Dealing with unexpected trials can be tricky. When we experience adversities, whether it’s financial, physical, emotional, social, etc, it can be difficult to remember that God is with us. This is mainly due to the fact that it’s our human nature to base our beliefs on what we see rather than on faith — the very thing that Allah wants us to focus on.
Continuing to have and express faith in the midst of difficult times allows you to find serenity in Allah’s presence. When you lack that faith, pride takes over and it may lead to a hardening of the heart.
As a consequence, your relationship with The Almighty may grow distant. Surrendering your problems and leaving them in Allah’s hands can take a lot of weight off your shoulders. Allah has given us free will and the ability to develop traits such as faith so we can benefit from it by recognizing His capabilities, and not feel the need to worry constantly when we experience uneasiness.
Here are some tips to maintain faith in Allah in times of uncertainty, regardless of what the situation may be:
1. Everything Happens for a Reason
As Muslims, we believe that we have free will, yet that everything in life is predetermined. This means that ultimately we use our free will to make choices that fulfill our destinies, but that we are unaware of our predetermined, self-caused fate and that God is the only One Who knows what will happen in the end.
This lack of awareness we maintain includes the things that happen that are beyond our control (like death, the actions of others, etc), which inevitably cause us to react to them and to be tested. As Allah says, “Say: ‘Nothing will ever befall us except what Allah has destined for us. He is our Protector’.” [Quran, 9:51]
If you don’t believe that you are put through trials for your betterment, then how could you carry on being positive and faithful to Allah, and in hopes that you will gain something from this test?
Generally, things happen to us in life and we don’t know why they happened. But the fact that it happened for a reason should empower us, and how we react to these events and find meaning out of it all is what matters the most.
Adversities should teach you to be grateful for what you have and motivate you to try to improve yourself whenever you can.
Knowing why something happened can allow us to achieve closure, however, we cannot always expect to find out the reasons in this life. Therefore, faith and the comfort of knowing there is undoubtedly a reason behind what took place can help you move forward.
Oftentimes you will come to realize later on that if you hadn’t gone through certain stages in your life, then you may not have had the valuable learning experience that lesson left with you.
The story of Prophet Ayub/Job in which he suffered a massive amount of tragedies, yet he was increasingly humbled and brought closer to God through each misfortune, serves as a beautiful example of maintaining humility and keeping faith and trust in The Almighty despite whatever happens.
Allah has already outlined our lives, therefore if something went wrong then it went wrong for a reason. If you’re going through tough times, then perhaps Allah wants you to learn something. It’s best to remain patient and put your trust in God.
2. Don’t Stop Making Dua
If you already made dua and it appears to you that they are not being answered, don’t stop just because you are not getting the results you desire. God’s wisdom is greater than anything we want for ourselves. He has our best interests in mind, even more than we have for ourselves.
Allah wants us to reach out to Him, in both good and bad times. Reaching out to Him during hard times is to acknowledge to Him that there is no one else more worthy of requesting assistance from — and that ultimately, it is through Him and only through His approval that we can get what we need.
Abu Dharr reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, stated: “He who comes with goodness, there are in store for him ten like those and even more than those: ‘And he who comes with vice,’ it is only for that that he is called to account. I even forgive him (as I like) and he who draws close to Me by the span of a palm I draw close to him by the cubit, and he who draws close to Me by the cubit I draw close to him by the space (covered) by two hands, and he who walks towards Me, I rush towards him, and he who meets Me in the state that his sins fill the earth, but not associating anything with Me, I would meet Him with the same (vastness) of pardon (on My behalf).” [Sahih Muslim 2687a]
With that said, it is to be advised not to make dua only when times are tough, only to neglect making dua when times are better. It is important to express gratitude when times are good and to ask for continuous blessings.
However, do not be discouraged by the idea that your prayers might not be worthy of being answered if you tend to make duas more in your times of need than during good times. What matters is that you are reaching out to the only True Power that can help you.
Continue to ask of God as much as possible, and do your best to make it a habit to express appreciation and praise Allah more often.
3. Do Whatever Is in Your Power to Improve the Situation
Allah wants you to rely on Him, and He wants you to realize that even when you obtain help from others or are able to help yourself, it is not without His permission. He also wants you to reach out to Him directly for help. Nonetheless, Allah doesn’t want you to ask of Him and sit there waiting for results. You should act by doing whatever is in your ability to fix or help the situation and make the right decisions as much as possible.
For example, if your difficulty is one causing you to experience anxiety and/or depression, you should make dua for overcoming the condition, while simultaneously seeking professional help and utilizing medication and therapy if recommended by your provider.
Another example would be if there are conflicts between you and another person, you should do your best to clear it up, whether it involves apologizing for any mistreatment, trying to sit down and discuss things calmly, coming up with a compromise, etc. Regardless of how that turns out, what matters is you tried your best to improve the situation, and now you can leave it in Allah’s hands.
