Beat Hard Times

Is Time and Space Are Creations or Part of Allah Subhanoo Wat’ala the King of All Kings?

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What is the meaning of the hadeeth “Do not inveigh against time (waqt) for Allaah is time (waqt)”?

Is the saying “Do not curse time for Allah is time” authentic from the Rasool’s sayings ? If so, how do you interpret this ? I am confused about this issue.

Praise be to Allaah.

The word used in the hadeeth is not waqt (= time), but dahr (= time, vicissitudes of time) [this element of confusion may stem from translation of the question into Arabic]. This hadeeth was narrated by Muslim (5827) from Abu Hurayrah.

Other versions of the hadeeth are:

“Do not inveigh against time (al-dahr), for Allaah is time”

“Let not any one of you say, ‘Woe to time,’ for Allaah is time”

“Allaah says, ‘The sons of Adam offend Me and say, Woe to time, but they should not say Woe to time. I am time, I alternate the night and the day, and if I willed, I could seize them both.’”

With regard to the meaning of the hadeeth, al-Nawawi said:

They said: this is a metaphor, because the Arabs used to inveigh against time when disasters such as death, old age, loss of money, etc., happened. They would say, ‘Woe to time’ and other phrases cursing or inveighing against time. So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Do not inveigh against time for Allaah is time’, i.e., do not inveigh against the One Who brings about those disasters, for that will be directed towards Allaah, for He is the One Who causes them to happen. Time (al-dahr) means al-zamaan (time) which cannot do anything in and of itself, for it is just one of the things that have been created by Allaah.

The meaning of the phrase “for Allaah is time” means that He is the One Who causes those events and accidents to happen, and He is the Creator of all that happens. And Allaah knows best.

(Sharh Muslim, 15/3)

It should be noted that “time” (al-dahr) is not one of the Names of Allaah; it is attributed to Allaah in the sense that He created it and is controlling it, i.e., He is the Creator of time. Some phrases in the same hadeeth also indicate this, as when He says,  “It is in My Hand, I alternate the night and the day.” The One Who alternates and the thing which is alternated cannot be one and the same; there is the One Who alternates – i.e., Allaah – and the thing which is alternated – i.e., time, which Allaah controls as and when He wills.

See: Fataawa al-‘Aqeedah by Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 1/163

Al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer said, in his Tafseer of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“And they say: “There is nothing but our life of this world, we die and we live and nothing destroys us except Ad‑Dahr (time)” [al-Jaathiyah 45:24]

Al-Shaafa’i, Abu ‘Ubaydah and others said, in their commentary on the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “Do not inveigh against time for Allaah is time” – During the Jaahiliyyah, if some difficulty, trial or disaster befell them, the Arabs would  say ‘Woe to time’, attributing those events to time and inveighing against it. But the One Who brought those events to pass is Allaah, so it was as if they were inveighing against Allaah, may He be glorified, because in fact He was the One Who caused those things to happen. So it was forbidden to inveigh against time in this manner, because Allaah is Time, i.e., He is the One lWho is controlling it, but the Arabs were attributing those events to Time.

This is the best of the comments made in the Tafseer of this hadeeth, and this is what is meant. And Allaah knows best.

(Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/152)

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah preserve him) was asked about the ruling on inveighing against time. He replied:

Inveighing against time may be divided into three categories:

1.  Where the intention is to convey information without blaming or condemning. This is permissible, such as when a person remarks, “We are suffering from the heat (or the cold) today” and the like, because deeds are judged according to their intentions, and in this case a person is merely describing what is happening without expressing discontent.

2.  Where a person inveighs against time as the cause of events, as if by inveighing against it he means that time is what causes things to alternate between good and bad. This is shirk akbar (major form of shirk) because when a person attributes events to something other than Allaah, this means that he believes that there is another creator alongside Allaah.

