Islamic Wisdom on Not to Lose Hope or Feel Helpless

Islamic guidelines through Quran and Hadith tell us NEVER to feel helpless but rather to trust in Allah. Here is one piece of wisdom that we learn from Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s)

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive to do that which will benefit you and seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless. If anything befalls you, do not say ‘If only I had done (such and such), the such and such would have happened,’ rather say: ‘Allah has decreed and what He wills He does,’ for ‘if only’ opens the door to the work of the shaytaan.” Narrated by Muslim (2664).

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “This hadeeth includes several important principles of faith, including the following:

Then he said: “and do not feel helpless”, because feeling helpless is contrary to striving for that which will benefit him, and it is contrary to seeking the help of Allah. The one who strives for that which will benefit him and seeks the help of Allah is the opposite of the one who feels helpless, so this is telling him, before what has been decreed happens, of that which is one of the greatest means of attaining it, which is striving for it whilst seeking the help of the One in Whose hand is control of all things, from Whom they come and to Whom they will return. If he does not attain what was not decreed for him, then he may feel either of two things: helplessness, which opens the door to the work of the shaytaan, so his sense of helplessness leads him to say “if only”, but there is nothing good in saying “if only” in this case, rather that opens the door to blame, panic, discontentment, regret and grief, all of which are the work of the shaytaan. So, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade us to open the door to his works in this manner, and told us to adopt the second option, which is looking at the divine decree and bearing it in mind, for if it was decreed for him it would never have missed him and no one could have prevented him from attaining it. Hence he said: “If anything befalls you, do not say ‘If only I had done (such and such), the such and such would have happened,’ rather say: ‘Allah has decreed and what He wills He does,’” and he taught him that which will benefit him in either case, whether he gets what he wanted or not. Hence this hadeeth is one which a person can never do without. [Source: Shifa’ al-‘Aleel (37-38).]

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