Overcoming Hardships Reflections

Rose of Jericho

By Hiba Khan

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 9.13.52 PMHave you ever felt so exhausted, so crushed and so in despair that you simply could not fathom your world being good again? One thing after another crashes against your weary, bruised existence and the color begins to drain from your life. I have been there, and however bizarre this may sound, I would not change it for the world.

It was during this difficult time that I reached what felt like an epiphany. I came across a plant called ‘The Rose of Jericho,’ originating from the same family as Lichen. They are known commonly as Resurrection plants, and as suggested by the name, are capable of some extraordinary feats. These incredible entities can survive months and even years of extreme dehydration and desiccation, during which they shrivel up and appear entirely dead. But add a few drops of water and within hours, leaves unfurl and color shifts from brown to green, life appears to return. A phenomenon that baffled scientists for years, because, to put it simply, according to basic accepted laws of biology, this should not happen. In the face of such adversity, lack of sustenance and ruthless battering of the elements, they should die and be gone for good. But they do not. They defy all odds, all that is expected and logical, and they spring back into beautiful form.

God constantly places signs for us in His creation, but He requires us to see them. For me, this almost surreal encounter was a wake up call and a restoration of spirit during my time of adversity, when sustenance seemed scarce and the elements ruthless. We are not in control of our circumstances, but we are in control of ourselves, and that is what defines us. I decided not to fall victim and fail the tests I was presented with, I would fight, defy the odds, and survive. Sometimes it takes months, sometimes years, and everyone’s fight is different, but while we have faith, we have hope.

Prophet Ayoub (Job) `alayhi as salaam (peace be upon him) lost his livelihood, his wealth, his family and then his health. Picture this for a minute, one by one, everything you consider important and essential, gone. Through the loss, the devastating and infuriating pain he must have felt, he kept his sights on His Lord. He saw that God brought him to this position on the physical plane in order to elevate him on the spiritual one. And after years of steadfastness in faith and utmost patience despite a broken heart, difficult conditions and an agonizing disease, God gave back to Ayoub (as) everything that had been taken, along with much, much more.

Nothing good comes easy. Know that the best of humanity were tested almost to breaking point, and Your Lord is the Most Compassionate and Most Wise. Step up your worship, focus your sights on He who is able to do all things, He who gives life and takes it, He in whose hand is the entire world. No matter how many pieces your heart has broken into, how disenchanted and disheartened you feel, if you have become even a tiny bit closer to Allah, subhanahu wa ta`la (exalted is He), it was worth it. Hang in there, and no matter how hopeless your situation may seem, things will get better insha’Allah (God willing).

There is a Japanese tradition called kintsukuroi, in which cracked pottery is repaired using gold or silver. Just as the pottery is even more stunning and precious for having been broken, so will you be. Now etched with the beautiful tracks of survival, the piece takes on an even more valuable lease of life, as will you.

Turn to Allah (swt), and through Him, make up your mind to survive. Like the Prophets and the plants, repair your existence with the metaphorical gold that is faith, and be all the more beautiful for it.

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5 Comments

  • Wow wow wow, i was just checking my e-mail and opened up a bunch of articles on virtualmosque at random and because it was just before class and didn’t plan on reading all of them and i was actually reflecting and felt extremely disappointed in myself and my level of iman (or lack thereof) this coupled with the despair and sadness i felt (because of an ongoing issue) made me feel so overwhelmed that my mind just blanked almost like a computer with too many things going on that just freezes and reaches its limit and can no longer function or process anything, that’s what happens when i think about the odds against me and my ultimate dream. Sometimes i don’t let myself really think of my dream at all, it just seems i have so many pieces of evidence validating that i can’t reach my dream (and this is only the ones i’m aware of i’m sure there’s more that i don’t even know about and especially the thought of that makes me feel especially disheartened) so i feel so discouraged and i have so many unanswered questions that i think a while back i accepted defeat and just this time accepting second best or mediocrity. So whenever i try and go into that dangerous place that is my mind and try to unravel these woven and complex problems apart i get lost and overwhelmed with the vast amount of questions, and the odds against me, they all seem to all point to me having no chance. Still i know that Allah is greater than absolutely any problem that could possibly arise so i know it’s my fault neglecting my state for so long and inshAllah i can find the strength to change myself.

    So i was feeling this way and looking for an article that might help and MashAllah i found some very helpful articles but none shook me and resonated with me the way your article did, that first sentence explained what i was going through but could not describe may Allah reward you with the best of this world and the next! you don’t realize how much you helped me just to know that the level of despair i was feeling was not abnormal means that i can overcome them if i choose thank you thank you! additionally i was kind of surprised that i didn’t read your article sooner because i thought i’d seen it around when i looked at the upload date it was today and i thought man if this isn’t a sign to keep going i don’t know what is, still, although i dont’t ever despair in Allah SWT i’m more afraid that i won’t make the right decision. I;m sorry i know i’m rambling on and on i’m just so happy to have found this reminder THANK YOU!!!!!

    • Salaam, alhamdulillah these words resonated with you :)! May Allah SWT ease your burdens and make your pain and struggle an expiation for you and accept your dua’s. Reminder to myself first and foremost, His mercy is greater than His anger, and those are His words not mine. Nothing happens by chance, every single occurrence in your life has divine meaning, and is written somewhere beyond time and space, and is ultimately all part of a world that will perish and come to an end. The only eternal part is our souls and the way we react to those occurrences, our deeds, and may He illuminate our paths and grant us perspective and tranquility in our minds and hearts, through thick and thin. Try talking to Allah SWT throughout your day, take Him as your comfort and best friend, and utilise the precious moments before Fajr to ask and beg for what it is you are searching for, and then have every hope and expectation in his unlimited mercy that it will come your way. The negative thoughts and anxiety spirals are shaytaan trying to make us despair in God, and after a while we form these mental habits and it becomes second nature to feel that way, make a conscious effort to recite something or make dua when you get those thoughts, turn to Him immediately to quell the pain and worry, and know He is there, hearing you clearly and responding in the very best way

  • When a cavity is filled with gold or silver and the crevice in our mouth
    is silenced from pain, our smile and expression can radiate a sense of thanksgiving
    because a toothache is no more.
    A heartache seeks out a resolve and the above article clearly describes such a beautiful
    blossom of recovery when the author of creation is invited to the forum of inquiry
    whether audible or in silence to even one drop of Zamzam.

  • Wow…so beautifully scripted.. Barakallahu fik for this reminder..just what I need to navigate fro these months. May Allah azzwajal ease that long road and help us cling to His rope.

  • MashaAllah.
    May Allah allow us to act according to this and to constantly see the hidden blessings in the trials and tribulations we face. jAk

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