Monday, October 2, 2017

When things don't go my way...

"And Allah is the best of planners " (3:54)

For as long as I remember, since I became Muslim and even a little bit before then, I can safely say that things never went my way. I always planned and expected all these things to happen but they never did. Even to this day, generally, things have not gone my way even when I imagine them strategically planned out in my head and telling myself "it is only a matter of time before it comes true!" 

I wanted to write about this because as much as I wish things went the way I wanted them to, things haven't,  and that is OK. I think the biggest part of my struggles is/was coming to terms with what is/was happening in my life and truly accepting everything. I knew that I had to accept all the things that happened, are happening, and continue to happen but I was stubborn and I just did not want to. I know this is a whole exercise of complete sabr and tawwakul but I really didn't want to admit to myself that this is the main way I am going to increase in sabr and tawwakul which is by accepting my reality. I still find it difficult to accept the fact that I may be 'stuck' here for a long while and that I may never lead the external, material life that I long to live and that is OK. I just have to accept that maybe Allah has better plans for me here and that is OK. External, material life is this dunya life, and I know that I should never place too much emphasis and importance on this fleeting worldly life. 

Things are not meant to go the way I plan because I am not the writer of my destiny. Allah is in full control and He is the one who has everything already written for me. I think coming to terms with this is something difficult for me and for all who are struggling with some form of hardship in their lives. Accepting that things do not always go our way is something that doesn't come easily. 

For as long as I remember now, I always try to picture these perfect scenarios in my mind and imagine that they will all come true. I built up all these different types of situations and expectations hoping that they will happen. I gave things a deadline and expected things to happen within a specific timeline. I now realise that this was/is mental torment and this is something that causes anxiety, depression, and sadness. When I expect something to happen at a specific time and I put all my hopes and thoughts into them, and when they don't happen, I become devastated and I start to blame Allah (astaghfirullah) and then I lose hope and become negative and it just goes into a downward spiral from then on. I have gone through this vicious cycle too many times to count. 

I don't want to even admit that I would fall into blaming Allah because - oh the blasphemy right!? But the reason I wanted to share this is that I wanted to remind myself and everyone reading, that we are all human beings- weak creatures who stumble and crumble during vulnerable times. It is ok to be vulnerable and emotional. This is how Allah created us and I know there are so many people who can probably relate to me and have gone through this feeling of blaming Allah, once or even twice in their lives. Sometimes it even turns into anger (audhubillah) because as humans, during times when we feel weak and helpless, we do not know how to channel those emotions into a positive way so we just naturally blame others and get angry. I can't even express how normal it is to feel this way but this is not something that we should feel comfortable with. In fact, guilt should overcome us and we need to stop ourselves and remember to make duaa in those very moments. 

As I mentioned, I have been through this vicious cycle one too many times and it takes a heavy toll on you. When we blame Allah and become angry at His decree, it is a very dangerous state to fall into; we can end up feeling resentful and in response to our feelings we end up committing haram as a way of rebelling. This does not harm anyone except ourselves. That "oh well, nothing is going my way anyway so what is the point of this all" mentality does not harm Allah, nor does it change our decree. It only harms us in the end. Everything is meant to be a test and remember, this dunya is not our friend. We should not trust it nor should we get too comfortable with it. I try to remind myself that the more I am being tested is not because Allah hates me and wants harm for me, but it is because He loves me and wants the best for me. Honestly, though, sometimes it is so hard to keep myself in check and I do fail countless times.

I came across the tafseer of this verse and I couldn't help but share it because it felt so relatable to me: 

"There are among men some who serve Allāh, as it were, on the verge: if good befalls them, they are, therewith, well content; but if a trial comes to them, they turn on their faces: they lose both this world and the Hereafter. That is the evident loss." (Sūrat’l- ajj: 11)
 The majority of the mufāsirūn said that عَلَى حَرْف (on the verge) means ‘in doubt’. As if a person who is standing on the edge of a mountain, a person who worships Allāh on the verge is unstable, flustered, weak and doubtful.  Some mufāsirūn said that it means ‘with condition’, i.e a person will continue worshipping Allāh if he acquires good, but he turns back to disbelief when he is afflicted with things he dislikes. Ibn Abbās explained this situation further in regard to people who came to Madinah to declare themselves as Muslims. He said:
“One of them would come to Madinah, which was a land that was infected with a contagious disease. If he remained healthy there, and his mare foaled and his wife gave birth to a boy, he would be content, and would say, `I have not experienced anything but good since I started to follow this religion.” But if a fitnah (affliction) strikes him (i.e. the disease of Madinah befalls him, and his wife gives birth to a baby girl and charity is delayed in coming to him), the Shayān comes to him and says: ‘By Allāh, since you started to follow this religion of yours, you have experienced nothing but bad things’, and this is the fitnah” .Tafsīr al- Qur’ān al-Adheem, Imam Ibn Kathīr

