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Life Amidst Roses and Thorns

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Recently, I started writing a blog post that I really felt strongly about. I just had to write down all the thoughts and feelings going haywire inside me. It wasn’t very pleasant because there was pain involved… the kind of burning, deep-cutting pain that results when you trust someone completely and they break your trust, knowingly or unknowingly. It made me wonder and question myself why we care for people in the first place when there’s this risk of intense pain of betrayal?

I tried to write down what I felt was the right train of thought. I wrote a couple of paragraphs but it just didn’t make sense. Even if it sounded fine in words, I wasn’t satisfied with what was before me. And that meant I did not really understand or agree with what I was writing. How could something so hurtful be so easily overlooked every time I placed my trust in someone? Was I not ready to learn from past experiences? Why did my heart not “sit still” instead of placing itself at great risk time and again?

I turned off my laptop in irritation and simmering despair. The sadness lingered on. I then did what I usually do when I need to think things out in peace and really pour my heart out to Allah(swt) – I went out on to the balcony of our apartment. It’s dark there, with a few potted plants along the low wall and there’s a clear view of the bridge that’s next to our building. Watching the traffic go by but not really seeing it, with the dark velvety expanse of the sky overheard, dotted with stars… this is where I feel free to share all my worries, hopes and fears (tears included!) with my Rabb. And, SubhanAllah, He’s always there for me.

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All the sadness that was within came pouring out, sometimes in unspoken words, sometimes in tears. I write this now not to make this sound all dramatic but to share with you how calming it is to rant and cry in front of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) rather than seeking sympathy from other people, who can barely lend an ear and little more. When the initial flood of emotions has come to pass, question after question is thrown out into the darkness… something might just make sense! And it does. It’s a miracle, sometimes, the answer’s right there, staring me in the face! It’s as if all the tears were hiding it from view and now it’s crystal clear.

Sometimes, the answer isn’t so readily available. What do I do then? I make dua. Lots and lots of dua’s. Whatever words come to mind, all the possible ways I can find to make my case before Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and to leave it to Him to bring the final decision…like an extended and personalized Istikharah dua. When I feel I have nothing more to say, it’s time to head back inside and wait, as long as it takes, for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to unwind the tangle I am in.

So there, that’s how I left my confusion to Allah (swt). What is a person to do? Keep hope and forever be at risk of being hurt? Or should you just give up, kill your feelings and try to go through life without expecting too much of anyone? Or should you just put your *whole* faith in Allah (swt)? The last question had an obvious answer: Yes, that’s what it should be but it’s not easy! At least I was being honest – the rest of me was all confused.

So how does this story end? Alhamdu washhukru lillah (All praise and thanks be to Allah!), all my queries were answered before I lay down to sleep that night. It was unbelievable! I had imagined I’d be carrying that ache of uncertainty well into the days ahead but it vanished completely, leaving me satisfied beyond measure. Only Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows how best to answer His slaves’ dua’s and to instill the truth into the depths of their hearts!

Without going into the details of exactly how Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) answered my dua, here’s what I learned…

Why do we care for people when there’s the risk of losing them or being hurt at their hands? It’s not the ignorance of pain that makes us continue to care but it’s the joy, beauty and the immense power of hope that comes from caring that we just cannot resist! The fear of betrayal is no match for the satisfaction and pleasure of solid, lasting relationships…and when you have so much to gain, you forget the risk that you might have something to lose.

If we didn’t love so sincerely and so wholly, we’d never be happy or be able to make others happy. When you do something good for someone and it makes their life that little bit better than it was before, you don’t realize it but your own life – my own life – becomes more enjoyable. If I were to hold myself back for fear of being pricked by thorns, I’d never be able to feel the velvety and delightful texture of roses.

If you’re lucky, you don’t just get roses in return… you get a whole bouquet of amazing colors and fragrances that make you wonder if a scene from heaven flashed, for the tiniest moment, in your life? It’s different for every person but that’s how exhilarating real hope and happiness is, when shared with people you care for. That’s how Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) made us and that’s what keeps us going, even though bitterness and heartbreak is also a part of life.

