What do we do when we’ve done everything we can to change a difficult or even seemingly unbearable circumstance, and we still feel stuck in it?
Dr. Elizabeth Ihsan Rose, faculty at Sufi U shares how love and mercy can help us when feeling stuck.
I’m reminded of what the Qur’an says, “Never despair of the mercy of Allah.”
The things I struggle the most with in this worldly existence, are the things that ultimately make me turn most fully to Allah. Those places where I hurt the most, where I am the most desperate and needy, are the ones that make me throw myself into His arms and rely on Him the most, because ultimately there is no one and nothing in this world that can help me, but Allah. It seems for many of us there are particular issues that become our deepest walking on the path to know Allah-because we NEED help and Allah IS the helper.
When I first came to this path, I had experienced much worldly success, but I had also been through trauma and loss, and I came with a heart full of pain, grief, and fear. Much of my suffering was the result of looking back at my past with sadness or looking at my future with fear. I had a strong vision of how I wanted my life to be different, but I was deeply unhappy with my circumstances at the time.
A lot of my suffering actually came because I resisted being where I was. If only my life was different, if only other people were different, and if only I was different, then I would feel peace and happiness. As I continued on the path, I learned to open my heart and began to truly taste and experience Allah’s love and mercy for me, just exactly where I was in that moment, regardless of what was going on in my outer world, or inside of me. Instead of an abstract theological concept, Allah’s love became more and more of a reality for me.
I discovered that divine love and mercy and peace was what I had really been looking for all along. And I began to sincerely want Allah, more than what I wanted so badly in the material world. I began to trust in Allah’s love and care for me, even when I couldn’t see it, even when I was struggling most and in the greatest pain. I began to understand that Allah’s love and mercy was so vast, it was like an ocean without a shore, and that I could let it wash over me and carry me.
I finally got to the place where I genuinely felt that if I never got what I wanted in the material realm, I could still be happy and grateful, because I had Allah, and His love, which was more, and better, and greater than anything. This was a huge shift for me. This was when everything changed. Instead of continuous pain and grief, I began to feel peace, gratitude, love.
It wasn’t that I stopped wanting, or praying for, what I deeply wanted, but that I wanted Allah even more. And I opened my heart to Him, because there wasn’t really anything left for me in creation, and I received His love and mercy and healing and let it fill me. And when this shifted for me on the inside, things started to shift on the outside. When this feeling of contentment with where I actually was, became stable for me on the inside, things on the outside changed. And eventually, almost everything that my heart had been crying for, before, became a reality for me.
Never, never, never despair of the mercy of Allah. Keep asking Him for what your heart is crying for. He can change everything in an instant. Let your difficulty or pain be a doorway to Him, not a barrier, if you can. Let it bring you closer, because He is the One Who has everything you need and He loves you so very much and He’s given you everything in your life that you love and He wants you and He wants you to be happy. To whatever extent you can, focus on all the ways He has blessed you, and be as truly grateful as you can be for those, and trust His mercy for you, even when you are veiled from it, and hold on tightly to your hope. And let there just be as much mercy for yourself as you can, because His mercy encompasses all things.
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