Life doesn’t turn out to be what we expect or wish for. It is full of ups and downs and it surprises us in countless ways. If you reflect over the last year of your life you will definitely see moments when life seemed to take you down, and moments when it has offered more than you expected. In brief, this is how life works and expecting it to be fully responsive to your desires and expectations is a tall order.
Although this likely to make you feel down about life yet the reality is that this is the beauty of life. It is not an easy challenge. It is meant to test you and push you beyond limits. The hardships that life throws at you are meant to stretch you beyond your comfort zone so that you will discover treasures among you that you never expected. What seemed an opportunity could end up as a set up. What once looked like a hopeless case can turn out to be the best investment ever.
Most people let this wavy and unpredictable nature of life crush them and kill their dreams. This creates a deep sense of resentment and frustration towards life which ultimately leads to a failure is seeing the great opportunities it actually
This article offers you a fresh outlook on how to view life and yields a new paradigm that has the potential to help you understand life better. This is meant to make you see hope in the most hopeless situation and see through the false flags of what may seem an opportunity.
This paradigm is built on the tenets of Divine Decree as Islam teaches it. The principles of Qadar are not merely theoretical ideas that are committed to memory. They are a way of life and a full system for handling life correctly. I will be addressing hardships here more than anything else hoping this will also help you figure out how to handle times of ease and tranquility.
Here are the practical solutions this paradigm offer to handle challenging times in life:
First: Reality is not as solid as it seems to be. In other words, reality as we perceive it is never a finished business; it is a work in progress. What many people fail to realize is that what happens is half of reality, while our perception, interpretation of, and response to this reality altogether create the final reality we have to experience. This usually comes as a surprise to most of those with whom I share this concept. However, many find it a liberating realization. There is something inside each one of us that recognizes this as true to a certain extent.
What this principle suggests is that reality is not so carved in stone. Instead, reality is so malleable and we play a major role in how it turns out to be. Yes, this means you are responsible for your circumstances, to a certain extent…actually to a great extent.
And it is this element of responsibility that throwspeople off. Who wants to face the notion that they are responsible for their pain and suffering. This notions strips away the comfort of a victim mentality. It allows you no space to blame other things or other people for how your experience in life has been going.
However, this concept is so liberating as it puts the power in your hands and places you in the drivers seat. If you are able to see this and embrace it, I promise your life is on the way to changing to the better.
Through this principle losing your job is not necessarily bad. It could be an opportunity for you to move on to a better job, or learn new skills and move to the next level of your professional growth, or maybe the reason that would push you to take that step and build your own business and achieve more financial freedom.
I once read the story of a nurse who was laid off. She felt miserable and was devastated since she had to take care of her elderly parents. Three years later, she writes the boss who laid her of a letter of appreciated for giving her the golden opportunity to face life by herself which made her build her own business and now she had become a millionaire.
Second: Everything that happens is essentially good. If you grasp the first principle and embrace it, you will have less tendencies to grapple with this one. Allowing this principle to sink into your the deepest layers of your consciousness will offer you a ticket to a new outlook on life that will put you on the path to a fully lived and rich life. Things that happen in life are only allowed in when they serve a better end; this is how Allah works with Qadar. To put it differently, only the best possible versions of reality takes place, period. This is a universal fact of life that is not easy to accept despite being one of the most empowering and liberating. You need a mature mind to find peace with this notion.
Does this mean murder and rape are good? Absolutely not. But as the first principle suggests, reality is not a finished business. Murder, rape, and all other crimes and violations are evil in and of themselves. But reality extends far beyond the immediate circumstances and what is evil could very well serve a greater reality and repel a greater harm. Again, this principle is about being able to see how among all possible versions of reality, only the best takes place. I understand this is not so easy but here’s a practical way to approach it.
The power of this principle lies in one’s ability to embrace it and find peace in it. Only then you will be able to make this principle work for you. Universal principles will respond to you differently based on whether you believe in them or not. Yes belief is a causal force that has physical consequences.
The Prophet (PBUH) puts this whole principle in a simple statement when he says: “Amazing is the state of thebeliever; whatever happens to him turns out to be good. If a blessing comes to him, he is grateful and thats good for him. If harm comes to him, he is patient and this is good for him. And this is only available to the believer.”
Third: Things that happen were decided long ago. This principle is also unexpectedly empowering. I say “unexpectedly” because I’ve seen many people see it in a negative light and tend to use it to relieve themselves of taking responsibility for their actions and their life. Others also use it to blame Allah for the tragedies that take place. Others use it to blame Allah for creating humanity even though He knew many of them will disbelieve and end up in Hell. I will respond to these objections somewhere else. I will take a pragmatic approach to it here to stay in course in this article.
The fact that Allah wrote everything down way before the creation of the heavens and the earth should only be seen in the light of His wisdom, knowledge, mercy, and justice. Again here the best possibility of reality was created and favoured above all others. This makes your heart rest in peace. When reality seems to be beyond your control and immediate influence, you know that the best choices have been made for you even though they may seem challenging and negative at a first glance.
When you reach a state of certainty that Allah has chosen things for you based on His mercy, wisdom, and justice you rest assured that things are happening for you not to you. This is what Allah invites the believers to as they respond to threats:
((Say nothing will happen to us except what Allah wrote for us. Indeed He is our protector and guardian and in Allah let the believers put their trust)) [surat at-Taubah: ] Fourth: Adverse circumstances fall into two types. Undesired events are one of two:
1. those you can change and those you can do nothing about. With the things you can do nothing about, the best solution is to leave them for Allah and be happy with His choices for you.
2. adverse circumstances you are able to affect either completely or partly, you should do all you can to change them. The ability to tell the difference is very important in this regard.
The key here is to classify the condition at hand. Putting it were it belongs is the first step. Then you know how to handle it. If it is something you can do nothing about, you should leave it for Allah and not worry about it. Having trust in Allah is necessary if you want to do master this principle. Many people are addicted to worry. They can’t stop thinking of negative circumstances about which they can do nothing. I will be sharing techniques to help you change that in a future article on gratitude.
Fifth: Focus on the good things you have in life. Often times our attention has been trained to focus solely on negative circumstance and we don’t seem to be giving enough attention to the countless blessings we are showered with.
In most of the cases, depression and negative feelings come from the mismanagement of one’s own attention. We have been conditioned to pay more attention to undesired conditions and almost completely forget about the good that constitutes the majority of our living circumstances. Our attention draws our reality. What we pay attention to tends to push away other elements of reality outside of our consciousness. Then we fail to see how many blessings there are in our lives. This leads to depression and a life of misery, complaint, and negativity.
So make a point to bring to your attention some of the good things in your life and circumstance and thank Allah for them. You will be surprised how the quality of your life will change. Here’s a video to help you develop this skill.
Finally, having an all consuming cause to live for can give you all the energy needed to implement these five keys and keep your focus on the things that empower you. This cause must come from your heart and must be a genuine response to your soul’s calling.
If you embody these tenets and embrace them, you life will be a rewarding experience. You will live a rich life regardless of your immediate circumstances. Remember Islam is not a set of ideas designed for mere memorization. It is a way of life to be embraced and lived and this is how it delivers the promises its followers.
Try to read these five principles as often as possible and take time to reflect on them and try to see your life through their lens. After a while they will find their way to your mind and start showing you a more profound version of reality. and remember all the time that Islam is so powerful.