What happens in life is ghair ikhtiyaar (not within our control), nor will we be held accountable for it. But how we react is within our ikhtiyaar (control), and we will be held accountable for it. Difficult moments are a test from Allah. When we are faced with one, we should not blame ourselves and question why it has happened, as that has no benefit. Rather, we should handle them in a manner pleasing to Allah, for that will be beneficial for our worldly life and the hereafter.
Shaikhul Hind, Mahmud Al-Hasan رحمة الله عليه was wrongly imprisoned in Malta. Every Jumah, he would make whudu, walk to the prison gate and then walk back to his cell. His fellow inmates enquired about this strange practise, to which he responded that I know I cannot leave and go for Jumah Salah. However, walking to the gate is in my ikhtiyaar. Leaving the prison is not, so I do what is in my ikhtiyar and leave the rest to Allah.
On another occasion, he asked the guards to bring an animal into the prison for Qurbani. The inmates laughed at his idea, saying that the guards will never listen to you. To their surprise, the guards did. As requested, they provided him with an animal and Shaikhul Hind was able to do his Qurbani.
While Ibrahim عليه السلام and Sara عليها السلام were travelling, they passed through the land of a king who used to interfere with women that travelled through his land. Ibrahim عليه السلام could not control the King, but he could make dua to the King of all kings. Therefore, they both turned to Allah for help and the King had no power to harm her.
Yusuf عليه السلام was faced with a situation where Zulaikha tried to seduce him in her personal quarters. He at the time was a mere slave, and she was the master’s wife. She called Yusuf عليه السلام to her room. Once he entered, she locked the doors and seduced him. This situation was ghair ikhtiyaari, however, his response was ikhtiyaari. Fearing accountability, he sprinted towards the doors. They were locked but as He neared, Allah opened the doors for him.
Therefore, do what you can rather than worrying about what you cannot do. In that process, if you face hardships and the way out seems closed, continue running towards the exit anyway. Because you and Yusuf عليه السلام have the same Allah Ta’ala.
— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه الله
Above is an extract from Hazrat’s talk on 27/11/17 in Masjid-ut-Taqwa, Pietermaritzburg. To listen to the full talk, please click here.