In times of despair, do not let go of hope13 min read

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In times of despair, do not let go of hope

Allah Ta’ala, has placed humanity in this existence for His worship and servitude. Life and death are created by Allah Ta’ala, so that they may test who performs better, who succeeds in their trials and tribulations, and who fails. Human life is a continuous sequence of happiness, sorrow, ease, and hardship, and this cycle will continue until the Day of Judgment.

Those familiar with the sweetness of faith face every moment with a smiling face. During times of joy, they thank Allah, and in moments of sadness, they display patience and perseverance. However, those deprived of the sweetness of faith find joyous moments tasteless, while the unpleasant shadow of grief can engulf their lives. They complain and become disheartened.

Instead of demonstrating patience and steadfastness during times of adversity, they drown in despair. Even when faced with worldly difficulties, they worsen their situation by losing hope in Allah’s vast mercy and end up ruining their worldly lives as well.

The country’s economic and political conditions are fostering our sense of hopelessness; everyone seems to be complaining about one another, and our future is fraught with grave dangers. We have forgotten that we are the followers of the noble Prophet, peace be upon him, that we are Muslims, that we are the best nation, and that we have the blessings of the Prophet’s, peace be upon him, supplications. Allah has bestowed upon us the best region in the world, religious and ideological freedom why then do we fall into despair?

Due to ignorance and lack of knowledge

people often fall prey to despair despite Allah’s vast mercy. Allah’s mercy, countless blessings, unlimited favors, and boundless generosity have caused us to despair during times of ignorance and lack of knowledge. Allah’s pure essence is absolute power; He merely says the word ‘Be,’ and it is done. If He afflicts someone with hardship, He is also the One who can grant relief.

His canopy of mercy encompasses the entire world. His command is: ‘My Mercy encompasses everything.’ Therefore, never lose hope in Allah vast mercy, and always remember that Allah is the One who can bring ease in the most difficult of times.

۞ وَٱكْتُبْ لَنَا فِى هَـٰذِهِ ٱلدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةًۭ وَفِى ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ إِنَّا هُدْنَآ إِلَيْكَ ۚ قَالَ عَذَابِىٓ أُصِيبُ بِهِۦ مَنْ أَشَآءُ ۖ وَرَحْمَتِى وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَىْءٍۢ ۚ فَسَأَكْتُبُهَا لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ وَيُؤْتُونَ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُم بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا يُؤْمِنُونَ ١٥٦

And write for us good in this world and in the Hereafter. We turn to You in repentance.” He (Allah) said, “As for My punishment, I afflict with it whom I will. And My mercy extends to everything. So, I shall write it for those who guard themselves against evil, and pay Zakāh, and those who do believe in Our verses, (7:156)

Undoubtedly, His mercy is all-encompassing, and His blessings in this vast universe are so abundant that measuring and encompassing them is impossible. Therefore, a person afflicted with hardship should have complete faith in Allah’s boundless mercy and strive to attain a true understanding of His all-encompassing mercy.

In divine fear, extremism and exaggeration.

A person, driven by the demands of humanity, commits a great sin or a severe crime. In the depths of his heart, he also feels the weight of his sin and transgression. With a sincere heart, he wishes to repent for his sins. However, due to the intensity of his sin and the severity of his crime, he falls prey to extremism and exaggeration in the fear of Allah, becoming trapped in despair and hopelessness, believing that the doors of forgiveness have closed for him. Therefore, Imam Ibn Qayyim states that a person should not have such excessive fear of Allah that it leads to despair and that he becomes devoid of hope in Allah’s mercy. Such fear is condemned. He further states that he heard from Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) that the limit of divine fear is that it prevents one from committing sins and transgressions. Crossing the limit of divine fear is not correct. Moreover, a fear that leads to despair is essentially disrespectful to Allah’s mercy (Madarij al-Salikin: 371/2).

The Company of the Despondent

Sometimes, a person finds himself in a difficult situation, and he also trusts in his Lord that sooner or later, He will bestow His grace upon him. Eventually, the heavy clouds of adversity will dissipate from his head. However, he is often surrounded by individuals who constantly wander in the valleys of despair and hopelessness. Mention of Allah’s mercy and forgiveness is scarce on their lips, while discussions of their anger and displeasure with Allah persist. Consequently, the negative effects of such despondent company gradually etch into the person’s mind.