3.   Where a person inveighs against time but believes that the One who causes things to happen is Allaah, but he inveighs against time because of the bad things that happened. This is haraam because it is contrary to the sabr (patience) that is required, but it is not kufr because the person does not inveigh directly against Allaah. If he were to inveigh directly against Allaah, he would be a kaafir

(Fataawaa al-‘Aqeedah, 1/197)

Other reprehensible expressions which people utter include cursing the hour or the day on which a certain bad thing happened, and so on. This is a sin because it is cursing and improper speech, and because this is cursing something which does not deserve to be cursed. What has the hour or the day done wrong? Nothing apart from the fact that the events happened then, but they are only created things which have no control over anything and cannot be held to blame. If a person inveighs against time, this reflects on the Creator of time. The Muslim should be above speaking in such a foolish and improper manner. And Allaah is the One Whose help we seek

Whoever curses time has wronged Allah

It is a common practice among the people to curse, degrade or attribute evil to time, if something displeasing occurs at a certain time. They will curse that day, month or year. Time, however, is not responsible for the occurrence of events. Deeds are only performed in it (i.e., the time). The One, Who Controls and Decrees all events is Allah. When one curses time, he is either, actually cursing Allah, Who governs all events, or he is ascribing occurrence of events to the time – and in doing so, he commits Shirk. The Prophet (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘Allah said, ‘The son of Adam wrongs me for, he curses ad-Dahr (the time); though I am ad-Dahr (the time), in My Hands are all things, and I cause the revolution of day and night.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee] in another narration, ‘Do not abuse ad-Dahr (time), for Allah is ad-Dahr.’ [Saheeh Muslim]

Ash-Shafa’ee, Abu Ubaydah, and several other Imams of Tafseer explained the meaning of the above Hadeeth saying, ‘During the time of Jahiliyah (ignorance), when an affliction, a calamity or disaster struck them, the Arabs used to say, ‘Woe to ad-Dahr (time)! So they used to blame such incidents on ad-Dahr, cursing ad-Dahr in the process. Surely, it is Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, Who causes these (and all) things to happen. This is why when they cursed ad-Dahr, it was as if they were cursing Allah, Himself, since truthfully He causes all incidents to happen. Therefore, abusing ad-Dahr was prohibited due to this consideration, for it was Allah, Whom they meant by abusing ad-Dahr,…’ This is the best explanation for this subject, and it is the desired meaning. And Allah knows best. We should mention that Ibn-Hazm and those of the Zahiriyyah like him made an error when they used this Hadeeth to include ad-Dahr among Allah’s most beautiful Names.’ [See, Tafseer Ibn Katheer under the Tafseer of the verse, (45): 24]

‘It is not considered cursing time to describe the years as difficult or to describe the day as black (i.e. dreary, sad), or the months as unfortunate, and similar statements. The reason is that this is restricted, meaning this is the day that he (the person) was unfortunate, or this is the day that he was bleak or dismal. Thus, the meaning of this is to describe what happened in that time, and that from his description was such-and-such, meaning, this person who is speaking. So actually, he is describing his condition and he is not describing the time with praise or reviling it.’ [Ghayatul-Murid fi-Sharh Kitab at-Tawheed by Shaikh Ibn Abdul-Aziz ibn Muhammad Ibn Ibraheem Aali Shaikh]

Kitaab At-Tawheed, Chapter: 43

Whoever Curses Time Wrongs Allah

Allah , says:

And they say: There is nothing but our life in this world: We die and we live and nothing destroys us except time. And they have no knowledge of it, they only conjecture” (Qur’an 45:24)

Allah , Most Glorified, Most High, informs us in this verse about the disbelieving dahris1 from among the Arabs and others, who do not believe in any life, save the life of this world, nor in the Rabb and Creator, Allah , Most High. They believe that nothing causes death except the passage of time. Then Allah , Most Glorified, Most High, refutes their claims, saying that they have absolutely no evidence for what they claim, but instead, depend upon surmise and their own vain opinions.

Benefits Derived From This Verse

1. That attributing good or evil to the passage of time is a sign of atheism.

2. Confirmation of a life after death for mankind.

3. That ad-dahr (time) is not one of Allah’s Names.

Relevance of This Verse to the Subject of the Chapter

That the verse rejects those who attribute events to time, for they commit a great wrong against Allah .

Relevance of This Verse to the Subject of Tawheed

That it rejects those who attribute events to time, because in so doing, they are ascribing a partner to Allah , for it is He, Alone Who decrees what will be and what will not be.

..ooOOoo..

It is authentically reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him) said: “Allah , Most Blessed, Most High, says: “The son of Adam wrongs Me: He curses time, though I am time: In My Hands are all things and I cause the night to follow the day.” 2 In another narration, He (may Peace Be Upon Him) says: “Do not curse time, for verily, time is Allah .”

