Serenity – Overcoming Hardships

Yasmin Mogahed


Channel: Yasmin Mogahed


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Santa Monica, this is just me Mujahid and you're listening to serenity streaming live on one legacy radio. Today we are taking your questions on the topic of hardships. And this is a topic that a lot of people send quite a bit of inquiries about. It's something that we've all faced, and we all will face at one point or another in our lives. And, you know, we know that this life is is a mix of both hardship and ease as Allah subhanaw taala tells us in malossi, Yusra, that with hardship is ease. And this is something that Allah subhana wa tada has emphasized, in the end, that this life is, it's not all good, but it's not all bad either. And that whenever Allah subhanaw, taala gives us

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something that is a challenge, he along with that challenge, also gives us ease and gives us the ability to withstand that sometimes. The, the difficulty is, is whenever we're in that hardship, it becomes difficult to sometimes see these, and sometimes we can't recognize it, because we become so focused on the hardship itself. And it sort of surrounds us and we, and we have trouble focusing on anything else. And as a result of focusing on the hardship itself and allowing the hardship to to take over me and allowing the hardship to consume me, I'm actually no longer able to see the ease that Allah has also given me in mal or three, Yusra indeed, with hardship is ease. And it has

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everything to do with where my heart is focused. And you'll find that no matter what situation you're in, any time the heart focuses on, on something other than Allah subhanho wa Taala, it feels pain. And the pain comes in different forms. But But you'll find that across different situations, anytime the heart focuses on something other than Allah subhanho wa Taala, it suffers, for example, if a hardship comes to me, and because I'm dealing with this hardship, it might be financial, it might be personal, it might be something in my family, it might be something in my career, but when that hardship faces me, when I face rather that hardship, I you know, as human beings, we

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immediately move our attention and our focus to the hardship itself. Now, all of my, of my attention, and my focus of heart and mind gets, you know, is now looking towards is now directed towards the hardship itself. And when we do that, now, I want you to imagine for a moment, a person who's looking at something, and as soon and suppose that that person might be facing their faces facing, they're, they're looking directly at something, and then all of a sudden, they hear a loud noise on their left or on their right. And immediately, we as human beings, when we hear a loud noise, our face, our our face turns towards the direction of the of the noise of where the noise is

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coming from. That turning is what happens to us in hardship, we might be focused on Allah subhanaw taala. And, and and and this is, in one scenario, a person might be focused on Allah subhanho data. And then as soon as something hits them, a hardship comes, it takes that focus away. And now we look towards that thing which made the loud sound. How does this then manifest itself? Well, now, for example, when I'm praying, I'm no longer able to focus in my prayer on a law instead now when I'm praying, I'm thinking about the problem. I'm working through different solutions, in my mind, will if I do this, then you know this will happen. But if I don't do this, this other thing will happen.

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And so now, my thoughts are, are being consumed with this with this problem itself and trying to solve it. And and what happens is, you'll know that this is the case, because it will take over your prayers for example, it will be what, what you think about all day long, it'll be the first thing that comes to your mind when you wake up in the morning. And that process of just thinking and thinking and thinking about it. Well, think back to the to the example I gave, when you turned your face to look at the sound the direction of the sound, it meant that you're no longer

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We're looking at what you were originally looking at. And that's the, that's the the nature of the heart is that it can only look in one direction. It's just it's just like, when I'm when I'm when my eyes are looking at something if my face is directed towards one direction I cannot see behind me at the same time. And so the heart is the same way the heart also has a face, and it faces in one direction or another. If all of my attention and focus and concern is even about this hardship itself, then that means I've looked away from Allah subhanho data, and it's in that looking away from Allah subhanaw taala of the heart that really causes the deep pain. And and and so then, you

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know, people naturally will ask this question of, well, well, what do I do? How do I even avoid that I mean, I'm, I'm facing, maybe my husband got laid off, maybe I got laid off, my wife got laid off, we can't pay for it, we can't pay our bills. You know, somebody is sick, or somebody died, or someone is hurting me, or I'm not able to get married, or I got I'm getting divorced, I'm having family problems, whatever issues that that a person is dealing with, naturally, it's very difficult to not think about it, it's very difficult to, to to keep the mind from getting consumed by it. And this is really where we have to exert energy. So often, we exert our energy into trying to work

