Life can be tough these days. It genuinely seems like we are stuck in a rat race – work is boring, family is difficult, you just can’t find the social network and warm feeling of brother/sisterhood, and of course, you’re still single. And then on top of all this, mum is not well and dad has passed away. This may resonate with a lot of you or parts of this may, and the consequences of all this are that many of us circumnavigate life through bouts of depression. We feel a sadness that sometimes we do not know quite how to overcome. We feel an anxiety that we have no idea what it stems from. Ultimately what we find is that despite all the pleasures of the world, we are still fighting a sadness, anxiety and a feeling of sorrow, which manifest in different ways.
So why is this?
Unquestionably the reality of this situation is the gulf between our lifestyle and the prophetic example. When we find ourselves facing any problems, we see those to be the biggest issues in the world. Our whole outlook can change, our whole commitment levels can change and fundamentally we find our faith can shake. And here is the proof that we are so devoid of prophetic guidance that the affairs of our own life become the center of the universe. He (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said what means, “O people! If any believer is afflicted by a disaster, let him remember the disaster of my death, so that this may give him ease, as nobody will be afflicted with a disaster which is greater than that of my death.” (Ibn Maajah).
The most amazing thing about this also is, that when you just take a moment to consider his death (Peace and blessings be upon him), the most bizarre sadness will overcome you. Your heart will sink, your soul will quiver and you will be able to see the reality of whatever you are dealing with at the time. Lets take that journey now, and prepare to truly comprehend the words of our Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him).
‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) died, Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) was not around. ‘Umar, (may Allaah be pleased with him) stood up and addressed the people saying: ‘I swear by Allaah that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has not died and that Allaah will send him back to cut off the hands and legs of those who claim that he has died.’ Then, Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) arrived to where the Prophet was lying, uncovered his face, kissed him and said: ‘I would sacrifice my father and mother for your sake. You are just as fragrant after your death as you were during your life. I swear by the one in whose hand my soul is, Allaah will never let you die twice.’
Then he went out face the people and said ‘O you who is swearing (by Allaah) (meaning ‘Umar) calm down!’ When ‘Umar, (may Allaah be pleased with him) heard Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him, talking, he kept silent and sat down, so Abu Bakr, praised and thanked Allaah and then said: ‘Whoever was worshipping Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), then Muhammad (peace be upon him) is dead, but whoever was worshipping Allaah, then Allaah is alive and will never die.’ Then he recited (that which translates as): ”Indeed, you [i.e, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him) are to die, and indeed, they are to die].” (Az-Zumar: 30) And that “Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allaah at all; but Allaah will reward the grateful.” (3: 144) (Related by Bukhari)
Allah Al Musta’an, how sad is this scene. How does it make you feel? How does it feel when you visualize that scene? Does it not just leave you speechless? Ibn Rajab, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “When the Prophet (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) died, the Muslims were in a state of shock and confusion; some of them were bewildered, others were shocked and started to get things mixed up, others dropped to their knees and were unable to stand, others could not talk and others still refused completely to believe the news of his death.”
Brothers and sisters, the purpose of mentioning this advice of the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) is so we can contextualize the sadness we may feel we have in our lives. Without question, as human beings we are moved by our personal circumstances, which may cause us pain and distress, however the key is how we deal with these challenges. If we ponder on them with the context of the advice of the Messenger (peace be upon him)and his departure from this world, it makes every pain easier to bear.
Let us not be held back by sad thoughts but rather move forward and become more Productive Muslims inshaAllah.
A short up-lifting lecture on this topic if you’re facing hardship can be listened to here
About the Author:
Azim Kidwai is the General Manager of Mercy Mission UK