Allah , Most Glorified, Most High informs us in this Hadith Qudsi, that man commits a great wrong against Allah when he curses time and attributes the occurrence of events to it, for Allah is the Rabb of time and the Disposer of affairs and it is by His Qadr that events take place. Therefore to curse time is to curse the Owner of time.

In the second narration, the Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him) forbids us from cursing time, saying that Allah is the Owner of time and the Disposer of it and all events and affairs, and this is confirmation of what was reported in the preceding Hadith Qudsi.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

1. The forbiddance of cursing time.

2. That no actions may be attributed to time.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter

That it proves that to curse time is to commit a great wrong against Allah .

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of Tawheed

That the Hadith proves that cursing time is a great wrong against Allah , because those who do so believe that it is time which causes events to take place and this is shirk in Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah, for it is Allah , Alone Who determines events.

Footnotes

1. Dahris: An atheistic sect among the Arabs, their views are widely held in the West today: There is no God, no Resurrection, no punishment, no reward etc., etc.
2. Narrated by Bukhari.

Quotes about journeys that are spiritual

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In a wide variety of traditions, a Spiritual Journey is seen as a path toward one or more of the following: a higher state of awareness, perfection of one’s own being, wisdom, or communion with God or with creation

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
~ Don Williams, Jr.

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“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
~  Greg Anderson
 
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“Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be…Close your eyes let your spirit start to soar, and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.”
~  Erich Fromm Quotes (German born American social Philosopher and Psychoanalyst, 1900-1980)

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“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping”
~  Chinese Proverbs
 
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“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end”
~  Ursula K. LeGuin quotes (American Writer best known for tales of science fiction, b.1929)

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“Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey.”
~ Alex Noble

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“A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles”
~  Tim Cahill

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“When you have completed 95 percent of your journey, you are only halfway there.”
~  Japanese Proverb

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“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”
~ Matsuo Basho

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“You are not the child of the people you call mother and father, but their fellow-adventurer on a bright journey to understand the things that are.”
~ Richard Bach Quotes (American Writer, author of ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’, b.1936)

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“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
~  Ursula K. LeGuin (American Writer best known for tales of science fiction, b.1929)

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“Of journeying the benefits are many: the freshness it bringeth to the heart, the seeing and hearing of marvelous things, the delight of beholding new cities, the meeting of unknown friends, and the learning of high manners”
~  Muslih-uddin Sad

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“Journeys, like artists, are born and not made. A thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will-whatever we may think.”
~ Lawrence Durrell

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“What people forget is a journey to nowhere starts with a single step, too.”
~ Chuck Palahniuk Quotes (American freelance Journalist, Satirist and Novelist. b.1961)

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Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
~ Lao Tzu
 
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Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters.
~ Harry Callahan
 
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Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.
~ Izaak Walton
 
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Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.
~ Greg Anderson
 
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It may be when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.
~ Wendell Berry
 
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We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.
~ Stephen Covey
 
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The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place.
~ Barbara DeAngelis
 
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Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be…Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar, and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.
~ Erich Fromm
 
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We may run, walk, stumble, drive, or fly, but let us never lose sight of the reason for the journey or miss a chance to see a rainbow on the way.
~ Gloria Gaither
 
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You cannot have a happy ending to a miserable journey.
~ Abraham-Hicks
 
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A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
~ Lao Tzu
 
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Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves.
~ Carol Pearson
 
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We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.
~ Marcel Proust
 
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And you? When will you begin your long journey into yourself?
~ Rumi
 
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Journey from the self to the Self and find the mine of gold. Leave behind what is sour and bitter and move toward the sweet.
~ Rumi
 
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Success is a journey, not a destination.
~ Ben Sweetland
 
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Your journey never ends. Life has a way of changing things in incredible ways.
~ Alexander Volkov
 
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The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.
~ Don Williams, Jr.
 
