Head Above Water

Yasmin Mogahed


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Head Above Water
By: Yasmin Mogahed

Serenity Podcast:
Head Above Water, Facing Challenges Without Getting Overwhelmed

Presented on August 13, 2011


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Selam Aleykum This is Yasmin Mujahid and you're listening to serenity streaming live on one legacy radio.

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The topic today is one after a while of not having the show, we've actually been in the process of moving into a new studio. But Hamdulillah, we are back. And we are live. And the topic that we are going to be speaking about today, is entitled head above water facing challenges without getting overwhelmed. And the reason why I chose this name, or this title head above water, is that a lot of times in life, we feel that way exactly that we are trying to keep our head above water. And sometimes it feels like that the challenges that we face in life, they tend to sort of take us down and we feel sort of this poll. And sometimes it's hard to keep our head above water without, you

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know, having the the waves of this ocean of challenges, sort of take us down and cover us. And I think that one of the most important things in in terms of facing challenges, is has everything to do with the way in which we see challenges and also the way in which we respond to challenges. One thing that I noticed, even in myself and just in general, I think the reason why whenever something difficult comes our way or a challenge comes our way, we tend to feel the burden of it. And the reason why we feel that burden is because we think to ourselves, I need to deal with this. Now I have to figure out a way I have to carry this. And the i in this statement is the problem. Because

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anything that I try to carry by myself, or I tried to figure out by myself, is not going to be six to the going, I'm not going to be able. And the idea here is that instead, when we when we see the challenge come You know, when the challenge comes our way, instead of thinking about it, as it's me against the challenge, what we need to do is we need to immediately shift our focus, and instead look to Allah subhanho data. Because, honestly, the whole reason why these storms come and Allah subhanaw taala tells us this many times in the Koran, that the whole purpose of the storm is to make us turn to Allah for help. And so if we're not doing that, then we're not actually fulfilling the

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purpose of the challenge itself. The purpose of the challenge is not for me to carry it, it's not for me to try to figure it out. But rather, it's for me to turn to the one who can carry it and who can figure it out. And so what we should be doing with these challenges is immediately turning to Allah subhanaw taala for help, and asking Allah subhanaw taala to suffice us and asking Allah subhanaw taala to make it easy for us, and to take care of it. When I say that, a lot of people are then going to think or say but you know, you still have to do your part, your part. And absolutely That is true. But it is extremely important. The way in which we address or the way in which we

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enter into an issue or we enter into a problem or we enter into a challenge. We do not want to enter by ourselves, but rather we want to enter by Allah subhanho data. So we turn to Allah and this turning to Allah. So panel data should be the first thing that we do. And we ask and we seek help from Allah. And this turning and facing Allah subhanaw taala is something we do with our hearts. And we turn and we ask and we make the law. And once you do that, and once you ask Allah subhanaw taala for help, and you and you turn to Him, then you start to act. But while you're acting, your heart is still facing him. And so your reliance is on Allah subhanaw taala while your actions your limbs are

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doing, you know, they're acting, but all the time your reliance is on him, and you're looking to him for the solution. This is extremely important. Because the problem is, when we don't see things in this way, the challenge comes, we immediately look at the means we look at Okay, there's this challenge, okay, what do I need to do? I need to do A, B and C and all of the things that we immediately look at as solutions. Our means are things of dunya are things which are which are all just means and these are not the things that actually bring about success or bring about the solution. These are things that we do yes, but that is not the source of the Help is not the source

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of the of the solution to this problem. So one example would be you know, you're faced with a

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Difficulty or perhaps maybe you have, you know, let's let's just use a simple example you have a headache. Now the the first thing that and in this simple example, usually the first thing we would do if we have a headache is we think, Okay, what, you know, what medicine Should I take, and immediately we go to take the medicine. And And the idea here is before we ask Allah subhanaw taala for help, we go straight to the medicine. And then in this example, say we take the medicine and the medicine doesn't work. And then now we're wondering, okay, well, the medicine didn't work. And so what's the next thing I can do? Well, let me go to a doctor. So then we go to the doctor, and then

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the doctor checks us out and says, Oh, no, you have a headache, because you have this tumor, for example, something very serious. Now, okay, the medicine didn't work going to the doctor didn't work. And now we find out we have this greater problem. Now we think, Okay, well, what can we do to treat it? And then the doctor says, Well, we contrive surgery. So then we go, and we do the surgery, the surgery doesn't work. And then the doctor says, Well, we can try this other surgery. So we go ahead and do that surgery. And that doesn't work. And it's only when the doctor finally says, There is nothing we can do. There's absolutely nothing we can do that we then turn to Allah subhanho data

