Allah's Apostle (s.a.w) said: "Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (God), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shown resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it." [Saheeh Muslim]
There is a disease which is consuming the enthusiasm of our youth, the determination of our elders, the spirit of our mothers. It's a disease which has really taken its foothold this century, and grown rapidly. It's the disease of pessimism.
The consequence of our pessimism is that we have committed ourselves to whinging more then acting. A great deal of our talks, articles, Khutbahs and lessons seem to be concerned with how bad the West is treating us. How they do not really understand who we are. How we are being discriminated upon. This feeling of alienation by the West is disturbing considering that as readers and followers of the Qur'an, this treatment comes as no surprise and is a characteristic of the true followers of Allah's religion.
The Nature of Being a Muslim
Islam raised a despotic people from the clenches of injustice and spiritual destitution to that of the greatest power the world had ever seen. But this honour and victory came at a price, for everything which has worth in Allah's Eyes has a price. The companions paid that price with their money and their blood. They faced persecution from their own family, and bore hunger bravely.
The following incidences provide a useful insight into the positive attitudes the Prophet (s.a.w) displayed and his companions adopted.
1- A close companion of the Prophet (s.a.w) Abu Talha, had a son who was very sick. Abu Talha would each day arrive home and enquire from his wife as to the health of their son. One day their son died, and Abu Talha at that time was not at home. When his wife saw that he was dead, she washed and shrouded him and placed him somewhere in the house. When Abu Talha came, he asked about his son's condition, and his wife said that he was in peace.
Abu Talha slept with his wife that night. His wife informed him about the death of their son in the morning. When Abu Talha informed the Prophet of what happened to them, Allah's Messenger said, "May Allah bless you both concerning your night (that is, may Allah bless you both with good offspring). And indeed, Allah blessed Abu Talha and his wife with nine sons, all of whom became reciters of the Qur'an [Saheeh Bukhary].
This story illuminates the patience the Companions had. The wife bore the death of her beloved son patiently, and furthermore kept the knowledge of his death hidden from the father for a more appropriate time. This virtuous act was blessed by Allah, with offspring who would serve as a blessing for their parents in the Hereafter.
2- A female companion had a husband whom she dearly loved. He died however and she was very depressed over his death. So she sought advice from the Prophet (s.a.w), who taught her to recite a Du'a beseeching Allah to replace her loss with something better than it. She obeyed the Prophet (s.a.w), and Allah answered her call, by providing her with a husband better than any women could have - the Prophet (s.a.w) himself.
3- Perhaps one of the greatest shows of optimism came after the Prophet (s.a.w) had been stoned in Ta'if. Bleeding profusely and emotionally hurt, he was visited by the Angel of the Mountains which encompassed the valley of Ta'if. He was offered the choice to have those people who denied his message to be crushed. He (s.a.w) however refused to assign these people to destruction, citing that their offspring may become believers. And indeed, this foresight eventuated.
The Guaranteed Victory
As believers, we are guaranteed victory no matter what our condition is, and that's what makes us special. If we become ill, our sins fall away from us like leaves fall from a tree. If our child dies, he or she will wait for us in the Hereafter and intercede for us until we enter paradise. If we fight in a war, we will either win, or die as martyrs, which is a greater victory in itself.
So the question begs to be answered, why then are Muslims so pessimistic?
Clearly this stems from a lack of knowledge and trust in Allah. For when we possess knowledge, we know that the trials in life can be passed, since Allah does not place a greater burden on us than we can bear. With knowledge, we know that these trails, once passed, will bear fruits in the form of pleasing our Creator, rising in ranks towards Him, cleansing us of our sins, and strengthening our Iman further. The trust in Allah will make us certain that nothing is lost with Allah, no fear we experience, nor pain, sadness, anguish or distress.
Indeed, Allah Says "So verily along with every hardship, is relief". This means there has to be hardship, in whatever form it takes, in the form of death, loss or poverty, divorce, difficult relatives, or persecution.
Time to Act
If this Ummah persists in complaining rather than acting, we'll get nowhere. We already know that the Kufaar hate us, and have known this for centuries, and have known that they never will like us. If these people persecuted their own prophets, why wouldn't they persecute us today? Allah has already warned us about their feelings towards us: "And verily the Jews and Christians will never be pleased with you until you follow their religion."
And this emotion should be carried forth in all aspects of our lives, for if the companions had resigned themselves to the trials of life, they would never have succeeded.
Rather, we should feel delight for the faith we have embraced, continue our struggle to spread and establish Allah's Word on this earth no matter the consequences, and whenever grief hits anyone of us, remember the Hadith: "Strange are the ways of a believer, for there is good in every affair of his, and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (God), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shown resignation (and endures it patiently), then there is a good for him in it."
(courtesy of Nida'ul Islam magazine)