Life is a Struggle - Where Do You Go for Help?

prayer

[Just to let you know, the text below is a transcription of what I've said in this video. So please excuse any words or phrases that don't quite look right.] 

 

Life is full of struggles, hardships, trials, and tribulations. But where do go to get help?

 

Our Lord says in His final revelation:

 

<< يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا استَعينوا بِالصَّبرِ وَالصَّلاةِ >>

[Qur'an 2:153]

 

You who believe, seek help through Sabr and Salat—through patience and prayer.

Now, a word on patience. Sabr is a much more all-encompassing term than simply patience. 

Yes, it is patience in the face of the things that we simply cannot control or do anything about. So we show a sense of calm, tranquillity, and contentment with God's decree. But it's also self-control in the face of temptation. When we can act in ways that are inappropriate, but we hold back

It's also persistence and the determination to do the right thing when we can—even though there may be obstacles but we push through.

In the Qur'an, many of the usages of the word Sabr relate to this attitude—not being passive and holding back, but actually pushing forward, continuing, pushing ahead regardless of the obstacles that come in one's way.

So it's interesting that Allah ﷻ tells us this is a means of seeking help. We get His assistance by acting appropriately when we're experiencing the troubles that we're experiencing.

But also, where else do we get help? Salat.



What Does It Mean To Gain Allah’s Help In Salat?

When we approach our Salat, oftentimes we approach it from the perspective that we're simply fulfilling an obligation, a ritual, or just getting another one done because it’s something we need to do. But it makes Salat so much more powerful if one of the ways in which we approach it is to understand that it is a means by which to gain Allah ﷻ's help, to seek His assistance, to actually pour our heart out to Him.

Oftentimes when we're in trouble and difficulty, we share with others. We talk extensively to other people about our difficulties. Go extensively to other people to solve our problems. We write to this person, talk to that person, enlist the help of whoever, post on social media, "Who can help me with ABC?" And all of that is fine within reason.

But, it typically, for many of us, comes first and then when all avenues are exhausted, we still haven't got the help we need, and when we become desperate, then we go to our Lord.

Rather, what we should be doing is going to our Lord for all the small and big problems every time we're in our prayer.

Because in our prayer itself we say:

 

<< إِيّاكَ نَستَعينُ >>

 

"You alone we ask for help." But is that true? That's something we should reflect on. When we're saying it in Surah Al-Fatiha, we say:

 

<< إِيّاكَ نَعبُدُ وَإِيّاكَ نَستَعينُ >>

[Qur’an, 1:5]

 

You alone we serve, You alone we ask for help. It is the prayer itself that becomes a means of asking for help and gaining the resilience and calm required to manifest the Sabr that we need in between the prayers.

This is the connection between Sabr and Salat for the believer.

 

Pray For The Times You’re Not In Prayer

For the believer, one way to see life—in terms of the way it's constructed—is prayer and not prayer.

Prayer is so foundational that we can just look at our prayer life (if you want to call it) as one aspect of life and the bits in between as the other aspect of life. 

In prayer, we build up our resilience. We build up our energy. We develop our sense of calm and tranquilly. 

In between the prayers, we use that benefit, energy, calm, and tranquilly generated by each prayer to help us navigate the period until the next prayer. 

Where we are in difficulty and where we're facing obstacles, that's where we can show and manifest our Sabr.

In another verse, Allah ﷻ says:

 

<< وَاستَعينوا بِالصَّبرِ وَالصَّلاةِ >> 

[Qur'an, 2:45] 

 

Seek help through Sabr and Salat—again, exactly the same message—but this time He elaborates. Very Interestingly, He says:

 

<< وَإِنَّها لَكَبيرَةٌ >>

 

Doing this is actually very difficult. It's a big deal. Kabir literally means big. It's a big deal. It's a big matter. It's not something that everybody can just easily do to derive their assistance through these particular means: Sabr—showing patience and determination—and Salat—and prayer.

But then He mentions who it's not difficult for, so listen up to this. Allah ﷻ says:

 

<< وَإِنَّها لَكَبيرَةٌ إِلّا عَلَى الخاشِعينَ >>

 

It's difficult, except for those who are truly humble. 

[Qur’an, 2:46]

<< الَّذينَ يَظُنّونَ أَنَّهُم مُلاقو رَبِّهِم وَأَنَّهُم إِلَيهِ راجِعونَ >>


Those who believe that they are going to meet their Lord and that they're going to return to Him.

So such people who—in the midst of their difficulties and their troubles—remind themselves that they are about to meet their Lord very soon. 

The life of this world is very short, and soon we'll be in the hereafter. Soon we will be in that realm and in that time where all of the affairs of this world will have been settled, where justice had not been achieved on Earth, justice will be achieved by our Merciful King when He judges all matters. So it gives us a sense of perspective. It reminds us of the importance of maintaining a strong bond with our Lord.

 

Gaining Closeness To Our Lord

Because many people, when they go through difficulties and troubles—and we will all have experienced them in different ways—we actually can become quite distant from our Lord. We can give up. We can wallow in self-pity, in our struggles, and in our despair. This is a devilish tactic to make the human being lose hope, lose faith, lose connection.

But Allah ﷻ's telling us: if you can maintain your perspective—and if you can remind yourself that you're soon going to meet your Lord—all of this is going to come to an end soon, you're going to return to him—then, you will find it a lot easier to seek the courage and the help and the assistance that you require to navigate life through Sabr, through patience and determination, and through your Salat.

 

Ask Allah For His Help

To emphasise—especially on the issue of prayer itself—Don't let your prayers pass except that they are a means of you asking for assistance and seeking help for the things that you are struggling with. Especially in your bowing and in your prostration, let those be positions in which you let your fears and your difficulties melt away. 

Feel that depth of connection. Feel that sense of perspective that allows you to see everything on this Earth as small and relatively insignificant compared to the vastness and the significance of the hereafter. Of course, also the vastness and the reality of our Lord.

May Allah ﷻ help us and may He make us resilient people, strong people, people who are able to find strength and solace in Sabr and in Salat.

 

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