Overcoming Hardships Reflections With the Divine

Everything’s Gone Wrong

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cristiano_deana/2458572815/Originally published June 2013.

Her life was falling apart before her very eyes. She spoke to me about the catastrophes that she was going through—slammed with one trial after another. “Nothing is going right,” she had told me that night, “Nothing.” And I had to admit her life was rough. Things looked like they kept going from bad to worse in her life. There was no light at the end of her tunnel, not even a flashlight in her tunnel for her to carry, at least at first glance. But the truth is, there was plenty of light in her life, even it was not apparent to her nor to me at first glance. And this is the truth for all of us going through hardships. We just need to know where to look.

Often times in our lives we go through hardships and we begin to believe that everything is going wrong in every portion of our lives, but the truth is, that is the farthest thing from the truth. God has gifted us with many different blessings that can only be seen if we turn a grateful eye to these things and acknowledge their truths. Just like when one is in love, they only see the good, when we are in hardship we tend to only see the bad, and that only furthers our feelings of helplessness and despair.

Take, for example, the simple blessings of life that we experience every day, like the blessing of hot water. People in many places around the world don’t have the convenience of turning on their faucets and having warm water come out on the coldest of days. Don’t think it’s much? Try waiting for a cold day, turn off your heater and take a cold shower. Now imagine having to do this day in and day out without a choice? Imagine having to make wudu’ (ablution) every morning at fajr (morning prayer) in freezing cold water. Imagine how much irritation that may bring. And then thank Him for the blessing He gave us that we often take advantage of without thinking twice.

Another example is that of our kitchen stove, that turns on at the click of a button. Imagine not having that stove of yours in your kitchen. Imagine not being able to cook or warm your food with ease. Imagine having to, on a daily basis, walk outside and build a fire, perhaps gathering wood first, in order to feed yourself and your family. It would be tough, wouldn’t it? But how many times have we stopped and thanked God for our stove-tops and turn-knob buttons?

Lastly, but definitely not least, take a moment and think about your nose (YES your nose!). Have you ever stopped to think about what life would feel like if God had not gifted you and blessed you with a nose? Have you thought about how difficult it would be to enjoy food? We would not be able to enjoy the smell of baking cookies in the oven, or the smell of sweet perfume. We would not be able to smell the flowers as we walked past, or smell a yucky smell that warns us of something in our vicinity. But have we ever stopped to thank God for what He has given us regardless of our ingratitude.

These are just a few examples of the lights that God has gifted us that we graze over on a daily basis, though we never forget to dwell on (what seem like) misfortunes. We think that everything is going wrong, but really what is going wrong is our lack of perception of all of those things that are going right. So next time you feel stuck in a dark hole with no light in sight, don’t simply just wait for the light at the end of the tunnel; turn on your own flashlight by pinpointing the daily gifts that our Lord has gifted us and actually being happy that you have them and actually take the time to thank Him. He has already filled our lives with His Love and His Light, if only we take the time to open our eyes and realize it.

About the author

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref grew up in a small Texas city and was unexpectedly uprooted to Cairo, Egypt. The shift of countries precipitated a shift in her outlook on life; this, with her enriching experience in community activism—specifically social service, youth work, and Qur’anic Studies—provides for a rather enlightened perspective. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. Thankfully, her main outlet and therapeutic tool is to write, write, write! She keeps her own blog, contributes regularly to various publications, and – most importantly – you’ll find her entries on this site.


  • Alhumdulillah, nice article.

    It is important to count your blessings rather than focus on the negatives.

    The trouble I have is not “feeling like everything is going wrong”, the problem for myself is the question “why?” (not “why me?”, but why this/these trials).

    I understand that when Allah loves someone Allah inflicts trials, but the hardest thing to understand is what is the lesson in the trial, what can I do to improve or change my life to benefit from the trial and/or avoid it in the future.

    The most frustrating part is not knowing what to do to make things better, or what I may be doing wrong that are making things worse.

    May Allah forgive us, and guide us to the best answers.