These moments renew my faith in Allah (swt)! Why should I not put all my queries and worries to Him when He is the One who answers in the most beautiful manner, with much more than I could ever desire? He has full authority over all that is in the Heavens and the Earth and my childish desires and dreams seek their fulfillment only with Him. I pray that we all recognize our Rabb, really recognize Him as As-Samee, Al Baseer… the Always All-Hearing, the Always All-Seeing! Truly that is the source and pinnacle of all joys imaginable.

“The dua of a Muslim for his brother (in Islam) in his absence is readily accepted, an angel is appointed to his side, whenever he makes a beneficial dua for his brother, the appointed angel says ‘Ameen and may you also be blessed with the same.'”

(Sahih Muslim)

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Ameera is a final-year medical student and blogger based in Karachi, Pakistan. Having been born and raised in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, her approach towards her Deen has always been rooted in a basic understanding from authentic sources, which was further polished during a three-year weekend course at Al Huda Institute. Her interests, though, seem to know no bounds and range from a passion for the culinary arts and travelling, as well as following current affairs and global happenings. She feels being able to be part of MuslimMatters is one of the major blessings of Allah(swt) upon her, for it has given her a chance to learn and grow. She also maintains her personal blog at http://duskanddawn.wordpress.com.

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Shuaib Mansoori

    April 24, 2010 at 5:44 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    Very profound…brought an ayah to mind, in which Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala defends the Prophet SalAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam by stating to those who wished to harm him: ALAYSALLAHU BI KAAFIN ABDA? Surah Zumar Verse 36:

    Is not Allah sufficient for His Servant? And [yet], they threaten you with those [they worship] other than Him. And whoever Allah leaves astray – for him there is no guide.

    And then He goes further and says in Verse 37:

    And whoever Allah guides – for him there is no misleader. Is not Allah Exalted in Might and Owner of Retribution?

    JazakiAllah Khairan for the sincere reflection. I ask Allah to make us from those who always turn to Him in every situation and may He protect us from the Sharr of people.

    • Loga

      April 24, 2010 at 10:21 PM

      asSalaam alaykum,

      I was also reminded of this long yet amazing hadith:

      “Allah ‘s Apostle said, “Allah has some angels who look for those who celebrate the Praises of Allah on the roads and paths. And when they find some people celebrating the Praises of Allah, they call each other, saying, “Come to the object of your pursuit.’ ” He added, “Then the angels encircle them with their wings up to the sky of the world.” He added. “(after those people celebrated the Praises of Allah, and the angels go back), their Lord, asks them (those angels) – though He knows better than them – ‘what do my slaves say?’ The angels reply, ‘They say: Subhan Allah, Allahu Akbar, and Alham-du-lillah, Allah then says ‘Did they see Me?’ The angels reply, ‘No! By Allah, they didn’t see You.’

      “Allah says, How it would have been if they saw Me?’ The angels reply, ‘If they saw You, they would worship You more devoutly and celebrate Your Glory more deeply, and declare Your freedom from any resemblance to anything more often.’ Allah says (to the angels), ‘What do they ask Me for?’ The angels reply, ‘They ask You for Paradise.’ Allah says (to the angels), ‘Did they see it?’ The angels say, ‘No! By Allah, O Lord! They did not see it.’ Allah says, How it would have been if they saw it?’ The angels say, ‘If they saw it, they would have greater covetousness for it and would seek It with greater zeal and would have greater desire for it.’ Allah says, ‘From what do they seek refuge?’ The angels reply, ‘They seek refuge from the (Hell) Fire.’ Allah says, ‘Did they see it?’ The angels say, ‘No By Allah, O Lord! They did not see it.’ Allah says, How it would have been if they saw it?’ The angels say, ‘If they saw it they would flee from it with the extreme fleeing and would have extreme fear from it.’ Then Allah says, ‘I make you witnesses that I have forgiven them.”‘ Allah’s Apostle added, “One of the angels would say, ‘There was so-and-so amongst them, and he was not one of them, but he had just come for some need.’ Allah would say, ‘These are those people whose companions will not be reduced to misery.’ ”

