Adversities, difficulties and calamities are part and parcel of life, as it is only in Jannah that a person will enjoy perpetual, uninterrupted happiness and joy. Hence, every person faces challenges and obstacles. The question is, “HOW do we react and respond to these adversities?”

While some adversities really are very difficult to overcome and have a major impact on one’s life, there are certain people who, at the very first instance, latch onto any and every difficulty as their convenient excuse to avoid all accountability and responsibility. In this regard, it is obvious that there will never be a shortage of excuses in one’s life. Hence, if a person adopts this mindset and attitude, he will NEVER ever progress, as he is content to stagnate and blame his lack of progress on some excuse or another. Such a person always has a ‘headache’, or ‘backache’, or is ‘not feeling well’, or is ‘feeling depressed’, etc.

Unfortunately, this mindset of stagnation tends to spill over into a person’s Deen as well. Such people commonly say, “I have too much of work to recite the Quraan Majeed”, or “I’m too busy with the children to keep my qadhaa fasts”, or “I’m too exhausted to wake up on time for Fajr Salaah”. Sadly, such people latch onto these excuses and appease themselves by trying to justify the neglect which they are showing to their Deen. Once again, there is no shortage of excuses for a person who looks for excuses. If it’s not a headache, one can easily find a backache or some other ache.

Every person in the world faces difficulties, and many people face far worse problems than us. Yet, they overcome their hurdles and do what needs to be done. Hence, it’s a matter of us changing our mindset and attitude. Instead of looking for convenient excuses, let us rather adopt a positive outlook and seize opportunities.

Consider the following:

Previously, the world record for an able-bodied person completing an unsupported, solo row across the Atlantic Ocean (a 6000km journey from mainland Europe to South America) was ninety-six days, twelve hours and forty-five minutes. However, in 2019, a man with just ONE LEG broke the world record by rowing alone across the Atlantic in just SIXTY days – thirty-six days less than the able bodied person who set the previous record.

This is not an isolated incident, as there are multiple examples of people who are handicapped and missing limbs yet persevered and strengthened their bodies to such an extent that they thereafter became stronger than even able-bodied people. Such people did not latch onto excuses – but strove to overcome their difficulties and succeed despite the odds being stacked against them. If they did it, why can’t we?

All it takes is determination, courage and resolve. To acquire these vital ingredients, we will first need to realize WHY we need to outgrow our excuses and shrug off the shackles of stagnation.

Similarly, we will need to convince ourselves that it is time for us to put excuses aside and strive for Jannah. To achieve this, we will need to gain motivation, and this will come about through reading books such as Fazaail-e-Aa’maal and Fazaail-e-Sadaqaat. When we see the great rewards that have been promised for those who strive for the Hereafter, we will realize that by wallowing in self-sympathy and lethargy, we are actually doing ourselves a disservice, depriving ourselves of the magnificent rewards which are well within our reach.

May Allah Ta‘ala assist us all to overcome our personal obstacles and challenges in the pursuit of His pleasure, aameen.