In the last couple of days, some thoughts and reminders have come to mind that have definitely made it easier to deal with all of the things that I’ve been facing lately, Alhamdulillah. I felt that it would be good to share this with all of you, not only for your own personal struggles, but in consideration of the horrifying things happening in Gaza right now. May Allah grant them peace, victory, and an easy entrance into Jannah! Ameen!

A friend of mine, who is currently attending one of the major Islamic universities of the world, masha Allah, told me about the story of Musa (AS) and his people, when Allah commanded them to go towards the waterfront. He explained how this was a command from Allah in response to their Dua for peace and freedom, and as a way in which Allah was protecting AND testing the people. However, Allah had only commanded that they go to the waterfront, and didn’t give them any information about what to do when they got there. With their faith and reliance on Allah, they headed towards the water. When they got there, Allah was silent. My friend explained how this was Allah’s way of testing them in their patience, as well as in their reliance upon Him. He had them wait and continued this test for so long, that Firawn (Pharoah) and his army became visible in the distance. This was when the major test began. The people of Musa (AS) began to panic. They asked Musa (AS), “Where is our Rubb (Lord)? Where is the answer to our prayers? We are surely going to be killed at the hands of Firawn! Survival is completely impossible!” At this point, Musa (AS), unaltered by these concerns responded saying, “I do not believe in what I see, but I believe in the Unseen (i.e. Allah).” It was at this point that Musa (AS) passed the test, and thus Allah sent down the order to him (AS) that he should strike the ground with his staff. From there on, we know the story of how the body of water split, and the believers were blessed with freedom.

Note: This story is one that I asked a local sheikh here in Vancouver about (for confirmation of its authenticity), and he said that the details are uncertain, but this is one of those stories that we accept and don’t accept, meaning that we take it as a story of morals and lessons, but do not use it for making rulings on matters.

Imagine yourself being in the position of the people of Musa (AS). Would you have reacted in the same way they initially did? Or would you have reacted in the way Musa (AS) did? Many of us face major struggles and difficulties in life, some more than others, but ultimately, we all face what Allah knows we are capable of handling. Never will Allah burden us with more than we can bear, as He states in the Quran:

“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned.” – Quran (2:286)

Struggles will come and go, sometimes as tests, sometimes as punishments. Regardless, they are blessings in disguise. If we overcome and hold strong to our faith, repent, and try our best to become better Muslims, Allah will reward us. Allahu Akbar! How Merciful and Incredible Allah is! Who else do you know that would punish us and then reward us right after for handling the punishment properly? No one but Allah! And sometimes, we may wonder, if He has forgiven us, then why are we being punished? The truth is, we will all be held accountable for our actions, and unless it is by the Blessing of Allah that He forgives us of it completely, it’s a Mercy from Him upon us that He punishes us in this life rather than in the Next. Be thankful for that, and take responsibility for your past actions, but do not let this pull you down or make you lose hope in Him. Instead, build on your faith and become stronger in your certainty that He will answer your Dua. Often, we start on the a path that is pleasing to Him, or set goals that would be beneficial to us in this life and the Next, but our desires and the whispers of Shaitaan lead us astray. That doesn’t invalidate our initial goals and intentions. It merely means that we have to get back on track in our faith and worship, and turn to Allah with complete conviction and cognizance that He will grant us what we seek.

Intentions & Actions

When we are faced with struggles or challenges, we have to take a moment to stop and think about how we’re approaching the issue. Our intentions may be pure, but if our actions don’t match that purity, it’ll be incredibly difficult to find success or peace. Looking at how Musa (AS) dealt with the situation, we can see that he maintained his faith and reliance on Allah, regardless of how impossible the situation seemed. Often, when we see ourselves in a predicament that seems to have no possible end in our favor, being human, we panic. We forget Allah because our emotions overcome us, and sometimes, we even go as far as blaming Allah, thinking that He has not fulfilled His Promise. What a horrible state of mind to be in! Allah is never to blame for the things that happen to us in this life or the Next. As the above verse mentioned, every soul will bear the consequences of the good it has gained and of the evil it has gained. Take responsibility for your actions, and remain steadfast on pleasing Allah in every possible way you can.

