And did people think that they’ll say that they believe without being tested? (Qur’an 29:2)
Have you ever deeply pondered on how Muslims of the past felt whenever they went through a calamity?
The Quran tells us stories of the people of Prophet Nuh and the flood that destroyed many of them, of Prophet Yunus (AS) finding himself in the belly of the whale, of Prophet Musa (AS) facing a sea with nowhere to go and an enemy closing in on him.
All these stories are events that happened to the people before us, and whenever you hear them, there is the possibility of thinking that something similar to what had happened to them cannot befall us.
But here we are. Tested by Allah (تعالى) in a way that is unexpected, scary and humbling. For the world right now, few things have ever brought the fear of global ruin. Everyone in every country of the world is united in worry.
But as Muslims, even though our fear is valid, there is a bigger feeling than fear for us and that is what we should strive to rest our hearts on in these times.
This feeling is that of tawakkul. It is the absolute and unwavering reliance on Allah (تعالى) that however long this calamity goes on for and whatever the outcome, Allah is going to come to our aid.
Yes, tawakkul is not easy to have at this time when you’re scared and uncertain. But remember the Prophets that we mentioned above. All their situations were scary and uncertain, but they held onto the promise of Allah (تعالى) that whoever puts his trust in Him, He will make a way for him.
So what does putting your trust in Allah (تعالى) look like at a time when you’re burdened with worry and are scared for yourself and your loved ones?
Putting your trust in Allah (تعالى) looks like:
Literally. Practicing gratitude is taking a step back from our feelings and emotions and showing gratefulness to Allah (تعالى). Whatever is happening right now to the world, it could have been worse. Allah (تعالى) in His majesty could have brought upon us a calamity that is as instantaneous as that of the people of Lut. But He did not.
Whichever way this goes, He (تعالى) has given us a chance to reflect, repent and return to Him. He has given us even the opportunity to prepare ourselves and our families for the uncertainty that lies ahead. This in itself is a reason for gratitude and we should strive to be grateful to Allah (تعالى) for this mercy.
Counting Your Blessings
Maybe you’ve been hit by the viral infection already, or you’ve lost money, means of livelihood, or personal possessions during this global pandemic. You may not want to hear it immediately, but you still have something to be grateful for. If Allah wills, this calamity will be a source of expiation of sins for whoever patiently endures what has befallen them. So, even if you feel stuck and can’t find anything to call a blessing, remember that the calamity itself is a blessing if we choose to look at it that way.
Taking Steps to Worry Less
Prophet Musa had every reason to be worried, and to give up. Because we all know that except by a miracle, there is no way you’re swiftly passing through a sea to escape from the enemy.
But prophet Musa also knew that his Lord is the Lord of miracles. He is the Lord who brings something out of nothing. The one who causes everything to be and whose word brings everything into being. This knowledge of his Lord is what Musa rested on, and this is the crux of tawakkul.
Do you think your Lord is the Lord who brings something to being and causes it to not be anymore?
If you do, then strive to let this knowledge of Allah (تعالى) be your inspiration to worry less. Let it be the reason that you take all the precautions to keep you and your family safe, but without worry, dejection and sadness.
Let this knowledge of Allah (تعالى) as Al-Khaleeq give your heart sakeenah (tranquility) even in the midst of chaos. It’s not easy, but we can do it.
When Prophet Nuh showed his tawakkul in Allah, He guided him to building the ark and saving those who believed in Him. When Prophet Yunus made his dua showing his utter dependence on Allah, He commanded the fish to release him onto safe land. When Prophet Musa showed his reliance on Allah, the sea parted for him. These are stories from the past. They may not look exactly like our current situation, but they teach us the same lessons that if we understood and followed will lead us to the breakthrough that the people of the past experienced.
These are uncertain times and it is understandable that as humans, our heart will quiver and we will be worried. But as Muslims, we know that instead of spending all our time worrying and being overwhelmed with the feeling of helplessness, it is better for us to take inspiration from the righteous people of the past and fill our heart with the positivity of tawakkul while we wait for the mercy of Allah (تعالى).