Dealing with Unpleasant Things

Habib Abdullah bin Husayn bin Tahir (may Allah have mercy on him and benefit us by him) wrote the following piece of advice to help people deal with the oppression and turmoil that was taking place in Hadramawt at the time. His advice remains relevant to the times in which we are living.

It is rare in this time to find peace of mind and comfort. Worries, concerns and distractions are numerous. A person must be content and tranquil in the face of these things. He must surrender (to Allah’s decree) and not be dissatisfied. He must not seek to rid himself of these things through his own strength and efforts, for this will merely lead to other worries and concerns greater than the ones he had before doing so. This is due to his bad etiquette with his Lord, since he wished to bring about something which Allah did not wish to come about.

Our Master, Habib Abdullah bin Alawi al-Haddad (may Allah have mercy upon him) said:

و إذا الحوادث أظلمت و تنكرت فاسكن و إياك و التحرك و الحذر

‘When events cause darkness and confusion, be still and beware of moving.’

When things change and become confusing and worrying, it is only appropriate that the slave remains quiet and tranquil and maintains etiquette with Allah.

He should not move outwardly by seeking to drown his sorrows in worldly distractions and he should not move inwardly by disapproving of Allah and His decree with his heart or his tongue.

Rather, he should look at the thing which is displeasing to him. If it is something which has come about at the hands of people, such as robbery, terror, or harm, he must condemn it with his heart and his tongue, and use his hand to change it if he is able to do so (as is mentioned in the books of jurisprudence).

At the same time, he must be content with it and accept it from the perspective that it has come about by Allah’s will. He must seek forgiveness in abundance, plead with Allah in a state of neediness and brokenness (for the harm to be removed) and repent to Allah from all wrongdoings.

If it is something that has not come about at the hands of people such as illness or a natural disaster then his only option is to be content with it and accept it. He must also seek forgiveness and pray to Allah as we mentioned and also show mercy and love to people.

O Allah, save us from Your tribulations, be gentle to us in Your decree and give us that which You have given to Your chosen slaves in well-being and safety, for You have power over all things. May prayers and peace be upon our Master Muhammad and his Family and Companions. All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.