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What I know for sure is that your life is a multipart series of all your experiences- and each experience is created by your thoughts, intentions, and actions to teach you what you need to know. Your life is a journey of learning to love yourself first and then extending that love to others in every encounter.
~ Oprah Winfrey
 
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“The only journey is the one within.”
~  Rainer Maria Rilke
 
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“I am no longer afraid of becoming lost, because the journey back always reveals something new, and that is ultimately good for the artist.”
~ Billy Joel
 
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“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
~ Heraclitus
 
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“The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.”
~ Steve Maraboli Quotes, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
 
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“At every given moment we are absolutely perfect for what is required for our journey.”
~ Steve Maraboli Quotes, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
 
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“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey.
At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.”
~ Vera Nazarian Quotes, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
 
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“As for the journey of life; at some point you will realize that YOU are the driver and you will drive!”
~ Steve Maraboli Quotes, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
 
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“A lack of clarity could put the brakes on any journey to success.”
~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
 
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“If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”
~ Steve Maraboli Quotes, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
 
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“Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it need to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. and now is right on time.”
~ Asha Tyson
 
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“For everything in this journey of life we are on, there is a right wing and a left wing: for the wing of love there is anger; for the wing of destiny there is fear; for the wing of pain there is healing; for the wing of hurt there is forgiveness; for the wing of pride there is humility; for the wing of giving there is taking; for the wing of tears there is joy; for the wing of rejection there is acceptance; for the wing of judgment there is grace; for the wing of honor there is shame; for the wing of letting go there is the wing of keeping. We can only fly with two wings and two wings can only stay in the air if there is a balance. Two beautiful wings is perfection. There is a generation of people who idealize perfection as the existence of only one of these wings every time. But I see that a bird with one wing is imperfect. An angel with one wing is imperfect. A butterfly with one wing is dead. So this generation of people strive to always cut off the other wing in the hopes of embodying their ideal of perfection, and in doing so, have created a crippled race.”
 
~ Joy Bell
 
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“Whither will my path yet lead me? This path is stupid, it goes in spirals, perhaps in circles, but whichever way it goes, I will follow it.”
~ Hermann Hesse Quotes, Siddharta
 
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“Cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey.”
~ Jack Layton
 
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“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.”
~ Barbara Hall
 
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“In the hero stories, the call to go on a journey takes the form of a loss, an error, a wound, an unexplainable longing, or a sense of a mission. When any of these happens to us, we are being summoned to make a transition. It will always mean leaving something behind,…The paradox here is that loss is a path to gain.”
~ David Richo Quotes, How to Be an Adult: A Handbook for Psychological and Spiritual Integration
 
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“The seeker embarks on a journey to find what he wants and discovers, along the way, what he needs.”
~ Wally Lamb Quotes, The Hour I First Believed
 
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Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.
~ Greg Anderson
 
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I believe that life is a journey, often difficult and sometimes incredibly cruel, but we are well equipped for it if only we tap into our talents and gifts and allow them to blossom.
~ Les Brown
 
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We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.
~ Stephen Covey
 
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The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place.
~ Barbara DeAngelis
 
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You cannot have a happy ending to a miserable journey.
~ Abraham-Hicks
 
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It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end.
~ Ursula LeGuin
 
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Sometimes in your life you will go on a journey. It will be the longest journey you have ever taken. It is the journey to find yourself.
~ Katherine Sharp
 
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The spiritual path – is simply the journey of living our lives. Everyone is on a spiritual path; most people just don’t know it.
~ Marianne Williamson
 
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What I know for sure is that your life is a multipart series of all your experiences- and each experience is created by your thoughts, intentions, and actions to teach you what you need to know. Your life is a journey of learning to love yourself first and then extending that love to others in every encounter.
~ Oprah Winfrey
 
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May all beings everywhere
with whom we are inseparably connected,
be fulfilled, awakened, liberated and free.
May there be peace in this world
and throughout the entire universe,
and may we all together
complete the spiritual journey.
~ Lama Surya Das
 
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The spiritual journey involves going beyond hope and fear,
stepping into unknown territory, continually moving forward.
The most important aspect of being on the spiritual path
may be just to keep moving.
~  Pema Chodron
 
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On life’s journey
faith is nourishment,
virtuous deeds are a shelter,
wisdom is the light by day
and right mindfulness is the protection by night.
If a man lives a pure life nothing can destroy him;
if he has conquered greed nothing can limit his freedom.
~  Buddha Quotes (B.C. 568-488)
 
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Love is that flame that once kindled burns everything,
and only the mystery and the journey remain.
~  Rumi
 
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Grant that I may be given appropriate difficulties
and sufferings on this journey so that my heart
be truly awakened and my practice of liberation
and universal compassion may truly be filled.
~  Tibetan Prayer
 