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through solving the problem on our own, okay, and I want to just emphasize, this doesn't mean that we aren't taking action to try to solve the problem, but we try to solve it on our own, or maybe we go to the creation, or we use means to try to solve it. But we're taking it upon ourselves to try to solve this problem. That is why we get overwhelmed. And that is why it takes over and we feel smothered. And we feel like we can't, we can't carry it anymore. And it's because I'm trying to carry a mountain and I'm obviously not equipped to carry a mountain. And so my my mistake is that I'm trying to carry something I was never created to be able to, to carry,

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instead of exerting our efforts to try to carry a mountain. Instead, if we exert our efforts to keep the heart focused on the right thing, then actually what will happen is, my problem will become light, my problem will become easy, and my problem will become solved. And this is where we really are exerting our effort in the wrong place. We put an effort, but we're not putting it in, in keeping the heart focused on the one who can solve it. The the lesson here is, instead of worrying about the problem, I need to instead of focusing rather, instead of focusing on the problem, I need to focus on the one who can solve it, and realizing that I can't solve it, it's just like, I don't

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look at you know, Mount Everest, and I say, you know, I can, I can actually lift that up, and I can carry it on my back, that would be crazy. And that's exactly what we do, when we when we're facing something really, really heavy, something really difficult, we try to carry it on our backs. And that isn't something we can do, trying to do that will will waste your efforts or waste your energy and, and exhaust you and smother you and make you feel as though you can't even function because obviously if someone is trying to lift a mountain, they're not gonna have any energy left for anything else. And on top of it, you don't succeed and lifting the mountain, all you do, if you're

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trying to lift something that is too heavy for you to carry, you don't end up lifting it, you don't end up being able to carry it. And all you do is make yourself very, very tired. This is how we respond incorrectly to hardship. We use our efforts to try to, to try to take care of the problem ourselves to try to solve it, we use our mental energy, our emotional energy, our psychological energy, in that endeavor, instead of using it in the right way. And the right way is to is to ask for the one who can solve it, ask the one who can carry it, ask the one who is in in control of all of it. All of these things are a creation of Allah subhanho data, including your hardships,

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including your pain, including your your sadness and, and your happiness as well. All of these are creations and they were made for a particular very specific purpose. Less of how no data tells us that he doesn't want to make things hard on us. He doesn't want us to be to make things difficult but rather Allah subhanaw taala wants to

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Good for us, Allah wants to purify us, and Allah wants to ultimately bring us back to the correct focus. So what I want to do now inshallah is begin to take some of the questions that we received and I will take, as I will also take questions from the chat box inshallah, one person asked, I have a question how to build up our character, when we are facing a hard time of our face? And, and this, this is a good question, because this is exactly what we should be looking at with the hardship, how can how can this hardship, build up my character, that is actually the reason why hardships are given to us if, if we are responding properly, then the hardship is a character builder. If we are

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not responding properly, then the hardship is a punishment upon us. But we can always rectify our response. There is never a point to so long as we're still alive, that we have to say, you know, I'm not I'm not responding properly, that means I fail, that means I was displeased with me, and I'm going to give up now, there's no point where we need to say that because there's always a chance as long as Allah Subhana, Allah has given us another day to live, and another breath to take, we can still always come back to the last panel data and respond properly. The question then is what is the proper response to hardship, and we can basically, separate risk the response to hardship into three

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categories. The first category is the category of, of the type of response that as believers, we absolutely want to avoid. And that is the response of anger at Allah subhanho wa Taala. The response of resentment at a loss of data. This is the How could you do this to me, why me? type response? This is not the proper response for a believer, and this response actually makes things harder on us. And it's an indication that this hardship is not good for us. And it's based on the fact that that we're responding in the wrong way. Many people asked that question that they don't know, how do I know if this hardship is is a punishment from Allah? subhanaw taala? Or if it is a blessing, or a

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test from Allah subhanho Donna? And the answer is, it has everything to do with our response. If our response is the the first response that we spoke about, of anger and resentment at Allah subhanaw taala, then this is an indication that perhaps this is a punishment upon us. And we need to fix our response in order to purify ourselves and get the benefit of, of the of the process of of hardship, cleansing us. The second type of response or category of response, is the very minimum that we should have as believers. And that's the response of sub, the response of patience of perseverance, through the hardship, this means the definition of sub in this case, is that when the hardship comes

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to me,

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it may hurt inside it may I may be I may be in pain inside, but I do not complain, I restrained myself from complaint, I restrained myself from anything that would indicate that I am angry at Allah subhanaw taala or that I am not trying to be patient. And so patience does not necessarily mean that I'm not in pain. Patience does not necessarily mean that I don't cry, but patience is a state of the heart where I am not complaining, although it may hurt me, I am not angry, I am not complaining at all Allah Subhana Allah and this in this case, I may be crying to Allah subhanaw taala or complaining to Allah subhanaw taala but not about Allah subhanaw taala and there is a vast