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and ask for help. At this point, we've exhausted every means that we could and now we turn and we ask Allah subhanaw taala for help. This needs to be flipped. The problem is that we we go to the means we go to the help, you know we go to the material things that dunya for the help before we turn to Allah subhanaw taala. And it's only when we've exhausted every other way that we turn to him. But instead, if we were to turn to Allah from the very beginning, then something very amazing happens. What happens when you turn to Allah from the beginning, is that the difficulty itself becomes lightened for you. You know, there is one of the most beautiful daughters of the Prophet

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sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was when Allah when the prophets I send them asked Allah will lead to kidney so one of the narrations is yahaya baremetrics study falletta kidney NFC porfa time was slightly shut Nicola who led in a land so you begin by by calling Allah subhanaw taala by his names Yeah, hi you all living ever living. yaka you better matica Istalif by your mercy you seek you're seeking a love by His mercy and you're seeking His help by His mercy falletta kidney l NF c 13. And this is the part I really want to focus on. you asking? You're asking Allah subhanaw taala to not leave me to myself, for the blink of an eye. Do not leave me to myself for the blink of an eye was

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slightly shut Nicola, hula, hula, hula and, and rectify all of my affairs, there is no nothing worthy of worship except for you. Who here you're asking Allah Do not leave me to myself for the blink of an eye. And this is the problem when we don't turn to Allah immediately when we have a challenge or we have a problem. We are actually being it's like we're leaving, we're being left to ourselves. And that's why it becomes so difficult. That's why the challenge becomes heavy. That's why the difficulty becomes almost unbearable. It's because we're carrying it or rather trying to carry it on our own rather than going to Allah subhanaw taala and and and asking Allah subhanaw

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taala to carry it for us. shala What I'll do now is I'll take a short break, I'm going to be taking questions. So go ahead and write your questions, your thoughts, your reflections in the chat box. And when we return, we'll take a look at those

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Assalamu alaikum This is ismene Mujahid and you're listening to serenity streaming live on one legacy radio. So as I said, you know we're today we're speaking about dealing with challenges. How do we deal with challenges without getting overwhelmed? And, you know, masking chelation, go ahead and ask your questions and your comments on the chat box. This is a question. You know, the question that we're asking today is how do we deal with life's challenges without getting drowned by them? And it's a question that's relevant to everyone because this life is all about challenges. And Allah subhanaw taala tells us this in the end when he says that, I would have led him in a shaitana regime

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to Baraka, Lady out of alignment, straight on

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regimes smilla rahmanir rahim Tamara keleti via de Hyndman, coho l Aquila, Shane Cody, and Lady Holocaust levy Haleakala Mota will hire Leah blue Acoma ucommerce. And Amina Allah subhanaw. taala is saying that he created death and life in order to test us, which of us are best in beats. The idea here is Allah subhanaw taala is making very clear that the reason why death and life is created is to test us, which of us are best indeed. So these tests are part of life. They're a part of dunya. The, the question is, how do we deal with them? And how do we face these challenges without getting overwhelmed by them. And ultimately, the reason why, and what we spoke about before, the

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reason why we end up getting overwhelmed, really has to do with what we are depending on when we depend on something other than Allah subhanaw taala to get us through the challenge, whether it's I'm depending on my own self, or I'm depending on another person, or I'm depending on some means I'm depending on, you know, a certain medicine, a certain doctor or a certain, you know, type of technology, whatever it is, when we put our dependence in something other than Allah. That's why we start to feel overwhelmed. And that's why things become very heavy, and things don't really work out. And we have challenge after challenge. And the challenges themselves are very, very difficult

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to bear. And so the way that we have to change, we have to change the way we are approaching our challenges, and immediately see through the challenge and see Allah subhanaw taala behind it, everything that comes our way is intended for a reason. And this is also very, very important. If a person believes that things are just haphazard and do not have a purpose, it's going to be very difficult to deal with challenges. But if you see the challenge itself, as being given to you specifically at this time, in this place, for a very specific purpose, then it's much easier to,

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to to be successful, and also to benefit. And that's the point, everything that Allah subhanaw taala gives us can be good for us. If we respond in the correct way. And Allah subhanaw taala only wants good for us. The reason why some things end up being, you know, sometimes end up being bad for us has to do with the way we respond. And so this question of how do we know? How do we know if something is good for us or something is bad for us. It has everything to do with our response. So when you are faced with a challenge, the key is immediately see Allah immediately look through the challenge. Allah is telling you, all of this is a test. All of this is a test. But one thing I want

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to emphasize, sometimes when we're told, you know, we're told since we're young, all this life is a test this life is a test. And so what happens is we were faced with something and we say, Okay, this is a test is just a test. But I think our response is still wrong. And this is what I mean, when we're faced with a test like in class. So we have a test. And we're, you know, we're trying to answer the question.

