by Shazeeda Khan
Published: July 2, 2022
Danbury News Times
Resilience is having the capability to adapt and recover from setbacks and adversities. Our ability to cope with life’s trials will determine how well we endure in this world. Spiritual resiliency can offer us freedom from debilitating stress and worry.
Islamic teachings inform us that this world is the testing phase of our lives wherein we must strive to cultivate spiritual resiliency, i.e., patience. God tells us, “…do you think that you shall enter heaven without being tried…” [Quran 2:214]. “We will surely test you with something of fear, hunger, a loss of wealth, lives, and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.” [Quran 2:155].
Tests and trials serve several purposes among them are to develop and train good character, to establish morals, and to strengthen submission to God. Submission to God is key because it enables our hearts to fulfill the rights due to ourselves and those of the people. It isn’t just that we are commanded to pray, fast and give charity but it’s how these rituals change our hearts and refine our character.
Every situation has benefits for the believer; in times of ease, the believer is grateful to God and in times of trials, the believer exhibits patience and resilience. Therefore, the believer is always living within a state of gratitude or a state of patience which results in humility, generosity, and thoughtfulness.
The good news is even if one is not naturally resilient it is possible to develop a resilient mindset and attitude.
Here are a few ideas that may help in developing a resilient mindset:
Muslims find comfort in this verse of the Quran 2:286. It begins with a promise — God does not burden a soul beyond their capacity, — followed by a supplication — Our Lord, do not hold us accountable if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord, do not place a burden as You have placed on those before us. Our Lord, do not make us bear a burden for which we have no strength, pardon us, grant us forgiveness and mercy on us.
We are also comforted by this statement of Prophet Muhammad, “A believer is not stricken with a discomfort, an illness, an anxiety, a grief or mental worry or even the prick of a thorn but God expiate their sins on account of their patience” [Al Bukhari]. This reminds us that coping with adversities within the limits of God is a means of removal of our sins.
Setting reasonable and realistic goals for ourselves and not overburdening ourselves which may lead to despondency. “God intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship” [Quran 2:185]. The Prophet advised: “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few” [Ibn Mājah].
Begin everything by enlisting God’s assistance. Remembering that nothing happens without the Will and Knowledge of God.
Before we make any important decisions, we supplicate seeking God’s guidance: God if in your knowledge this action is good for me in my religion, for my belief, for my life and death, for this world and the next, then make it destined for me and make it easy for me and if this action is not good…then turn it away from me and turn me away from it and destine for me what is better.” Reliance in God removes the worry and anxiety associated with making decisions.
The Prophet said, “Safeguard the Commandments of God and you will find Him before you. Remember Him in prosperity and He will remember you in adversity. Be sure that which has missed you, was never meant for you; and whatever hit you, would have never missed you. Remember that the Help of God is obtained with patience, and relief emerges after distress, prosperity follows adversity, and hardship is followed by ease” [At-Tirmidhi].
People who are resilient have certain characteristics: they view setbacks as opportunities. They have strongly held values, which includes spiritual connections. They maintain perspective; they can see past their current situation. They are self-aware; they understand their strengths and weaknesses. They set realistically achievable goals. They can improvise by shifting gears and developing alternative plans. They exhibit patience in adversity.
Embedded within Islam are principles and duties that enable us to develop spiritual resilience to navigate through life. Our resilience is further strengthened with the knowledge that God’s Mercy, Guidance and Forgiveness, is always accessible — resulting in hopefulness, optimism and less stress.
Shazeeda Khan is an Islamic studies teacher and director of Islamic education at Baitul Mukarram Masjid of Greater Danbury 330 Main Street Danbury CT and President, Board of Directors of Muslim Endorsement Council