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Shun Despondency

Words of Wisdom from our Prophet
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Three Men Locked in a Cave

The Quran states: And never give up hope of Allah’s Mercy. Certainly, no one despairs Allah’s Mercy except the people who disbelieve. (12:87)

It is from Allah’s Wisdom that He, after creating human beings, subjects them to the vicissitudes of life. Whenever adversity occurs, most people are impatient and are desperate to overcome it by resorting to undesirable acts. As Muslims, we are advised to keep our hopes alive always in the vast mercy of Allah and never become despondent.

The Quran teaches us not to despair of Allah’s Mercy, stating: “Say: O My servants who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not the mercy of Allah.” ( 39:53). This is a call to all sinners to repent to Allah and turn to Him, as Allah would forgive all the sins of those who repent to Him, no matter what or how many sins are. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer). If only people understood this purport of this verse, the world would witness lesser suicides!

A hadith states: “If anyone constantly seeks pardon, Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety… (Abu Dawood)”. Therefore, a Muslim is a way forward to resorting to seeking Allah’s repentance and expecting Allah’s Mercy to liberate him.

The Qur’an is replete with examples of how the prophets of Allah overcame their adversities by having complete hope in Allah. During their most trying times, they resorted to the hope in Allah to overcome their problems.

When Yaqoob (alaihissalaam) ordered his children to go back and inquire about Yusuf and Binyamin (alaihimassalam), he advised: “O my sons! Go you and inquire about Yusuf and his brother and never give up hope of Allah’s mercy. Certainly, no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy except the people who disbelieve (12:87).” Although he was sad about the loss of his son, he not only had hope in Allah’s Mercy but also advised his children on the same lines. He had become blind due to constant weeping over the loss of his beloved son, yet he instructed his other sons to keep searching for Yusuf (alaihissalaam). This was after weeping for years together. How Allah blessed him with the reunion of his son is a testimony to what true hope in Allah’s Mercy could achieve. This is a beautiful example for people who have tried all avenues to fulfill their dreams yet seemed far-fetched.

When Ayyoob (alaihissalam) was afflicted with a prolonged illness, he supplicated: “Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show Mercy.” (21:84). The trails that stuck him affected his health, wealth, and children. Yet, he did not allow despondency to overtake him. How Allah reversed his condition is an example for people suffering from chronic illnesses to have hope in Allah’s Mercy and expect them to be cured soon.

When Yoonus (alaihissalam) was imprisoned in the whale’s belly, he only cried through the darkness, saying: “There is no God but You. Glorified be You! Truly, I have been among the wrongdoers. (21:87)”. If there could have been one situation where Allah could have tolerated despondency, it could have been this! But, lo and behold! Yoonus (alaihissalam) only confessed his shortcoming to Allah, and Allah not only delivered him but also assured that believers could also be likewise delivered from their problems. This is a prime example for people who are incarcerated and have lost all hopes of freedom from the trials of life.

When Zakariyya (alaihissalam) had become old without a progeny, he supplicated: “My Lord! Do not leave me alone (with no heir), while You are the best of inheritors.” (21:89). His bones had weakened, his head had turned grey, and his wife had been barren. Although these factors were not in his favour of his fatherhood, he did not despair of Allah’s Mercy. Allah not only answered his prayers by gifting Yahya (alaihissalam) but also made him a prophet! This also shows that whatever be the odds against one’s own self, one should still be hopeful of Allah’s mercy soon. This is an example for people who are yet to be blessed with parenthood to be hopeful of Allah’s Mercy.

Our Prophet, PBUH’S visit to Taaif, was met with not only opposition to his Dawah, but also with bruises all over his blessed feet. What pained him the most was the way he PBUH was met with arrogance and hostility from a people, about whom he was concerned about their welfare in the Aakhirah. Although he later termed it as the worst day of his life, he would not allow the angel of mountains to crush the people of Taif, saying: “I hope Allah will bring forth from their loins people who will worship Allah alone without associating any partners with Him.” This was how he PBUH epitomized his hope in Allah. Earlier, the supplication he PBUH had made also reinforces the complete hope he PBUH had in Allah. This shows that how much ever you try to reform people around you and it does not bear fruits immediately, you should still be hopeful of Allah’s Mercy.

Tips to overcome despondency:
1. Know that life in this world is only fleeting, and we will be subjected to trials and tribulations. If Prophets were subjected to trials, it would be insane to think that we would be exempted.
2. Nurture the thought that Allah will definitely open up ways to overcome such trials if we resort to constantly seeking forgiveness.
3. Know that no calamity befalls anyone without Allah’s will and that Allah will not burden a soul beyond its capacity.
4. Entertain good thoughts about Allah throughout. After all, our human intellect is limited compared to Allah’s infinite knowledge.
5. Always know that the problems and challenges you face are minuscule in magnitude to Allah’s Mercy. Nothing is too small to ask Allah for, and nothing is too big for Allah to solve.
6. None despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelievers and those astray.
7. Look at those below you and do not look at those above you, for that is more likely to hold you back from belittling the blessing that Allah has bestowed upon you. (Muslim).
8. Despondency will only worsen the situation leading to doom in this world and the hereafter.
May Allah make us amongst such people who never despair of Allah’s mercy at all times. Ameen

If only people understood the purport of this verse, the world would witness lesser suicides!