As parents, we often stop our children from doing things we know will harm them.
Sometimes, we keep the sweetest things away from them, knowing they are not good for them. Sometimes, we prevent them from the things they want to do the most because we know it will hurt them. Sometimes we limit the “fun” they wish to have, just because something else is better for them right now. Sometimes, we make them do things they don’t want to, just because they are good for them. Sometimes, we send them to school or an activity knowing they will enjoy it one day, even if they don’t seem to understand how right now. We do all of this because we love them, wish the best for them and we know what is better for them. But we are met with tears, tantrums and disappointment.
Allah (swt) loves us many times more than our mothers. Sometimes, He takes things away from us or puts us through experiences that give us pain. But He always does what is best for us. We may not see it now. We may not see it for years. We may not see it till the next world. But we must have faith that whatever He does is always for the best. There is always some good in a loss, in a trial, in a difficulty, or in a suffering. Trust Allah. He is Al-Hakeem, the Most Wise. He is Al-Aleem, the Most Knowing.
“…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 but you do not know.” (Surah Baqarah 2:216)
How many times have you been upset at how things are unravelling at one point only to understand some months or years down the line how everything fell into place like a well-orchestrated plan? How many times do you find yourself looking back over the years and realizing why certain things indeed happened for the best? Sometimes time helps us understand, but at other times, it is difficult even to understand years later why something was for the best. At times like these it helps to remember the trials and difficulties the Prophets and other righteous people in the past have faced and how seemingly unfavorable circumstances have turned out for the best. The Quran is replete with such stories.
When your heart is heavy with grief and you find Shaytan putting thoughts like ‘why me?’ and ‘what good can there be in this?’ in your mind, go back to the Quran. Read the stories of the Prophets and the righteous about how they were tested. Musa’s (عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام) mother was told to throw her newborn baby into the river, Yaqub (عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام) was separated from his son Yusuf (عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام) for years, Maryam (عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام) gave birth to a baby alone and feared accusations by those around her. Each of these circumstances turned out to be for the best. Musa (عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام) was returned to his mother even as he grew up in the palace of Pharaoh which was necessary to prepare him for his task ahead. Yusuf (عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام) had to be left by his brothers in the well to reach the positions that he reached later. And Maryam (عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام) was honored throughout history and was defended by her infant son.
“If we had perfect power to determine our destinies, and perfect vision to see the future and know what is best for us, we would choose exactly the fate that Allah has chosen for us.” – Imam al-Ghazali (rahimahullah).
Part of our belief in Allah, part of our tawakkal (trust) in Him is to have faith in Him being All-Knowing and the Most Wise. Difficulties and trials give us the opportunity to practice this belief. When we are brought to our knees by difficult circumstances, when we see our plans failing and when we are blocked by circumstances beyond our control, it is difficult to see the good in the situation. But when we tell our hearts that there must be some good in this, that Allah (swt) has a plan for us, we set our hearts on the path towards healing.
Trusting Allah means that we tell ourselves to move forward on the path He puts us on even when it hurts. Trusting Allah means we do not question His decree, even as the tears stream down our faces. Trusting Allah means we have faith that He will bring us through this and place us exactly on the path that we are meant to be on, and that we will eventually understand why this was for the best.
The following is one of my favourite quotes on this topic:
“Had Allah lifted the veil for His slave and shown him how He handles his affairs for him, and how Allah is more keen for the benefit of the slave than his own self, his heart would have melted out of the love for Allah and would have been torn to pieces out of thankfulness to Allah. Therefore if the pains of this world tire you do not grieve. For it may be that Allah wishes to hear your voice by way of dua. So pour out your desires in prostration and forget about it and know; that verily Allah does not forget it.” – Ibn al Qayyim (Rahimahullah)
Sometimes when we do not understand how something was for the best, or when we feel overwhelmed with emotions, it helps to just turn to Allah and talk to Him about your feelings. Cry out to Him and tell Him how you feel. Yaqub (عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام) said “I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah” (Yusuf 12:86)
Ask Allah to heal you and give peace to your heart. Ask Him to help you understand how this was for the best. Ask Him for the strength to move forward. And ask Him to give you a tawakkal (trust) like that of the Prophets.
There is a beautiful dua attributed to Ali ibn Abi Talib (رضى اللهُ عنه):
“Oh Allah, when I lose my hopes and plans, help me remember that your love is greater than my disappointments, and your plans for my life are better than my dreams.”
Allah has a plan for you. Trust His plan.
“When Allah tests you it is never to destroy you. When He removes something in your possession, it is only in order to empty your hands for an even greater gift.” – Ibn al Qayyim