Patience and the Hastiness in Obtaining Results

Patience and endurance in the face of difficulties and pains illuminate the spark of hope within a person. It instills the spirit of resilience and perseverance against trials and tribulations. A patient and steadfast individual does not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, nor does he rush to achieve results hastily. This is because impatience often undermines the essence of patience. Consequently, a person who abandons patience quickly becomes despondent and fails to attain the desired outcomes. Impatience has a tendency to drain the reservoir of patience, leading to waves of despair. For this reason, a hadith prohibits hasty supplication acceptance. It is narrated by Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah, may peace and blessings be upon him, said:

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ يُوسُفَ، أَخْبَرَنَا مَالِكٌ، عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، عَنْ أَبِي عُبَيْدٍ، مَوْلَى ابْنِ أَزْهَرَ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ يُسْتَجَابُ لأَحَدِكُمْ مَا لَمْ يَعْجَلْ يَقُولُ دَعَوْتُ فَلَمْ يُسْتَجَبْ لِي ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger () said, “The invocation of anyone of you is granted (by Allah) if he does not show impatience (by saying, “I invoked Allah but my request has not been granted.”) (Sahih al-Bukhari 6340)

Excessive Attachment to the World Beyond Its Limits

When a person becomes excessively attached to the wealth, possessions, and means of livelihood of this world, a quest for comfort becomes an integral part of their life. They constantly desire tranquility, satisfaction, good health, a luxurious lifestyle, and an extravagant way of life. Descending into comfort and becoming despondent in times of adversity becomes their nature. In this regard, Allah Almighty has guided us: “They despair” (Quran, Surah Ar-Rum: 36). When we bestow blessings upon them, they are elated, but if any harm befalls them due to their own actions, they quickly become utterly despondent. The negative consequences of despair can have detrimental effects on individuals.

وإذا أذقنا الناس رحمةٌ فَرِحُوْا بِها وَإِنْ تُصِبْهُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيَهُمْ إِذَا هُمْ

Despair is the way of disbelievers and the misguided.

A believer remains steadfast even when faced with countless trials and hardships, and their faith remains unwavering. Even in the most difficult circumstances, they do not let go of patience and contentment. They have complete trust in the vast and encompassing mercy of their generous Lord. They never allow despair to come close because despair is a trait of disbelievers and the misguided, as Allah Almighty commands:

قَالَ وَمَن يَقْنَطُ مِن رَّحْمَةِ رَبِّهِۦٓ إِلَّا ٱلضَّآلُّونَ ٥٦

He said, “Who can lose hope in the mercy of his Lord except those who have lost the straight path?” (15:56)

Despairing of the mercy of Allah and His Messenger is a rejection. See how the vast mercy of Allah is not limited to only believers and righteous individuals, but the expansiveness of Allah’s mercy benefits both the righteous and the sinful, the believer and the disbeliever. Wherever you look, you will find the blessings of Allah’s mercy, for it is from the abode of the Lord that only mercy emanates and manifests. Allah commands:

قُل لِّمَن مَّا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ قُل لِّلَّهِ ۚ كَتَبَ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ ٱلرَّحْمَةَ ۚ لَيَجْمَعَنَّكُمْ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ ۚ ٱلَّذِينَ خَسِرُوٓا۟ أَنفُسَهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ ١٢

Say, “To whom belongs all that is in the heavens and on the earth?” Say, “To Allah.” He has prescribed Mercy for Himself. He will surely gather you on the Day of Resurrection in which there is no doubt.Those who have brought loss to themselves are not going to believe.(6:12)

Allah has imposed upon Himself to show mercy. Therefore, if a person despairs of Allah’s mercy, it is as if they reject and deny the Quranic verses and the Prophetic traditions that mention the vastness of Allah’s mercy. Despair is the cause of disbelief, polytheism, destruction, and misguidance. A person who despairs of Allah’s mercy cannot protect their faith in the Oneness of Allah. Instead, they become disheartened and turn to disbelief and polytheism when faced with life’s challenges and hardships, even though what is destined for them cannot be altered. Therefore, losing hope in Allah’s mercy is akin to throwing oneself into the abyss of destruction and ruin. Allah Almighty has prohibited self-destruction, as stated in His command:

وَأَنفِقُوا۟ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَلَا تُلْقُوا۟ بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى ٱلتَّهْلُكَةِ ۛ وَأَحْسِنُوٓا۟ ۛ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ ١٩٥

Spend in the way of Allah and do not put yourselves into destruction, and do good. Of course, Allah loves those who do good.(2:195)

