“Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed’” (Hadith Qudsi).
Keeping an optimistic mindset, while can be difficult, is important in many aspects of our life, especially when it comes to our faith. As the hadith above states, Allah has said “I am as my servant thinks (expects) I am”. When someone tends to keep a pessimistic mindset they believe the worst about not only everything that happens in their life but also about God; they tend to believe God is against them. They don’t believe any good can come their way, and even when it does come instead of being grateful, they focus on the fact that it might not last. With an optimistic mindset, we think positively about Allah, knowing that he knows what is best and being grateful for everything, both blessings, and trials. When we are grateful Allah keeps giving us more as well as helps us get through any obstacles that are in our path.
This Dunya and our time in it is one of our biggest tests given by Allah (SWT), which within it has many tests, some that may come in the form of receiving blessings or some that come in the form of hardships. Receiving blessings, which can be looked passed as being tests, is meant to test our gratefulness towards Allah (SWT), whereas hardships are meant to test our sabr (patience) and our faith in Allah (SWT), knowing that better things are coming. During these hardships, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we are going through our struggles alone or that we are being punished and that there is no end to it. We tend to forget that even hardships are blessings themselves to not only teach us lessons but also sometimes to protect us. Whether it be a life-altering situation, bad health, losing someone to death or to the world, or even struggling with school or work, all these hardships are meant to test us as well as strengthen our faith in Allah (SWT). Much like how in life to grow and succeed one must challenge themselves, Allah tests us with challenges He knows we can overcome in order to help us grow into who we were meant to be. Our Prophet (PBUH) went through many hardships throughout his life and on his journey to spread Islam and through each different occasion, Allah (SWT) would reveal parts of the Quran, to help him. These ayahs were also meant for us, the Ummah, to refer to, to guide us, and to help us as well.
There are many ayahs in the Quran that are there to help us not give up hope and remain optimistic throughout our trials. I’ve decided to mention my personal favorites and the ones that have always helped me:
“Verily, with every hardship comes ease!” (94:6)
Surah Ash - Sharh was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH) in Makkah during a time where he was made to deal with many burdens and hardships while trying to spread the message of Islam. The translation of the surah itself is “solace” or “comfort”. All 8-verses of this surah are meant to comfort us and remind us that Allah has helped us with any hardship we had experienced in the past. This one ayah has always stood out to me the most. It has a way of warming the heart as well as calming it, knowing that no matter what hardships are going on or how dark our lives may seem, there is always something good coming, and the darkness we feel isn’t going to last forever. Although some hardships may last longer than most or may take a bigger toll than others, there is always something good that will come at the end of it, something way better than we could fathom. Without experiencing any form of hardships, a person can not grow personally nor spiritually. Sometimes the ease that we receive after the hardships we experience is the knowledge we have gained, the lesson we have learned, or even how much closer that trial has brought us to Allah.
“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear”(2:286)
Surah Al- Baqrah, the longest surah in the Quran, was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH) in parts over time; each during different circumstances. The last ayah talks about how Allah does not burden a soul more than what it can bear. This ayah has always spoken volumes to me because it has always aided as a form of comfort. Sometimes when we are dealing with difficult situations we start to think we may not get through them, or these situations may get the best of us. This ayah is a reminder that Allah has put us in those situations because, even if we might not see it, He knows what we are capable of and how strong we truly are. While we are doubting ourselves and our strengths, Allah is putting us into situations that are meant to help us grow and make us more aware of ourselves.
Surah Ad- Duha (93)
Surah Ad-Duha was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH) at a time when he had become anxious because he had not received any revelations from Allah for some time. During the time that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was not receiving any revelations, his enemies had begun taunting him by saying that Allah had abandoned him and that He was displeased with him. Allah then revealed the 11 verses of Surah Ad- Duha, in which not only reassures Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that He had not abandoned him nor was He displeased but He also goes on to remind the Prophet (PBUH) of three occasions in which he had come to the Prophet’s (PBUH) aid; when he had become an orphan, when he was lost and He guided him, and when the Prophet (PBUH) was in need, Allah freed him of need. Surah Ad-Duha was sent to comfort the Prophet (PBUH), as well as give us a sense of comfort. At times it may seem like we may have done something to displease Allah so much that we are no longer close to Him or that we have strayed so far that Allah will not help us or our prayers won’t be answered. This Surah is meant to remind us that Allah will never abandon us; as well as remind us that He has blessed us before and eased every hardship we have gone through before and that He will do the same every time. An ayah in Surah Taha plays hand in hand with this: “Fear not, I am with you both: I hear and I see” (20:46). We tend to get scared when we think we have displeased Allah, and it seems as though our duas aren’t being answered or like Allah isn’t helping us. The ayah states to not fear, that Allah sees and hears everything, and when the time is right Allah will show you that He has not abandoned you, He was just testing you.
One of the biggest factors that cause us to think pessimistically in our lives is ourselves and how we view ourselves. Many times we are not only judgemental but also unable to forgive ourselves for past mistakes, which causes us to believe we are not worthy of good things or that we are not worthy of the mercy of Allah (SWT). But we always tend to forget that Allah is Al- Ghafur, the most forgiving. No matter our mistakes or sins and no matter how many times they were made, as long as we genuinely repent and ask Allah for forgiveness, he forgives us every time. What can be more endearing than knowing that nothing we do could ever make Allah stop loving us and his love for us only continues to grow when we come back to him asking for forgiveness.
This Dunya is meant to push us and have us find our way back to Allah no matter how far we stray. At times it can become so overwhelming that our judgment becomes clouded. We forget that these trials are blessings from Allah, helping us to become who we were meant to be and teaching us to be grateful not only when things are going great but also when things aren’t going well. When things become too much, sometimes it helps to take a step back and breathe, along with turning to Allah for help. Remember that you’ve been through trials before; they may have been worse or they may have not been as bad comparatively, but Allah had helped you out of those trials before which either taught you a lesson or you were given something better than what was taken away. Allah (SWT) will always help you out anytime you are placed in hardship, as long you try to remain optimistic and have faith, no trial or hardship will be too much. Allah (SWT) tests those He loves the most.
This last year has been filled with many uncertainties and losses, SubhanAllah. For those of you who may have lost a loved one, I send my deepest condolences; and make dua that they are granted the highest levels of Jannah-tul-Firdous, and your families are granted endless amounts of sabr. For those of you who have been struggling with income, jobs, school, health, or life as a whole, I make dua that Allah grants you sabr and tawakkul, and helps relieve all of your struggles as soon as possible. As well as blesses you with endless success, good health, and happiness. Ameen.
I am not a scholar or teacher by any means; this article is one I have written from my own point of view. If anything is incorrect I ask Allah for forgiveness.