My name is Annam Choudhry. I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I am 22 and currently a Master’s candidate in International Relations at the City College of New York. I hope, inshAllah, others will find my articles useful. And if you do, it is all from Allah! Follow @BobbyV_89 on Twitter.
I often find myself in sticky situations. Sometimes I take the wrong train and end up miles from home late at night, or I derail a conversation and unintentionally get into an argument with someone I care about. Other times, I have to face even bigger challenges, like leaving medical school after putting in years of my life towards this goal. But, never fear! Allah is near.
Alhumdulillah, I’ve learned to remember Allah whenever any of these things take place. What ever He gives us in wealth, food, health, knowledge, etc. is from Him, so He can take any of it back. Allah swt is always testing us, and every exam is customized to the individual’s abilities. These exams temporarily test your patience, your character, and your tawakkul, and then it’s over before you know it. Allah swt lays it down when He tells us,
“So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief. Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.” (94:5-6)
However, we don’t always realize that these critical moments in our lives can be golden opportunities for a multitude of possibilities. There is good in everything that Allah swt does whether or not we see it right away.
“…it may be that you dislike a thing while Allah has placed abundant good in it.” (4:19)
So how do you take advantage of this goodness Allah has in store for us? First, we must embrace the fact that the knowledge of what is good for you in any trial is with Allah alone. Second, we must recognize an opportunity when it strikes. The best opportunities are sometimes right under your nose, even when calamity strikes, but we fail to see them.
Qur’an and Sunn’ah are the ultimate guidelines. So I’ve pick up a few pointers from there and come up with these five simple steps to take when ‘life’ happens in order to make the best tasting lemonade out there:
- Recognize: Step back from the impending doom, and recognize that this is a test from Allah.
- Be Grateful: Alhumdulillah! You realized in time to check your self before you wreck yourself. Be grateful that Allah swt thinks you are worthy of being tested and be grateful that it isn’t worse. Also, being grateful during times of difficulty ensures a positive attitude, and this is very important during Step 3.
- Be Patient: Since you recognized the reality of the situation, that Allah is merely testing you, it is easier to calm down and be patient because relief lies just ahead insh’Allah
- Re-evaluate: While keeping in mind that everything happens by Allah’s permission, ask yourself, what got you to this point/what things were you in control of that you could have done differently? what steps will you take to fix the situation? what are your options? These sound like vague questions, but you can apply them to almost any situation both when you need to think on your feet and when you need to think about long-term issues.
- Seek Council (optional): Allah swt encourages us to seek advice from each other, make a decision, and then leave the rest up to Him.
The last bullet point is there if the trial you’re facing has to do with big life decisions or set back. So what if I had to leave medical school? That’s okay because Allah swt has something better planned whether it’s in this dunya or in the akhira. With advice from family and peers, and trust in Allah, now I’m free to pursue other passions I had locked up inside instead of losing my 20’s to the rigor of a medical career. Alhumdulillah! What a relief.
When you re-evaluate yourself and your life, make sure it is done during AND after the trial that you are going through. Take it as a character-building opportunity. These are the moments in life when you need to change yourself for the better, even if you are going through just a minor difficulty, there is always room and opportunity for a change. Your character is not something readily apparent to you, but it is to others, and so it is important to reflect on yourself for personal improvement. It might just be that Allah swt wants to help you grow.
Of course, it is easier said than done, but this is a long term process.