Right now the entire world is caught into a frustrating situation hovering over the world due to coronavirus epidemic and the resultant lockdown in response to the threat to life. How to cope with stress and mental frustration brought by this abnormal situation? Although we have really competent people around who can be of great help in times of mental frustration. But to play a sparrows part which, as the legend goes, had taken a drop of water to extinguish the fire in which Prophet Ibrahim (AS) had been thrown. When asked what her drop could do, she replied that she just wanted to play per part. Here is an attempt to that sparrow’s role with the intention that may be it soothes somebody in distress. The author intends to share his personal experiences, coupled with instructions from experts, he has gained while fighting with and overcoming stressful situations in his life, as sharing means caring.
Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him), a great aalim, preacher and sufi master, founder of the Qadriyyah order of Tasawwuf, in his al-Fath al-Rabbani, says:
When a man is subjected to a tribulation, he first turns to his own self. But when he fails, he seeks help from people like rulers, men of high positions, lords of the world, and physicians, in case of illness. But when they too fail to help him, he invokes his God; cries, weeps and supplicates. So, as long as he relies on himself, he does not turn to people. And unless he gets disappointed from people, he doesn’t turn to his God. But when God does not help him, he confines himself to prayer, offering praises to God, oscillating between fear and hope. Then God disappoints him and does not listen to his prayers and he cries till he gets disappointed from everyone. So he leaves every effort and is reduced to just soul. Here he sees none but God alone as the Real Doer of all actions and becomes a true muwahhid.
That is the role suffering can play in one’s life and that is why God brings sufferings. And shockingly, it seems now, man is being driven to the same situation. Step by step, from himself to people of skill to God to desperation and then finally to God and God alone. But if you were truthful in your faith in Him, you need not worry. Turn to Him and Him alone. None can do anything, no, not even those used to boast.
Faith is supposed to be the most viable source of comfort and peace of mind in times of suffering and desperation. People believing in God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate, firmly believe that every good or bad condition that befalls man is by His decree, Who, by bringing calamities, does not want people to suffer, but to mend their ways and repent and desist from becoming cause for others’ suffering. “Whatever suffering befalls you is due to your own deeds.”
Remember, everything has been written before the earth and the heavens were created. You cannot change the Divine decree; you cannot even challenge it. The destiny has already been set. But yes, your efforts are also a part of your destiny. So don’t lose heart, wade in the troubled waters, the shore is not far; think positive, it is not going to remain for long. “Verily after the hardship there is ease.” Hardship comes by the Will of God. Whosoever endures and shows patience gets reward and whosoever loses heart and becomes impatient, loses the game and suffers.
Sufyan Thawri, a great muhaddith of his time, went for Hajj. On reaching the Muzdalifah, he made a clay cushion for himself. People asked him: why did you made such cushion while you are a great muhaddith. He replied: this cushion is better than that of Ja‘far Mansur, the Abbasid ruler of that time. So we must learn to derive good from what seems misfortune, and comfort from inconvenience. That is optimism which strengthens you amidst hardships unlike pessimism which drowns you even when the shore is not too far.
Disappointment, frustration, and cowardice are not the traits of true believers. Don’t listen to rumours. They frighten you; don’t share rumours they frighten those who could otherwise console you. It will be a good chance for you to improve, prepare, enrich your knowledge and strength your latent powers.
Death is inevitable; its time is already fixed. Everyone shall taste it. But none will die before the predestined time. Remember if you are not to die, death itself will protect you; and if your time has come, nobody on earth will save you. So never worry about death but at the same time never be cause for your own death. Always follow the wisdom: “carefulness is half of life” and “prevention is better than cure”.
At home, be in the company of books. Do spare some time for meditation; be in isolation and concentrate on your ultimate relation with your God. Avoid social media for most of the time. Be patient and behave well with other family members.
In fact, staying at home for a pretty good time exposes one to his/her weaknesses. So this is the time for self-introspection and self-rectification.
Listen! It too shall pass. Yes, it has to. But, after teaching you a lesson; after making you wiser, that He alone must be the ultimate destination of all your efforts. It has told us many things. So let’s learn and beseech Him. Let’s live and let others live a peaceful life.
Pray for others and never violate the instructions for precaution is a part of faith. Be considerate to yourself, your children, family and humanity in general. Stay home; stay blessed. We shall overcome very soon. Insha Allah
(The author is Assistant Professor, Comparative Religion, Central University of Kashmir. He can be reached at [email protected])