Overcoming Hardships Spiritual Purification With the Divine

Hardships and the Path to God

The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) said: “If Allah wills good for someone, He subjects them to hardship.” How could that be? How can hardship ever be good for us? What is the purpose of trials and why does Allah promise that we will face trials and tribulation? In what way does hardship purify and develop us? When is tribulation a punishment? When is it a blessing?

Yasmin Mogahed discusses these issues in a speech titled “Hardships and the Path to God” at the 2011 MSA West Conference.

About the author

Yasmin Mogahed

Yasmin Mogahed

Yasmin Mogahed received her B.S. Degree in Psychology and her Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After completing her graduate work, she taught Islamic Studies and served as the Sisters’ Youth Director for the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. She also worked as a writing instructor for Cardinal Stritch University, and a staff columnist for the Islam section of InFocus News. Currently she’s an independent media consultant and a writer for the Huffington Post, where she focuses most of her work on spiritual and personal development. Her written works, including a book chapter on the portrayal of Islam post-911, have appeared in print and online publications worldwide.

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  • i ask Allah to protect Islam and the Muslims from those who hate it
    my sisters in Islam don’t give up

  • Thank you for this great talk, I learnt a lot. I had a question – when the sister said our souls don’t die, only our physical bodies die, is there a specific reference for this? I had the impression that everything in whatever form must perish, except for Allah. In the Qur’an Allah says ‘every soul shall taste death’ (for example surah 29:57). In fact the Arabic does not say ‘ruh’, which is the Arabic for soul, but it says ‘nafs’. Does this word then relate only to the physical being? I thought it related to both the physical and the internal being of a person. Which is correct, and how does this tally with what was mentioned in the talk? I know this might seem like a technicality, but I wanted to check this with others who might be more knowledgeable.

    Thank you

    • I guess you can watch Sheikh Shady Al Suleimaan’s lecture series titled “Death and the hereafter” on youtube. Also look for Sh Salim Al amry ‘s lecture on the same titled ”Death -The long awaited visitor”

    • Assalamu alaikum,

      At the time of death, as we know, only the body dies. The soul just moves on to another realm (the realm of the grave). We know, for example, that we are questioned in our grave and begin to feel the punishment or reward. In regards to the ayat that say that everything will perish except Allah, swt, we know that just before the Day of Judgement, there will be a point where Allah swt will make everything else perish (even the angel of death) and He (azza wa jal) will be the only thing in existence. Then He will raise us again and it will be Judgement Day. What I mean by the soul is eternal is that Allah makes it live forever in the hereafter. With the exception of the period just before the Day of Judgment, the soul does not die. The body does. At death, it moves on to the grave, and in the hereafter, it lives forever in paradise or hell-fire. (Some souls will spend some time in hell-fire and then enter jennah). And Allah swt knows best.

  • as an learning to us, we can see on surah 94:5-6 Fa inna ma’al ‘usri yusraan inna ma’al ‘usri yusraan.

  • As Salamu Alaikum,

    Very beneficial, masha Allah. I also like the part in the end about cutting off the head 🙂

  • Salaam sister,
    Everything you said here was so important for me to hear, and to learn. My heart is brimming with thankfulness to Allah for bringing me here, and for the friend and sister who told me about this lecture. I truly pray that Allah rewards you for doing so much, and speaking so excellently and developing your knowledge and rhetoric to reach our hearts and minds so well. I have one question, in the form of many little questions, for you (or anyone else who may be able to answer).
    The idea of detaching from our false attachments is wonderful, but How do you fill that space with Allah? I understand inshaallah(to some extent) the idea of placing trust in Allah instead of those things that we can become so afraid of losing, but then if we do that, how do we maintain our love and respect for those things? A lot of our deepest attachments are to things and people that Allah has blessed us with, and that we should respect – parents, siblings, spouses, friends, etc. What is good detachment, and what remains? If, for example,my parents give me a lot of pain and instability, well they are still my parents, and though I can detach and gain strength in ultimately relying on Allah, very practically, what is the best thing I can still do to respect and honor my parents?
    Sorry for so many questions, and if they were not clear!

  • Jazak’Allahu Khairan for another Imaan-building (and funny) talk Sr. Yasmin. You provided so many great examples and situations that we can all relate to which made it easy to relate to in our daily lives, whether, young or old.

  • I love this.
    Starting at 21 minutes, she’s speaking to my heart and about my life.
    The two things I was attached to most. I have lost and have felt the greatest pain in my life.

    To purify me Alhumdulillah. May Allah please make my difficulties easy.
    I look at Prophet Ibraheem–and how he was asked to sacrifice his son for Allah, and he was prepared to. And the reward that came from this act of faith. SubhaanAllah. Allah please make us strong.

    May Allah forgive me. Please brothers and sister pray for me. I am asking for Allah to give me blessings in my life again. As’salaamu alaikum…

    • Dear Ammarah,
      Heartbreak takes time to heal. Insha’Allah you will get through this difficulty in your life, whatever it is. Depending on the level of attachment, it could take months or even years. Like Sister Yasmin says, “look through it.” Eventually, you will find Allah SWT on the other side…that is my prayer for you, and it is my prayer for myself.
      Take care.

  • Absolutely inspiring and powerful. I especially liked your advice as to how to get over resentment, and the hadith you included regarding tasting the sweetness of Iman: to know that whatever befell you was meant to befall you by the will of Allah swt and whatever passed you by was meant to pass you by.

    Jazakallahukhair and may Allah swt reward you greatly for all of your hard work.

  • Assalaam Alaikum,

    Apparently, there is a lecture posted here (video?), but I can’t find any, except a black window at the top. Has it been taken down ? Where can I find it ?

  • Asalaamu ‘alaykum

    I like the hadith you spoke about at the end. I always wanted to understand why the Prophet (saw) said that the 5 pillars would suffice to enter Jannah, as there are many ahkam in Islam. There are many ahkam related to eating, treatment of others, earning halal income, etc… There are many virtuous as well. My question is that once one practices the 5 pillars, one becomes detached to this world, is it true that he/she will completely practices the deen in its entirety rather than simply the 5 pillars?
    I understand the 5 pillars are means to an end but how about those who practice the 5 pillars but still love someone else as they should love ALlah (swt).

  • I understand everything that’s being said in the lecture, but what about when the hardship comes when you are very young (ages 2-4) and it leaves you so traumatised that you never really manage to overcome it and do anything of any value with your life. Without going into details, What happened to me before I was 5 gave me both, I believe, “Selective Mutism” and “Emotional Deprivation Disorder”(google it) (I recognise every trait of it in me with the exception of Kleptomania and Aggression), I’ve never managed to forge any kind of meaningful relationship with another human being in my entire life. Solitude, not through choice, is how I’ve spent the majority of my life. I am a convert to Islam although I’ve always struggled with the actual practice of it. I sometimes wonder did all this happen simply so I would recognise Islam as the true religion. I can see in hindsight that all I needed was someone who would have accepted me as I was and given me some TLC, but when I met such a person when I was 20 I was so crippled with self doubt and lack of confidence that I did almost nothing right and one day I saw her in the street and she walked straight past me like I wasn’t there and I haven’t seen her since. I can see, again in hindsight, that if I’d done things anyway other that the way I actually did them I would probably have been successful. It’s like all the other possibilities were veiled to me! I have nothing now except a lifetime of regret.

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