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The Test of Ease

“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.” ~ Khalil Gibran

For the better part of the past 4 years, I lived as the only foreigner in a small-town in northern Egypt. I had no family and few friends, and I was generally viewed as an outsider, an unwelcome guest in the lives and worlds of those I lived with. On top of this, I was trapped in a miserable marriage to an egomaniac.

Because of my situation and my belief that I would never escape without the help of Allah, I used to wake myself up before Fajr to pray Tahhajud (qiyam al-layl) and to beg God to save me. I would cry to Him in English and in my fumbling Arabic, and sometimes with no words at all. I fasted as often as I could. I gave as much in charity as I was able.

I threw myself on the mercy of Allah, begging Him from the depths of my heart to save me or to give me peace with my circumstances. I felt sure that if He ever took me out of that painful situation, I would be the most grateful woman alive.

Now, a year since I received my khul’ and took myself and my children out of that nightmare, I am finally very, very happy with the circumstances of my life.

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I am back in my own country, where there is abundant rain and green and forests to soothe my soul and heal my heart. I am happily re-married to a wonderful, kind man. I have a stable home life. I have all the worldly things I could possibly need.

Allah says:

Blessed is He in whose hand is dominion, and He is over all things competent – [He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving (Al Mulk 67:2).

Previously, when I heard these verses, or when someone told me about how their ease was as much a test as my hardship, it made me bitter and cynical. Sure, death and hardship were tests, but life and ease?

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that if God saved me from that tribulation, I would be anything less than a humble, grateful servant of Him. But the exact opposite has happened.

test easeI have become lax in my worship, lacking in khushoo, my sincerity questionable, and my heart hard.

Because I have a wonderful relationship with my husband and a strong support system, I find myself turning less and less toward God to comfort me and more and more toward my friends, loved ones, and husband.

Dunya, Dunya, Dunya

They, and I, are ash. We are nothing but a jar of organs covered in a layer of skin, and we can be destroyed and returned to our Lord in a moment. Even if those we love outlive us, they will let us down, they will make us cry, and they will break our spirits. None of us is immune from hurting those we love in a moment of anger or sadness.

Our spouses love us because Allah has placed love in their hearts for us. It is Allah loving us when they love us. Our children and parents love us because Allah placed mercy and kindness between mother and child, and it is Allah showing us mercy and kindness through them.

Our friends are attracted to our personalities and are loyal and good because Allah has made us to seem attractive in their eyes. It is Allah who is supporting and believing in us when they do.

If we fail to thank Him and worship Him as He deserves, we are doing ourselves a great disservice. Allah says:

{If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’} (Ibrahim 14: 7).

We must not allow our love for our children, family, friends, and spouses to overcome our love for Allah, lest we risk the most serious sin of all: shirk, attributing partners to Allah.

If our love for our family makes us miss our prayers, we are forgetting Allah. If our love for our spouse makes us break our fast in Ramadan, we have made our desires our God alongside (or rather than) Allah.

If we allow our love for our friends to make us choose sin, we have told Allah that our friends are worth His displeasure and wrath now and in the Hereafter.

Our souls will not accept the junk we feed them for long, and the soul is extremely sensitive to imitation. Our loved ones will never fill that void in us which requires worship of and nearness to our Lord, despite how we may feel for a time. We were created to worship God alone, and to turn our hearts continually to Him. Allah tells us:

{Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship]. And to your Lord direct [your] longing.} (Ash-Sharh 94:6-8).

Let us renew our sincerity for Allah alone and to rededicate our hearts totally to Him, and to love our family and friends within His boundaries and for His sake, alone.

About Kaighla Um Dayo
Kaighla Um Dayo is one of the authors of "The New Muslim's Field Guide", expected to be published in Feb. 2018. She is also a former Ask About Islam editor. She is also a regular contributor at, where she ruminates on life as a Muslim American. Her favorite things are meditation, painting, drinking tea, and being outside in nature.