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A man will be tested according to his level of religious commitment. If his religious commitment is solid, his test will be more severe, but if there is any weakness in his religious commitment, he will be tested according to his level of religious commitment. And calamity will continue to befall a person until he walks on the earth with no sin on him.
-Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h
I’ve intentionally been avoiding to write about this. No, not about sabr, about Shekuwe’s story. I feel no words can really paint the real picture of the situation. My own imagination fails me but then it keeps haunting me. The thought of someone losing his entire family at once? I think of how I make a fuss out of nothing, how me and you, break down because ‘I lost a job’ or ‘My car was hit today’ or ‘The cake I made turned out too sour’. The thought of this fills my heart with shame. I mean, have you even thought about it yourself? Take a moment and picture it please. Imagine all your family members succumbing to high tides and waves of the ocean; watching them die. One after another. And then nothing. You are left alone. All that darkness like a heavy cloud on your head. The numbness, the trauma, the disbelief that you are even breathing. Coming back home to only find emptiness? With echoes of laughter and cries and memories that are no more? How many of us could actually handle that?
But here’s the flip side to it.
When you believe in Allah, and when Allah loves you back just as much as you do, then He’ll put you in tests over and over again. You will be pushed to be edge until you cry ‘why?’ But there are a few answers to this dreadful question:
1. “And know that your wealth and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a great reward.” ~ Quran 8:28
2.“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits…” (Qur’an, 2:155)
3. “Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…” (Qur’an, 2:286).
4. “Say: ‘Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allâh has ordained for us…’” (9:51).
5. “We shall certainly test you, until We ascertain those of you who (sincerely) strive and those who are steadfast (in Allah’s Deen); and We shall test your affairs (to distinguish the liars from the truthful)”: (47:31)
6. “Most certainly you will face tests in your wealth and in your persons. You will definitely hear much painful abuse from those who have been given The Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if you are patient and fear Allah, then that will be the determining factor in all affairs.” ~ Quran 3:186
7. The prophet p.b.u.h said: If Allah wants to do good to someone, He afflicts him with trials. ~ (Bukhari 75/5)
8. The prophet p.b.u.h said: If Allah intends for a servant to reach a rank he is unable to reach by his good deeds, then Allah will put him to trial in his body or his wealth or his children, and he will be patient until he reaches the rank intended for him. [Ahmad]
9. The prophet p.b.u.h said: Nothing befalls a believer, a (prick of a) thorn or more than that, but Allah will raise him one degree in status thereby, or erase a bad deed. ~ Bukhari
10. The prophet p.b.u.h said: On the Day of Judgement, when the people who were tried (in this world) are given their rewards, the people who were pardoned (in life), will wish that their skins had been cut off with scissors while they were in the world. ~ Tirmidhi 36/100
11. Mus’ab ibn Sa’eed reported: His father asked, “O Messenger of Allah, which people are tested most severely?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “They are the prophets, then the next best, then the next best…”
12. “… and be patient over what befalls you.” ~ Quran 31:17
Shekuwe’s story is something you’d probably imagine to be something extracted from an emotional, heartbreaking Bollywood movie. But it isn’t. How much do you think Allah loves this human being to put him in such a test? How much strength of imaan does he have that Allah put him through such kind of pain? How much do you think Allah loves YOU to put you in the pain you go through?
Truth is, everyone is undergoing something. It only differs with magnitude. Some have it easier than others and others have it waayy heavier than you could possibly imagine. But don’t we all want Allah’s love that bad? Don’t we want to reach that kind of status that brings us closer to Him?? We can only pray for Shekuwe, and for ourselves and for each other. We can only support and be there for one another because behind every smile is an untold story of sabr. So let’s keep making dua over and over again; we pray for strength and imaan and taqwa to keep walking however bad the storm gets. May Allah easen it for him and for us all.
One of my favourite ayahs is from Surat Ankabut, 2nd verse: “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested?” And I keep reciting this ayah over and over again like it is my mantra. It has a deep meaning that strikes right into the heart. It gives us a purpose to soldier on to prove our love to Allah.
Dear heart, dear you, Do you believe?? Then have sabr oh dear heart. Have sabr. Because sabr is indeed beautiful (Assabr Jameel).
May Allah grant us sabr like of Ayub aleyhi ssalam. Ameen.