Make your eyes look at only that which pleases Allah, make your ears hear only that which pleases Allah, make your hands and feet work only in the path of that which pleases Allah. When you do this, your living will be for the sake of Allah. Every aspect of your life will become a form of worship. Through this, you will gain the love of Allah, insha Allah, and when Allah loves us, He will answer our Dua, will protect us when we seek His Refuge, and will not hesitate to grant us what we seek, just as He hesitates to take our souls at the time of death, because He knows how much we detest death. Our struggles may all be different, but that does not demean their weight on our hearts. I assure you that if we turn to Allah and truly submit to Him, we will find our hearts to become light in weight, and we will find ease in dealing with our difficulties.

Dedication to Dua

If you have been making Dua with sincerity, and have strived towards pleasing Allah in every way you can while you await the answer to your Dua, then don’t lose hope. As we saw from the example of the story of Musa (AS) and his people, Allah can bring us a solution through things that seem impossible, as long as we have faith. It does not matter what obstacles come our way, or what we see around us that may make things seem impossible. None of that matters. What matters is our submission to Allah and dedication to our Dua. One of the prerequisites of Dua being answered is knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that your Dua will be answered. When you have supplicated to Allah, don’t stop asking for what you want until you get it, or until Allah removes it from your heart and mind, or replaces it with something else. You will know when one of those three things has happened when Allah gives you complete ease, serenity, and certainty in the matter, and where you are to go from there. If you are confused as to what the answer is, ask Him for clarity and guidance again. No matter the circumstances, no matter how impossible it may seem for your dua to be answered, do NOT stop asking Allah for what you seek. And while you do this, ensure that every step you take towards addressing it is in the way that is most pleasing to Allah. Sometimes, that means keeping your distance from the matter, and focusing solely on dua and perfecting your actions in the other aspects of life. Sometimes, it means doing things that have been prescribed by Allah and His Messenger (SAW) as steps to take, which all depend on the specific situation you are in. What matters most, however, is that you never give up on what you seek from Allah until He makes things clear for you in your heart in such a way that you don’t even feel as though you are forcing or convincing yourself to take any action that goes against your heart. Sometimes, we are so afraid of pain, or of displeasing others, or of having to continue in difficulty, that we accept things that we don’t fully like, just to be able to move forward. But that won’t solve our problem, but rather will simply postpone and make it heavier, thus making it even more difficult to address in the future. It’s simple: Don’t lose hope in Allah answering your dua. Ever.

“Make Dua like a child asks his parent’s for candy. The child doesn’t stop asking until he gets his candy.”

Things may seem difficult, things may seem impossible, and sometimes, people around you will say things to make you want to lose hope, but remember that hope lies with Allah, and no one else. He Alone is the One capable of doing all things, and from what He has decreed, no one can escape, whether what is decreed seems to be good or bad to us. Even if you feel like you are trapped or stuck in a situation, have faith and hope in Him, and strive towards what you truly want, asking Him to make things work out with all of the eternal factors that may effect your decisions. He will give you that strength, and will grant you the goal you seek for His sake. You just can’t give up on Him, no matter how difficult it gets. Our goal is to continue to stay firm in our faith in Him, and to not stop making dua for what we want, until we get what we seek, or it is removed, or is replaced by something else.

