Lessons From The Ahlul Bayt During Hardship In Our Lives
“Although Allah is making me fight for my deen and values against familial pushback, I can see that He is only bringing me closer to Him. I have been relying on Him during this ordeal with my family.”
I am struggling right now. A few months ago, I told my Hindu family about my conversion to Islam. Since then, it has been a constant, uphill battle to uphold and practice my beliefs in the face of familial pushback.
Most recently, I shared with my family my intentions to marry a Pakistani Muslim woman I met in college. Still reeling from my conversion, my family treated this news as another dagger to their hearts. The past few days have been traumatizing. I am surrounded by an environment of anger, disappointment, and sadness. However, I am keeping afloat mentally and spiritually by reflecting on the following lessons from the Ahlul Bayt amidst their struggles.
1. “I Saw Nothing But Beauty”
The martyrdoms of Imam Hussein (as), his family, and his companions at Karbala are nothing short of a tragedy. The members of the Ahlul Bayt who survived, including Zainab (as), the Prophet’s (pbuh) granddaughter, were subsequently taken as prisoners and humiliated by Ibn Ziyad and his army.
When Ibn Ziyad confronted Lady Zainab and asked, “What do you think of what God did to your family,” she responded, “I saw nothing but beauty. It was Allah’s (swt) wish that they should be martyred, and they met their deaths valiantly.”
This response by Lady Zainab is profound and inspiring. Despite witnessing the injustice enacted upon her family, Lady Zainab recognized the beauty in Allah’s divine plan for them. Upon reflection on Lady Zainab’s words, I realized that there is good in my hardships. I am learning how to defend myself, become my own man, and carve a path for my happiness.
2. Confiding in Allah
I recently came across the munajat, or whispered prayers, of Imam Ali (as) to Allah. The concept of munajat stems from the root n-j-w in Arabic. It consists of whispered prayers from a servant to his creator and signifies a reciprocal action due to its root.
Thus, according to Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali, “it is used when a person has a very intimate conversation with God, in which the Almighty listens and perhaps responds to him.” In his munajat, Imam Ali emphasizes that it is only Allah who can bestow mercy and forgiveness upon his servants.
Imam Ali supplicates: “My Master, O my Master! You are the Mighty and I am the low, and who can have mercy on the low except the Mighty?” Right now, I am at one of the lowest points in my life. I am fighting for my deen, defending the woman I’d like to marry, and trying to be a good son all at the same time.
But Imam Ali’s munajat to Allah has inspired me to speak directly to the only One who can place ease into my heart, and it is only through His grace that I may come out of these struggles stronger.
3. The Blessings of Hardship
In the face of persecution and injustice, the Ahlul Bayt remained steadfast upon Islam and relied upon Allah to persevere. In our lives, it is easy to solely focus on all the things going wrong, especially when dealing with hardship.
Lady Zainab, who witnessed the tragic deaths of her family and faced persecution, chose to see the good that came from those ordeals. From this, Lady Zainab has taught us that we have the power to recognize Allah’s blessings amid tragedy.
While I am struggling with my family, I can see that there are many good things happening to me at the same time. I can eat, drink, and sleep, luxuries that many of us take for granted in our daily lives. I have close friends who support and cherish me. Most importantly, I am alive, and that allows me to turn to Allah in these difficult times.
When Allah presents hardships to us, some of us may ask “why me?” Why would Allah in His infinite mercy allow us to struggle? I have realized that it is to turn us closer to Him. In this dunya, there are plenty of ways to seek temporary relief for our pain. Although Allah is making me fight for my deen and values against familial pushback, I can see that He is only bringing me closer to Him. I have been relying on Him during this ordeal with my family.
As Imam Ali reminds us, who else can bestow mercy upon those feeling low in life besides The Mighty? Allah has honored me with hardship so that I can confide to Him about my pain, as He is the only One who can provide relief to my broken heart.
If you are enduring a hardship right now, I want you to know that it’s okay to feel how you feel. You are valid in feeling sadness or anger through your ordeals. However, I pray that you are also able to recognize the beauty in your struggles like Lady Zainab and find peace through confiding to Allah about your deepest feelings.