25 Islamic articles on: Islam and hardship

IslamQA: Are we patient if we complain silently to God?

If we complaint silently in hopes that God listen to our hearts, does that count as patience?

Sure. Complaining to God is what the Prophets did, peace be upon them, when they were being patient.

85. They said, “By God, you will not stop remembering Joseph, until you have ruined your health, or you have passed away.”

86. He said, “I only complain of my grief and sorrow to God, and I know from God what you do not know.” (The Quran, verses 12:85-86)

Best wishes.

Follow-up question

can we get back to the “complaining to god” conversation. if we are dealing with a frustrating situation where we are incapable of digest what’s going on, if I say in my mind “this is unfair I deserve better, when will the good things happen to me” isn’t it that ungrateful, am I not being a brat because so far god has been good to me isn’t it family-wise and health-wise. I mean he has favored me in other areas so if I complain wouldnt that be ungrateful

It depends on the tone of your conversation with God. You can state your situation to Him without blaming Him or acting as if He has wronged you. The Quran gives us a very beautiful example of the right attitude in the story of Prophet Ayyub (Biblical Job), peace be upon him:

83. And Job, when he cried out to his Lord: “Great harm has afflicted me, and you are the Most Merciful of the merciful.”

84. So We answered him, lifted his suffering, and restored his family to him, and their like with them—a mercy from Us, and a reminder for the worshipers. (The Quran, verses 21:83-84)

Instead of asking for anything, he simply states his condition and tells God He is merciful. God treats his complaint as if it is a prayer and answers it by taking away his difficulty.

IslamQA: Why does Allah let some people suffer so much?

When will my suffering end? it's been long enough since I'm in emotional pain. I think suffering never ends for some people. My mother is a nicest human being anyone would ever meet on the Earth and Allah has tested her through out her life. First she got an abusive husband and because of him one by one all of my mother relatives deserted her. From her parents to her siblings to her cousins to her friends all left her. Why Allah gave her such a life? I think same is going to happen with me. 🙁

There will always be suffering. The difference is that with God our suffering will be meaningful and useful, while without God we suffer pointlessly. Face God and say “I will love You regardless of what You decree for me.” Realize that this entire universe is like a video game maintained by God’s imagination. We are all figments of His imagination. There is no escape from Him. We cannot get away with any evil or sin, He will make us suffer its consequences. Once you acknowledge your utter helplessness before Him, once you offer yourself to Him to do with as He wants, that is when suffering starts to become meaningful.

We need hardship to make us remember our powerlessness and our dependence on Him. But if you do something that always makes you recognize these things without needing hardship, there will no longer be a need for hardship to remind you. Since I started reading the Quran daily for an hour, alhamdulillah all meaningless inconveniences and hardships have left my life. I almost never run into inconveniences like not finding a taxi just when I need one most, or the Internet stopping working in the middle of my work. My life operates like a well-maintained and cleaned machine where almost nothing ever goes wrong.

But my life isn’t empty of suffering. I suffer from multiple chronic illnesses, one of which disables me from getting any work done for weeks at a time, so I cannot hold down a normal job. But God has taken care of my family financially. My inability to work has enabled me to read, which is one of my greatest pleasures. I read 23 books this Ramadan, and I recently finished 4000 pages of C. S. Lewis’s collected letters. My illness prevents me from feeling happiness or joy most of the time, but who cares if I was happy or sad in 2009 if I am a better person because of it now? I would choose a meaningful and beautiful life over a happy life any day.

IslamQA: Is lack of hardship a sign that God does not love you?

Salam. I have a question that I have been wondering about for a while now, and it may seem a little strange. It is often said that the more beloved you are to Allah, the more you are tested. If you are not tested with anything particularly severe, does that mean you are not as beloved to Allah? It's not that I don't have any worries/problems in my life, but I have never been tested with anything severe (Alhamdulillah) and sometimes I wonder if it's because I'm not that beloved to Allah.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

We are all tested in different ways. For those who worship God sincerely and seek to always be close to Him, God always creates the ideal situation where an aspect of their character is tested and enhanced. God helps us mature by showing us our defects and enabling us to correct them. Living in ease can also be a very difficult test, since we are tempted to think that God likes us and approves of us and we mistakenly think our ease is because of that. I recommend that you always seek to remain close to God (such as by reading the Quran daily), and leave it to God to take care of helping you improve and mature.

IslamQA: Waiting patiently for the end of hardship

Asalamaleikum.. I have gone thru hard time for almost a year. I try to stay high in faith and sabr but it’s very hard. I keep waiting for something good to happen, but nothing has happened yet.. feeling depressed. Is it actually true that if I am grateful I will get more? Because I’m waiting, but everything stays the same. Please remember me in your dua, I do not want to become ungrateful 🙁

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

In my own life I have noted that God’s solution to my problems do not come immediately. Some of them take years. But when they come, they come from the most unexpected directions. For the past 9 years I have been asking God to give my life meaning and purpose, and in the past year, when I finally decided to completely dedicate myself to God and to read the Quran for an hour every day for the rest of my life, everything has changed for me. I feel like I am in a spaceship directed by God. Nothing gets in the way and all problems vanish away.

So I recommend patience and, most importantly, dedicating yourself to God. God will constantly test us with problems and hardships until we learn the lesson; the lesson being that we can never achieve any success or guidance unless it comes through Him. Please see the page Guides on Getting Closer to God on my site, apply their teachings, and leave it to God to take care of your fate.

Best wishes inshaAllah.

IslamQA: They cannot stop sinning despite their worship and feel like a hypocrite

Salamalaikum Brother Ikram, I hope all is well. I tried to implement what you mentioned in your essays into my life. But I still feel guilty, shameful, and lonely. It's a part of life now. I have been patient and I have sought therapy for a long time as well, but nothing seems to work. I keep going back to committing sins that I should not because of these feelings. It's a cycle: I pray, I read the Quran, then I feel guilty, and then I sin, and then I go back to praying. It feels like its never-ending. I feel like a hypocrite. I pray every day and ask for forgiveness but then I return to the sin. Is there something you would like to recommend me?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I am very happy that you tried to implement what I say in my essays. I believe your course of action should now be patience and perseverance. You should be prepared for this state of things to continue for months and even years as disheartening as this sounds. Even if you fail a thousand times, always get back up and go back to God. Consider this a test of your patience and loyalty.

If you understand Arabic, I recommend listening to the Quran for an hour every day. If not perhaps reading it English will also help, get a good translation (such as Abdel Haleem’s) and spend an hour with it every day. Keeping doing this for months and see where that takes you.

Additionally you could try learning more about Islam. As your knowledge increases you will be better able to understand yourself and find the best path forward. You can check out our curriculum page and start reading the books on there.

I would greatly appreciate it if you report back your progress. Thank you for staying in touch and may Allah bless you and make things easy for you.

Page 2 of 2
1 2