بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والحمدلله رب العالمين و الصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين
In the name of God, the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate
All praise is due to God, and may peace and blessings be upon the most noble of the Prophets and Messengers
I don’t like to admit I’m powerless. I hate the feeling of having no control. As humans, these are situations we all fear to a certain degree. We’ve all had experiences where we play out the scenario in our heads a hundred and one times over, whether we were at fault or not. Why did I do that? What will they think of me? Were they talking about me? How can she be so horrible? As well as creating unnecessary worry and anxiety that is damaging to your physical health, thoughts like these can disrupt your day-to-day concentration and your ability to worship Allah.
The Quran and Hadith are clear about such situations. Learning to accept the things we cannot change is a fundamental part of Islam. This is a topic that brings together a number of others that can be talked about in some detail, some of which have tarbiyas done already. For example patience and trust in Allah. On the other hand, it also teaches us to have hope and to have the courage to do something when there is a window of opportunity, for example seeking forgiveness.
There are many references to these principles, for example: “Whatever is with you, will be exhausted, and whatever with Allah (of good deeds) will remain. And those who are patient, We will certainly pay them a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do” [An-Nahl 16:96].
And in terms of putting your trust in Allah when a situation seems beyond your control: “…God will be enough for those who put their trust in Him. God achieves His purpose; God has set a due measure for everything” 65:3. Allah also says in the Quran: “…it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows (what is best for you) and you do not.” (The Holy Quran, Surah Al Baqarah 2:216)
This is also true in terms of forgiving others as to not hold a grudge, which again can blacken your heart. Allah is the most merciful and we should try and reflect that same attribute in ourselves. One hadith says to: “Show mercy to those who are on earth so that the One Who is in heaven will show mercy to you” (Narrated by al-Tirmidh).
What practical steps can we take to diffuse this anger and frustration we feel at times when we feel powerless? Sulayman ibn Sard said: “I was sitting with the Prophet (peace be upon him), and two men were slandering one another. One of them was red in the face, and the veins on his neck were standing out. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘I know a word which, if he were to say it, what he feels would go away. If he said “I seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan,” what he feels (i.e., his anger) would go away.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 6/337). This is something we could apply to any situation where we feel we are focusing on something that we cannot do anything about, and to remind us that these issues are only minor.
The other part of this topic, as mentioned before, is still to have hope in a situation, to know that any negative event in your life is temporary and to make du’a and trust that Allah will reward you in the future. Suhaib Webb mentioned this saying last week: Hikam 1. “From the signs that one relies on his/her works, is the absence of hope (in Allah’s mercy) when one slips up.” Ibn Attaullah
References to ‘things we cannot change’ does not mean when we feel a task is too difficult or that we try to be content with injustices. We may plan a charity auction that ends up being a disaster and failure even after putting so much effort. What does Islam teach us in this instance?
Firstly, to review why it was a disaster; is there something that we can do to avoid such a thing in the future? This is from the principle of ihsan; that is to try and perfect the things we do.
Secondly, to be content with the decree of Allah and not allow it to create a bitterness and resentment in us. The success did not come- this was Allah’s Will and there was wisdom in it.
Lastly, to continue striving and not waver in the cause; Allah says is the Qur’an “…and your striving shall be recompensed” 76:22
Worrying is a waste of your energy and time. It makes no sense to worry over something you cannot change. And if you are able to do something, to not do it is foolish. These are just some of the ideas I’ve tried to put into practice the last few months, and subhanAllah I am a lot more Allah-conscious because of it.