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Dealing with Worries and Stress

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

category: Coping with Adversity

source: Islam-QA.com

reads: 24205

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This understanding of the reality of this world makes it easier for the believer to bear afflictions, pains, distress and anxiety, because he knows that they are an inevitable part of the nature of this life.

Following the examples of the Prophets and the righteous

The Prophets and the righteous suffered more distress in this world than other people. Each person is tested according to the strength of his faith. If Allaah loves a person, He tests him. Sa'd (may Allaah be pleased with him) asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): "O Messenger of Allaah, which of the people suffers the most distress?" He said: "The Prophets, then those who come after them (in terms of status), then those who come after them. A man will be tested according to the strength of his faith. If his faith is strong, then the distress with which he is tried will be greater; if his faith is weak, he will be tested in accordance with the level of his faith. Distress will keep on befalling the slave until he walks on the face of the earth free from sin."

Making the Hereafter one's main concern

The concerns of this world overwhelm and confuse people, but if the slave makes the Hereafter his main concern, Allaah will help him to focus and be determined, as was narrated by Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him): The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever has the Hereafter as his main concern, Allaah will fill his heart with a feeling of richness and independence; he will be focused and feel content, and this world will come to him in spite of it. Whoever has this world as his main concern, Allaah will cause him to feel constant fear of poverty; he will be distracted and unfocused, and he will have nothing of this world except what was already predestined for him."

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "When a person spends his entire day with no other concern but Allaah alone, Allaah, may He be glorified, will take care of all his needs and take care of all that is worrying him; He will empty his heart so that it will be filled only with love for Him, free his tongue so that it will speak only in remembrance of Him (dhikr) and cause all his faculties to work only in obedience to Him. But if a person spends his entire day with no other concern but this world, Allaah will make him bear its distress, anxiety and pain; He will leave him to sort himself out, and cause his heart to be distracted from the love of Allaah towards the love of some created being, cause his tongue to speak only in remembrance of that creation instead of remembering Allaah, and cause his faculties to work in obeying and serving them.

So he will strive hard, labouring like some work-animal, to serve something other than Allaah. Everyone who turns away from being a true slave of Allaah and obeying Him and loving Him will be burdened with servitude, love and obedience to some created being." Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allaah), We appoint for him a shaytaan (devil) to be a qareen (intimate companion) to him." [al-Zukhruf 43:36].

A surprisingly effective remedy: remembering death

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Remember frequently the one who will destroy all your pleasures: death, for there is no-one who remembers death when in straitened circumstances, but his situation will become easier, and there is no-one who remembers death during times of ease, but his circumstances will become straitened."

Praying to Allaah, may He be exalted

Du'aa (prayer or supplication) is very beneficial, and includes both protection and treatment. As far as protection in concerned, the Muslim is obliged to turn to Allaah and pray to Him for refuge from distress and to keep him away from it, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do. His servant Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) tells us: "I used to serve the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he stayed in Madeenah (i.e. was not travelling). I often used to hear him saying: 'Allaahumma inni a'oodhu bika min al-hamm wal-hazn wal-'ajz wal-kasal wal-bukhl wal-jubn wa dala' al-dayn wa ghalbat al-rijaal (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from distress, grief, incapacity, laziness, miserliness, cowardice, the burden of debt and from being overpowered by men).'"

This du'a is very effective in preventing distress before it happens; prevention is better, and easier, than cure.

When one is worried about what may happen in the future, the following du'a is very beneficial.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say: "Allaahumma aslih li deeni alladhi huwa 'ismat amri wa aslih li dunyaaya allati fihaa ma'aashi wa aslih li aakhirati allati fihaa ma'aadi w'aj'al al-hayaata ziyaadatan li fi kulli khayri w'aj'al al-mawta raahatan li min kulli sharr (O Allaah, make me adhere properly to my religion, on which all my affairs depend; make this world good for me in which is my livelihood; make my Hereafter good for me, in which is my ultimate destiny; make my life increase in every good thing and make my death a respite from every evil)."

When distress and pain befall a person, the door of du'a is always open to him; it is never closed. When one calls upon the Most Generous, He will respond and give. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"And when My slaves ask you 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 (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright." [al-Baqarah 2:186]

One of the greatest du'aas which take away distress and anxiety and bring joy is the famous du'a which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) encouraged everyone who hears it to learn it by heart:

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "There is no-one who is afflicted by distress and grief, and says: 'Allaahumma inni 'abduka ibn 'abdika ibn amatija naasyati bi yadika, maada fiyya hukmuka, 'adlun fiyya qada'uka. As'aluka bi kulli ismin huwa laka sammayta bihi nafsaka aw anzaltahu fi kitaabika aw 'allamtahu ahadan min khalqika aw ista'tharta bihi fi 'ilm il-ghayb 'indaka an taj'al al-Qur'aana rabee'qalbi wa noor sadri wa jalaa' huzni wa dhihaab hammi (O Allaah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your maidservant; my forelock is in Your hand, Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every name belonging to You which You have named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the Unseen with You, that You make the Qur'aan the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety),' but Allaah will take away his distress and grief, and replace it with joy." He was asked: "O Messenger of Allaah, should we learn this?" He said: "Of course; everyone who hears it should learn it."

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