Keeping faith in the face of life's challenges

HUMAN beings are truly one of God's most amazing creations. Blessed with the ability to analyse, comprehend and decide, the observant knows that he has been 'fashioned to perfection' by the Creator. But this perfection is far from being inherited. As a matter of fact, our beginning and ending is enveloped with weakness upon weakness.

By Abid Ishaq

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Published: Fri 24 Mar 2006, 10:20 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:17 PM

On our humble beginning, Allah himself says: "Let man, then, observe from what he has been created." [86:5] Death paints a similar picture of uncertainty and helplessness. In other words, the experience of life and death which we must all go through regardless of our social and religious affiliations is an experience of total reliance.

Despite having such a weak beginning and ending, it is our individual abilities mixed with materialism that make us forget our Lord and feel superior to others. During this period of forgetfulness we tend to be short-sighted, refusing to reflect on ourselves and nature around us. It is during these moments that we disobey the Perfect Creator and find ourselves seeking a quick-fix to life. The most important relationship between us and the Creator is defined in the Holy Quran: "You Alone we worship, and you Alone we seek assistance from." [1: 4]

This relationship is the key to being prepared in the most natural of ways. It is this verse of the Quran that helps us to realise that the period between our beginning and ending is a meaningful one, and a phase of total reliance and dependence on the Perfect Creator; a life of supplication.

This is exactly what a practising Muslim does. All hardships and tribulations that afflict him drive him back to faith and the reality of God. They remind him of Allah the Almighty; they encourage him to turn back to Him in repentance and to fear the Day of Judgment. Allah says:

"See they not that they are tried once or twice every year (with different kinds of calamities, disease, famine)? Yet, they turn not in repentance, nor do they learn a lesson (from it)." [9:126]

Muslims understand that this life is based on toil and man is seldom free from dangers. He suffers ailments and calamities; sorrows and wars; injustice and transgression and all kinds of tribulations. However, Allah is ever compassionate with His slaves. He always provides for them relief through a door of His mercy and blesses them with tranquillity and peace of mind. That door is the door of supplication to Allah, humbling oneself before Him and putting one's trust in Him. For supplications are the security of the frightened, the refuge of the weak and the solace of invocators. Who is he that has sought refuge with Allah and has not been protected and who is he that has relied on Him and has not been given guidance?

Supplication is the essence of worship. Allah says, "And your Lord said: "Invoke Me, I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn My worship (i.e. do not invoke Me, and do not believe in My Oneness, they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!" [40:60]

He also says, "And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright." [2:186]

Supplication is the dearest thing to Allah. It is the way to patience in the cause of Allah. It is a sign of sincere dependence on Allah and keeping away from incapacity and laziness. It is an easy-to-make act of worship and it can be done at all places and times. Allah tells us that Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, said, "And I shall turn away from you and from those whom you invoke besides Allah. And I shall call on my Lord and I hope that I shall not be unblessed in my invocation to my Lord." [19:48]

Many are the afflictions that have been removed by supplications! Many are the sins that have been forgiven through invocations! And many are the blessings that have been endowed through supplications!

It is only natural for us to turn towards the One Who has created us and reflect on our humble beginning and end. It is for us to supplicate to Allah and turn to Him in repentance, for we are helpless without His help, and misguided without His guidance. O Allah! Send your blessings on the noble Prophet, peace be upon him.

Abid Ishaq can be reached at

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