“What did I ever do to deserve such a fate,” we sometimes ask ourselves. “Why me?” The timeless question that most complainers utilize to justify their self-pity. The confusion even strong willed and persistent people may find themselves wondering about when life’s circumstances are too difficult to bear. A sense of being a meaningful ‘speck’ within the universe comes over each person as they grapple with their self-identity. Coming to terms with oneself is the true return home.
As a new year arrives, we are often left wandering with these painful questions. Perhaps we had survived some defining ordeal in the past year. Maybe we have still not forgiven others or ourselves for past mistakes. A loss of a loved one, a job, health issues or more may be troubling us. Maybe we feel guilty about a sin and need to ask for forgiveness from the All High, the Most Merciful, our Lord Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
The first step in reconciling these types of thoughts is to realize we are all in a certain position in life for a reason. Each human being was given certain circumstances because Allah knew they could handle it. He is All-Knowing, All Merciful. Our past surely painted us with certain colors but it should not continue to haunt us. Rather, when we know we are in control of our choices, we can grow stronger from the experience and accept Allah’s will knowing that everything happens for a reason. We gain strength from the fact that our Lord entrusted us with a certain experience and He deemed us strong enough to take it on! Subhan Allah!
Allah says in the Qur’an: No soul shall have a burden laid on it greater than it can bear. (2:233)
Wouldn’t He as our loving Creator have the complete 360 degree view of our situation? Indeed, He does. And we don’t have the full picture yet. Allah knows our past, present and future and knows that the challenges we face, in the long run, we face for a reason. To accept this and stop wallowing in self-pity is the start of change. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “Allah `azza wa jall said: ‘Verily, from amongst My slaves is he whose faith cannot be rectified except by being inflicted with poverty, and were I to enrich him, it would surely corrupt him. Verily, from amongst My slaves is he whose faith cannot be rectified except by wealth and affluence, and were I to deprive him, it would surely corrupt him. Verily, from amongst My slaves is he whose faith cannot be rectified except by good health, and were I to make him sick, it would surely corrupt him. Verily, from amongst My slaves is he whose faith cannot be rectified except by disease and illness, and were I to make him healthy, it would surely corrupt him. Verily, from amongst My slaves is he who seeks worship by a certain act but I prevent that from him so that self-amazement does not enter his heart. Certainly, I run the affairs of My slaves by My Knowledge of what is in their hearts. Certainly, I am the All-Knower, All-Aware.‘” [Reported by al-Tabarani]
With humility and submission, we must realize that we lack complete knowledge. However, we need to accept our free will and potential to change our situation. Accepting each day as a new beginning while hoping for the best will free our mental shackles.
“The beginning of a journey starts with the single step…”
Let the first step today be thankfulness for our situation, not complaint. Let’s practice gratitude and Shukr as a daily routine. Let’s say “Alhamdulillah” today as though we mean it. Please, don’t assume that we will live for too long. The question that we should always ask ourselves is not why me. It is what preparations are we making to die as good Muslims? We should always be ready. We should always struggle to improve ourselves until we become the best persons we can be.