I have been suffering from an illness (skin) for many years now, which has prevented me from doing many things. As a result my day-to-day activities have become limited. I appreciate that Allah tests us during this life, but this has become too much for me, still being young and I feel very frustrated with no end in sight. I have been put on anti-depressants as a result of the trauma of this illness but seem to be going nowhere. Sometimes I feel that I am being punished, but I haven’t committed any major sins or any others for that matter. My faith is slowly dwindling, though I have always been strong in faith and want to continue to be so.
Are there any special or specific Prayers/Du`aa that one can read for help under such circumstances?
Dear brother, man is primarily being tested in two ways. Sometimes man is blessed with something to judge whether he is thankful (shukr) to his Creator or not. This show of gratitude and thankfulness is not merely through spoken words but also entails the right attitude toward others and the fulfillment of the [practical] responsibilities that arise from these blessings. On the other hand, sometimes one is deprived of something dear to him to judge whether he remains steadfast (sabr) in the way of his Lord or not. Remaining steadfast (sabr) entails having great confidence in God’s mercy and never losing heart of the hard times that one is faced with.
Brother, in both these spheres of our test, it is not possible for us to determine what are the final limits to which we can be tested. It is the sole decision of our All-Knowing and Ever Merciful Creator. It is of utmost importance that we refrain from complaining about our state. Such complaints show our lack of confidence in God’s knowledge, mercy and wisdom. We must always remember that our Creator loves us more than our imagination. When He puts us through a test, it is not to fail us but to elevate our ranks in the life hereafter. He has full knowledge of our strengths and our weaknesses and His all-abounding mercy never puts us through a test in which we are bound to fail. It is primarily this confidence in God’s Knowledge, Mercy and Wisdom that develops our confidence in Him, which is our only weapon to succeed in the test of this life.
Sometimes, man is put through an extra-ordinary situation [as you might feel has come upon you]. Such a situation may also be due to any one or more of the following reasons:
- Sometimes God selects a person, on the basis of His absolute knowledge, to behave as an epitome of thankfulness and gratitude for all those around him. In such cases, the primary objective of putting an individual through an extremely severe situation is to teach others of the correct attitude of thankfulness and gratitude toward their Lord. In this situation, others are made to see the individual’s faithful and thankful behavior toward his Creator in a very severe situation and thereby realize the importance of the good things God has given them and also to compare their own behavior with that of the person put in such a severe situation. The basic difference between this situation and the one described in number 1 above is from the particular individual’s perspective that is taken through such extra-ordinary situation. In number 1, it is primarily a test for the individual, while in number 2, it is a privilege for the particular individual that he is selected by God for the purpose of teaching others of the right attitude and to act as an example for them. An example of this may be seen in the life of Hadhrat Ayyub (pbuh) [For details, you may see the book of “Job”, in the Old Testament].
To cleanse an individual of the bad deeds that he might – knowingly or unknowingly – have committed in the past. If the person remains steadfast and faithful to his Lord in this cleansing process, all his bad deeds are washed away in the life of this world, which guarantees his success in the life hereafter.
To punish an individual for his general attitude of transgression against God in life. In such a situation the severe condition is only a preamble for the real punishment that the person shall face in the life hereafter.
Obviously, with our limited knowledge, we cannot be certain about the particular reason for which we are made to go through a severe situation. But, if a person has generally tried to submit to God’s commands and has not generally been a transgressor, he can rest assured that the severe situation he is faced with is not a punishment from his Creator, but a test in which he is provided a great opportunity of success in the life hereafter. Another important aspect that should be kept in mind while faced with a difficult situation is that a person should never be over confidant of his conduct in the life of this world. In fact a person should always try to look back on his behavior and conduct with a critic’s eye. Because it is not only our evil deeds that deserve punishment and cleansing but more so our arrogance and lack of humbleness.
In meeting the challenge of such severe situations and in keeping one’s mind and heart full of love and gratitude toward our Creator in such times, the following can be of great help:
Regular and mindful recitation of the Qur’an .
Continuously reminding oneself that the life of this world, however bountiful or however troublesome it may be, is but a temporary phase of our life. Real success is not in gaining the bounties of this world and neither are the troubles of this world the real troubles. These are all a part of our test. The blessings of the hereafter are not only everlasting but also far greater than our imagination – and so are its punishments. No cost in this world is high enough for the success in the hereafter and no pleasure of this world is great enough, for which the everlasting life of bliss be sacrificed.
Maintaining a company of the truthful and Godly people.
Trying to find a purpose to one’s life. Living a meaningful and well-directed life can help us in facing and overcoming a lot of hardships and difficulties. This purpose should be such that may not only help in finding good and meaningful company for oneself but also one that would help a person to come closer to his Creator. This purpose should be determined on the basis of one’s abilities, opportunities and the need of the hour. This purpose may be directly related to Islam or may be directed toward serving humanity, in general [but with a clear and the sole motivation of pleasing Allah].
Making a routine of memorizing and reciting the supplications of the prophets of Allah (pbut) [as given in the Qur’an ] and also those ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) as narrated in the books of hadith. To begin with, one such supplication [as given in the Qur’an ] may be:
أَنِّي مَغْلُوبٌ فَانتَصِرْ
[O my Lord,] I have been overcome, please help me.
This, according to the Qur’an , was the prayer of Hadhrat Nooh (pbuh) at the most difficult time during his da`wah.
Hope the answer can be of some help