Seeking An Answer

One of the things I hear so often that truly bothers me is when people say, “Maybe this is Allah’s way of answering your Dua,” or, “Maybe this is a sign from Allah.” I’m not a scholar, but from what I understand, that’s not how it works! Allah guides us, and when we seek something, He makes the results clear. If you are making Dua for something, and are sincere in your intentions AND actions, Allah will give you clarity in the matter at hand. Until you feel that clarity in your heart, don’t stop making Dua for what you want. We shouldn’t have to convince ourselves of something being the answer to our Dua, because when we do that, it is almost as though we have given up on Allah answering our Dua, though He has promised us that He will give us peace and a solution to what we seek for His sake. This is something that is a tough concept to grasp, especially in today’s world, where we are tested left, right, and center. In the end, we have to remember that Allah has promised us that if we strive towards a goal and still find difficulty, BUT have awareness of Him and His Abilities, and keep in mind that we will have to answer for our actions on the Day of Judgment, He will grant us a solution through means that we could not have even imagined. He ALWAYS fulfills His Promise. He is the Provider, and the One who grants us what we need to move forward with our lives day in and day out. We should also keep in mind that He has decreed a time for everything. You may see things and think to yourself that the solution just seems so easy. But, I promise you that you won’t even be able to reach out to touch something in front of you until Allah decrees it. What is meant for you will be yours, no matter what. You just have to remain steadfast in seeking what you want. Allah will guide you towards what you want, or will replace it through ease and clarity with something better.

“That is instructed to whoever should believe in Allah and the Last day. And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out; And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” – Quran (65:2-3)

There may be times when you’ll look at your situation and feel as though something you experience is the answer to your Dua. If, however, you don’t feel in your heart, after pursuing things for the sake of Allah and in a way that pleases Him, that you have clarity on the matter, then seek His Guidance again. Often, we see something happening and feel it to be the answer to our Dua (though we may not fully like it), but that could very well be a test from Allah to see how committed and reliant upon Him we truly are.

Don’t go out looking for a sign. Don’t go out thinking that Allah’s going to send some miracle from the sky for you to see. Stuff like that happens once in a blue moon, if ever.

Instead, cleanse your heart of things that displease Allah, and replace them with worship and remembrance of Him in your every thought and action, and repent frequently. We sin so much, just by being human, that it’s impossible to calculate how much we need to repent. But, it’s on us to do everything we can to increase our good deeds and reduce our sins. Through this, Allah will give us clarity in our hearts, and when there is something we are meant to see, or there is something we are meant to feel, it will be something He will place in our view or in our hearts. And when we live life in this way, I guarantee you that we will find a level of peace and serenity that is beyond our imagination, because at that point, we will have truly tasted the beauty of faith. At that point, we will finally be able to be grateful when any and every thing comes our way, because we will accept it all as Allah’s decree for us. He knows our hearts and thoughts better than we do, and so He won’t leave us stranded. Another very important thing to note is that accepting Allah’s Decree does not mean having to do so out of sorrow or difficulty. Allah gives us peace with dealing with things, no matter how difficult they are, if that is what is best for us. If your heart feels uneasy, make a change through first seeking guidance from Allah, and then acting on your heart’s inclination.

How Does This Relate To Gaza or Syria?

I am not a Palestinian or Syrian. I am not an Arab. I don’t even fully speak Arabic, yet (insha Allah, soon). But, I share a bond with the people of Gaza and Syria that runs deeper than any bond of blood, nationality, language, culture, or anything else for that matter. This bond makes me feel as though I am one with them, as though they are no different to me than my own parents and siblings. The bond I share with them is of Islam. Islam abolished the concept of nationality, racism, and things like that, because under the banner of Islam we are all brothers and sisters. We are all Muslims. When I hear the screams of mothers and wives as they hold the bodies of their men, as I hear the cries of children as they watch their parents die in front of their eyes, and when I see the blood of innocent men, women, and children being shed as clear as rain, I don’t see their nationality or language. I see humanity in shambles. I weep for the innocent Muslims and non-Muslims alike, who are killed in the state of war.

As nothing more than a Muslim, which is a greater honor in my eyes than any other, I look at these things, and humbly believe that our solution lies in first turning to Allah. It is ONLY through Him that success will come. And it is a duty upon every Muslim to feel concern and to pray for those who have been trapped in what seems to be an impossible situation to find release from. But, we must remember the story of Musa (AS) and his people.