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And we have really difficult questions, say we were on the test. And we have a really difficult difficult math problem or a very difficult multiple choice question. What do we do? Well, we, we grind our teeth, and we just, you know, we try really hard and we all the pressure is on us to figure it out. Right? That's how we respond to tests in this life. What would happen if we raised our hand, and we said, you know, Professor, can you please help me out with this, this problem? That's not really allowed, right? In these types of tests, it's not allowed to ask the professor for help, because that would be cheating, or, you know,

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you know, he's the one who's grading it, and you're asking him for help. So that's why I think sometimes in life when we are in when we have these tests given to us, we see it in very much the same way. And we we treat the tests of Allah subhanaw taala, like the tests of a human being in a classroom. And it isn't like that, when Allah subhanaw taala gives us a test in this life. His purpose is for us to ask him for help. The purpose of the test is for us to raise our hand and ask the professor for help. And in this case, Allah subhanaw taala, who is high above any analogy, the whole purpose is not for you to try to figure it out on your own for you to try to carry it on your

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own. The whole purpose is to ask a law. Yeah, can I Buddha? Yeah. Can a Stein you alone? Do we worship and You alone? Do we seek help? Allah wants us to raise our hand and ask for help. And so I think it's very important that we sort of unlearn a lot of how we, how we how we think of tests, how we understand them to be and we need to unlearn it, and Allah subhanaw taala is not this distant God who's just throwing these tests at you just to watch how you're going to respond with no help. That isn't the point. The point is for you to actually

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Ask him for help. And he actually, though he wants to carry you, he wants to help you. He wants to make it easy for you. But you just have to go to him. Our problem as human beings is this idea of depending on other than Allah for help, really. So whether it's self defense self, so called self reliance, or its reliance on on other people, this is why we fail. This is why we fall, this is why we are weak. It's because we are trying to rely on ourselves to get through these tests. And that isn't the point. The point is to ask Allah subhana wa tada in order to, to strengthen us and to help us. So I'm going to go ahead and look at the chat box and take some questions.

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One person asks if Allah subhanaw taala answers one dot, when in a challenge, but not the other one, but not the other? Does that mean he loves that person more than the other? So what this person is asking is, suppose there's one person who's in a challenge and asks a loss upon data for help. And then another person who's in a challenge, asks a lot for help. And he helped, and he

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he answers, this is in quotation marks, answers one of them and doesn't answer the other. Does that mean that he loves the one he answered more than the other person? Now, the problem here is the way in which we define answering our da See, this is this is again, us as human beings, when we go to Allah subhanaw taala. And we asked him for something. So we asked for help, or we asked for fed, we asked for good. We ask for success, we ask for these things. And yet we think in our mind, that there's a particular we want it in a certain form, we want it in a certain way. And if Allah subhanaw taala doesn't give it to us in the exact way that we asked for, in the exact form that we

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think it should be. We think he hasn't answered our thought. And this is this is completely wrong. Allah subhanaw taala hears and answers every dot, but the form in which Allah subhanaw taala answers the way in which Allah subhanaw taala responds, he knows best he knows better than you are, is that we have to have trust in Allah. And in his response, we have to have the best opinion of Allah subhanaw taala that Allah says, end up in the oven knob DB that I am, I am as my servant thinks of me. We need to know we need to have the best opinion of Allah that Allah always answers our da, and he's taking, he's watching out for us. And we have to have trust that sometimes things is being

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answered, but not in the way maybe we think and not in the way that we may be asked or expected. But a lot here is also as if we make a dua to Allah subhanaw taala sincerely, he never turns us away. If you ask Allah subhanaw taala for help sincerely is not going to turn you away. And Allah says this in the Quran that I that I answer the call of the caller when he calls on me this is something that Allah subhanaw taala has told us in the corner and and so we shouldn't have lose hope when when things don't look the way we think they should but rather have trust that Allah Subhana Allah knows best and and we and realizing too that we might be asking for something in our door which is not

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good for us or we might be seeking something or not wanting something which is good for us and unless penalty Allah knows best.

