Looking at the Bright Side

Whenever we are struck with calamity, we tend to complain, groan, cry or look up at the sky and say “why me?” and forget to look at the bright side. Yes, there is a bright side in almost all calamities ─ at least in this word ─ and if only we remember to look at it, the world would be a better place, with better people in it.

Take for example a situation where you make a stupid blunder while investing in something and you lose a great deal of money. What do you do? You would probably cry over it for a long time, losing interest in all other transactions which, in turn, would lead to further losses or missing other great opportunities to invest in. Now, if you were to take that particular situation or incident as experience and work to make better decisions next time, those new decisions would be taken by a much experienced person. And who would say that gaining experience is something to cry over?

Here, the question is between crying over spilled milk and trying again with a hand that now has realized that the milk will be spilled if it moves like this or that. The correct choice is pretty obvious, but still many people resort to the other. Maybe the milk can be scooped up if you cry really hard, I don’t know.

If we were to analyze the life of our Prophet (peace be upon him), we would see that he taught us how to look at the bright side and that there is a bright side in calamities. Probably not using the exact words “bright side” but this concept is very clear from some of his sayings.

Take for instance this hadeeth:

Muslim (2999) narrated that Suhayb (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.”

Patience ─ that’s the key.

If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience. If your milk is spilled, don’t cry over it. Rather be patient over the difficulties you face or the losses you incurred, and count that as experience.

We all regard bad things ─ well ─ bad for us. That, however, doesn’t stop bad things happening to us. But such situations could be turned into something good if you know how and have the guts to do it ─ by bearing it with patience.

If you read the Qur’aan, you will know the status of those who are patient. For example, in one place Allah says that He is with those who are patient (cf. al-Anfaal, 6:46) and in another place He says that He loves those who are patient (cf. Aal ‘Imraan, 3:146). And there are many other mentions of the patient and the virtues of those who have patience.

Muslim (918) narrated that Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “There is no Muslim who is stricken with a calamity and says what Allah has enjoined – ‘Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return. O Allah, reward me for my affliction and compensate me with something better’ – but Allah will compensate him with something better.”

And you should know that the compensation of Allah is the best of all compensations.

Al-Bukhaari (5640) and Muslim (2572) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “There is no calamity that befalls a Muslim but Allah expiates (sin) thereby, even a thorn that pricks him.”

So, basically, the bright is the expiation of our sins when ever calamities strike us. No one would disagree that bearing whatever befalls us with patience is better than the alternative, namely crying over it, groaning and complaining about it. Yeah, why would you leave off something with great reward just to cry over spilled milk, when you don’t even like it?

We probably will nod our heads acquiescing to this fact, but few of us really have true patience.

May Allah grant us patience and forgive us our sins.

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