Relating to the story of Musa (AS), I want to remind us of the fact that though things may seem completely impossible, and though the blood of our brothers and sisters flows constantly, we cannot lose hope in Allah. We cannot forget that our greatest weapon is Dua, supplicating to Allah to grant them victory and to reward them with an easy entrance into the highest levels of Jannah. This can be just as was the case with Musa (AS) and his people, where a tyrant (Pharoah) approached them viciously with a huge and fully armed army, while they had nothing to defend themselves with, and still Allah granted them success. Why? Because they learned to be steadfast in their faith in Him, and they knew that Allah would grant them success and the answer to their prayers. Let us be like Musa (AS) and stand firm in knowing that we believe not in what we see, but rather, believe in the Unseen. Allah is capable of all things, and He has promised us victory for patience and for complete submission to Him. If Allah has made us a promise, what reason do we have to doubt? Remember:

“For those of you who have Allah as your Helper, there is no one that can overcome you; but if He removes His Help from you, who is there that can help you after Him? And upon Allah let the believers rely.” – Quran (3:160)

There are so many other examples of how Allah has brought victory to the righteous when victory seemed like a far-fetched impossibility. An example of this is the Battle of Badr, where the Muslims were few and the enemies were almost three times the number of Muslims. Still, Allah helped the Muslims and granted them success. Read up on this battle and you’ll see how incredibly relatable and inspiring it is, especially in a situation like our brothers and sisters in Gaza are facing.

Allah has a purpose behind everything that happens. I know it sounds cliche because of how often we hear people using this statement as a way to push aside or accept giving up on remaining steadfast in their conviction in Allah’s Provision, but it is a true fact. It may seem as though things are difficult, or it may seem as though things seem impossible, but we know without a doubt that Allah will answer our Dua when the time is right. During this process, we will surely go through tests to see if we truly rely on Him, but it is at that point that we should consider it a blessing from Him and an opportunity to grow stronger in faith, by remaining steadfast and not losing hope in Him answering our Dua.

As we go on through our days, let us constantly be in a state of remembrance of Allah, and let us not give up on making Dua that Allah grants us what we seek. Let us build on our own faith as individuals, so that our prayers are more likely to be answered. Let us put aside the negativity and pessimism of others, and remain steadfast on our faith that our Dua will be answered, regardless of how many obstacles and difficulties come our way. The people of Gaza, Syria, and all of the others around the world that are unjustly being harmed in any way and to any degree will find success, as this is promised by Allah, on the condition that they stay firm and strong in their faith in Him.

If you want to see change in Gaza, Syria, or in your own life, go above and beyond the basics when it comes to making Dua. Wake up for Tahajjud and make Dua. Pray extra Nawafil (voluntary acts of worship) and make Dua. When you are in Sujood (prostration), make dua. Right before you end your Salah (prayer) and say the Tasleem (what is said to end the prayer), make Dua. Right after completing your Fard (obligatory) portion of a Salah, make Dua. When it rains, or there are harsh winds, make Dua. Fast on Mondays and Thursdays [as is the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW)] or fast every other day [as is the Sunnah of Prophet Dawud (AS)], and make dua right before breaking your voluntary fast. These are just a handful of times that the Prophet (SAW) has said sincere Dua will be answered, so take advantage of them! Do everything you can to show Allah your sincerity and dedication to having your Dua answered!

I pray that Allah grants the people of Gaza, Syria, and other parts of the world, justice, peace, victory, and the highest reward for their patience and steadfastness. I pray that Allah fills their hearts and minds with unrelenting hopes to please Allah in every way, and that He fulfills those hopes by guiding them in their actions. I am certain that victory will come. Let us remain patient, continue to make dua, help in every way we possibly can (within the bounds of what is permitted in Islam), and continue to hold certainty in knowing that Allah will allow only the best to come from all of this. Ameen.

And as for all of us, who go through our own struggles and seemingly-impossible dilemmas in our day-to-day lives, I pray that Allah gives us ease and success in following our hearts, and in making every aspect of our lives acts of worship, so that our hearts will be inclined towards what pleases Him, and so that we can find clarity through undying efforts in making Dua for what we seek until we get it. Ameen.