      (recorded in Bukhari and Muslim)

      • Ameera

        April 26, 2010 at 11:47 PM

        Jazaakillah for quoting this beautiful Hadith here! :D

      • mystrugglewithin

        May 29, 2010 at 10:03 PM

        @Ameera

        I was desperately looking for some encouragement, and subhanallah.. there’s nothing better in life than tears of love for Allah SWT and our deen, jazakallah khayrun for the words.. may Allah help you through everything.

        @Loga

        Subhanallah, I never knew of this hadeeth and going through it .. I feel like I just discovered the incomparable beauty of our faith. For now, I really need to contemplate.. I think I’ll go out to some coffee place, jazakallah khayrun : )

  2. elham

    April 24, 2010 at 8:38 AM

    As-salamu alaikum,

    Subhanallah!!! This post comes right when I was going through the same feelings you just expressed.
    I understand everything you said and resonates with the same thoughts that were going through my head even just now!

    I just don’t understand why people do this? I always expect that others would do the same as you do to them? At the least hayaa should be stopping them?

    I still don’t know what to do regarding this person who was supposed to be a trustworthy ”friend.” I thought forgiveness is best as Allah says He loves those who forgive, yet its difficult as some thoughts come to mind like ”how could they do this?” Then I thought I would confront them, but knowing they can be argumentative and rude, I let it be.Wallahi it affects your attitude badly that you just don’t want to have anything to do with anybody.

    I felt perhaps it was a form of punishment to purify my sins or to come closer to Allah which was by the way affected this person in terms of laziness in prayer and general ‘ibadah. La Hawl wala quwata illa Billah.

    This issue you mentioned in the article is the reason why there are less people to trust because most think of their masalih or what they could benefit from a friendship/relationship instead of having it for mutual benefit and knowing each others rights as Muslims, fearing Allah with regards to them. It has happened to me with different people.

    What duas do you make exactly? lol I would say only ”Allah protect me from the evil of my hands and the people’s/donot leave me to my affairs even for a blink of an eye” because sometimes I can get myself into these situations when not picking the right friend.

    Jazakillahu Khairan ukhti for your well-written and beneficial article, May Allah guide us to what He loves best

    • Bob

      April 24, 2010 at 10:08 AM

      Ditto.

      It’s amazing I’m reading this right about the time I’m coming out from my own hurt.

      • Dominique Stephen

        March 7, 2012 at 4:24 PM

        Allah knows best – His timing is always right :) Alhamdulillah :)

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  4. Adnan

    April 24, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    Barakallahufeek for sharing your thoughts. I think you’re reaction to turn completely to Allah is the only one that will really give you comfort when going through any difficulties in life; whether it be a friend selling you out, or breaking your trust.

    One thing I’ve learned is that people at some point or another will always disappoint you; your friends, family, wife, husband, children will all let you down at some point or another. Even you will disappoint yourself; this is the dunya and we as human beings are fallible creatures in this dunya, so this will happen for sure.

    But Allah never lets you down. There are several names of Allah that we should all keep in mind in these situations.

    Al Wakeel & Al Kafeel – The One who we put our full trust in for all of our affairs

    Al Kaafee – He is Sufficient/Enough for us. We don’t need anything or anyone else.

    Al Qareeb – He is the One that is close to us.

    Al Wali & Al Mawla – He is our Protector and Guardian.

    An Naasir & An Naseer – He is the One that can help us.

    Al Musta’aan – He is the One who can provide aid, assistance and relief in any matter.

    And remember the saying of the sahaba… Alhamdulillah A’la Kulli Haal “All Praise is due to Allah in every situation/circumstance.”

    • Ameera

      April 27, 2010 at 12:42 AM

      JazaakAllah for your inspiring comment! :) And the quotation from the Sahaba at the end of your comment is something we need to be reminded of constantly, JazaakAllah!

