By Sister S Bemath
PROBLEMS. . . how we hate them! The time and energy we waste, stewing over problems instead of tackling them cheerfully and constructively, recognising them as the growth points of life and progress. Life can expose us to a series of problems. Problems evoke in us a great deal of emotional pain, such as sorrow, fear, anger, anxiety, sadness etc. These are uncomfortable emotions. Do we want to moan about them or solve them? Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems… it is in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning.
Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes success and failure. Problems are what cause us to grow mentally and spiritually. Without growth, we’re doomed to stay as we have always been. Wise people learn not to dread problems, but to welcome, expect and tackle problems. Fearing the pain involved causes most to go to any lengths to avoid their problems and the suffering , attempting to escape from or even at times ignoring them by building out the most elaborate fantasies in which to live, sometimes to the total exclusion of reality. A little pain, perhaps, in facing a problem… a little patience, courage, thought and effort to try and solve it – they’re preferable to burying it and risk becoming a neurotic cripple who may need psychiatric treatment. In ignoring the problem, we stop growth which we learn from the problems that life brings. Therefore, we avoid real life for the replaced fantasy. When we stop the growth, we also stop the healing we could have attained if we faced our problems and pain with proper responses.
As Muslims, we are in direct communication with the Almighty ALLAH. No matter how bad you perceive your situation and your lack of strength is, don’t give up! Because, where your strength ends, the grace of ALLAH begins. So, cry your heart to none but ALLAH. Only ALLAH TA’ALA can and will heal you in all possible ways! HE is the only One Who not only Hears and Knows all, but Who can change our situation and give us the patience to deal with our difficulties. Allah, The Most Wise, says:
“Remember Me, and I shall remember you; be grateful to Me, and deny Me not.” (Qur’aan 2:152)
Life is difficult, and the world is full of troubles, but the sun still shines, and ALLAH’S blessings are everywhere in our lives. Many have complained that “life isn’t fair.” Life consists of examination papers given by Almighty ALLAH to see how much we have learnt in HIS subject called “LIFE”. Sometimes ALLAH tests us so that we can see the rainbow after a stormy rain. If we can’t see the rainbow in this world, then In’Sha’ALLAH we can in the Hereafter. Just be strong in your heart and mind! Furnish it with faith, love, trust, and sincerity for the sake of ALLAH. Make your imagination embroidered with HIS love and light. In’Sha’ALLAH tranquility and contentment will penetrate into our soul. That is when our imagination triumphs over intelligence. Never give up on ALLAH’S MERCY. Doing so is actually tantamount to disbelief.
“Truly no one despairs of ALLAH’S soothing Mercy except those who have no faith.” (Qur’aan 12:87)
Be it the silence in your life right now or the rumble of the forthcoming storm… you have ALLAH TA’ALA to guide you through! HE sends you hope in the most desperate moments. Don’t forget; the heaviest rain comes out of the darkest clouds. Have faith that it shall pass and a sunshine of Sabr (patience) will shine down on you. So, often we associate problems with “the unwanted, difficulty and stress.” We should rather associate them with “lessons, opportunity and growth.” Problems are like washing machines, they twist us, spin us and knock us around, but in the end we come out cleaner, brighter and better than before.
Avoiding problems is our attempt to avoid true life’s learning opportunities. True emotional and spiritual health comes from acknowledging that life is full of problems. And with this truth, we discover the tools to dealing with these problems. The tools we must discover are found inside discipline. When we develop discipline within every area of our life, we also develop the tools we shall need to successfully confront and overcome problems Insha Allah.
Here are few guidelines for problem solving:
• Develop the habit of viewing problems optimistically and tackling them creatively. With patience, prayer and supplication, most problems can be overcome. Prayer is the key that unlocks all doors.
• Have faith in your ability to solve problems, often while you sleep. Write down what’s worrying you before you go to bed, then trust Allah Ta’ala to work on the problem while you sleep. Often an answer comes like a flash in the morning. “Sleep on a problem” is sound common-sense which has worked throughout the ages.
• Recognise which problems need to be lived through and which to be worked through. Recognise also that there are no definite answers to every problem and with the passage of time some will evaporate, while others need to be tackled wisely.
• Don’t suppose that, if you change your circumstances, problems will vanish. Many people think that if this and if that, they would be happy – but every situation has its problems. The secret is to change your attitude towards them.
• Place your forehead on the ground and mention ALLAH’S Praises, so that you can obtain true freedom. Let your tears flow in front of HIM and read the supplication of Prophet Yaqoob (Alaihis Salaam), “I only complain of my suffering and grief to ALLAH…” (Qur’aan 12:86)
• Write down several possible solutions. If you can’t think of any, remember ALLAH, call out HIS name, and ask HIM for help. HE will make a way out when there seems to be no way!!!
“…And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose…” (Quran 65: 2-3)
Accept your problems. View them positively, creatively and courageously. And, yes, be grateful for them – for, in learning to cope, you’ll grow in stature and wisdom. Take the time out every day to thank ALLAH for the blessings in your life – not only will you be overwhelmed because you will never be able to enumerate them, but you will truly recognise ALLAH’S presence in your life.
Stay strong and firm because things will get better Insha Allah, it might be stormy now, but it can’t rain forever.