I find myself at times feeling frustrated, irritated, and annoyed with the way things have turned out because I had envisioned something totally different in my mind. I know I am not the only one who feels this way because after all, we are human beings. We have to constantly remind ourselves that we are human. We make mistakes, we become negative when things don't go our way, and it is normal to feel sad. Even though things have not turned out the way I wanted to at THIS moment, it doesn't mean that it will always be like this. 

Allah has promised us victory and ease after hardship. Many of us forget that duaa has power to change our outcomes and as well protect us from harm and evil.  Rasūlullāh (allallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Caution will not be any benefit against predestination, but du‘ā’ benefits (matters) that have occurred and that are (yet) to occur. And indeed, du‘ā’ meets with a calamity, and fights it until the Day of Judgment (Reported by Al-Hakim, graded hasan by al-Albani) 

There is so much power in duaa and no matter what, we need to keep making duaa. Even if things do not happen right away, they will happen insha'Allah, if we are patient and continue to hold on to that hope. Honestly, sometimes I have trouble believing this because after a while when things haven't changed or things don't go the way that I wish (hence why I'm writing this post) I start to feel a little stagnant and hopeless. 

Sometimes my external environment makes me feel extremely negative and I just want to give up altogether in making duaa. But the people around me remind me to keep making duaa no matter what and to always believe in Allah and have sabr. Sometimes this is not the advice I want to hear because how can I have sabr and faith in Allah when things have not been going my way? Just how??! But then I just force myself to continue to strive even if I don't feel it in my heart. This is what Allah wants for me right now and this is what is best for me at THIS moment. 

We can't just stop doing something because we don't feel it in our hearts. If we lived our lives giving up and not doing something because we "don't feel it in our hearts" then we will never succeed, right? Look at all the successful people in this world, there must have been moments when they did not feel like doing something but they pushed themselves to do it and not give up because they wanted a successful outcome in the end. They had a long-term goal and even though there were many obstacles along the way and they wanted to give up many times, they didn't. They were persistent and resilient! Many of them don't have Islam in their lives and yet they still prevailed, so what about us? We have Allah and Islam, the best of tools to get us through life! So a message to myself, there is no excuse to give up.

We can't give up. We have to strive on just a little more, just a little further. Even if it feels merely impossible, we really have no choice because giving up is when we have truly failed. When we fail, we never grow and we never learn. Learning and growing give us humility and
what is more beautiful than a believer who has humility towards herself and towards Allah? 
Realising that tests and trials are meant to give us sabr and to also show us that we truly are weak and can only get through this life with the help of Allah is the point of this dunya

Growing pains are never favourable but at the end of the day, they are exactly what we need in life to help us carry on, move forward, grow, and most importantly, stay humble. 


  1. As salaamu alaykum. SubhanAllah. I could honestly ramble on and on about this topic. Understanding qadr has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding things for me to learn about and comprehend as a Muslim. It's honestly been one of the key things that have helped me to cope with life compared to how down I used to get about things not going my way when I wasn't Muslim. Accepting and being pleased with qadr, I feel, is a challenge for everyone Muslim or non Muslim at some point in life, Allah alim. JazakAllahu khair for sharing your struggles and pointing out that it is normal, but not something we should feel comfortable with...that is a great point!

    "...But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not." [2:216] This part of this verse has been so helpful to me and it's sooooooo REAL when I reflect on so many challenges I've been through in life. It's definitely hard to see the good in Allah's qadr sometimes when it doesn't align with our nafs, but we MUST believe that there is good in it (even if we can't immediately perceive it), or it can take a toll on our imaan. Allahu alim.

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