      What you said…

      One thing I’ve learned is that people at some point or another will always disappoint you; your friends, family, wife, husband, children will all let you down at some point or another. Even you will disappoint yourself; this is the dunya and we as human beings are fallible creatures in this dunya, so this will happen for sure.

      … I agree with you exactly! I think the problem arises when we start thinking of people as perfect beings who can never err. We start having ridiclously high expectations from them and when they fall short of those expectations, guess who’s disappointed? That’s one reason why I now try to keep reminding myself how we’re all imperfect human beings and that, if there’s one characteristic I don’t like in someone, there are many others I do like too! Keeping that in mind, and my own flaws and shortcomings, it’s easier to interact with people and to forgive them if they ever do something wrong.

      • Adnan

        April 27, 2010 at 7:26 AM

        Barakallahufeek. That’s a very good approach to take when dealing with others. It reminds me of a saying of Confucius: “When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.” Very wise advice. Keep up the writing.

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  6. Sally

    April 24, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    I’m sorry that you went through that yet.. aren’t those moments the essence of life? It sucks to be betrayed.. especially by a friend or someone close. But it makes you wiser and sharpens your instinct. A believer doesn’t get bit from the same hole twice.

    The human experience is worthless without Allah. Making our relationship with Allah the center and backdrop of everyday is the best way to find balance and perspective during the journey. May Allah make it easy on you and us.

    • Ameera

      April 27, 2010 at 12:48 AM

      Jazaakillah for your care, Sally! Alhumdolillah, I didn’t have to go through much… it was more of a misunderstanding on my part that soon cleared up…but it did teach me a lot about expectations and forgiving people for erring. :) Besides, joy after pain… it’s somehow sweeter!

    • Dominique Stephen

      March 7, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      insha-Allah, Ameen, Sallly … shukran :)

  7. Amad

    April 24, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    This is a beautiful post Dr. Ameera… keep it up!

  8. ahmed

    April 24, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    Ibn taymiyah once :
    What can my enemies do to me?
    I have in my breast both my Heaven and my garden.
    If I travel they are with me, and they never leave me.
    Imprisonment for me is a religious retreat [khalwa].
    To be slain for me is martyrdom [shahâda]
    and to be exiled from my land is a spiritual journey [siyaha].

  9. Sadaf Farooqi

    April 24, 2010 at 11:15 PM

    Very touching article, Ameera. :) Baarak Allahu feeki.
    I wish I had such a balcony. Hehehe!

    • Ameera

      April 27, 2010 at 12:33 AM

      Jazakillah Sadaf baji! :D

      I’ve put up a (grainy) picture of the view from my balcony on my Twitter (twitter.com/ameera_k) for you… http://twitpic.com/1infba

      • Sadaf Farooqi

        April 29, 2010 at 12:07 AM

        Ah, the bridge in Clifton! Such familiar territory. Nice. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Abdus-Sabur

    April 25, 2010 at 5:21 AM

    Not only an inspiring post, but the ripple effect of the responses. Equally inspiring. May it’s effects continue on into the akhira. :)

  11. Ovais

    April 25, 2010 at 7:09 AM

    Just last week I had a similar experience as you did. For the first 24 hours I was in a state of shock. Not only were the words and attitude of my friend reverberating in my head but I was not able to give my self any reason to be consoled.
    Its been a week now and time has served to be a great healer. I usually turn to Allah for all matters of my life and had been contemplating of what went wrong and what could have been done to heal the matter or what net learning I could draw from the whole incident.
    Its a matter of coincidence or more likely a guidance from Allah that I came across this website that I have never visited through a source that I had never imagined and at a time when this topic would have been of most importance to me. Thanks to the writer and all the people who have posted their comments. It has really helped me justify a lot of the unexplained and bring peace to my heart.

