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When Life Gets Harder After Repentance

Until a year ago, I was living a worthless life that I am not proud of. I could walk around unmindful of other people’s issues and situations. Worse, I committed sins and instead of feeling remorse, I felt regret for not committing a bigger sin so I could fit in with the wrong crowd. But of course back then, I did not see it as wrong.

Alhamdulillah, I was given a chance to reconnect with Him, the Almighty, when I decided to get up and pray Tawbah one night. I promised myself that I would never look back and use this special opportunity to repair what’s broken.

“Allah Almighty is Merciful and loving,” I mouthed to myself almost every day in the first few weeks. I embarked on a new journey enthusiastically, envisioning it to be easier than before now that I had repented. Little did I realize, however, that it was quite the reverse from what I had imagined.

Just when I turn my back on the wrong, I suffer even harder hardships. I have had more rejections, failures and frustrations within one year than I had in my entire life before.

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Strange! Is Allah Almighty still angry? Did I do it wrong? At one point I almost believed my choice was a huge mistake. I mean, what is the point of me repenting if it’s only making my life more intricate?

Despite my flinch and confusion, He did not give me a simple question paper; rather He gave me more knowledge to go about the harder one. And I am starting to comprehend the truths about hardships:

Sincerity Test and Ticket to Jannah

Hardships are tests formulated by Allah Almighty in order to identify the true believers and distinguish them from the non-believers. The test begins as soon as we admitted His Oneness and that we will remain faithful to Him no matter what.

{Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried?} (Al-`Ankabut 29: 2)

 {Do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you?} (Al-Baqarah 2: 214)

The result will be the evidence to determine whether or not we are qualified as a believer, andi whose Jannah will be the final abode. It is rewarding because in one hardship, we stand a chance to claim two gifts; a believer’s status and a place in Jannah.

In a way, it is similar to a situation in university. We desire a scroll of degree and believe we deserve it. But the university will not give us anything until they see a proof which can only be attained through countless tests and examinations. We are fully aware that a student’s life is not easy, yet we accept the challenge because we believe it is good for us, don’t we?

How about adopting such inspiring attitude in our real life, enduring all tests and hardships in pursuit of Jannah? The price of declaring ourselves a believer is expensive, but it is payable through patience, steadfastness and faith.

Treatment for ‘Heart Condition’

In the past, when I pretended to forget the fact that Allah is watching my every step and move, I committed sins and was  happy about it. My heart was filled with uncountable dark spots as a result of many years of ignorance.

Upon repentance, it is necessary to do a follow-up by purifying the heart and, like it or not, the method is not fun, but effective. Sins are like diseases which are curable if treated with the right medication. None of us are thrilled of having to swallow bitter pills whatsoever. Regardless, we take our medicine on time because the need to heal outweighs our dislike of the remedy.

Again, Allah consoles us with another promise:

{And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.} (AI-Baqarah 2:216)

Reflection: We must trust Allah’s wise judgment even if it is difficult at the beginning. The pain we are suffering in this world is so little in comparison with the abundant pleasure and great rewards waiting for us in the hereafter.

Tips for Faith Rejuvenation

1) We all experience inconsistency in our level of faith. Nevertheless, that is understandably normal, as long as our obligatory duties, especially the 5 times prayers, are performed responsibly and big sins are avoided. In our Sujood (prostration), it is encouraged to spend some exclusive time with Allah, invoke to Him, pour our heart out and insha Allah, our emotion will stabilize afterwards.

2) Start and end each day on a positive note. We can give ourselves assurance that everything will work out in the best way in accordance with Allah’s plan. Also, the words are easier to be internalized if uttered audibly than just a silent whisper in the heart.

3) Never ever delay your intention to seek Allah’s forgiveness upon committing even the smallest sin. We can remember Allah, concurrently regret our misbehavior through the frequent utterance of ‘Astaghfirullah al `adhim’.

4) When facing hardships, our faith can be revived by disseminating positivity to other people i.e. family and friends. Even though we are struggling ourselves, we should still try to help the others restore their faith. In fact, that could be Allah’s way of helping us.

5) On the edge of giving up, raise your hand and supplicate to beat the odds. Choosing to still rely on Allah while we are at the lowest point of life is a sign of good faith. Miracles can and will happen.

No tribulation will overstay its welcome. At one point, all of our problems will eventually disappear. In the meantime, as believers, we must continue our attempt to overcome any difficulty that comes in our way. Rest assured that no good deeds (even efforts) will go unnoticed and that Allah is forever near: {Truly, God’s help is near} (Al-Baqarah 2: 214)

Finally, readjusting our life navigation by making Al-Qur’an and Sunnah the focal point of our future undertakings is of paramount importance. It means, we refer to both of these sacred manuals prior to making decisions, not after. Insha’ Allah, when Allah becomes our priority, We will be His.

* Editor Note: This article is from AboutIslam archive.