الإلقاء إلى التهلكة هو القنوط من رحمة الله

Indeed, the meaning of throwing oneself into destruction is to despair of Allah’s mercy. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn: 217/1)

Negligence in Remembrance and Worship

The detrimental effects of despair can extend to one’s religious obligations and acts of worship. When the veil of despair covers one’s mind and soul, they may become negligent in fulfilling their religious duties and obligations. Sometimes, they may even become so despondent that they lose interest in acts of obedience and worship, despite the benefits that can be derived from them. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami Allah states:

القائط آئس من نفع الأعمال، ومن لازم ذالك تركها

Indeed, a despondent person, because of their hopelessness regarding the benefits of good deeds, may abandon performing those deeds.” (Al-Zawajir: 122/1)

Continuity and Perseverance in Committing Sins and Evils

Abu Qilabah (may Allah be pleased with him) said

لرجل يُصِيبُ الذنب فيقول : قد هلكت ، ليس لي توبةٌ، فَيَيأس من رحمة الله، و ينهمك في المعاصي فنهاهم الله تعالي عن ذالك، قال تعالى

When a person commits a sin, he says, ‘I am ruined, there is no hope for me,’ and in doing so, he despairs of Allah’s mercy and becomes even more engrossed in his sins. Therefore, Allah Almighty has prohibited people from falling into despair. Allah’s guidance is:

يَـٰبَنِىَّ ٱذْهَبُوا۟ فَتَحَسَّسُوا۟ مِن يُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ وَلَا تَا۟يْـَٔسُوا۟ مِن رَّوْحِ ٱللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّهُۥ لَا يَا۟يْـَٔسُ مِن رَّوْحِ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلْقَوْمُ ٱلْكَـٰفِرُونَ ٨٧

O my sons, go and search for Yūsuf and his brother, and do not lose hope in the mercy of Allah. In fact, only the infidels lose hope in Allah’s mercy.”(12:87)

How can we overcome despair?

Faith in the Names and Attributes of Allah

If a person has complete faith and certainty in the Names and Attributes of Allah, reflects upon their meanings and implications, and lives their life fulfilling His commands, they can never be lost in the valley of despair. If someone is afflicted with hardship, they should remember Allah’s quality of mercy and seek His compassion and generosity. Indeed, His mercy encompasses the entire world, and He will surely have mercy. If someone is burdened by sins and transgressions, they should remember Allah’s quality of forgiveness and seek His pardon. He is the Most Forgiving, the Oft-Forgiving, and He rejoices greatly when His servants turn to Him in repentance. Even if someone is afflicted with a deadly and incurable disease, despite the answers provided by worldly doctors, they should not lose hope in Allah’s mercy. Allah, who has endowed humanity with the knowledge of medicine, possesses a cure for every difficult illness. He has not created any ailment without providing its cure. It is only a matter of accessibility to medical expertise. The purpose is that relief from every pain and salvation from every calamity is possible at Allah’s doorstep, provided that one approaches with complete faith and certainty.

Having a good opinion of Allah

To escape the whirlpool of despair, it is essential for a person to avoid sins and maintain a positive outlook on Allah. Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: ‘Allah, the Almighty, says:

حَدَّثَنَا عُمَرُ بْنُ حَفْصٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، حَدَّثَنَا الأَعْمَشُ، سَمِعْتُ أَبَا صَالِحٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي، وَأَنَا مَعَهُ إِذَا ذَكَرَنِي، فَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي نَفْسِهِ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي نَفْسِي، وَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي مَلأٍ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي مَلأٍ خَيْرٍ مِنْهُمْ، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَىَّ بِشِبْرٍ تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ ذِرَاعًا، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَىَّ ذِرَاعًا تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ بَاعًا، وَإِنْ أَتَانِي يَمْشِي أَتَيْتُهُ هَرْوَلَةً ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah says: ‘I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than they; and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.’ “(Sahih al-Bukhari 7405)

Patience and Perseverance in Times of Trials and Tribulations

Allah, the Almighty, has condemned those who become despondent in times of adversity, while exempting those who exhibit patience and perseverance during such trials from this condemnation. Allah, the Almighty, has stated:

وَلَئِنْ أَذَقْنَا ٱلْإِنسَـٰنَ مِنَّا رَحْمَةًۭ ثُمَّ نَزَعْنَـٰهَا مِنْهُ إِنَّهُۥ لَيَـُٔوسٌۭ كَفُورٌۭ ٩

