Desperate? A Way Out at Hand..

By Mostafa Al-Khateeb
OnIslam Staff

man & sky
Hope is always there.
man looks at sky

At some point in your life, you may see the spacious world around as small as a slit of a needle. You may feel difficulty breathing, not because of the lack of air but because of a restless soul. In that case, you need a way out; therefore, you need to breathe the air of satisfaction and closeness to the Creator. In fact, no worldly wealth or pleasure could make you feel "at home."

Lack of safety, shortage of money, risky situations, and illnesses are among the numerous worldly hardships that cause sadness and restlessness. It goes without saying that man is predestined to face sufferings, as life itself is a test or it is full of tests. Almighty Allah says, 

{Verily We have created man into toil and struggle.} (Al-Balad 90:4) 

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Despair Leads to a Dead End

Surrendering to despair leads to grave consequences, the worst of which is a believer's falling into the category of the disbelievers. Prophet Jacob is reported as saying in the Qur'an;

{And despair not of Allah's mercy; surely none despairs of Allah's mercy except the unbelieving people.} (Yusuf 12:87)

 Moreover, Almighty Allah says, 

{Those who reject the Signs of Allah and the Meeting with Him (in the Hereafter),- it is they who shall despair of My Mercy: it is they who will (suffer) a most grievous Penalty.}(Al-`Ankabut 29:23) 

Indeed, the factors that lead to despair are many and may be difficult to bear. The most honorable and faithful people on earth (i.e., the Messengers) were sometimes hopeless of their people's becoming believers. Allah, All-Knowing, says, 

{Till, when the messengers despaired and thought that they were denied, then came unto them Our help.} (Yusuf 12:110) 

So, man is facing a softly and swiftly moving enemy, yet a dangerous one: despair. This makes it a must to counter such a threatening enemy with a weapon that never fails: belief in Allah

Belief Outfights Despair

The heart of a faithful Muslim is always submissive to Allah's will.
A true believer never surrenders to despair, as belief is a wide path to hope. Allah, All-Forgiving, says, 

{Say, "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the mercy of Allah, for Allah forgives all sins, for He is Forgiving, Most Merciful.} (Az-Zumar 39:53) 

Despite the fact that the surrounding circumstances could lead to tough and even fierce despair, this hateful feeling is shattered on the rock of belief and trust in Allah. This is because the heart of a faithful Muslim is always surrounded by a heavenly atmosphere and is always submissive to Allah's will.

Suhayb ibn Sinan reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Strange are the ways of a believer, for there is good in every affair of his, and this is not the case with any one else except the believer, for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks [Allah]; thus there is a good for him in it. And if he gets into trouble and shows resignation [and endures it patiently], there is a good for him in it" (Muslim). 

Indeed, a believer is an amazing person, as he or she can endure huge pressure under severe circumstances. For instance, during the early years of Islam in Makkah, the disbelievers boycotted and besieged the first Muslims for three years in the desert to force them to denounce Islam. During this long period, Muslims hardly found any food, water, clothes, or any other necessities. However, they grew more certain of the truthfulness of their cause; their faith became stronger, and they were able to face and bear more hardships. Eventually, they overcame injustice and became victorious over the disbelievers. 

Another example is what happened to Imam Ahmad Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy upon him). He was imprisoned for about two years till he passed away because he had issued some legal verdict. During this period in the gloomy prison, he said, "What can my enemies do to me? I have both my heaven and my garden in my chest. If I travel, they are with me. They never leave me. For me, to be imprisoned is a chance to be alone with my Lord; to be killed is martyrdom; and to be exiled is a journey."

He also said, "'The [truly] imprisoned one is that whose heart is imprisoned away from Allah, and the captive one is that whose desires have enslaved him." 

Keys to Hope 

Whenever you face any hardships or trials, be patient and turn to Allah, Most Compassionate. Remind yourself of this heartfelt saying by Imam Ibn Taymiyah: "Every punishment from Him is pure justice, and every blessing from Him is pure grace." 

Satisfaction and patience are amazing tools that can conquer worldly hardships.
Moreover, train yourself to ask Allah for less and to thank Him more — thankfulness brings more bounties. Allah, Most Generous, says,

{And when your Lord made it known: If you are grateful, I would certainly give to you more.) (Ibrahim 14:7}

Indeed, satisfaction and patience are amazing tools that can conquer worldly hardships. 

Another great key is asking Allah for forgiveness. Prophet Noah is reported as saying in the Qur'an; 

{Then I said, Ask forgiveness of your Lord, surely He is the most Forgiving: He will send down upon you the cloud, pouring down abundance of rain: And help you with wealth and sons, and make for you gardens, and make for you rivers.} (Nuh 71:10–12)

`Abdullah Ibn `Abbas narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, "[For] whoever continuously asks for Allah's forgiveness, Allah will grant him relief from every hardship and a way out from every difficulty, and will provide for him through means he never expected" (Abu Dawud).  

Dr. `A'id Al-Qarni, a contemporary Muslim scholar, said, "I am amazed by the great people throughout history who were enduring catastrophes as if these catastrophes were drops of rain or a gentle breeze. On top of all those people is the best of humankind, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), who, while hiding in the cave, said to his Companion Abu Bakr, "Grieve not; surely Allah is with us."

May Allah send down His serenity on us, and guide us through the right path.

Mostafa Al-Khateeb is one of OnIslam.net's Shari`ah staff. He was a moderator of IslamOnline.net's Discussion Forums and an editor in IOL's  Living Shari`ah section. He holds a BA from the Department of English, Cairo University, and holds a two-year translation diploma and a two-year diploma in Islamic studies.

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