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One person asks How can I overcome editing yet? I am afraid that all I do maybe for not for the right reasons, even when I exercise patience, how can I overcome it I make die every day every Salah, but what can I do practically?

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You know,

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the idea of react, and I mean, it's it's somewhat, it is definitely a challenge that that we face, or react may be means like showing off in with regards to worship. So it's it's that you do something for the sake of people saying or people seeing. And I think that you know, we We ask Allah subhanaw taala always for protection from Riyadh, the hidden ship, of associating a partner with a loss of data in a lesser way, because you're doing something that belongs to Allah and you're doing it for someone else, or maybe a share of it is for someone else, you know, none of us are perfect, we have to realize that we need Allah subhanaw taala and we ask Allah to purify our intentions. I

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think that Subhanallah again, the answer to all of these challenges, really, the answer to the problem of Riyadh, the answer to the problem of this difficulty in our life are these tests. The answer to all of these problems is the same thing and that is turning to Allah. It's facing Allah, it's seeing Allah, you know, we don't see Allah subhanaw taala with our physical eyes, but if we can see Allah subhanaw taala with our hearts, it really solves all of these problems. Now, how would seeing Allah subhanaw taala solve the problem of react, for example? Well, if you see a law, it's like this. Suppose somebody is on their way to meet a king and they want

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You know, they want something from the king or they want to go impress the king or ask the king for, for something, and on their way to meet the king, they run into one of the kings servants. Now if that person knows, and knows there's a king and sees the king and and knows that they're on their way to the king, are they going to spend time trying to please the servant, or trying to show off for the servant or trying to ask from the servant? They aren't. The only time they would do that is if they don't see the king, if all you saw was the servant, and in your mind, you thought the servant had some power, or or some, you know, authority to judge you only then would you waste time

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trying to show off for the servant or seeking help from the servant. So the problem really, when we when we fall into this, something like that yet, it's a problem of vision, it's a problem of the heart not seeing Allah subhana wa tada and instead gets distracted and is instead facing other than Allah is looking at the servant rather than looking at Allah subhanaw taala. I'm going to go ahead and show that and take another short break. I'll look through the questions and go ahead and and put your questions in the chat box.

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Assalamu alaikum This is yes, manager head and you're listening to serenity streaming live on one legacy radio. So there are a lot of questions in hamdulillah in the chat box, a lot of really excellent questions. I'll try to get through as many as I can be in the law. One of the questions relates to the challenge, and this is this is a very realistic challenge of wanting to marry someone and your parents don't approve, or the other person's parents don't approve.

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The and this this is one question. And I'm and I'm going to get to another one as well, which is also related to marriage, because I want to answer both of them sort of similarly, in the same way. The other question has to do with a person who is having trouble getting married because

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they had cancer when they were younger, and nobody wants to marry them because they had cancer when they were younger, so on. So again, both of these issues have to do with seeking marriage or seeking something and it's not really working out. What I would say, again, both of these issues, these are tests from Allah subhanaw taala these are challenges from Allah subhanho data and just like you know, the the prophets peace be upon them, for example, they had tests and they had challenges and you know, the father of use of Chinese Salaam he lost his son, you know, for a long time. And we know that au Bala his son, lost his health and then he lost his children he lost his wealth and was

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in you know, we're gonna lose his wife. We know that unicyclists Anam was swallowed by the fish. And, and, and all of these challenges that these prophets faced, the question we have to ask is, how did they How did they respond? And I think that you know, the, the, the beauty of the response of the prophets was always back to facing Allah subhanaw taala going to Allah subhana wa Tada. And, and again, in the challenge itself is some blessing for you, if you can just find it. Every challenge, if it's responded to in the correct way, is actually a gift from Allah Spano data. And we don't see it that way. I mean, usually you think about a challenge, you think about a test as being a bad

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thing. But in fact, that challenge itself and that test itself and that difficulty itself can be a gift from Allah subhanaw taala, if you respond in the proper way. So let's look at the response of unicycle his sentiment, his response and this is actually the DA, which we are told to say in times of hardship because of the beauty of this response, and how it actually ended up saving him. And he said La ilaha illa Anta subhanak in nikuman of volume in Allah subhanaw taala tells us that Eunice when he was trapped, and he was in, you know, when you think about the way that Eunice Allah has sent him was trapped, he was trapped like nobody else is trapped inside of the of the belly of the