If you are not sure what to do in any given situation, make salat al-istikhara, or in more timely cases, here is a brief dua of istikhara from Hadith for seeking Allah’s help and guidance: “Oh Allah, grant me a choice and choose for me.” [Hadith Tirmidhi]
Sometimes you have no idea how your life will unfold, and that’s totally normal. So just be sure to always do your best and leave the rest to God.
4. Don’t Assume Your Duas Are Not Being Answered
As previously mentioned, just because things aren’t happening exactly as you planned, it does not mean that your prayers aren’t being answered. God knows better than us, and He has better plans in mind. Although we may not understand His reasoning, as Muslims, we must trust it.
We have the right time, place, and factors for every circumstance, and God knows how to formulate everything precisely and flawlessly. The entire universe is working perfectly as He intended because of Him now, right? What makes you think God can do all that so perfectly and not answer your prayers in an ideal manner too?
5. Remember That God Tests Those That He Loves
Allah tests us in different ways, sometimes with great blessings, and sometimes with trials and tribulations. Even the prophets themselves were tested, with prophet Ayub/Job being a great example of overcoming unimaginable difficulties. Remember that life itself is a test, and that everything we do is graded in a sense.
Life was never meant to be easy. Some days the test is manageable enough, other days it may seem unbearable. The key is to continue to trust Allah no matter what comes your way.
Remind yourself that He is testing you and that you must respond humbly and acknowledge His power and the hidden wisdom behind His decisions.
6. Look Back at the Times Your Prayers Were Directly Answered
While our prayers are not always answered in the same manner that we expect, sometimes they are answered exactly so — or even better than we had expected or asked for.
Remember to acknowledge that this was in fact thanks to Allah, and that while our duas will always be answered by God with the utmost wisdom, they may very well be answered at times in the same manner that we were hoping for. If that is what is truly best, then so it shall be.
7. Stop Assuming That Allah Won’t Answer Your Prayers Because of Your Sins
Allah is ever-forgiving, ever-merciful. He knows your heart and your intentions. If you are truly sorry, He will forgive you — even if you make the same mistakes again and again.
Just keep repenting and reaching out to Him, and keep trying to better yourself. He wants you to turn to Him, regardless of how deserving you are of what you are asking for.
8. Find Inspiration
Let inspiration from others help you stay connected to your faith. When you feel like your faith isn’t as strong, learn about or recall things you heard about the lives of people who’ve demonstrated faith admirably despite the trials they faced.
Stories like these can be found anywhere, regardless of who or what the person’s faith was attached to, it was their faith that gave them the determination that allowed them to prosper.
As Muslims, we can only truly prosper if that faith is attached to Allah, which is why it is crucial to maintain and strengthen that faith in any way possible if we want to succeed in this life, and the next one respectively.
9. Surround Yourself With People Who Have Strong Faith
By filling your environment with individuals who rely on and trust God at all times, you can learn from them and admire their example. Oftentimes, people tend to influence us more than we give them credit for, therefore it is in your best interest to surround yourself with good people who have an admirable mindset and piousness.
10. Ask Others to Pray for You
If you are going through a hard time, don’t be shy to ask others to keep you in their prayers. Prayers are one of the purest gifts you can receive, it’s free and it only takes seconds out of someone’s day. Don’t neglect asking someone because they may have more important or urgent things to pray for, no prayer is too small or unworthy to make or for God to respond to.
11. Ask God to Increase Your Faith in Him
When you feel your faith is fluctuating, the best prayer you can make is to ask Allah to maintain and increase your faith. Sometimes, you may be too emotionally exhausted to talk and try to pray for anything specific.
When this happens to me, I make a dua along the lines of, “Allah, you know what is in my mind and in my heart. Please answer the prayers you know that I would make if I had the words to say them. You know my feelings, my intentions, my needs, and my desires better than I could put into words, please bring forth what is best for me and guide me through everything.”
12. Read, Memorize and Meditate on the Quran
Reading the Quran can be very calming, and perhaps you may even come across verses that really speak to you in your particular situation at that given moment. It is also very beneficial to ponder the meanings of the Quranic verses, not only in the context that they came down in, but also what they can pertain to in general terms, or even in this day and age. This allows us to better relate to and comprehend God’s messages, leading to increased faith inshallah.
13. Praise God
Remind yourself of His 99 attributes. He’s The Ever-Merciful, The Omnipotent, The Ever-Forgiving, The Provider, The Most High, etc. As you praise God, you’re confirming who He is to yourself and worshiping Him as He would like us to.
You’re recognizing that His work is flawless and that He has your best interests in mind. You’re allowing yourself to be aware of His goodwill and His excellent plans. And you’re telling God that even in the midst of your struggles, you put your trust in Him.
While His ways aren’t necessarily the same as our ways, they are better in ways that are beyond our comprehension. The deeper the roots of our faith are, the easier it will be to rely on Him, and as a result, live a better quality of life.