoning, start behaving strangely or even begin to utter irrational words.

• To a reasonable extent, the fear of Allaah would enable an individual to grief reasonably and not go out of the boundary of Allaah while grieving.

• It can also be learnt from this scenario how one should relate with a distressed person. The Prophet did not shout on her or tried to prove his status when accused of being uncompassionate whereas, he suffered bereavement more than anyone will. And after she was told that it was the Prophet of Allaah she talked to, she became calm and went to meet him and was admonished. If it were to be that the Prophet was admonishing her when she was grieving, she most probably would still go on to insult him and rubbish the admonition. This is a lesson for every one of us, don’t provoke a bereaved person, rather utter words of consolation to them or be quite when your words will provoke them more.

(TO BE CONTINUED, IN SHAA ALLAAH).

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