Alhamdu Lillahi Rabbil ‘Al Amin wa As Salatu Wa As Salamu ‘Ala Rasulillahi Wa Ala ‘Alihi, Wa Ashabihi Wa Sallim
This post was inspired by our posts on Facebook regarding the benefits of tribulation and I felt that it would be worth writing a more detailed post to complement the brief points that I have started to post on the Facebook page.
These posts are primarily based on the CD by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. However, this will not be a transcript of the talk but rather my own interpretation of the Shaykh’s talk. The order and the exact definitions of the benefits may differ from the CD and I will be adding my own thoughts and experiences to the post. I hope that you find this beneficial and request your duas.
Tribulations are a part and parcel of our daily lives in this world. No matter what our states in the worldy domain, as human beings and creatures of Allah (SWT) we will experience tribulations, hardships, calamities throughout our lives. The way in which we deal with these tribulations and our responses and reactions to them will determine whether they are a source of benefit for us or a source of harm.
In a hadith related by Imam Muslim the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said that these is good in every trouble that befalls a believer, even in something as small as the pricking of a thorn, and that the troubles of this world expiate for the sins that we have accrued in our lives. Based on this we as Muslims beleif that there is good and benefit in all forms of trials, tribulations, calamaties and hardships that befall us. The following is a non-exaustive list of some of these benefits (to be updated on a regular basis):
Benefits of Tribulations No.1: Tribulations bring you back to Allah (SWT). When hardship hits, we all turn to Allah. How
many a time have we been living happily, heedless of Allah’s blessings, until hard times hit us like someone close passes away, or we get ill, or an exam approaches etc and we turn back to Allah for help and assistance. This is why Allah created hardship in the world, in order to remind us of Him and to return us back to Him. An example of this may be when you’re on a plane and the plane experiences turbulance and shaking during your journey, one of the first reactions of most people who believe in God would be to turn to God and start praying. This turning to Allah at our time of need is one of the benefits that tribulation brings.
Benefits of Tribulations No.2: It teaches you who Allah is. It teaches you that Allah is the Master and King and the only One that can save you during your hardship and calamities. At times of hardship you realise that there is none other able to help you but Him. For example when we have an unexplained or an incurable illness, who is it that we turn to at this time of need? It is Allah because there is no one that can help or cure us save Him. This is why we turn to Him and as a result we see the miraculous cure of many people from incurable illnesses and diseases. Allah is the all Powerful and the One who gives and witholds and we realise this when blessings are stripped from us and we realise how heedless we were of Allah until the calamity hit. Calamities serve us a means of teaching us to know Allah and this is also among the benfits of tribulations.
Benefits of Tribulations No.3: It makes you sincere in your turning to Allah. When calamities come upon us, notice how sincere and how much Ikhlas that we have in our Duas at that time. Notice how when the moment of death approaches for one of our parents how sincerely we pray to Allah to either forgive them or to make them well and grant them a longer life. When we are in desperate situations, notice how sincerely we ask Allah to help us out. I remember when I was back at university during my undergraduate studies, I was doing my dissertation at the time and I became so stuck that I did not know how to start or what to write. I decided that at that moment I woul do wudu and complete to Rak’ahs in order to seek Allah’s help. As soon as I completed that prayer and made Dua to Allah ideas began coming to my mind and I was able to begin the dissertation and get a fair amount completed that evening. I believe the one of the reasons why Allah helped me is because I was sincere in my calling to Allah due to my need to complete the dissertation. My dissertation was like a calamity for me and it bought out the sincere Ikhlas from the heart that was used to call on Allah. This is the 3rd benefit of tribulation.
Benefits of Tribulations No.4: It makes you fervent and ardent in your calling to Allah. When a hardship falls on your shoulders notice with how much passion and zeal that you call upon Allah to remove that hardship from you. Sometimes it seems like the only time that we really and truly call on Allah is when the boat is sinking. And this is when our true Ikhlas comes out and we call on Allah with the utmost passion.
Benefits of Tribulations No.5: It brings Tadarru’ to the heart and makes you extremely humble in your calling to Allah. And when you humble yourself in front of Allah in that way Allah is pleased and answers your Dua. Being in that desperate state of need makes you realise that you have no power or capability of your own other than what Allah gives you and this makes you humble yourself in front of Him seeking His Mercy and Grace. Imagine being in desperate need of something or being in desperate trouble, is it not then that you put your head on the floor in Sujud seeking help from Allah? Well, this is what Tadarru’ is and this is one of the benefits that is derived from having tribulations in your life.
Benefits of Tribulations No.6: Tribulations give you the opportunity to show forebearance at times of hardships. Without there being hardship in your life you would not be able to show forebearance or patience. There is a need to have hardship on ones life in order to be able to demonstrate the qualities of forebearance, patience and tolerance and so on. Imagine if hardship did not exist how would we show the above praisworthy qualitities that are mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Forebearance can only come out at times of difficulties such as having a painful illness to deal with, or dealing with a death in the family, or dealing with financial difficulties and so on and so forth. We are only able to portray these qualities at times of hardship and therefore Allah has provided hardship in our lives as a means for us to bring out these wonderful qualities that are in us.
Benefits of Tribulations No.7: Tribulations provide the opportunity to forgive others. It gives you an opportunity to forgive and be merciful towards those that may cause you harm and pain. The rewards of forgiving others is immense and the reward is greater if you forgive a thing that is great compared to a small thing. Allah forgives those that show forgiveness to others even to the point where showing mercy and compassion to animals can lead you to enter paradise and being cruel to them can lead to the fire. Forgiveness and Mercy are great virtues in Islam and we should seek out opportunities to display these noble characteristics that are within the human nature.
Benefits of Tribulations No.8: Tribulations provide the opportunity to show patience in the face of hardship. ‘And be patient, surely Allah is with those who are patient’ [Qur’an 8:46]. We all know the benefits and high rewards of being patient. Patience is only possible if we are faced with difficulty and therefore Allah has provided tribulations for us so that we may show patience to gain His Pleasure and Reward. Patience encompasses so much that books can be written on its virtues. Patience is the ability to accept what Allah has given you and to endure it without complaint. Patience is to show restraint at times of anger. Patience is to show gratitude at times of hardship by looking at those who are beneath you or in more difficulty than you. And patience is only possible if we have hardship in our lives. May Allah make us from amongst the patient.
Benefits of Tribulations No. 9: It makes you happy knowing that through these tribulations your sins are being wiped off and your rewards are increasing. Reflect on the benefits of hardship and you will find joy in your heart knowing that because of these hardships your rank with Allah is increasing. Tribulations help to put life in its proper perspective helping you realise that no matter how bad things get they can always get worse and therefore we should be happy with that we have and be grateful that it’s not worse.
Benefits of Tribulation No. 10: It makes you grateful for the blessings you had before the tribulations hit. It makes you appreciate what you had. Like they say, ‘you don’t know what you had until you actually lose it!’. Most people don’t realise the blessings that they enjoy until some hardship hits and then suddenly they realise the blessings they had. Therefore we should always be grateful for what we have and always keep our hardships in its proper perspective.
Benefits of Tribulations No. 11: It purifies & wipes away your sins. Tribulations and hardships wipe away the sins of people provided we are patient & forebearing during our calamities. Any hardship, any illness, any troubles that we come across in our lives, if we bear them with patience then we will be rewarded by Allah by having our sins wiped.
[to be continued …]