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difference between complaining to Allah and complaining about a lot to complain to Allah is something that even the prophets peace be upon them all did to complain to Allah is to tell Allah Subhana Allah, you know Allah, this hurts and Yala, this is hard for me, help me. This is complaining to Allah. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with showing your weakness and in fact, this is something beloved to Allah subhanaw taala is that we do it admit our need to him, because we are all in desperate need of him. But many of us do not admit it. Many of us refuse to admit it. And and so the one who admits it is more beloved to Allah subhanaw taala that humility, asking Allah

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For help, that's complaining to Allah subhana wa Tada.

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And we know, for example, that the heart of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, after what happened to him in Paul F. And this, this, this, this horrible treatment that the people gave to him that that he was treated so badly. And, and he was the people through, threw things at him until he bled, and, and and he was so hurt at this point. And yet he his, what what was his response was he turned only to Allah subhanaw taala. And he complained to a law about what what what he was going through. This was, this is this is not obviously a contradiction of patience or sub, crying to Allah or even crying out of pain is not a contradiction of patience and sub, a contradiction of

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patients would be to complain about what is happening, to be angry to say, How could this happen to me? Why me? This isn't fair, as if one is saying that Allah is not fair, as if one is saying that the decision of Allah subhanaw taala was not just as if someone is saying that Allah made a mistake out of law, that is what it that is what it means to to have that feeling of complaint and anger. And we asked Allah subhanaw taala to protect us from that. And we asked Allah subhanaw taala not to test us with those things, you know, that that would that would potentially even bring that out of our hearts, who I mean. And so we spoken about this, the second level of sovereign This is the level

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that the believers should have. And the results of this response to hardship the result of having sovereign patients and in hardship, is what the prophet sallallahu wasallam describes in a hadith when he says, that there is no sadness or sorrow or pain, that that befalls a believer, even the prick of a thorn, except that it removes sins like treat like like leaves falling from a tree. This is the result this is the fruits of sub in hardship is that we are purified we are cleansed of our sins. And and that's the beauty of having this proper response is that it's cleaning us. Allah subhanaw taala speaks in the Quran, about hardship and how the hardships were sent upon nations. And

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one of the reasons that Allah speaks that speaks about is the oma has solid Li uma hacer la Vina Amano that, that so that Allah

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will will make the believers undergo a process of pace. And Tom Hayes when you look at this Arabic word, you'll find that this word is the same word that's used to describe the the purification of gold. When you take gold and you want to purify it of its of its, you know, if there's any type of impurity in that gold, the way in which you remove it, is by heating it up by by heating it up. And and so once you heat up gold, what happens to the gold is that the impurities are removed, and what's left over, is just pure, pure gold. This is how Allah describes the process happening to the believers, the yamahas, alladhina, amanu Aminu that Allah is doing some haze to the people to those

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who believe through the hardship, when responded to correctly you are being purified, like we purify gold. That only happens when we respond properly with patience, and it's removing our sins like leaves falling from a tree.

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And the third level that that scholars speak about is the highest level of response to hardship. And that's the level of RDA RDA means contentment a person we you know, we said that in the category of sub A person

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feels internally feels that pain.

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Internally they feel that pain However, with the with the category of Rhoda the internal state is different. inshallah we will take a short break now. And when we return, we will speak more about this highest level of response to hardship.

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Salam Alaikum this is just me Mujahid and you're listening to serenity streaming live on one legacy radio. We are speaking today about response to hardship and the purpose of hardship. And, and, and and what are the fruits of of different types of responses to our hardships we spoke about so far, two levels of response to hardship, the first being the one we want to avoid. And that's the the response of complaint and anger and resentment towards God, at How could you do this to me, and this, this is this is the response that that makes us lose the benefit and the fruit of hardship, which is something that we gain in the second level, and only one we respond with patients with sub.

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And that is to purify us to remove our sins and, and to clean us out internally, of our of our, you know, internal deficiencies. And there's this quote that I really like the poll, a poet said that when someone beats a rug with a stick, the beating is not intended for the rug, but it's intended for the dirt inside of the rug.

