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Dealing with Worries and Stress

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

category: Coping with Adversity


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This important hadeeth indicates the following: the slave should admit that he belongs to Allaah and that he cannot do without Him and has no other master than Allaah; that he should be a slave to Allaah, announce his submission to Him, obey His commandments and heed His prohibitions; that Allaah is directing and controlling him as He wills; that he should demonstrate his submission to Allaah and his acceptance of His decree; that he should pray to Allaah, using all His Names, then ask for what he needs.

A number of other du'as to do with distress and anxiety have also been narrated in the Sunnah. They include the following:

Ibn 'Abbaas reported that when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) felt distressed, he would say: "Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah al-'Azeem al-Haleem, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah Rabb al-'Arsh al-'azeem, la ilaaha ill-Allaah Rabb al-samawaat wa Rabb al-ard wa Rabb al-'Arsh al-kareem (There is no god but Allaah, the All-Powerful, the Forbearing; there is no god but Allaah, Lord of the mighty Throne; there is no god but Allaah, Lord of heaven, Lord of earth, and Lord of the noble Throne)."

Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was distressed by something, he would say: "Yaa Hayyu yaa Qayyoom bi rahmatika astagheeth (O Ever-Living, O Eternal, by Your mercy I seek help)."

Asmaa' bint 'Umayr said: "The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me: 'Shall I not teach you some words which you can say at times of distress?' 'Allaah Allaah rabbee laa ushriku bihi shay'an (Allaah Allaah is my Lord, I do not associate anything with Him)."

Another of the beneficial du'as which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught us is the one he told us about when he said: "The du'a of the person who is in distress is: 'Allaahumma rahmataka arjoo fa laa takilni ilaa nafsi tarfat 'ayn wa'aslih li sha'ni kullahu laa ilaaha illa anta (O Allaah, for Your mercy I hope, so do not leave me in charge of my affairs even for the blink of an eye; rectify all my affairs. There is no god except You)'"

If a person thinks about the meaning of these du'as and prays with concentration and a sincere intention, doing all those things that can help to bring about a response, Allaah will fulfil his hopes and do the things asked for; He will turn his distress into joy.

If the du'a comes from a heart which is filled with faith, it will dispel worry and bring comfort. The scholars have mentioned many stories of people who prayed to Allaah in times of calamity and distress, and Allaah responded to their prayer and saved them from an enemy, or from drowning, or from starvation or disaster. One example is the story of what happened to the great Sahaabi al-'Alaa al-Hadrami, who was one of the most prominent scholars and devoted worshippers, one of the close friends (awliyaa') of Allaah whose du'as are answered. During the campaign against the apostates of Bahrain, he pitched camp, but before the people could settle down, the camels bolted, carrying away all the provisions of the army, including their tents and water, leaving them with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. It was night-time, and they could not restrain even one camel. The people were filled with indescribable distress and alarm, and some of them began making wills to one another (because they felt that death was inevitable). Al-'Alaa called the people together and said: "O people, are you not Muslims? Are you not striving for the sake of Allaah? Are you not the ansaar (supporters) of Allaah?" They said, "Of course." He said, "Then be of good cheer, for Allaah will not forsake anyone who is in your situation." When the time for Fajr prayer came, he called the people to pray and led them in prayer, then he knelt up, and the people did likewise. He started to pray (make du'a), raising his hands, and the people did likewise. They prayed until the sun rose, and the people began to look at the mirages caused by the sun, shimmering one after another, all the while fervently praying. When he reached the third [??], Allaah created a great stream of fresh water beside them. ['laa] walked towards it, and the people followed him, then they drank and washed themselves. Before the sun had reached its zenith, the camels started to come back from all directions, bringing the supplies loaded on them, so the people did not lose anything at all, and they were able to give water to the camels. This is one of the signs of Allaah witnessed by the people during that campaign. (Al-Bidaayah wal-Nihaayah: Dhikr riddat ahl al-Bahrayn wa 'awdatihim).

Praying for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) (i.e., saying "Allaahumma salli 'ala Muhammad," etc.)

This is one of the greatest ways through which Allaah may relieve worries:

Al-Tufayl ibn Ubayy ibn Ka'b reported that his father said: When two-thirds of the night had passed, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) got up and said: "O people, remember Allaah, remember Allaah. The first blowing of the Trumpet has come, and will be followed by the second blowing. Death has come, with all that it implies, death has come with all that it implies." I said: "O Messenger of Allaah, I pray a lot for you. How much of my prayers should I devote to you?" He said, "As much as you want." I said, "A quarter?" He said, "As much as you want, and if you increase it, it will be good for you." I said, "Half?" He said, "As much as you want, and if you increase it, it will be good for you." I said, "Two-thirds?" He said, "As much as you want, and if you increase it, it will be good for you." I said, "I will devote all my prayer to you." He said, "Then your worries will be taken care of and your sin will be forgiven."

Relying upon Allaah and entrusting matters to Him

When a person knows that Allaah is Able to do all things, that He alone makes choices for His slaves and runs their affairs, that the way He runs His slave's affairs is better than the way the slave would do it for himself, that He knows better about the slave's interests than the slave does, that He is more able to achieve them, that He is more sincere and more merciful towards His slave than the slave is to himself; and also knows that he cannot progress or regress any further than the limits that Allaah has decreed for him, for nobody can change the will and decree of Allaah, when a person knows all this, he will submit himself to his Lord and hand over his affairs to Him, throwing himself before his Lord like a weak slave throwing himself before a mighty and powerful king. Allaah deals with His slave as He wishes, and the slave has nothing to do with it. Only after he has submitted thus will the slave feel relief from his distress, worries and regrets. He gives the burden of his needs and interests to One Who is not concerned about how heavy or great the burden is. Allaah will take care of it, instead of him, and will show him His kindness and mercy, without the slave getting tired or worried, because all his concern is now focused on Allaah alone. His worry about his needs and interests in this world has been lifted from him and his heart is now free of this concern. How good his life is now, how blessed his heart and how great his happiness and joy!

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