    • Amin.
      Brother do alot of Istighfar, seek forgiveness from Allah and repent alot especially during morning and again in evening (after fajr and after asr).

      Make sure you say “Astaghfirullah Wa atubu Ilaihi”- 100x/day minimum as the prophet (SAW) repented and sought forgiveness 100 times a day.

      As well think of death often, like actively while praying or just working/ chores think ” this may be my last moment in this life”.
      As well this world is like a drop in the ocean, in comparison to the hereafter. It means very little only our deeds, the state of our hearts and how we die (in a state of submission to Allah in shaa Allah) matter.
      Make dua for guidance, strength, sabr ect, get on with life and make the best of it in shaa Allah. Read Quran and contemplate on how all believers go through trials this is the wisdom of Allah who has all knowledge so we cannot understand somethings but of course we must trust that Allah wants the best for His servants.

      We may think something is bad but it is actually good for us and a blessing from Allah. The only way to make a trial better is to turn to Allah as we are, throughout our whole lives, in complete need of Him. Always seek forgiveness and ask for guidance.

      It would be difficult avoid a trial in the future because what ever has been written to happen will happen.
      There are many good dua that the prophet used, in which you can seek the protection of Allah, look at “fortress of a Muslim, Hisnul Muslim” daily.
      Brother may Allah help you in all your affairs.

    • Improve ourselves by becoming a more thoughtful person. Instead of just praying for our own goodness and our loved ones, pray for others too regardless of who they are.

  • Indeed may Allah forgive us and guide us to the best pathways.THough it may be true that we all need reminding to count our blessings I find it is often the adversities and struggles of others that are so difficult to bear with positivity.For example here in Manchester,Northern England two men were found guilty in the Courts this very week of taking a young boy into the toilets of a city centre department store and abusing him physically,and one can almost be sure morally they paid no heed to his innocence.Now these two men are facing a sentence of some 15years each minimum for this act, but it was reported as the words of the presiding judge that the boy may well suffer the consequences of the act for longer than that.I pray to Allah that the boy will be given grace,but at the same time we can hardly be expected to see such an offence in a positive light
    Equally there must be similar tragic occurances in our world,north and south,east and west,polluted rivers,lottery wins that otherwise could feed millions of third world people,maybe even prevent wars. Care would go along way to precluding the reign of convenience,,and the ethics of honest work and good intention easily defeat the lazy and the shameful who dump what they want to dump just where they fancy they’re unseen,be it on field or riverbank,out of sight out of mind.Not so the writer may say for Allah sees all,and though I try my best to be mindful of this truth His days are long and our lives relatively short.It’s not easy to face cruelty,injustice and disbelief in all its various forms and still be a stellar example of the counting of blessings.And ofttimes these things remind me of how,according to Quranic verses the Prophet(swt)was mocked for truths no other than the choosing of good,paying the poor due,keeping up the prayer.It is often when we are mindful of our blessings that we are hurt by the heedless.Brian Cokayne.Stockport,England.

  • Aslmk Tariq
    i’ve just been living the exact/mirror image situation as yours. i’d like to give you my comments but first i’d like to inform you that am just the common believer, i do not posses great Islamic knowledge nor am i very fluent in Arabic.

    Stop asking WHY. i’ve been asking myself the same WHY as you are doing. then an ayat in the quran surah zumar (ayat 9 of surah 39) started coming to my mind which basically is about “are those who devoutly work hard like those who do not…” this made me quit asking why. firstly because i realized i am first and foremost allah’s servant. he is the master. I belong to Him. He is the only who has All the rights over me. He made me out of nothing. And one day i would return to Him. He can do all that He wants with me so why should i ask why. i don’t need to know why. who am i really to question Allah? what would be my position on the Day of Standing? yes i feel like a victim and a victim is usually weak. but i do work hard. i mean i do my 5 prayers i read the quran i make thikr. so am not really a WEAK victim because based on the ayat i felt a big ray of hope on my way. how about the kafirs? they almost do not work at all yet Allah is Ar Rahman, HE gives them children, make them happy and all.