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And in the same way that when we are going through a hardship, we have to remember that this that, that this thing I'm going through, it's not intended to hurt me, it's intended to clean that dirt that's inside of me. If we view every, you know, every challenge that we that we go through in that way, our response will be very different. And and this brings us to the highest level of response, which is rather, rather, is when

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the internal state is no longer in pain or perturbed, even in the hardship itself, but there is a calm inside. Although, you know, with subdue, we said that even if there's no you know, there's there's a, there might be pain inside, but outside one has restrained themselves from from complaint, and that's very commendable. But however, there is one insight, it's also calm, that there's a contentment with whatever Allah subhanaw taala gives, that there isn't that, you know, inside that agitation that fear that, that that pain, but rather just calm it, you know, one way that, that I like to describe her though, it's, it's like imagine if you're going shopping with

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someone that you're madly in love with, and this person is picking a gift for you. So the person is going to go through the store and find something to give you as a gift from them. And suppose they pick out something maybe it's a sweater, and maybe, you know if this gift were free from anyone else, you might think that it was hideous, right or maybe most people would consider it hideous. Suppose it was objectively you know, just according to most people's standards would look externally to be not very attractive. However, because of the person who gave you this gift, you cherish the gift you love the gift, not because of the gift itself not because of any characteristic in the gift

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itself. You might you know, you may have not normally like that type of sweater. But you love the gift because you love the giver, you love the gift because of who gave it to you not because of what it's what it is the characteristic of the gift itself. And I and I think that this is really how we should understand rather that everything that that we have an whatever comes our way is from who it's from a law law is the giver. And if we really love the giver, then whatever he gives whatever it comes from him, we will love simply because it came from him and it no longer matters what it is it doesn't, you know, we can understand this concept with with worldly things and with our human

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relationships. You know, if someone's in love, the person they love could give them a pencil and you know they cherish it right? Oh my gosh, like this is the first pencil they ever gave me you know, like the idea here is that it's just it becomes sentimental becomes something that your heart cherishes simply because you love the one who gave it to you. And that is enough to make you love the gift. This is the the high end Allah subhanaw taala as you know the highest method for a loss of power. The highest example is for a law that if we really I mean imagine if we really love Allah subhanaw taala and we know that this came from him. This is a his trouble

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For us, Allah has chosen this particular gift for us. And and you know, it's kind of like somebody again, who's who you're in love with has chosen something for you in a particular color. And maybe it wasn't a color that you would have otherwise chosen for yourself, but you're pleased with it, you're pleased with it, because of who picked it out for you. You love the one who picked it for you. And look at you know, Allah has chosen things for us in our lives. He's chosen our parents, he's chosen our, our children, he's chosen our spouse. I mean, ultimately, these are all things that our last panel that has written for us, and and so in the end, are we pleased, are we pleased with

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with the decision of Allah subhanaw taala for us, even in our hardships, even when something faces me, am I am I pleased? Am I pleased that that this is the who did this come from? Who is this is kind of it's a package outside your door? And the question isn't, what's in the package? The question should be, who did it come from? And when you find out who it came from, are you not pleased. And that's how we should really look at you know, anything that that Allah subhanaw taala has given us and, and they scholars say that when you have this type of response to hardship, the level of RDA and we ask Allah subhanaw taala, to make it easy on us to reach that level, that the

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the fruit of this response is not only purification, but elevation, in elevating us in our status with Allah subhanho data, and in our station with him. And this is this is the most beautiful of gifts is to be near to Allah Subhana Allah, and that is the fruit of rather

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than the next question that I received, says, I find that it's easy to remember Allah with passion when we need his help. But when things are fine, I find that despite praying regularly, I don't feel the same passion and love for Allah. How do I regain the same passion that I had earlier? So Pamela, this, this person mentioned, something that is, is also one of the the realities of hardship. And and we said that one of the reasons why a loss of Hannah's Alison's hardships, is because it purifies us, Tom Hayes, the process of purification, as you purify gold.