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whale or the fish inside of the ocean. So it's it's like, almost like a prison upon a prison upon a prison. And what he says is he turns to Allah first and he says that Illa Allah and satanic in the quantum of volume in all Allah there is no ILA except for you. There is nothing worthy of my ultimate worship my ultimate love my ultimate fear. There is no ILA other than you in La Ilaha Illa endless panic, that Allah subhanaw taala is high above everything else. Allah subhanaw taala is

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Hi above your problem, Allah subhanaw taala is high above this challenge. Allah subhanaw taala is high above this, you know the feeling of being trapped all of it Allah is higher. And then in new quantum Ivana mean acknowledging your own deficiency your own mistakes, I was indeed among the wrongdoers. This really in this thought, is a recipe to get out of every kind of every kind of hardship, every kind of feeling of being trapped. First is to turn to a loss of panel data, and to and to look beyond really, that's what it is Eunice Allah has sent him, he's stuck inside of this, this fish, and he's looking beyond, you know, it's looking through the hardship, looking through the

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window of your prison, and seeing beyond it and seeing Allah subhanaw taala. Because when you do that, there's no prison anymore. When you look and you see through it, and you see a law, there's no prison anymore. There's no hardship anymore, if you can see Allah subhanho data, and you can see through it, and then you look at yourself and you realize your own deficiencies. And you ask Allah subhanaw taala to purify you, if you do this, whether you get married or you don't get married, whether someone wants to marry this sister or doesn't, it, it will be okay. And Allah subhanaw taala will suffice you and Allah subhanaw taala will give you and will give you and will give you and, and

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and, you know, whatever it is that was taken from you, or whatever it is that you couldn't have Allah subhanaw taala will replace it with something better. So you never have to despair if you just have the right focus and you turn to Him, and you see through it, and you ask Allah subhanaw taala you know, to give you what is better, because everybody and everything is in whose power these people, the parents who don't agree to the marriage, the the the people who don't want to marry the sister, all of these people, all of these circumstances are in whose control ultimately everything is in the control of Allah subhanaw taala. So turn to Him, all of your matters, turn them to turn

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them to the panel data. And this is the beauty of turning to Allah is Keifa is sufficiency. You know, Allah subhanaw taala can suffice you and you can be the happiest person in the world. If Allah subhanaw taala suffices you. And if Allah subhanaw taala does not suffice you no matter what you have, no matter how much you have, you will never be content and you will never be happy.

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So in short, I'm going to take a couple more questions. Before we end inshallah.

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Someone asked the question about, again, how do you know the difference between how do you know the difference between a test or a punishment?

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Excuse me? Basically, the question here is, how do you know you know, whatever it is, you're facing of challenges, how do you know if it's good for you? Or it's bad for you? Or if it's a, if it's a sign of a less pleasure or a sign of Allah's anger or punishment? And the answer to this question is that the scholar is explained as it has to do with your response, that that every single challenge that comes your way, every test that comes your way, it can be a blessing, it can be a gift, it can be something that elevates you with Allah subhanaw taala and removes your sins, if you respond in the proper way. So really, the answer is that we ask a lot to help us to enable us to respond

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correctly to respond in the most beautiful way to the challenges and to the tests. So that they can be gifts, so that they can be a means for us to get closer to Allah and to elevate us in this life and in the Hereafter. So we ask Allah subhanaw taala for for that to enable us to, to respond with either suffer which which we know is the the the minimum requirement is to respond with patience, and if we do that the prophets of life and it says that any hardship, any pain, any calamity, even the prick of a thorn, remove sins like leaves falling from a tree. And and so that's the you know, that's the minimum that we want as believers. And there's an even higher level than that. And that's

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sort of the riddle is contentment, pleasure with the with the will with the decree of Allah subhanaw taala no matter what it is, there's a sense of contentment internally, and this is the highest level and we We ask Allah subhana wa tada to bring us that level. And to make it easy for us. That level is the level that elevates the person in their station with Allah subhana wa Tada. We ask Allah subhanaw taala to make all of our challenges easy. The problem is not the challenge itself. The problem is, do we or do we not have the help of Allah? Do we or do we not seek the assistance of Allah subhanaw taala because whoever has the assistance and the help of Allah subhanaw taala nothing

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is difficult, and whoever is left to themselves, nothing is easy. According Holly Heather was stopped for a lot. He will come in over funa Rahim subhanak Hello the hammock shadow

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Under Illa Allah and nastasia kona tubo Lake, wa salam alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh