Quran Reminder: Allah Never Overburdens You

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Image Courtesy www.click2equran.com

Let’s learn some lessons from the last verse of Surah Al-Baqarah. It’s a long verse, but we will only refer to the first part of it.

ayah

“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…” (2:286)

You are strong enough

The word ‘Takleef’ in Arabic means, to be burdened with something; and Allah (swt) says that He does not burden any individual. Allah (swt) will not burden any single person- except to that person’s capacity. It means that any trials you and I go through in life are custom tailored to our capability to manage them. What somebody else is going through may not be something I can handle; and what I’m going through might not be something they can handle.

The gifts we enjoy in life and the difficulties we suffer in life; the hardships and the trials we go through- all are custom tailored according to our own individual personalities. So, Allah (swt) says that He does not burden anybody more than their tolerance level.

Obligatory is obligatory

The other thing that’s remarkable about this verse is- there are some things that all of us are equally responsible for- the commandments of Islam. For them, you can’t say, ‘Well, I know you can do it, but  it’s not my personality’ like five prayers for example. You can’t say, ‘Well, Masha’Allah, I know you pray five times, but I could only do it in Ramadan- usually, it’s impossible for me. I’m not able to do that’. You can’t make that excuse for such commandments of Allah (swt) because they are the ones that Allah (swt) put on every Nafs. He put it on every individual and enabled us to do it. And, there are very few exceptions to those, that are in very minute cases; and even then, there are differences of opinion. Hence, for the major things that are forbidden and obligatory on Muslims, you cannot make an excuse for those- such as Allah (swt) will understand that you are not exactly the prayer type; or you are not a morning person so you can’t really make it to Fajr. That’s not going to be the case.

Are you guilty of hiding something?

Allah (swt) burdened us with these responsibilities knowing that every single human being is capable of praying five times a day. Every human being, every Muslim is capable of staying away from Haram; you’re capable of doing Halal things. So, when you tell yourself you can’t, and when you convince yourself that you can’t- then you’re actually, wasting the capability that Allah (swt) has granted you with; and that Allah (swt) would never have given those things for you and me to do- if we weren’t capable of doing them. You have to ask yourself- ‘Am I being truthful to myself when I say I cannot?’ or ‘Is Allah (swt) being true when He says that yes you can, and I wouldn’t have given it to you- unless you could have handled it?’ Self question yourself with honesty- you and I have to ask ourselves, especially when it comes to the major commandments of Allah (swt).

Make it hard to sin and easy to do right!

Finally, the last part of the verse- Allah (swt) says a person will benefit from whatever they earn; whatever they earned in terms of sin will go against them. There are some things you earn that’ll go for you, and there are other things you earn that’ll go against you. In Arabic, ‘Kasaba’, which is easier, was used for good deeds; and ‘Iktasaba’, which is harder to earn, was used for bad deeds.

It is weird because we think sins are easy to earn, and good deeds are hard to earn, but Allah (swt) is telling us a secret in this verse.

Sins may be easy to earn in the short term, but what you pay for them in the long term, they bring about so much difficulty in what you’ve earned in terms of problems and difficulties in life. It causes so much hardship because of the disobedience to Allah (swt), that it doesn’t count as something easy.

Like stealing may be easy, but spending time in jail may be pretty hard. What you did as an act of stupidity may have been really easy on you at that time, but the price you paid for it made it a very difficult and bad thing that you did for yourself.

And getting a job, working hard and earning money the right way may be really hard, but the hardship you save yourself from compared to what you’re doing is pretty easy. The alternative is pretty easy, that’s the view Allah (swt) wants us to have of good deeds and bad deeds. Good deeds may require a lot more work, but Allah (swt) will make them easy; while bad deeds may be much easier to do, but you will pay the price, and you will realize in how much difficulty you have put yourself.

Hence, don’t over estimate the burden that Allah (swt) has put on you as far as responsibilities are concerned; and don’t underestimate the weight of sin. Don’t think, it’s just something I do, who cares and not think about the burdens and the troubles it’ll bring you tomorrow; and especially, when you and I stand in front of Allah (swt).

 

Birds of a feather flock together- Fly with the best!

birds-of-a-featherI had entered a new institution; and to move into a place where you only have unpleasant memories to hold up your image, is not a fun feeling. I had been here before for quite some time, and that had not been a good time period.

As a fellow student, I had been popular due to my language and confidence. But, just as I was getting used to it, life started taking a different turn for me.
A girl in my batch, I believed, had made a resolution to keep me as unhappy as she could, for a reason I could never decipher. Planting things in my bag and framing me for whatever went wrong; she was so good at proving me guilty, and I always happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. The worst part was, I had no one to believe me; and I got called into the principal’s office more times than you could count. The principal herself thought I was guilty. I wasn’t exactly what you could call an ideal student, but in this case, I was innocent. When my mother got sick of being called to the school repeatedly, she suggested that I switch to another school. I eagerly jumped at the opportunity.

I was ecstatic. Finally, I got a chance to reinvent myself, a chance to start over. I turned over a new leaf- changed my priorities and my grades improved. I could focus at school and had great friends. I started praying regularly; and thanked Allah (swt) for the brilliant opportunity, whenever I could remember. There I found a person who inspired me to bring out the best in me. Her name was Maryam Raza.  Every action of hers left me in awe. To me, she was a perfect role model. She stayed calm in situations that got people hysterical, and also had perfect grades.

The teachers there loved me. I wasn’t the best at studies, but my frank and playful attitude, along with my innocent tricks made me fairly popular in the staff room gossips. My English teacher Ms. Shireen, simply adored me, and I loved her too. My paternal grandmother died before I was even born, so I placed Ms. Shireen as close to me as a grandmother. Spending time with her wasn’t formal; I hung on to every wise word she told me, every advice she gave me.

I found my ease. And Allah (swt) has not said that after hardship comes ease, He said it comes with.

But like they say, all good things must come to an end. Due to some maintenance issues, the school had to shut down. However, after a protest by some devoted students, the management negotiated and only my year had to be dissolved. That was the hardest part. Letting go of a place that holds priceless memories is hard on even the strongest of people. To make matters worse, the time for admissions was up, and the only open option for me was my old school. Hence then, not only I had to leave a place that I held so close to my heart, but I had to go back to the place that held the worst memories of my life. I complained so much to Allah (swt), demanding as to why I was being shown such cruelty. Yet, every time I went to a Quran class, or attended a lecture, it felt like Allah (swt) was there, talking to me through the words of the Quran- telling me that it  was a test, and I had to be patient.

The first day was the worst. Every glance was hostile, every look held judgement. The new students knew about my past, the old were waiting for me to strike again. Every time someone went, ‘Where’s my pencil?’ or ‘Where’s my book?’- several heads turned in my direction. I had no friends, and I could hear people whispering about me behind my back. It felt like no one was ready to give me a second chance. Then, one of my ex-classmates joined, and things started working up. After almost a year, people started letting me in, recognizing me as one of their own. I started seeing the good in them, something I thought was non-existent.

Finally, in my last year, I made plenty of amazing friends. My best-friend was a shy girl called Humnah. The bond of friendship between us was very strong; it overthrew every obstacle in our way. She helped me through my last year and never once betrayed my trust, like many had before her. I was finally happy.

The gist is, like Allah (swt) said in the Quran, “So verily, with the hardship, there is relief.” (Ash-Sharh 94:5)

I found my ease. And Allah (swt) has not said that after hardship comes ease, He said it comes with. Every time I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore, I cried in prayers, and my heart found peace. A big help was the company of friends I had.

Like Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan repeatedly tells us, we have to select friends wisely, who would help us be better Muslims. Alhumdulillah, Humnah kept track of my daily prayers and gave me an earful if I missed one.

I learnt to move on and face the challenges life threw at me with bravery; and thanks to the many beautiful people who truly cared about me, and helped me be a better version of myself. And of course with Allah’s (swt) Mercy, I became a better Muslim.

Lessons of Reliance from Hawa bint Yazid (ra)

stream-rocks-longshawInna Ma’al Usre Yusra

As per the custom of that time, the Mushrikeen visited the Kabah for Hajj. On one such instance, Qais too joined the delegation. The Prophet (sa), despite being in the minority, would promote his religion to the strangers. He would make efforts, and take out time to meet the people who had come to Makkah for Hajj.

He met Qais and presented Islam to him. Qais attentively listened to the Prophet (sa), and acknowledged that what he was being presented was a glorious religion. He asked for time to contemplate conversion. The Prophet (sa) desired that the husband of a devoted religious woman embraced Islam as well, therefore, he prolonged his dialogue with Qais. Qais, however, kept asking for more time to consider. The Prophet (sa), then asked Qais about his unkind treatment towards his wife. He instructed him to fear Allah (swt), and to promise him that he will never say anything to his distressed wife. Qais promised that he would do as the Prophet (sa) instructed and would never again be cruel to his wife.

Do not delay the opportunity to do good. You might miss the chance.

When Qais returned to Madinah, he informed Hawa (ra) about his meeting with the Messenger of Allah (sa), and his promise to him. He assured her that from then onwards he would never torment her. Hawa (ra) was relieved to hear that.

Verily, with the hardship, there is relief (i.e. there is one hardship with two reliefs, so one hardship cannot overcome two reliefs).” (Ash-Shath 94:6)

Hawa (ra) could then freely practice her religion. She openly declared her faith because she had no one to be fearful about. After a little time had passed, the Prophet (sa), being a true leader and well-wisher, asked about Hawa (ra) and her husband’s treatment. He was informed that she lived in peace.

People teased Qais about his wife’s conversion. He informed them of his promise to the Prophet (sa) and his will to honour it.

Qais had honoured his promise to the Prophet (sa). However, he kept waiting for the right time to embrace Islam, and missed his chance. Qais was killed as an idolater. He saved Hawa’s life in this world and the hereafter, but could not save his own hereafter.

Hawa (ra) attended his gatherings, learnt the religion and taught it to her son Thabith ibn Qais. She strove hard in religion and attained the status of being a Hadeeth Narrator.

Lessons to draw: Do not delay the opportunity to do good. You might miss the chance. Because Hawa (ra) only depended upon Allah (swt), He helped her in a miraculous way. With every difficulty there is ease, strengthen your faith in Allah (swt).

Life as a Widow

When the Prophet (sa) migrated to Madinah, Hawa (ra) attended his gatherings, learnt the religion and taught it to her son Thabith ibn Qais. She strove hard in religion and attained the status of being a Hadeeth Narrator. This is how Allah (swt) honours those who are willing to remain steadfast in their trials, and give precedence to religion over anything in the world.

May Allah (swt) also make us of those He honours. Ameen.

Lessons to draw: When you have taken the step to draw closer to Allah (swt), He will test you. He will put you through trials to separate the wheat from the chaff. How truly dedicated and honest are you in your service and commitment to Islam? Be brave. Don’t let Shaytan weaken your resolution.

(Click here to read ‘Lessons in Faith from Hawa bint Yazid (ra)’)

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

[Infograph] How to Overcome Hardship

It would not be an understatement that a “perfect life” that is free of problems and difficulties can only be experienced in Jannah. In this life, true believers will always face tests of faith, of loss of wealth, of distressing situations and many others. What are the Sunnah ways of dealing with these hardships? Productive Muslim and Islamographic bring to you an informative infograph outlining the different ways of attaining relief from hardships. (Posted here with permission from Islamographic.com)

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