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Another reason why Allah subhanaw taala says in the Quran that he sends hardship is, is so that we will return to Him and follow me on jerilyn in order that they will return sometimes, as the sister or brother said, Sometimes when we're very last, and it takes a storm, to wake us up and bring us back, you know, you'll find that even an atheist if you put them in the middle of an ocean, and you know, as long as the ocean is calm, and the person feels that they are in control, they don't see any need for God. And they may even be an atheist. But as soon as the storm hits, as soon as the waves are now, like mountains on two sides of the boat, and that person realizes that they are in,

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they are, I have absolutely no control. At that point, even an atheist mate will turn and look for a higher power, even an atheist. This is this is something that's in our nature, to look for something bigger than ourselves, to help us to, to devote ourselves to this is this is ingrained in our nature as human beings. And the problem is that we just, we just numb that we just, we hide it we we cover it up with with a lot of

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apps and music and drugs and alcohol and and and and attachments and distractions and all the things that we numb ourselves with. And what we're doing is we're also suffocating that fifth row, we're covering up that fifth row that near that nature. And even when you look at the root word of cough, the word cough itself means to cover a cafe in the Quran is referring to a gardener a tiller, someone who who covers up the the ground with or covers the seed with dirt. The root word of course, is to cover up someone who is who is a calf It is literally someone who's covering things up. And one of the things that's been covered up is this nature, this natural inclination to the want to to

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recognize a higher power and to recognize that he is one that that he is has no equal and that there's nothing like him and even though we refer to him with the pronoun he he is not actually a male or like a man, but that Allah subhanaw taala that God is high above any of his creation is not like them. We lace

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cliche There is nothing like like him. And we know that that Allah subhanaw taala tells us in sort of a loss called hola hola I had a lot of salmon let me yell it while I'm unit while I'm Nicola Hakuna had and there is nothing like onto him at the end of this of this of the SOTA. So Allah subhanaw taala has put that nature in us. And every time that we, you know, sometimes like, like the the, the listener was saying, sometimes when things are easy, you know, there's no storm, I'm comfortable on the shore. I'm sipping, you know, pina colada, non alcoholic, of course, and I'm comfortable. So I, I don't really feel the need to turn to higher power. And it's when that hardship

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hits, then we go back to God. And that's what, what makes us be more able to be sincere, like, you know, in our passion and our love for him. So what is a very good question of how do we regain that same passion once we are, again, safe on the shore? And I think the answer is we have to stay connected with a lot of Vicar, Allah subhanaw taala has emphasized the need for remembrance again and again and again, in the end, that this is what feeds our heart. This is what gives us life. If we are not remembering Allah subhanaw taala. It is as if we are starving our hearts, suffocating our souls. There's a Hadith of the Prophet sallallahu Sallam very profound, that says, the difference

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between the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not remember him is like the difference between the living and the dead. So the the one who was remembering God is is is a life that that person is alive and the one who has forgotten God, the one who does not remember him, the one who Allah subhanaw taala plays no real part in their life, in how they live, or what they talk about, or what they want, or what they strive for what they fear, really, you know, sometimes our, our faith, or our, you know, claiming of faith is just on the tongue, we might say that Allah and Allah, but Allah really plays no part in our actual lives and in our hearts and in our minds. And and when

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we're not remembering Allah subhanaw taala, when we are disconnected from that remembrance, we are disconnecting our hearts from its source of nourishment from its source of life. And that's and that's a lot of times why we end up falling out of that, that neediness And out of that, that intense passion that that we we otherwise have during hardship, because think about it, what are we doing differently during the time of hardship? There are, there are things that we are actually practically doing differently during the hardship versus once the hardship is over. If you just reflect on your own life, and you see, how did I act? What were the things I did during my hardship

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versus what were the things that I do otherwise. And you'll find that when when you were in your hardship, you were waking up and praying, tm, you were waking up in the last third of the night, you were constantly begging Allah subhanaw taala and making that you were so in need of him. And you were and you were realizing this need for him. You were you were remembering him day and night because you knew that you couldn't get yourself out of this situation and you needed him. So you were remembering him, you were making more drama, you were more you were more humble to him, you were waking up in the last third of the night you were praying, maybe you were praying your prayers

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more regularly. Whereas once the hardship was taken away, you you actually left those actions, you left those acts of worship. So it's no wonder then that we ask ourselves, that why are we in a different state? Once the hardship is gone? We have to examine what did we do differently when we were going through that hardship. And most of the time we'll find that are in that that our remembrance was increased and that our that our worship or a bad was increased. And once the hardship is lifted, it goes back to that lower level maybe now where we're not as careful about our prayers, or we're no longer praying in the last third of the night. We're no longer really making

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much why because we don't really feel the need to and and that's really our problem. Maybe when we were going through that hardship we were making more is too far. We were seeking forgiveness from Allah we were afraid that maybe Allah is displeased with us. So we were desperately asking for forgiveness. But then once it became easy, again, we gave up that very, very important act of a bother. inshallah I will take another short break now and returning. We'll take more questions on this question.

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This topic of hardship

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