Difficulties and Calamities
“Is there any one amongst you who is like JobPBUH (Ayub), the beloved Prophet of God? JobPBUH was meant to be an example for the world so, being an embodiment of patience he bowed his head in submission every time he faced a calamity. He showed the world that the rights of our real Master are so many that even when one’s life, possessions and honour are in tatters, the only words that should come out of one’s mouth should only be expressions of gratitude to our Lord. This is because, he is the provider of everything we own; what is there to complain about if he takes back some of what he granted us? But then, is there any one amongst you who is like the beloved Prophet of God, JobPBUH?”
The wise words of this man knowledgeable about the affairs of God were sinking into the hearts of the audience… the gentle rain of awareness was softening the ignorant hard hearts. He spoke again after a pause, but this time, like the Prophet JosephPBUH (Yusuf), who used to give accurate interpretations of dreams, he also started to elaborate about the solution to the problem.
“Your Lord knows that you are not Job, therefore, he sends worries and problems your way for other reasons. Some people’s sins start to eat up their virtues… just as fire burns up the wood. These negligent people do not have anything left to offer but the hot water of their sins; so the same hot water is poured onto the fire. At this, they raise a clamor and call their Lord for help. They ought to add repentance to this cry… sincere repentance and seeking forgiveness; after that, the soothing cold wind of mercy will extinguish any fire.
Some difficulties are due to the Laws of Nature. Illness finds its way in, one way or the other; accidents do take place and the inevitable is bound to happen… man cannot escape them. One should seek God’s protection and help in these situations. One should pray to be allowed under the umbrella of His divine protection. The one, who finds this refuge is saved from the scorching heat of these calamities, even if he cannot escape facing their intense glare.”
“Does Human wisdom and effort not play any role in avoiding these problems?” a listener interjected. The wise man smiled and replied:
“Yes, they definitely have a role. Look! God did not create you like animals; he made you a human being. He has provided you with intelligence and intellect; as soon as you use them, you will surely notice an improvement. If you correct you diet, attitude and routine activities, you will avoid many illnesses. You will save your self from poverty and dependence on others if you plan well and spend money in a modest manner. I do not intend to negate the importance of any of these; all I want is to guide you about how to deal with difficulties and problems that arise despite these measures.
Now, listen carefully to the last point which many people do not comprehend. Problems sometimes come our way to help us improve ourselves. To improve our life, habits, attitude and the way of thinking… God sometimes sends a major calamity our way after we develop some deficiency, weakness or flaw in our conduct, manners, character or faith, which might be disastrous in this life or in the Hereafter. It is the decisive warning before complete doom is ordered.
As soon as you realise that this is the case, immediately prostrate in front of your Lord and seek His forgiveness; ask for ease and seek His protection. If nothing seems to be working, understand this well that your Lord can see some major weakness or flaw in you which you have not yet realised. Your flaw and your weakness have got hold of you like a serpent but you have not realised it due to negligence and pride.
Now is the time for repentance, the time for admitting one’s flaw and mistake. It is the time to appreciate that the real calamity is within us and not outside. It is the time to vow to uproot the weakness for good. It will not be long after this affirmation that the calamity will pass over.
And the last word is that if you do not vow to deal with this and waste your time in superficial explanations of your faults and flaws, then this will only lead to one consequence… the burden of sins will eventually tilt your boat over, and make it sink.”
Translation by Bashir Nazir