If We give man a taste of Our mercy and then take it away from him, he becomes highly desperate, utterly ungrateful.(11:9)

وَلَئِنْ أَذَقْنَـٰهُ نَعْمَآءَ بَعْدَ ضَرَّآءَ مَسَّتْهُ لَيَقُولَنَّ ذَهَبَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتُ عَنِّىٓ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ لَفَرِحٌۭ فَخُورٌ ١٠

And if We give him a taste of comfort after a hardship has touched him, he will say, “Evils have gone away from me”, (and thus) He will become over-exulting, boastful,(11:10)

إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌۭ وَأَجْرٌۭ كَبِيرٌۭ ١١

except those who are patient and do good deeds. Such people will have Allah’s forgiveness and a great reward.(11:11)

Praying with Confidence in Acceptance

In addition to avoiding impatience, praying with confidence in acceptance is also one of the best remedies to overcome despair. Only those prayers are accepted in the divine court that are made with unwavering faith and sincerity. Prayers made with carelessness and without focus are not distant from acceptance. Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

أدْعُو الله وَأَنتُمْ مُوْقِنُونَ بِالإِجَابَةِ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللهَ لَا يَسْتَجِيْبُ دُعَاءاً مِنْ قَلْب غافِل لاہ

Do not pray to Allah with the belief that your prayer will definitely be accepted. Know that Allah, the Exalted, does not accept the prayer of a heart that is engrossed in play and amusement. (Sunan at-Tirmidhi: 3479, Al-Albani: Hasan)

Adopting Permissible Means

If a person is afflicted with an illness or adversity, they should strive to avail themselves of the permissible means that Allah has provided to seek relief. If someone is ill, they should seek medical treatment from a doctor while maintaining complete hope in Allah for healing. The importance of not losing hope and adopting permissible means in times of adversity is evident in the story of Prophet Joseph (Yusuf), peace be upon him. After the separation from his beloved son Benjamin, when Joseph’s brothers returned with the news of his loss, their father Jacob (Yaqub), peace be upon him, said:

يَـٰبَنِىَّ ٱذْهَبُوا۟ فَتَحَسَّسُوا۟ مِن يُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ وَلَا تَا۟يْـَٔسُوا۟ مِن رَّوْحِ ٱللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّهُۥ لَا يَا۟يْـَٔسُ مِن رَّوْحِ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلْقَوْمُ ٱلْكَـٰفِرُونَ ٨٧

O my sons, go and search for Yūsuf and his brother, and do not lose hope in the mercy of Allah. In fact, only the infidels lose hope in Allah’s mercy.”(12:87)

Detachment from the World

One of the fundamental causes of despair is an excessive attachment to the worldly possessions, wealth, and the comforts of life. This is why a person becomes so disheartened when they lose these worldly comforts, sometimes more than they should. It is essential to deeply reflect upon this matter and understand that Allah, the Almighty, grants worldly possessions to both those He loves and those He does not. However, in the Hereafter, He will exclusively bestow His blessings upon His beloved and chosen servants.

Consider that our final Prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the most beloved and honored by Allah among all of creation. Yet, he kept himself distant from the attractions and pleasures of this world. Studying the Hadith literature reveals that many times, he lived a life of simplicity.

Remember

No matter how scarce the means become, and no matter how dire the circumstances may be, a Muslim will always remain a caller to goodness. Why? Because:

وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِين

The outcome is always in favor of the believers.(الأعراف: 128)

That’s why fear Allah concerning yourselves and refrain from spreading despair and rumors among the community, for these are also strategies of warfare and tactics of the enemy to sow despair among Muslims. Therefore, hold on to hope and optimism, and place complete trust in Allah. You will indeed prevail, as Allah says:

وَلَقَدْ سَبَقَتْ كَلِمَتُنَا لِعِبَادِنَا ٱلْمُرْسَلِينَ ١٧١

And Our Word has already come to pass in favor of Our servants, the messengers(37:171)

وَإِنَّ جُندَنَا لَهُمُ ٱلْغَـٰلِبُونَ ١٧٣

and verily it is Our army (of chosen servants) that prevails.(37:173)

مایوس کن حالات میں امید کا دامن ہاتھ سے نہ چھوٹے

JazakAllahu Khairan for reading. If you have found this information beneficial, please share it with your loved ones and friends. May Allah reward you abundantly for your efforts.

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Umme Muhammad

Umme Muhammad

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