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Our real journey in life is interior;
It is a matter of growth, deepening,
and of an ever greater surrender
to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts.
Never was it more necessary to respond to that action.
~ Thomas Merton
 
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The spiritual journey does not consist of arriving at a new destination
where a person gains what he did not have, or becomes what he is not.
It consists in the dissipation of one’s own ignorance concerning oneself and life,
and the gradual growth of that understanding which begins the spiritual awakening.
The finding of God is a coming to one’s self.
~ Aldous Huxley
 
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As you allow the beloved to grow within you,
you will discover a steadfastness to the spiritual journey.
~ Jean Houston
 
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Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we have learned here. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts.
~ Marianne Williamson
 
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“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
~ Greg Anderson
 
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“A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles”
~ Tim Cahill
 
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Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived.
~ Captain Jean-Luc Picard
 
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Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.
~ Charles Dudley Warner
 

While Lao Tzu may have said: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, in todays internet age, your own journey of a thousand web-sites begins with one click, and this is it, this is it, this is it! Deepak Singh

Which of course is followed by:
For those who have Awareness,
a hint is quite enough.
For the multitudes of heedless
mere knowledge is useless. Haji Bektash Veli

We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.  Proust

Journeys at youth are part of the education; but at maturity, are part of the experience.  Francis Bacon

For in their hearts doth Nature stir them so
Then people long on pilgrimage to go
And palmers to be seeking foreign strands
To distant shrines renowned in sundry lands. Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales

My favorite thing to do is to go where I’ve never been. Diane Arbus

Pilgrims are poets who create by taking journeys.  Richard R. Niebuhr

Yet the Lord pleads with you still: Ask where the good road is,
The godly paths you used to walk in, in the days of long ago.
Travel there, and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

Personal answers to ultimate questions.  That is what we seek.  Alexander Eliot

The longest journey
Is the journey inwards
Of him who has chosen his destiny. Dag Hammarskjold

The world is a traveler’s inn.  Afghan saying

You cannot travel the path until you have become the path.   Gautam Buddha

The day on which one starts out is not the time to start one’s preparations.  Nigerian saying

Journey derives from the French for distance traveled in one day (jour)

We usually don’t look. We overlook.  Alan Watts

An inch of surprise leads us to a mile of gratefulness.   Bro David Steindl-Rast

Things are always different from what they might be.  Henry James

I stood at a crossroads and fate came to meet me.  Liz Greene

It is not the road ahead that wears you out – It is the grain of sand in your shoe.  Arabian proverb

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old, Seek what they sought.  Matsuo Basho

People wander about what you are pursuing.  You have to explain about the thread.  William Stafford

There are no days in life so memorable as those which vibrated to some stroke of the imagination.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is a strange thing to come home. While yet on the journey, you cannot at all realize how strange it will be.  Selms Lagerlof

Life is not the number of breaths one takes, but the number of breaths one does not take upon seeing mountains, forests and buildings. Anonymous

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. Anonymous

To stay in one place and watch the seasons come and go is tanatmount to constant travel: One is traveling with the earth. Marguerite Yourcenar

Stripped of all its outer encrustations, spirituality emerges as a science, as scientific as any other, as verifiable in its results. Let any seeker take it up and let him create in the laboratory of the soul the conditions that are prerequisite; as sure as the day follows the night shall he rise into the Kingdom of God. Sant Kirpal Singh

Prophetic Strategies to Successfully Deal with Difficulties

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How to Beat Hard Times

Whether you are a Syrian suffering from oppression and massacres by a criminal regime, an Egyptian fearing the brutal attacks of the corrupt supporters of the former government, a Palestinian who has lived his whole life under occupation, a Bengali who faces government crackdowns due to your political views, an American facing guilt by association and discrimination, or someone who observes all of these with a heavy heart, you are just an example of the difficult times our global Muslim community is going through. You may not be going through those trials but you may be faced with personal calamities, such as losing loved ones, facing financial difficulties, or dealing with family conflicts.

Read Also:

Difficult times are part of Allah’s laws in this universe; they are part of the tests that people go through.  They are not necessarily something evil, however. A difficulty we go through, on the contrary, could be a learning experience, a reminder, purification from sins and mistakes, a test of patience and perseverance, or all of these together.

We can emerge from difficult times closer to Allah, stronger, united, more skilled, and more guided, but only if we know how to live through them and respond to them.

