Hardships are destined for us all in this life. As slaves of Allah we know that we will be tested- Allah reminds us of this in a number of Ayahs throughout the Quran.
In regards to Surah Anqabut, verse number 2-
اَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ اَنۡ يُّتۡرَكُوۡۤا اَنۡ يَّقُوۡلُوۡۤا اٰمَنَّا وَهُمۡ لَا يُفۡتَـنُوۡنَ
‘Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried?’
In Surah Baqarah, verse number 155-
وَلَـنَبۡلُوَنَّكُمۡ بِشَىۡءٍ مِّنَ الۡخَـوۡفِ وَالۡجُـوۡعِ وَنَقۡصٍ مِّنَ الۡاَمۡوَالِ وَالۡاَنۡفُسِ وَالثَّمَرٰتِؕ وَبَشِّرِ الصّٰبِرِيۡنَۙ
‘And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient’
In Surah Hud, verse 7-
وَ هُوَ الَّذِىۡ خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضَ فِىۡ سِتَّةِ اَ يَّامٍ وَّكَانَ عَرۡشُهٗ عَلَى الۡمَآءِ لِيَبۡلُوَكُمۡ اَيُّكُمۡ اَحۡسَنُ عَمَلًا ؕ
‘And it is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days – and His Throne had been upon water – that He might test you as to which of you is best in deed.’
In Surah Baqarah, verse number 214 Allah says-
اَمۡ حَسِبۡتُمۡ اَنۡ تَدۡخُلُوا الۡجَـنَّةَ وَ لَمَّا يَاۡتِكُمۡ مَّثَلُ الَّذِيۡنَ خَلَوۡا مِنۡ قَبۡلِكُمۡؕ مَسَّتۡهُمُ الۡبَاۡسَآءُ وَالضَّرَّآءُ وَزُلۡزِلُوۡا حَتّٰى يَقُوۡلَ الرَّسُوۡلُ وَالَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مَعَهٗ مَتٰى نَصۡرُ اللّٰهِؕ اَلَاۤ اِنَّ نَصۡرَ اللّٰهِ قَرِيۡبٌ
‘Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said,”When is the help of Allah ?” Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.’
Whether it be health, wealth, our families… or our futures. In this dunya we often find ourselves fretting over something or the other. When one hardship passes, it often feels like the door has been sealed tightly… only for another door to open, and another tattered story to unfold. But we should be reminded of ‘Fa Inni Qareeb’– it was the Ayah that saved me.
The Ayah that reminded me that Allah is near, despite how heavy my chest was and how many obstacles covered my path. The passages of the Quran above come to remind me of my identity as a Muslimah, and my place within the dunya. Tested with both the good and the bad. Hence, being tested with polar opposites. Our wholesome health… or our ill health. Our wealth… or our poverty. Our barakah… or our burdens. Our gains… and our losses. All here to teach us the nearness of Allah and ultimately our roles on this temporary place called Earth, and to have ultimate dependency on him.
Fa Inni Qareeb. I am near. I respond to the call- Allah guarantees that he will respond to the one who calls.
وَاِذَا سَاَلَـكَ عِبَادِىۡ عَنِّىۡ فَاِنِّىۡ قَرِيۡبٌؕ اُجِيۡبُ دَعۡوَةَ الدَّاعِ اِذَا دَعَانِ فَلۡيَسۡتَجِيۡبُوۡا لِىۡ وَلۡيُؤۡمِنُوۡا بِىۡ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡشُدُوۡنَ
‘And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I
respond to ‘the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided’
This Ayah in the Quran encapsulates the relationship Allah yearns for us to have with him- he wants us to call to him, and to remind us that he is near. Allah- Al-Aziz, the magnificent one, Al-Khabeer, the great one, Al-Waali, the governor and Al-Muqsit, the just one- He, Al-Mujeeb, the responding one, states not if, but when you call- I will respond. It is in the wording we also recognise the personal relationship Allah has with us, when he states that he responds to THE caller, not A caller, but THE caller- us.
It is as if he knows us personally and is waiting in anticipation for our call.
We often forget that Allah does indeed know us and wants to take care of us more than a mother wanting to look after her child. He wants the best for us- all we have to do is call out to him.
We, however, often feel abandoned, disbanded, disconnected, and in a rush to complain to the one above when things don’t go our way, or when we feel he doesn’t respond to our countless calls. But he does acknowledge and respond. Always.
Fast forward to a moment in the future, where you may find yourself stopping in the middle of a busy packed street, gasping, catching your breath, heart racing, emotionally vulnerable amongst crowds of strangers, with hot tears streaming down your face. Being in the thick of the dunya… but finding yourself praising the one and only Lord above, who you finally realise, helped you, loves you, would never abandon you- and that he was always near. Even if we as his creation… were not.
Allah responds- in both apparent and hidden responses.
All we have to do is call. Fa Inni Qareeb reminded me of my duty to call out and make dua. For dua is worship. Dua is our conversation with Allah- the point of dua as they say is not for the outcome, and neither is it for what we want. It is in the process of calling to him and gaining that nearness to Allah- and ultimately reminding us to put our dependence on him.
The beauty in dua is it doesn’t matter where we are, whether we are sitting, lying or standing, we can talk to Allah anywhere and however we want. We don’t necessarily have to know Arabic to make dua, we can converse with Allah in whatever language we feel most comfortable- whether it be Spanish, Punjabi, Italian, French or English! Again, making that connection with Allah more personable and, god willing, an increase in our nearness to Allah.
Fa Inni Qareeb saved me. And even tonight, when my heart pushed me to continue reading the Quran, even when I didn’t want to- and at a time when my heart was at unease. I continued reading until it felt as if all time had stopped- a lump in my throat, my eyes welling up as I made it to the last few ayahs on the page. The slowing down of reality with Allah reminding me again, in Surah Baqarah, that he is – Fa Inni Qareeb- He is Near.
Having written the above in the darkest, deepest hours of the night, I fell into a deep slumber. I wake the next day and what do I happen to find in my Instagram memories that morning- a post that I had put up 3 years with that exact Ayah. Fa Inni Qareeb. SubhanAllah. Allah reminds me again. He really is Qareeb.
I cannot help but find myself smiling and my heart lurches at how great my Allah is. How kind, how loving, how caring. And not forgetting – how close- ‘closer than our jugular vein’. What else can give me more comfort than this?
وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا الۡاِنۡسَانَ وَنَعۡلَمُ مَا تُوَسۡوِسُ بِهٖ نَفۡسُهٗ ۖۚ وَنَحۡنُ اَقۡرَبُ اِلَيۡهِ مِنۡ حَبۡلِ الۡوَرِيۡدِ
‘And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein’
Reading recommendations by author:
Dua. The Weapon of the Believer (2003) Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi
Shanza is a British Pakistani Muslim who currently works in the third sector, has had a love of reading since a young age, traveling and seeing Allah’s beauty, and enjoys learning about Islam, spirituality and the soul. She is always open to learning new things and broadening her mind. A foodie at heart, and more recently trying her hand at writing.