Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
31 January 2020 / 6 Jamadilakhir 1441H
The Success of a Mukmin in Facing Challenges
Beloved Friday jama’ah,
Throughout this month, we have been reminded of the importance of striving to be a God-conscious community in order to be successful in this world and the hereafter. In our efforts to achieve success in this life, surely we will face many different challenges and tests. Each challenge and test, my dear brothers, is actually to remind us of the need to overcome them with Allah s.w.t.’s help and our efforts. Allah s.w.t. reminds us in the following verse:
Which means: “And when adversity touches man, he calls upon Us; then when We bestow on him a favour from Us, he says, "I have only been given it because of [my] knowledge." Rather, it is a trial, but most of them do not know.” [Surah Az-Zumar, verse 49]
This verse reminds us that each good and bad is a test from Allah. Whatever good that Allah has bestowed upon us, it is not supposed to make us forget and stray away from Him. As in reality, we are always relying upon Him and only from Him should we seek help.
Tests are a way through which Allah polishes the gems amongst His creations. Just look at how diamonds were before they became precious gemstones – diamonds need to go through extreme stages of polishing and cutting. Human beings are similar to them – with each and every difficulty, stress and hardship that a person experiences, he is on his way to becoming a priceless gem in the sight of His Lord. Thus, the Prophet s.a.w. said that those with the greatest trials are from amongst the prophets, and then from amongst the righteous people who followed in the footsteps of the prophets, and so on and so forth. If one’s faith is strong, the trial will be even more challenging. If the individual’s faith is weak, he or she will be tested accordingly. A Muslim will be tested until he walks on the earth without any sin on him. [Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim]
Tests are an opportunity laid down by Allah for us to inch closer to Him. They are an opportunity for us to prove our faith in His Power and our acceptance of His Decree. Surely it is not easy. As Allah is the Most Just, our tenacity and patience when we are being tested will result in the removal of our sins.
Remember, dear brothers, that Allah does not test us unless He knows we are able to endure and overcome it. It is up to us as human beings, who have been gifted with reason and intellect, to find solutions to our issues as well as to seek His Guidance.
As a guide for us all, allow me to summarise several guidelines that we should adhere to when facing challenges in life.
First: Always choose to look at a trial positively, and to derive the positive outcomes that can result from it.
When we are being tested, it is much easier to look at the situation negatively as compared to seeing the positive side of it. However, when we consciously choose to be optimistic about our situation, this is when we can benefit from it. As an example, when we experience problems in our marriage, we have the choice to look at our issues negatively and end the marriage. Or we can choose to look at what we are experiencing as an opportunity for us to identify our weaknesses as husbands and wives, and ultimately improve our relationship. This will allow us to feel happier as a couple. When we are perplexed by our trials, always return to God to find hope. Our Prophet s.a.w. reminds us in a hadith: “Be watchful of Allah (Commandments of Allah), He will preserve you. Safeguard His Rights, He will be ever with you. If you beg, beg of Him Alone; and if you need assistance, supplicate to Allah Alone for help.” [Hadith narrated by At-Tirmizi].
Second: Strive to find solutions.
Looking for solutions to problems is a sign of our faith in Allah’s promise. God says:
Meaning: “So verily, with every difficulty comes ease. Verily, with every difficulty comes ease.” [Surah Al-Inshirah, verses 5-6].
For example, we are now aware of the spread of the coronavirus. In fact, there have been several confirmed cases in our country. This is a test from Allah s.w.t. This virus has caused a lot of worry and panic, as it can spread from one person to another. Some of those who have been infected will not even show any symptoms in the beginning. This virus threatens the health of every individual. Thus, let us all pay attention to the advice and guidance of our healthcare professionals and those experienced in managing such pandemics. This is our collective responsibility.
In this situation, I would like to remind us all of the Prophet s.a.w.’s saying: “There is no disease (except what has been decreed by Allah)…the ill should not be taken with the healthy.” [Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim].
In observing this sunnah as well as taking precautionary measures, I advise the entire congregation today, myself included, that if any of us are experiencing any symptoms such as fever, cough, cold, breathing difficulties, sore throat or runny nose, we must quickly seek treatment. Avoid crowded and public places so as to avoid worsening our conditions and infecting others. The same goes to our Friday congregational prayers. In his book, Bidayah wa An-Nihayah, Imam Ibn Kathir recorded a period in time when a pandemic - an outbreak of cholera -occurred. The congregants of Friday prayers were given the flexibility to not attend the prayers to safeguard the community’s health and wellbeing.
Let us take care of our health and continue living a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, let us stay updated with the latest news through valid and credible news sources. Importantly, let us not worsen the situation by spreading unsubstantiated news and rumours.
In these troubling times, let us together make du’a for Allah to protect us, our family and our society from any harms. The Prophet s.a.w. once taught us the following prayer:
Which means: “In the Name of Allah with Whose Name there is protection against every kind of harm in the earth or in the heaven, and He is the All-Hearing and All-Knowing.” [Hadith narrated by Abu Dawud and at-Tirmizi].
May Allah s.w.t. protect our healthcare workers in their noble and selfless work. May Allah s.a.w. protect us, our families, our society and our country from any threat, danger and harm. May He strengthen our faith in these challenging times. Amin ya Rabbal ’Alamin.