There is no one to learn from who better responded to difficult times other than our beloved Prophet, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Not only was he a great man with noble character, he was also guided by revelations from Allah Almighty. Following his footsteps is essential to live a successful life and is part of us being Muslims. By definition, Muslims are the ones who bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger. Therefore, following his example is an integral part of Islam.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) went through a lot of difficult times both on a personal and a community level. His life was extremely successful, yet it was the most challenging. By the will and the guidance of Allah, he was able to meet all the challenges he faced and come out of difficult times much stronger than ever before.

In this article, we will learn from our prophet some of the guidance to help us through difficult times we are going through and to enable us to use these challenges to our advantage.

The Prophet Facing Tough Times

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We read the Prophet’s story hundreds of years after it was over. It is a successful story that contains one victory after another with a very positive final outcome. This positive experience masked all the difficult times in his life and we tend to overlook them when reading or relating the story, especially in the absence of deep analysis.

The fact of the matter is that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) went through a lot of challenges and difficult times throughout his whole life. In one year, his uncle and his wife, who both supported him emotionally and physically, died. In the very same year, he was subjected to physical abuse from the people of Makkah. The following story, as narrated by one of the Prophet’s companions, Abdullah Ibn Mas`ud, tells you how he was treated during this very tough year:

Seven from the leaders of Makkah were gathering next to Al-Ka`bah while the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was praying. He elongated his prostration. Abu Jahl, one of those leaders, said,

“Who would bring the innards of the camel so-and-so family just slaughtered? We can put it on top of Muhammad while prostrating!”

`Uqbah Ibn Abi Mu`ait, the most idiot amongst them, brought it and put it on the back of the Prophet while prostrating. The Prophet did not move and I (`Abdullah is talking) could not dare to do anything, for I have no clan to protect me.

Fatimah, the Prophet’s young daughter, came and removed the dirt and insulted all of them. The Prophet then raised his head and started supplicating to Allah against them all.

 Tests for the Believers: Fluctuations of Life

He was also challenged as a messenger tasked by Allah to convey His message. He was called a liar, a sorcerer, a poet, and a fortuneteller, and people started calling him Mudthamam (dispraise worthy) while his name is Muhammad (praise worthy).

His reputation was attacked, and his companions were tortured to the extent that people stopped listening to him. For two consecutive years before he migrated to Medina, only four people believed in him, two of whom died shortly after.

His trip to the neighboring city of Ta’if was just another example of those tough times. He traveled, walking, for over fifty miles to deliver his message to the people of Ta’if and ask for their support. Not only did they mock him, disbelieve in him, and let him down, but also asked their slaves and youngsters to throw stones at him for a few miles until his sandals turned red from his bleeding.

Even after migration to Madinah, his life wasn’t easy. He suffered the curses and the disrespect of the hypocrites in Madina. His noble wife `Aishah was subject to an ugly rumor spread in the society for days.

Madinah under his leadership was challenged by war from almost every single tribe in Arabia. He witnessed the killing of seventy of his companions among whom was his dear uncle Hamzah.

He faced a siege of ten thousand soldiers, an attack on which his whole city, where all the believers lived, was about to be destroyed.

He faced treason from Jewish tribes in Madinah: some plotted to kill him and others betrayed him to side with an attacking army.

Many of the messengers he sent to teach people Islam were killed in cold blood and he grieved for them for months, seventy of them in one incident and twelve in another.

Learning from our Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him)

How did the Prophet manage to face all these challenges?

How was he able to come out of them stronger and with even more influence?

How did he develop such a community that was able to be steadfast in the face of difficult times during his life and after he died?

Below are a few simple, yet very effective, concepts that the Prophet embraced and taught his Companions.

These concepts are extremely important for us to understand and embrace. While going through the ideas below, you will realize that they are a mix of:

  • Personal qualities the Prophet and his Companions displayed
  • Ideas taught by the Qur’an and the words of the Prophet
  • Practical actions taken by the Prophet to face difficult times

1. Know! Difficulties are inevitable tests

This is the first and the most important concept one should believe in: going through difficult times is almost inevitable.

{Do people think they will be left alone and they will not be tried? …} ( Al-`Ankbut  29:3)

When you claim to believe in Allah, stand for what is right, oppose what is wrong, support justice, or fight oppression, these claims will all be tested. Allah will show who is truthful and who is lying.