    Events are difficult to connect to when you are going through them. But through time you get to see how these sour events shape your thoughts to make other things more meaningful in life and probably make you a better person in the future. Allah has his own ways of testing us through good and bad and He has a special way of lifting us up when we are down and fallen. Only that we should never lose hope and faith in Him to guide us.

    Regards,
    Ovais, Khi.

    • Ameera

      April 27, 2010 at 12:29 AM

      JazaakAllah Ovais! Your comment was like much the same way I’d comment on a blog post like this one if I ever came across it. It happens so many times that you’re looking for a specific kind of answer, to deal with a certain kind of pain… and you find! Alhumdolillah! It is certainly no coincidence! :)

      Events are difficult to connect to when you are going through them. But through time you get to see how these sour events shape your thoughts to make other things more meaningful in life and probably make you a better person in the future. Allah has his own ways of testing us through good and bad and He has a special way of lifting us up when we are down and fallen. Only that we should never lose hope and faith in Him to guide us.

      This is exactly what I keep reminding myself and was thinking of when I wrote my piece above. My own experience was pretty hurtful for a while, untill it got better but that duration of time were bleak, I realize later on it was actually good for me. You learn a lot through life’s ups and downs.

      Br Nouman Ali Khan, a student of knowledge and founder of the awesome Bayyinah Institute (Maashaa’Allah) recently said in one of his podcasts something along the lines that… if we didn’t see difficulties in life, how would we ever learn to do Sabr? If we only saw good in life, we wouldn’t know what Sabr was.

      I hope that Allah(swt) will ease your situation too and continue to guide us! Ameen.

  12. Nour

    April 25, 2010 at 8:19 AM

    Assaliam Aleikum
    Wonderful post. Everyone I think had passed this kind of trial, yet alhamdulillah whenever I am hurt I just remember Allah, my God, Who is always with me, and I know that He understand me the most and He will never disappoint me and always will love me, inshaAllah. And Alhamdulillah the Love of Allah is enough. And when Allah love you, you feel this love true different ways. Most of the time when some close to you hurt you this means that you made a mistake concerning your God, in another words, Allah is angry to you. For this reason always analyze your deeds and first surch the mistake in you. Allah to guide all of us and always to Love us!

    • Ameera

      April 27, 2010 at 12:22 AM

      …and I know that He understand me the most and He will never disappoint me and always will love me, inshaAllah.

      *SIGH* That’s what I love most… whenever I feel lonely or sad, I find so much comfort in the thought that, even if the whole world betrayed me or turned against me, I would still have the Love of Allah(Swt) as He created me! It’s so comforting that most of the sadness kind of evaporates. Of course there is lingering hurt, we’re human after all, but putting things in perspective eases it.

  13. sister

    April 25, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    Assalamualykum,

    Jazakillahu khairaa for sharing.Mashaallah.This is one of my favorite ayah

    وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِلَّهِ [ But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else)]surah 2 ayah 165.

    May Allah include all of us among the people who love Allah more.

    To recover from a hurt caused by someone you love-

    Imraan-(159. And by the mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pardon them, and ask forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).)

    salaam.

  14. Usman

    April 26, 2010 at 3:41 AM

    ASA,

    Nice post, personally I have been looking to settle down for over 7 years but each time I think i have come close it all goes wrong. Reflecting on the kind of person I am, I am straight forward, do not hide anything yet this is the same quality which seems to break thigns up for me.

    I have turned to allah several times and think things are improving but the situation i have been put is from allah, I have no idea why i am being tested so much but it is now beginging to affect my faith.

    Everyone keeps saying have sabar/faith but it is easy for them to say when everything they do/ask for comes true.

    All I have wanted for as long as I can remember is to get married to a muslim, be in love and have a family – but this is the one thing which is escaping me.

    Before i was too young, not established enough and now the excuses are I am too old, too independent, set in my ways. so does that mean my window of opportunity has gone?

    I have been told numerous times that allah only tests you to your limits.. But my limits have been crossed and if i am honest my faith is now very weak and I really dont care about being with a muslim anymore as i find them the most hypocritical, two faced, judgemental, narrow minded people out there.

