Life is a series of problems ..Friday Khutba By Br. Jaffer Dharamsi
Life is a series of problems. Our ability to lead a harmonious life depends on our ability & skill in solving the problems and challenges of life. If we are currently living in happiness with no worry in the world, then we are virtually guaranteed that sometime in the future, sooner than we think, we will be faced with problems, both minor and major. That is a fundamental Universal Law of Life. We have to be prepared for such problems and we have to be able to deal with them as and when they arise. Several verses in the Holy Qur’an make reference to the trials and tribulations of this world, indicating that the occurrence of problems is part of life. However, there are other verses that give solutions on how to cope with these problems that life presents to us.
It is important to note that the correct tools must be used for a specific problem. To solve life’s problems, we need a specialised toolkit, and each tool has a name. The tools that we use to solve life’s problems are called Patience, Perseverance, Persistence, Discipline and Determination.
There are several verses in the Holy Qur’an, which make reference to the value of applying the tools of patience and perseverance in order to attain success in this world and in the hereafter. For example :
S2 V153 : “ O ye who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance & prayer : for Allah is with those who patiently persevere !
S2 V45 : Seek Allah’s help with patient perseverance
S3 V 200 : O ye who believe ! Persevere in patience & constancy : vie in such perseverance : strengthen each other ; and fear Allah that ye may prosper
S11 V 115 : ….and be steadfast in patience
S7 V 128 : Said Moses to his people : “ Pray for help from Allah and (wait) in patience and constancy
These verses of the Holy Qur’an are filled with hope and assurance from Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT), in His Infinite Mercy & Infinite Kindness, gives us the assurance, that He is with those that patiently persevere. What more can we ask for? The tools of patience and perseverance are generally applicable in two main situations:
(1) To achieve goals in life, then patience, perseverance, determination and focus are the essential & vital ingredients that are required.
(2) Any difficulty, hardship, major problem or calamity becomes bearable and tolerable by using patience and perseverance and placing one’s trust and hope in Allah (SWT).
Allah (SWT) promises us that he will certainly test us while we are in this world :
S3 V 186 : Ye shall certainly be tried & tested in your possessions and in your personal selves
We do not know when we will be tested, how we will be tested, how severe the test will be or how long the test will last. We do know on what we will be tested (ie on possessions & personal selves). The problems may be minor and short-lived, or in some cases, the problems seem so huge, so difficult and so long, that we feel that we cannot bear it any longer. However, Allah (SWT), reminds us that even though He is testing us, and even though the problem we are faced with seems unbearable, we receive tremendous amount of hope and courage from the following verse:
S2 V 286 : “ On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear”
Allah (SWT) knows us better than we know ourselves. Allah (SWT) knows that we will be able to bear the burden of the problems that besiege us. From our point of view, some problems seem to have no solutions and they appear so huge that we want to give up. But Allah (SWT) reminds us that in times of difficulty, we should pray to Allah(SWT) and patiently persevere. Furthermore, Allah (SWT) again gives us tremendous courage and hope when He says :
S94 V6 : “ Verily, with every difficulty, there is relief”
No matter how severe or long the problem is, it has to end. That is definite. This is what gives us courage. This is what inspires us to put all our trust in Allah (SWT) and to patiently persevere, for relief may be just around the corner.
When we are faced with problems in life, such as financial problems, marital problems, exam problems, health problems, family problems etc, then we usually have a few choices in solving these problems :
We can either follow the Straight Path, Pray to Allah (SWT) and patiently persevere and seek a solution to the problem that is within the guidelines of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW), or
We can take the shortcut, and fall prey to the whims and illusions of Shaytaan, or
We can ignore the problem and hope that it will go away, but this simply makes the problem worse
Furthermore, it is during our times of difficulty and weakness, that Shaytaan is most active and tries very hard to influence us to his evil ways, as stated in the following verses of the Quran :
S4 V 119 : “I will mislead them and I will create in them false desires“
S7 V 16 : “ I will lie in wait for them on Thy Straight Way”
S7 V17 : “ then I will assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left”
S8 V 48 : “ Remember, Satan made their (sinful) acts seem alluring to them…”
Shaytaan is also referred to as the ‘whisperer”, the “Chief Deceiver “ and the “Evil one.” When we attempt to follow the Straight Path as contained in the Holy Qur’an, Shaytaan will try his best to distract our attention from the Straight Path. He will whisper tempting things, deceive us into doing wrong and give us false hopes. Unfortunately, many of us fall victim to his misguided ways:
S36 V60 : Did I not enjoin on you, O ye children of Adam, that ye should not worship Satan ; for that he is to you an enemy avowed ?
S36 V62 : but he did lead astray a great multitude of you. Did you not, then, understand ?
To summarise, we have to keep in mind that our life in this world is but a short journey. We are here on probation. Each and every one of us has to undergo various trials and tribulations, various successes and failures. That is life. It is important to bear in mind that we should remember Allah (SWT) during good times and difficult times. However, the cycle of life takes on meaning only in the context of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. When faced with afflictions and troubles, we take advice from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and we pray to Allah (SWT), place our trust in Allah (SWT) and learn the fine art of sab’r (patience) ; When sab’r enters the heart, then the mind and heart are in balance, and the body takes on a new focus, a new determination, a new will to strive and persevere on seeking solutions to the problems that face us on an individual level, community level and global level. With the tools of sab’r, persistence, perseverance, discipline and determination, life takes on new meaning and the problems that we face are taken into context with our accountability in the Hereafter. If we fail to use the tools that Allah (SWT) has given us, then surely we are lost because we will fall victim to the lures and devious ways of the Chief deceiver, Shaytaan. May Allah (SWT) gives us the Strength and courage to bear the trials of this world with patience and perseverance. May he not place on us a burden greater than we can bear. May Allah (SWT) Forgive us our shortcomings and may He be Merciful on us on the Day of Reckoning, which is sure to come, sooner than we think. May Allah (SWT) shower His choicest Blessings on the Holy Prophet Mohamed (SAW) for everything that he has done for his Ummat. The Prophet Mohamed (SAW) showed by example, that through patience and perseverance, through years of hardship and struggle, only then did he achieve victory. May we also learn from this glorious example of our Prophet (SAW) to also patiently persevere in all our endeavours and afflictions. May Allah (SWT) guide the Ummat of Rasoolullah (SAW) to the Straight Path and may He give us the strength and courage to be immune to the lures of the Whisperer .
Syed Mohamad Masoom abidi