(Series on Difficulties and Their Causes #1)

When a person is hungry, he eats food. When he is thirsty, he drinks water. When he is tired, he goes to sleep and rests.

Allah Ta‘ala has created this world as a place of cause and effect. Hence, eating food is the cause which brings about the effect of hunger being satiated. Likewise, drinking water is the cause that leads to thirst being quenched, and sleeping is the cause that leads to one feeling refreshed and reenergised.

However, just as Allah Ta‘ala has created a system of cause and effect in the physical world, He has also created a system of cause and effect in the spiritual world.

If a person carries out good deeds and leads a life of piety, by obeying Allah Ta‘ala and following the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) at all times, then accordingly, he will enjoy a life of happiness, peace and contentment. On the contrary, if one continues to indulge in sins, leads a life of evil and vice, disobeys Allah Ta‘ala and abandons the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), then one will suffer misery and difficulty in this world, and if one does not repent before death – then one will suffer in the next world as well.

In essence, the spiritual system of this world can be summed up saying “Every action has a reaction”.

In the Quraan Majeed, Allah Ta‘ala informs us of the evil consequence of sins saying, “Whatever calamities befall you, then they are because of that (evil and sin) which your hands have earned…” (Surah Shura v30)

Hence, we understand that the more a person sins and disobeys Allah Ta‘ala, the more he distances himself from the special mercy of Allah Ta‘ala. Accordingly, he faces more and more difficulties and problems of different natures in his life.

At times, the difficulties may be in acquiring livelihood, while at other times it may be in one’s relationship with one’s wife or children, or it may be in threats to one’s safety and security, or it may appear in any other form, destroying one’s peace of mind and ruining one’s happiness.

On the contrary, when a person strives to please Allah Ta‘ala and leads a life conforming to the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), then Allah Ta‘ala blesses him with His special, divine assistance. Allah Ta‘ala is there for him at all times, and even if he undergoes some temporary test which was predestined for him, Allah Ta‘ala divinely supports him by filling his heart with strength and sabr (happiness over the decision of Allah Ta‘ala) due to which he is not overwhelmed by anxiety – despite the severity of the test. Hence, at all times, his heart is tranquil and his mind is at peace. He leads a happy life in this world, while in the Hereafter his life will be of such enjoyment and pleasure which cannot even be imagined.

In the Quraan Majeed Allah Ta‘ala informs us of this special class of people, who are most fortunate, saying, “Whoever carries out righteous actions, whether male or female, while he has imaan, then We will most certainly make him live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward (in the Hereafter) according to the best of what they used to do.” (Surah Nahl v97)

From the above we understand that good deeds bring about good conditions, and evil deeds bring about bad conditions.

It is important to bear in mind that at times, even pious people are tested with calamities and difficulties. However, on account of them exercising sabr, this difficulty becomes a means of their rank in the Hereafter being elevated to very high and lofty stages. Hence, for the pious servants of Allah Ta‘ala, this difficulty is actually a blessing in disguise, and is not necessarily on account of sins and evils.

Generally, the tests or difficulties that we fear most in our daily life are: (1) difficulties in the form of natural calamities and general disasters (earthquakes, floods, rioting, looting and anarchy, etc.), (2) difficulties in the form of financial constraints and poverty, and (3) difficulties in our relationships with people – especially our parents, spouse, children, etc.

Insha-Allah, in the coming parts we will discuss these difficulties and some of their causes in greater detail. By eradicating these sins from our lives, and striving to lead lives of piety, we will improve and better our lives in this world and the next.

May Allah Ta‘ala bless us all with good lives in this world and the next, aameen.