As we move into the new century, those of us privileged to live above the poverty line are faced with a unique set of challenges. We have food enough to eat, shelter from the elements and most of us can even afford life’s little luxuries. Physically we have all that we need, but spiritually and emotionally, we are bereft. Our minds are filled with sadness and worry. Stress and anxiety mount. As we gather possessions, we wonder why we are not happy. As we embark on yet another holiday we feel alone and desperate.
A life that is far removed from God is a sad life indeed. No matter how much money we accumulate, or how grand our house is, if God is not the centre of our lives then happiness will elude us forever. True happiness can only be found when we at least attempt to fulfil our purpose in life. Human beings exist to worship God. God wants us to be happy, in this life and in the Hereafter and He has given us the key to real happiness. It is not a secret or a mystery. It is not an enigma or a puzzle, it is Islam.
“And I (God) created not the jinn and humankind except that they should worship Me.” (Quran 51:56)
The religion of Islam explains clearly our purpose in life and gives us guidelines to follow to make our search for happiness easier. The Quran and the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, are our guide books for a life completely devoid of sadness and worry. This however does not mean that we will not be tried and tested because God states very clearly in Quran that He will test us. Our lives will be filled with situations that require us to reach out for God and depend upon Him. God promises us that He will reward those who are patient, He asks us to be grateful to Him, and He tells us that He loves those who put their trust in Him.
“...put your trust in God, certainly, God loves those who put their trust in Him.” (Quran 3:159)
“The believers are only those who, when God is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Quran) are recited unto them, they increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord Alone.” (Quran 8:2)
Life is filled with triumphs and tribulations. Sometimes it is a roller coaster ride. One day our faith is high and sweet, the next it has plummeted and we feel sad and worried. The way to even out our journey is to trust that God knows what is best for us. Even when seemingly bad things happen, there is a purpose and wisdom behind them. Sometimes the purpose is known only to God, sometimes it is obvious.
Consequently, when we realise that there is no power or strength except from God, we can begin to relax. Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, once reminded one of his young companions that God was all-powerful and nothing happens without His permission.
"Young man, uphold the commands of God, and He will protect you in this life and in the next. Uphold the commands of God and He will help you. When you ask for anything, ask it from God, and if you seek help, seek help from God. Know that if people were to unite to do you some benefit, they could benefit you only what God has recorded for you, and if they were to unite to do you some harm, they could harm you only with what God has recorded for you. The pens are withdrawn and the pages are dry.”
When we are mindful of the fact that God has control over all things and that He ultimately wants us to live forever in Paradise, we can begin to leave our sadness and worry behind. God loves us, and wants what is best for us. God has given us clear guidance and He is the Most Merciful, and the Most Forgiving. If things do not go according to our plan, if we do not see the benefits of the challenges we face in life it can become very difficult not to despair and fall prey to stress and anxiety. At this point, we must learn to trust God.
“If God helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in God (Alone) let believers put their trust.” (Quran 3:160)
“Say: "He is my Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but He! In Him is my trust, and to Him will be my return with repentance.” (Quran 13:30)
“And we shall certainly bear with patience all the hurt..., and in God (Alone) let those who trust, put their trust.” (Quran 14:12)
As believers, our trust in God must be constant, in all situations, good, bad, easy, or difficult. Whatever happens in this world happens by the permission of God. He provides sustenance and He is able to withdraw it. He is the master of life and death. God determines whether we are rich or poor and whether we are healthy or ill. We thank God for granting us the ability to strive and to go out and acquire that which is good for us. Whatever our circumstances may be we need to thank and praise God for them. If need be we must bear our difficulties with patience and above all we must love and trust God. When life becomes dark and difficult we must love God more; when we are overcome by sadness and worry we must trust God more.
 Ahmad & at-Tirmidhi
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