The Quran’s advice regarding hardships of this dunya and tawakkul

Allah says in the Quran, in Surah al-Baqarah:

Quran, 2:152
فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ
Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me.

Quran, 2:153
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ
O you who believe! Seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient.

Quran, 2:155
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient,

Quran, 2:156
الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
Those who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: “Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall surely return”.

Quran, 2:157
أُولَٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ
Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.

I don’t think anything else needs to be said. These are powerful ayaat, which give us strength when we remember them. Ayaat which give us the strength to endure the hardships of the dunya through tawakkul, through the realisation that this world is subject to the will of Allah ta’ala and that He knows any problem we face. That He has the full capability of removing that problem as He is اَلْجَبَّارُ , the one by whose will all else is compelled; He is اَلْقَهَّارُ , the One who is dominant over all else. That He rewards our patience and trust in him with His mercy and blessings.

This dunya surely has its trials, and these trials show us whether we really do have faith in Allah to the extent of tawakkul. We must remember Allah in our hearts and on our tongues (dhikr) and ask Him for strength and guidance, and to do what is best for us.

Quran, 13:28
أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ…
…Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.

May Allah ta’ala make us of those who are successful in being patient and humble during such trials, those who turn to Him before turning to anyone else, those who trust that He will do what is best for us – even if we can’t understand it yet.

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2 Responses to The Quran’s advice regarding hardships of this dunya and tawakkul

  1. Epicurean says:

    I personally have my own chosen secular tidbits of wisdom that I turn to when undergoing hardship. From an atheistic perspective, bad things happen and we often can’t do anything about it and thus have to accept it and find ways to overcome it. Therefore we often seek something that can instil in us a positive energy that can help motivate us through hardship.

    However, from a religious perspective I struggle to understand the purpose of hardship. It seems to me that hardship is meted out unfairly and a disproportionate amount of hardship and suffering befalls those that don’t deserve it. Why would Allah mete out a greater amount number of trials and tribulations upon those in the third world? Why would they need tougher trials than you and me? Surely the hardships that befall many in the world are wholly accountable to human actions and deeds as opposed to trials set by Allah? That to me would explain better the class divides and the societal and cultural divisions. Human systems such as capitalism are surely accountable for many of your hardships and not Allah?

    Essentially, how do you differentiate between evil and suffering that result from human free-will and those that are trials set by God?

    – Epicurean

    • ash92 says:

      Thank you for your comment 🙂

      Hardship can have various purposes in one’s life – be this the realisation of ease, an essential step which causes you to learn and develop from the experience, or whatever else. Regarding the former, experiencing deprivation (by oneself or that of others) is the means to appreciation – we cannot realise the significance of darkness without light, and so on.

      Hardship can be brought about by various factors – such as:

      a) a result of human action
      (i) one’s own action resulting in oneself experiencing in hardship
      eg. you drive fast, the car crashes, you sustain injury and financial loss
      (ii) another’s
      eg. a burglar robs your house, you suffer from financial loss and trauma

      or

      b) an intermediary between your current state and some beneficial state which is to follow
      eg.1. you touch a hot plate, you burn your hand, you experience intense pain and soreness, you don’t touch hot plates henceforth
      eg.2. you spend lavishly, you reach a financial crisis due to recession, you appreciate the spending of money and use it responsibly

      With regards to hardship in the poor, I was trying to find something I read a while back explaining how “the poor have their hardships and we have ours”. Unfortunately I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Alas, that was the crux of it – we all experience hardships, and these may vary from person to person. I’d add that our perception of any particular hardship is relative to our past experiences and so our we adapt easier to the hardships of our particular environment than would a person from a different environment. Of course, people do die – but people die regardless of their economical background. The means thereof is the differing factor, and these may relate to inevitable factors of the environment.

      About the matter of humans being accountable for more of one’s hardships than Allah (ta’ala), one could say in compliance with this that Allah is much more merciful than mankind. If one moves away from the aforementioned presumption, many hardships could be a direct result of a particular human’s action, yet this could be a proponent to one benefiting in the long run, the latter of which was ordained.

      Your last question is a good one. A Muslim puts his faith in Allah (ta’ala), implementing tawakkul, solving that of the problem which he can and leaving the rest up to Allah. One acknowledges that if Allah does not allow something to happen, it cannot happen. لاحول و لاقوّة الّا با الله . And Allah says in the Quran:

      يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ
      “O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.”
      [Surah al-Baqarah, ayah 153]

      Mufti Shafi Usmani explains in his tafseer, Ma’ariful Quran:

      “As to how Sabr can save man from all kinds of trouble and pain and resove all his difficulties, the secret has been revealed in the last phrase of this verse – “Surely, Allah is with those who are patient.”

      “Whatever their magnitude, accidents are unnerving. But a prior knowledge of such accidents makes it easier to bear them and be patient about them. Since the entire Ummah is addressed here, the Ummah should realize that the world is a place of hardships and labour; it is a place of ordeal. It will not, therefore, amount to impatience if one does regard such accidents as either strange or a remote chance. And as the Ummah, generally, displays the spirit of patience in all its deeds, the reward of Mercy is common to everyone who strives to be patient. But as the quality and degree of patience varies from person to person, everyone will be rewarded individually according to and commensurate with his quality of patience.”

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