“Seek Allah’s help with patient perseverance and prayer. It is indeed hard except for those who are humble.” [Quran 2:45]
It is pretty common to question the worth of our actions, or rather, the worth of the consequences they bring with them. I do not know of one person whose life hasn’t been affected by the pandemic loss of wealth, livelihood, family, and anything above and beyond. If anyone had doubts regarding the difficulty of life, these two years have ensured that life isn’t meant to be a bed of roses.
Each life comes with its trials and tribulations, ones we are well capable of handling – there was a promise in the very first surah, “A soul will not be burdened more than it can bear.” Even so, it is easier to preach than practice, and sometimes it can seem too much to handle.
A student works hard, gets good grades, aces her University days, and yet, when the time comes to do a job, she doesn’t get the job or the same pay as her colleagues. A person who tries hard to connect to Allah feels at a loss because they find it difficult to read the Qur’an. Even though they have made dua’a and prayed a few times, they still find themselves lacking. To some, it may seem that accepting defeat is the only way to go. However, the path to success is still open should they choose to persevere.
Perseverance is a key ingredient to success; as Muslims, we can find its importance highlighted in the Qur’an itself,
“O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful.” [Quran 3:200]
The above ayah relates perseverance to success; it teaches us to be patient, not give up, and not feel hopeless in the face of hardship, for there is a great reward in doing so, the reward of Paradise in The Hereafter.
The lives of the Prophets are a great source of inspiration and beneficial knowledge. If we take a good look at their lives, we learn that they were all successful because they persevered, did not back down when they were being tested, remained steadfast, and eventually attained the ultimate reward.
It is undoubtedly easier said than done, so how does one carry on when nothing seems to be working out the way it was supposed to be? When it seems much easier to give up?
Knowing our goals and focusing on them: When you’re clear about your goals and the intentions driving them, it becomes easier to take steps to achieve them. Remaining focused on those goals in times of hardship can help one stay steadfast. Our focus, as Muslims, should be on the Hereafter, not this world, hence keeping that goal in mind, every trial becomes easier to handle, for you know that it is merely a bump in the road.
Patience: A seed planted at sunrise cannot appear as a tree the next day. It takes a lot of time, consistent care, patience, and of course, Allah’s will for it to bear fruits. One can’t persevere without patience; the two go hand in hand; you must remain patient, remind yourself of your goal and move forth.
Taking Small Steps: It’s essential to know your limits; a hafiz can’t memorize the whole Quran in a month or even a year; they are well aware of their capacity to memorize, they may set out by memorizing few ayahs or a full-page daily and then make progress with that. If they were to try and do it in a month or two, most would find it very difficult to do so and may give up memorizing itself out of disappointment.
Hence, it is essential to be more realistic and take smaller steps towards your goals if needed, it makes it easier to be consistent, and one can look back and feel motivated by what they’ve accomplished over time.
Being Consistent: Failed a test? Try again. Failed again? Try again. Failed to wake up for prayer? Repent and try to do better. There’s no use in beating yourself up for failing; it’s natural to feel regretful, but to let it consume you to the point of giving up entirely is worthless. Acknowledge your mistake and strive to do better; even if you end up making the same mistake again tomorrow, don’t let it hold you back.
I once heard in a lecture that one of the traps of Satan is to convince the believer that their progress is not worth anything, that Allah will not accept their deed because it wasn’t done to the best of their ability. Do not fall into Satan’s trap, for in doing so, you are setting yourself up for the loss, so acknowledge your progress and keep moving forward.
Remember That Allah (swt) is With You.
Remember that Allah (swt) is The All-Knowing, He knows your intentions, and He knows your struggles, remember that He is The Most Forgiving, will forgive you again and again and again, for as long as you repent, He will forgive. Remember that Allah (swt) is The Most Generous and Most Loving. He will not decree anything bad for you, have faith in Him and His Wisdom.
Each time you persevere and succeed, you will become stronger and better prepared for the next challenge. So dear sisters and brothers, please do not give up when things get tough, have faith in yourself and Allah, know that you can bear whatever it may be that is burdening you, big or small, you can get through it.
(The author is a Psychologist from Akola, Maharastra)