Fatwa: # 18468
Category: Character & Morals
Country: South Africa
Date: 1st February 2010

Title

Why are things not working out although i completely dedicate my life for Deen?

Question

 

im an individual who is curious about how things are not working out at all after dedicating my life fully to religion. before we had any religious enlightment, i can say that we were completely fine and happy. my dad had a steady job, my mom was more social with her friends, my brothers and sisters going to school and being on top of the class always. after i turned 8, my dad had some tablighi friends who told him his job was illegitimate because he was the manager of a rite aid which sold some haram things, so they promised him a full time job and told him to move out to their area. he did so and they gave him the least possible amount of hours, about 10 hours a week!

 

they told him its like that so that he could go out in jamaath and fulfill the prophets work. he was forced to get another job atop of that, a minimum wage job, coming from a well paying job as a manager, which they told him was a haraam job and he shouldnt do. Since then, he's been going out in jamaath and made my entire family dedicate themselves to religion, and we all followed, me and my older brother were put into madrasah and we both became hafiz, we prayed 5 times a day everyday, fasted all the notable islamic days, followed all the sunnah and went out in public with sunnah attire, etc. pretty much did everything religion asked us to do. but the more we put into religion, the more we suffered in our lives. its been 10 years now since my family had become religious and now we have hardly any money for anything other than living cost, i have to do odd jobs to get money for gas, and can hardly afford books for college, and my dad lost his legal status in this country (US) and the only time we can afford better food on our table is when people are kind enough to give us some money to help us out. i lost faith, i have no motivation to follow this religion anymore, but my parents!

 

they dont do anything wrong, and their suffering so hard, my teacher once told me its because of my actions other loved ones suffer, but what about my older siblings? they still follow the religion with their heart and they cant do anything to lift my parents off their feet, and if that was true, shouldnt my parents at least have some sort of peace and not suffer like they are nowadays? and as of me, i used to pray and do everything good, but since my life has been turning upside down, ive slowly been letting my faith go, everywhere i go i get turned down, no job, no proper school due to my parents trying to make a necessary move to a cheaper place which didnt work out, no financial assistance due to huge influx of students at my community college, no car to move around, pretty much nothing at all, just alot of time to think and be depressed. what motivation can i possibly have to actually pray and have at least some faith in my life? im really lost 

Answer

In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalāmu ῾alaykum wa Rahmatullāhi Wabarakātuh

 

I hope and pray that this message reaches you in a state of strong faith and excellent health.  Ameen.

 

I would first like to commend you and your family for holding firm to Allah’s dīn during a time when people have quickly abandoned it.  Despite being faced with struggle and adversity you have persevered up to this point.  Know that, without a doubt, Allah sees every act of good that you all do and will reward you in full for your efforts insha Allah.  Nothing you do for the sake of Allah will ever be wasted or in vain.   

 

As we live our life in this world, it is essential to always keep a few things in mind.  First, this life is temporal and the next life is everlasting.  Therefore, anytime we can improve our standing in the next life we should consider it an accomplishment, even it comes at the expense of some material comfort in this life. 

 

Second, nothing in life is free.  Rather, the more valuable a thing is, the higher the price one must pay in order to achieve it.  The same goes for Paradise.  Our beloved Prophet (s.a.w.) has stated:

أَلاَ إِنَّ سِلْعَةَ اللَّهِ غَالِيَةٌ أَلاَ إِنَّ سِلْعَةَ اللَّهِ الْجَنَّةُ

“Indeed, the item of Allah is expensive.  Indeed, the item of Allah is Paradise.” -Tirmidhi

 

During times of difficulty, it is critical to recall these types of hadīth in order to remember that we are not struggling for nothing.  Although we implore from Allah that He eases the process towards His pleasure and Paradise, hardship will be experienced at one point or another.  Paradise is inclusive of all wishes and desires and therefore is not cheap.  Tests will come our way.  Allah says in the Qur’an:

 *أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَنْ يُتْرَكُوا أَنْ يَقُولُوا آَمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ * وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ

“Do people think that they will be left simply to say: We believe! and they will not be put to the test?  Yet, very truly, We have tested all those who came before them.  Thus Allah shall, most surely, distinguish those who speak the truth about their belief.  And He shall, most surely, distinguish the liars.” –Surah al-‘Ankabūt: 2-3

 

It is understood from verses such as these that tests and difficulties in the road of life are not reserved for those unmindful of Allah.  Similarly, a trouble free life is not restricted to only those with firm faith.  Rather, true believers are the ones who will be tested by Allah at some point in their life.  Struggle and sacrifice was a hallmark of the most righteous servants of Allah in the past, especially the prophets.  Our beloved Prophet (s.a.w.) was once asked, “Which people experience the most tests and difficulties in this life?”  The Prophet (s.a.w.) responded:

الأَنْبِيَاءُ ثُمَّ الأَمْثَلُ فَالأَمْثَلُ

“The prophets of Allah experience the most tests and difficulties in this life.  Then those nearer to them, and then those nearer to them.” -Tirmidhi

 

The Prophet (s.a.w.) further went on to say that a person will continue persevering through these test and difficulties until they are walking the earth in a state where they are sinless.  The reason the person will be sinless is because, as a result of these test and difficulties, he is forgiven for his sins.  And in the case where a person is already sinless, such as the prophets of Allah and His truly righteous servants, their status in Paradise is elevated.  Thus, when one understands the wisdom behind the struggles experienced in life, they actually appreciate it and are able to bear it. 

 

Another thing to keep in mind is that happiness and peace are a state of one’s inner self, not the outer.  The gauge for happiness and peace is not the amount of wealth one has or the occupation that one holds.  This is why we find people who are financially well off with respectable occupations that are miserable.  On the same token, we observe others who are extremely impoverished but very happy.  The idea that happiness and peace are based on outward conditions is a misconception widely misunderstood by the masses, both Muslim and non Muslim alike.  Allah the Exalted has promised “the good life” in this world to those who fulfill His commandments, not necessarily a life of wealth and affluence.  Therefore, you will find Muslims of the past who held firmly to the commandments of Allah, many of whom were wealthy while many others were poor, to be very happy and content.  Allah the Exalted granted them “the good life” through granting them contentment of the heart regardless of the circumstance of their life.  As long as they were holding firm to Allah’s commandments, they were happy. 

 

Regarding the lifestyle of your father and the advise he received from his Muslim brothers involved in tablīghī jamā‘ah, Allah knows best exactly what advise was rendered and under what circumstances they were given.  Bear in mind that you were only eight years old at the time and were probably unaware of other factors playing into his decision.  We must hold a good assumption about whatever advice was given and have conviction that it was not void of wisdom.  After all, the move led to your family becoming more involved in religious activities and also spurred you and your brother to become the carriers of Allah’s noble words in your chest, the Glorious Qur’an.  It also served as a means for all of you to become punctual in your five times daily salāt as well as following aspects of the life of Allah’s most beloved, the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  This is true wealth which shall never diminish.  The wealth of this world comes and goes, but the wealth of the Qur’an and prayer is eternal.  Allah Ta‘ālā makes mention of this in the Qur’an:

الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا

“Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this fleeting world.  Yet abiding deeds of righteousness are far better in reward with your Lord in the Hereafter, and a far more excellent fulfillment of every hope in this life.” –Surah al-Kahf: 46

 

This is the true wealth.  Everything else is secondary.  As long as a person has this true wealth, then he does not need anything else.  If material wealth comes to him, he takes it.  If it misses him, he leaves it.  It should not, however, become a source of his enjoyment or his depression.  In fact, sometimes Allah gives material wealth to some while He withholds it from others for their own good.  Some people may think that wealth would be good for them when it would actually corrupt them.  Consequently, Allah the Exalted withholds abundant wealth from him.  Other times, a person may become corrupt if in a state of poverty so, consequently, He gives them abundantly.  In reference to this, the Prophet (s.a.w.) mentioned in a hadīth that Allah says:

"إن من عبادي من لا يصلحه إلا الفقر، ولو أغنيته لأفسدت عليه دينه، وإن من عبادي لمن لا يصلحه إلا الغنى، ولو أفقرته لأفسدت عليه دينه"

“Indeed, from amongst my servants is he who nothing would make him right except for poverty.  If I were to grant him wealth I would surely corrupt his deen.  And indeed, from amongst my servants is he who nothing would make him right except for wealth.  If I were to make him impoverished I would surely corrupt his deen.” –Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr

 

We must know that if Allah grants us ease and affluence, then this is what is best for us and we must continue carrying out the commandments of Allah.  Similarly, if Allah restricts our wealth and we are impoverished, then this is what is best for us.  We have to place our trust in Allah and have conviction that we are under His care.  Sacrificing our position in the hereafter for the fleeting things of this world is not worth it.  Have patience with what Allah gives you and you will find peace and happiness in that.  It is not always easy, but as I mentioned earlier, paradise is not cheap.  But the more we sacrifice, the sweeter the reward will be insha Allah. 

 

May Allah grant you the strength and ability to do those things which will please Him, and abstain from those things which will anger Him.  And may He grant you the steadfastness to live in this manner until you meet Him in a state that He is pleased with you.  Āmīn.

 

And Allāh Ta῾āla Knows Best

Wassalāmu ῾alaykum 

Ml. Musa Sugapong,
Student Dārul Iftā

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Dārul Iftā

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