We are living in a sad state of affairs. In the U.S., unemployment rate has almost reached 20%. In the U.K., 33% of all youth have no jobs. Our beloved Islamic country of Somalia was hit by a severe drought. Not too long ago, we were squabbling over when Eid-ul-Fitr was going to be. We almost came to blows when the moon was sighted on this day and not on that day. Almost 2 out of 3 Islamic marriages end up in divorce within the first 2 years. We have multi-million dollar masjids that not even a full line of people come to pray Fajr. We shave our beards and we drop our Hijabs because we are afraid of that looming cloud of unemployment. Depressed yet? If you are, then Shaytan has you right where he wants you, but even if this is the case, never give up hope!
Why should you never give up hope despite all of the horribly true things that are happening to us, as human beings and as Muslims, all over the world? Because we have a belief that over 4 billion people in the world don’t share. We have a Book that over 4 billion people don’t believe in. We have a Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that wept entire nights for Allah to forgive us…us…his Ummah. He hasn’t met us nor have we met him. But because we believe in La Ilaha Ill-Allah and because we believe in Muhammad-ur Rasulullah we should not give up hope!
Let me let you in on a little secret. The fact that we are being tested…is a blessing. Say what? The ayah of the Qur’an says, “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, "Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return." (2:155-156) But Allah doesn’t stop there! “Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the rightly guided.”
Allah is telling us in the Qur’an that He will test us. That job you lost? It wasn’t because of the economy. It was because Allah was testing you my dear brothers, sisters, and elders in Islam. Would you dwell into a pit of despair which is what Shaytan wanted you to do and succumb to despair? Or would you brave the storm and have full trust in Allah, that your Rizq (provisions) do not come from your employer or from that paycheck, but it comes from Allah the most High! He is the King of kings, the Sultan of Sultans, the President of presidents, and the Creator of creation. In one instant, He can make all of your needs, wants, and desires come true. But he doesn’t do so. Why? In order to test us, like the ayah of the Qur’an says, to see who amongst is an average Joe, or in this case, an average Muslimah or Muslim who runs after people to have their needs met, or if we are the cream of the very top of the crop, who say, firmly, that all I had was from Allah, all I have is from Allah, and all I am destined to have is from Allah. So I am content with what Allah has given me. Are we amongst that elite group of people that because Allah loves us, the Angels make du’a for us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no breaks? “Because I love this servant of mine, you, my angels, also love them”.
If that doesn't raise your hopes, then try this on for size: "For indeed, after hardship there will be relief. Indeed, after hardship there will be relief". (94:5-6) No, I did not just repeat one ayah over again, it is the next ayah in this Surah. The fact that this ayah is mentioned twice, one after another, shows that one hardship will not overcome two reliefs. So if you lost your job (1 hardship) and you bear the tribulation of being unemployed with patience and trust in Allah, then Allah will reward you insha'Allah with 2 reliefs: a better job (salary, environment, work hours, etc.) and ability to pay off that student debt (or mortgage, or bank loan, etc.).
Can you imagine how merciful our Allah is? We don't have to do anything, just start and end every day with a smile, even if we have no job and cannot do anything else. All we have to do is pray to Allah to help us. It might take 1 month, 1 year, 5 years...but the relief is coming! You know when you are floundering in that (pick the subject you dislike the most) class, or you need some help with a project at work and you ask someone for help? Remember when they made promise after promise to help you out but in the end leave you out to dry? Remember? We all have had times in our lives where we relied on someone else to help us out with a situation and they just didn't come through for us. Well guess what? Allah has your back! That's right, the one who created your mother to give birth to you; He...has your back! Please, please, please... do not rely on Obama or the economy or a previous employer to help you out, in this case with your financial situation. Please do not read the newspapers that say with despair, this family's home was foreclosed, yours could be next. This man was making millions on Wall Street, now he is selling pizzas. The newspapers are not the ones that cause despair in your heart; it is our open enemy, Shaytan, who instills fear in us, who wants us to take interest loans, to shave our beards when we go for interviews, to take off the hijab when we go out in public. This is all because we don't see the light at the end of the tunnel that shows- relief is on the way! The one who is delivering it? None other...than Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) Himself!
Stay tuned for Part II- Lessons from the life of Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) on why you should never give up hope!
Written by brother Ali Ibrahim