    People at work may call me a hard-worker. but How does Allah call me? Maybe He too calls me a hard-worker but how about along with this He starts calling me a Striver? How about gaining more levels in Allah’s eyes? Maybe He wants that coz He loves me. i had to do work some overtime without really expecting great but ONLY to please Allah so that He is happy with me whatever be.

    Striving Lesson 1
    Make your heart more submissive. when you are faced with trials scholars tell you to face it with patience and not to get angry. but no one tells you HOW to be patient. i remembered when i was in Mecca in masjid al haram i was doing thikr using prayer beads. an old lady told me to instead use your fingers when you do thikr as when you are in your quabr your fingers will have noor. i told myself when am completely wrecked my heart is completely torn and things are getting worse i needed Allah’s light to get healed. First i asked Him dua to do take care me and of my heart. then i did Striving Lesson 1. i sat down relaxed listening to my heartbeat. at each beat i said Allahu. i trained my heartbeats as my prayer beads. the effect it had was instant.you don’t need to count how much thikr you are doing. but you are sure your heart is doing it. as the old lady said Allah’s Light came at once i did not have to wait to be in my quabr. i am accepting my situation and in fact feel closer to Allah and am happy. And also i know nothing wrong will happen to me.
    Striving Lesson 2
    When a worry hits you and you start pacing around, at each step that you take say Bismillah. that has helped me immensely. now i almost do it both consciously and unconsciously.
    Striving Lesson 3
    Develop better manners. i live in a society where all my friends are kafir but alhamdulillah i can practice Islam peacefully. one of the big mistake that i usually made with them is calling people names. how about making my disadvantage be my blessing. sometimes i enjoyed calling people names as well. how about being kind. quit doing a wrong yourself first and when others are doing it gently say please don’t do that. For me it is a way to calling people to Allah. And am sure He will be happy with me.
    Striving Lesson 4
    Make a smile at people around you. say your salaams. Develop a habit of asking dua for people secretly. it does not matter whether you know them or not or whether you are on the street or whatever. When your eyes fall on someone just say a dua in whatever language.Angels of Allah will ask dua for yourself and your situation will improve.
    Striving Lesson 5
    Make your parents happy. See to it that you make your mum smile everyday or the next person who does something for you.
    Striving Lesson 6
    When you are at your worst, rush do ablution. This is a way of staying pure and the devils will leave you alone.

    i told you all these as when i was in the same situation of yours i was a very good prey for shaytan. when i did all that i mentionned above i realised No matter who tells you something bad or whatever be the situation, nothing wrong can ever happen to you. Circumstances are under the control of Allah. now when shaytan tells me this bad thing will happen to you i tell myself i trust Allah. i do my job for Him and HE will definitely Take care of matters beyond my control. And on the Day of ressurection He will Insha’allah call me a STRIVER.

  • I agree with brother Tariq above, sometimes its hard to actualize what your doing wrong or what to do in a particular trial, also how do you know what your doing is right?

  • assalamu alaikum,
    God would continue shower His blessing either to good people or to bad people. isn’t it?
    And the more difficulties one has to encounter, the more significant the life. God gives the hardship to someone because God knows that she /he capable to deal with it. But many people don’t realize that and give up in the middle of the test or even at the almost end of the test, and we will see the condition turn to worse. God provide many ways to resolve our problems. May Allah continue to forgive our mistake and gain our strength to resolve our problems.

  • Jazakallah khayr for the article and the thoughtful comments. This is something I needed to be reminded of right now subhanallah.

  • You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the work
    you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers
    like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe.
    At all times follow your heart.

  • Thank u for this article & for so many other articles on your website.
    So much is going on in my life & when ever I’m feeling low,I come to Suhaibwebb & start reading. It helps me a lot, brings up my spirits & make me see & understand that Allah has not forgotten me & I’m not alone in this world.
    Thank u once again Shaibwebb.

  • Dear sister Nadia Cardenosa,
    barakallahu feeki for your answer, so illuminating and gave me so much hope! May Allah bless you & your family immensely.

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