بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Have you ever come across a situation in life, when you encountered a seemingly insurmountable problem or obstacle to your goals, which eventually got miraculously solved?
And at that moment, you knew, in your heart of hearts, that it was only Allah Who did it, so your faith in Him got reinforced, and you believed with full submission that, “Yes, He is there. He hears and answers.”
Then life went on, and you gradually forgot that epiphany-imparting moment of submission.
Then further trials, problems, and difficulties came your way, and you began to wonder again, if Allah really is out there, and He even hears when you call out to Him?
None of us likes or wants to be tested with sorrow, pain, loss, or other difficulties in life. We all want a smooth, happy, prosperous life devoid of problems.
Have you ever wondered though, if it is at all possible for someone to feel grateful to Allah, even for the pain and difficulties that they encounter in life?
You might think that sounds absurd, but for those who harbor deeper insights into the realities of life, it is actually true: when they encounter any circumstances or situations in life that are adverse and undesirable, they feel grateful to Allah for sending them their way.
Because they know that surely some great good will come out of it for them.
Why Dislike Adversity?
Ever since the month of Ramadan started occurring during the scorching summer heat and in the post-motherhood phase of my life, have I truly begun to appreciate the “positive side of pain”, as I choose to refer to it.
We have been told to not ask for trials or tests from Allah, which makes us believe that all tests, difficulties, and trials are a bad thing, per se. Well, while the former is true viz. we should never ask Allah to test us, the latter is not always true: that is, difficulties are not always bad for us, even though they appear to be so.
I mean, every year, when Ramadan comes, we force ourselves to tolerate hunger, thirst and a lack of night sleep for the sake of Allah, don’t we? We disregard how we would normally never want to fast 30 days in a row voluntarily, and instead, we force ourselves to do it during Ramadan, just because Allah has commanded us to.
Well, the difficulties and apparently ‘bad’ things that happen to us in life are also – always – good for us. The truth about life is that where ever there is pain, there is gain. So whenever you encounter any kind of pain in life, rest assured that some as-yet-unseen gain is also hidden around the corner, about to come your way insha’Allah.
It is up to us to acquire the discerning eye of wisdom that helps us figure out what the silver lining in every cloud is, once that cloud has disappeared and ease, normalcy, and well-being have returned to our lives.
Invisible Walls: Obstacles to Goals that We Do Not See
Now, what do I mean by the ‘invisible wall’?
There comes a time in your adult life when you begin to link/relate the apparently unrelated happenings, circumstances, and events in your life, and in the lives of people whom you know, to things that happened in the past.
You begin to see a direct correlation. You detect a clear cause-and-effect between the two.
Yet, sometimes, not everyone sees this as clearly as you.
You also begin to see how the ‘invisible wall’, which embodies the decree of Allah, manifests itself in a person’s life in order to give them a wake-up call, and a chance to turn back to Him in submission and renewed faith.
The invisible wall is what happens whenever a person follows every means to achieve an end, but nothing works out as they wanted.
Even though they have tried seemingly every possible means to get to that end.
We All Come Face-to-Face With this Wall
At any stage in life, each of us wants something really bad. Like, really, really bad. So let us look at a fictional example of how an invisible wall seems to appear suddenly out of nowhere, and prevents a person’s goals from being achieved:
Khadijah finally wants to conceive. She married her long-term boyfriend after a decade-long romantic relationship, during which she knew she had done many things with him that displeased Allah. She was actually secretly astonished that she was able to marry the love of her life so easily, without encountering any problems. She had expected Allah’s anger to prevent her from being able to bag him as her husband.
Then, in the beginning, they didn’t want to have children, so she spent some years just enjoying married life with him, which again turned out to be quite glorious. Basking in the happiness of worldly blessings, she drifted away from Allah. Until they finally started getting broody. Since everything she had wanted so far had come her way so easily, she thought a baby would, too.
But then, the “invisible wall” appeared out of nowhere in her life.
Years passed. No baby.
All medical tests showed that nothing was wrong, with either Khadijah or her husband.
She felt completely broken and crushed.
Until she started turning back to Allah in humility and repentance.
The above is just one example of how ‘the invisible wall’ appears in our lives to remind us that it is not us who are in control.
We are not in control of our destiny, our provision, or of what directions our lives take. But many a time, when we get whatever we want in life for a long time, especially material blessings, we begin to get deluded into thinking that we are, in fact, in control of everything.
We also assume that Allah is pleased with us; that He is not angry at us at all, for our sins, which is why He is granting us everything that we want in the first place.
We then start sporting an air of arrogant entitlement. Our opinions and egos start getting more inflated, louder and more in-others’-faces. We begin to remember our death and our return to Allah less and less, as we enjoy our worldly blessings and good fortunes. We also start getting lazy about following the commands of Islam, as we get busier and busier in living our ‘dream life’.
Until the blessing-in-disguise, which I am calling “the invisible wall”, hits us hard — like a slap in the face.
It sneaks up on us in our life when we least expect it. And it always takes the form of a sudden roadblock that we never anticipated, simply because we had not encountered any major roadblocks up till now.
Whether it is a lucrative job that eludes us, despite our pile of prestigious university degrees and our past successful career history.
Or the spouse who cannot be found, despite years and years of supplicating, searching and waiting for love, in vain.
Or the house in the suburbs with the SUV parked out front that still remains an elusive dream.
Or health issues and diseases that just won’t go away, after years of searching for a cure and trying different avenues of treatment.
Or that blue line on the pregnancy test that refuses to appear, as we try, yearn, hope and pray year after year for that first/second/third baby of that specific gender that we so desire
Whatever the case might be; when we feel as if we have tried everything possible in our human power to get what we want, and don’t.
When we get absolutely crumbled, crushed and broken from inside, realizing that we can’t get it.
That is when we should know, at that moment, that we have hit the “invisible wall”: the absolute power and will of Allah that we got deluded into undermining all this time, just because He showered us with all the material blessings that we wanted.
At this moment, when one feels crushed and powerless inside, in front of His Majesty, that one should realize: it is time to repent, turn back, and submit one’s will in front of Him again.