This is the tradition of those on the straight path at all times. The Prophet and his companions were asked in the Qur’an, a question that is also asked to all of us,

{Do you suppose that you will enter Paradise untouched by the suffering endured by the people who passed before you?

They were afflicted by the misery and hardship and they were so convulsed that the Messenger and the believers with him cried out: “When will Allah’s help arrive?”} (Al-Baqarah 2: 214)

2. Know! Difficulties happen by the Will of Allah

 When Will Victory Come?

It is very important to know and believe that nothing will happen to you except what Allah has decreed for you. The Prophet was asked to say {Nothing will befall us except what Allah has decreed for us }(At-Tawbah9:51)

He taught one of his young cousins, `Abdullah Ibn `Abbas, “Know that what hits you would not have missed you

This belief gives you comfort and prevents fear from future difficulty, but more importantly, helps you overcome any difficulty you are already going through. Allah said,

{No misfortune ever befalls unless it be by Allah. And whosoever has faith in Allah, Allah guides his heart } (At-Taghabun 64:11)

3. Flee to Allah

“O Allah I display before you my weakness …” This phrase was part of the prayer of the Prophet while coming back from his trip to Al Ta’if. Taking refuge in Allah and asking for His help and support is a very important action we should do during the time of difficulty. This is a trial by Allah, it happened with His permission, and it is only He who can alleviate it.

4. Examine your actions

“If you are not angry with me, I do not care …” was also part of the Prophet’s prayer returning from Al Ta’if. During times of difficulty, we should examine our actions. This difficulty may very well be a warning from Allah that we are doing something wrong. It may be because of our sins and mistakes:

{Whatever misfortune befalls you is a consequence of your own deeds}  (Ash-Shura 42:30).

It may be because we strayed and Allah sent this difficulty to us as a reminder to bring us back. Malek Ibn Deenar, one of the great scholars of Islam, transformed from being an alcoholic person to the great person we know as a result of the death of his own two-year old daughter.

5. Be optimistic

  Our On-Going Test

Having hope and being optimistic were two important attitudes the Prophet embraced when facing difficulty.

By Allah, Allah will perfect this matter until the traveler can travel from Sana’a to Hadhramaut fearing no one but Allah and the wolf that may eat his sheep“, The Prophet told Khabbab when he complained to him about the severity of torture he and other Muslims in Makkah were going through. (Al-Bukhari)

It was this hope in Allah, and confidence that there will be ease after difficulty, that kept them going.

This hope was not only kept in the hearts but was also spread through words and attitude. The Prophet mastered optimism and looked for optimism: “Evil omen is false! And I likes Al-fa’l (good omen)” the prophet told his companions. They asked, “What is Al-Fa’l?” He responded, “A good word.” (Muslim)

 

6. Do not get distracted

One of the very bad consequences of going through difficult times is the amount of distraction the difficulty creates. Ibn Al-Qayim says,

“It is a complete fiasco to be distracted by the blessing away from the One who blesses, and by the trial away from the One who tries.

When the ease comes, the pain will go away and will be forgotten. What remains and will never go away is the tremendous reward one would get.

Sometimes the difficulty itself scares us away from the good we are doing. Allah says,

{And let it never happen that they might turn you away from the revelations of Allah after they have been revealed to you…} (Al-Qasas 28-87)

The prophet never stopped delivering his message because of a personal difficulty he went through or because of a threat or torture he received from his enemies.

 

7. Expect reward

This was one of the teachings the Qur’an instilled in the hearts of Muslims. Whether the calamity happens naturally, or whether it is due to the harm of others, being patient and perseverant results in a lot of reward. The calamity will eventually be over,

{Indeed with the difficulty there is an ease. Indeed with the difficulty there is an ease.} (Ash-Sharh 94:5-6) 

And when the ease comes, the pain will go away and will be forgotten. What remains and will never go away is the tremendous reward one would get,

{We shall certainly test you by afflicting you with fear, hunger, loss of properties and lives and fruits. Give glad tidings, then, to those who remain patient.

Those, who when any affliction smites them, they say: “Verily, we belong to Allah, and it is to Him we shall return.”

Upon them will be the blessings of their Lord, and it is they who are rightly guided.} (Al-Baqarah 2:155-157)