    • elham

      April 26, 2010 at 2:25 PM

      ASA,
      I couldn’t ignore your post and not comment as I sort of understand what you said. The last bit of your post was what I used to especially. I went through this phase of not knowing why i have decreased and moved further away from the higher spiritual state I was in and the closeness that I had with Allah(swt).

      I would start saying why would this or that happen to me, and this impatience was due to the decrease in Iman. Before, that, I could take anything, any pain and just smile. I had Allah in my mind and knew it was He who gave me this and that most importantly He was on my side no matter what. It was so peaceful.I would see it as an opportunity to get closer to Him.

      Sabr is easy with eman, but with no eman its difficult, thats what I learned.

      On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (PBUH) said: Allah the Almighty said:

      I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assemble better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.
      al-Buhkari (also by Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn-Majah).

      Think good of Him and that He CAN give you what you want without a doubt, but is it good for you?
      It could be that from His Mercy he stops that which we want to reach us from reaching us.

      A wife and kids could distract you from Him or the good deeds that you performed or from gaining knowledge. You never know.

      {Indeed among your wives and your children are enemies} (At-Taghaabun 64:14)
      Ibn Kathir said: “Allah states that some wives and children are enemies to their husbands and fathers, in that they might be busied with them, rather than with performing the good deeds.”

      It was narrated from Simak bin Harb, from `Ikrimah, that Ibn `Abbas was asked about this ayah
      (Indeed among your wives and your children are enemies) (At-Taghaabun 64:14)

      And he said: “There were men who embraced Islam in Makkah and wanted to emigrate to Allah’s Messenger (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam). However, their wives and children reused to allow them. Later when they joined Allah’s Messenger (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam), they found that those who were with him have gained knowledge in the religion, so they were about to punish their wives and children. So Allah revealed….” And he mentioned the ayah.

      Sorry for this long post, but hope it helps a little. Just stay strong and make yourself busy so that you donot keep thinking about the dua…sometimes they are answered when we least expect at the perfect of timings by His Wisdom. May Allah guide us to what He loves Best.

    • Middle Ground

      April 26, 2010 at 2:52 PM

      Salam Usman

      Don’t depair bro. I am actually acting as the wali of a sister right now, and it sounds like she might be right for you. If interested, contact me at **. This is not spam, I just want to help my muslim brother. Moderators, forgive me if this is unsuitable and delete it.

      -Edited. We’ll send your email to him i/a

  15. Ameera

    April 26, 2010 at 8:51 AM

    Jazaakillah everyone for your inspiring and heart-warming comments! I had no idea my scribblings, which I strung together for a blog post here, would strike a chord with so many other people, especially those who were looking for such advice. I know how it feels to find just what you were looking for because it’s happened with me as well, so, so many times.

    I want to respond to several comments personally and I will, Inshaa’Allah, one by one. Together, by sharing our experiences, we can learn and grow Inshaa’Allah. There are some things I might know and some other you may know and explain better to me in return. Relationships are complex things, there’s often no clear black and white when it comes to dealing with human emotions and issues of trust. May Allah(swt) show us the clear guidance to live our lives in such a way that we do the least harm to others, rather we are able to give good to others and receive His reward and goodness in return! Ameen.

    Now that I’ve commented here once, I will Inshaa’Allah respond to the queries and thoughts some people have shared in the comments above. Jazaak’Allah for your patience! :)

  16. elham

    April 26, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    okay i posted something really long and it disappeared.. Magic? Jinn?…

  17. Ayesha A.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    MashaAllah ….well written article sister….everybody goes through this bitter feeling one time or the other…we all are human beings..everybody is afflicted with calamities,no one is spared…
    even i went thru something in life for which i cried a lot and i used to say it to myself “its so painful,why its happening with me,oh Allah remove me from such state of utmost confusion n make me strong…oh Allah help me to make good choices in life,”…i spend lots of tears and realised that i should be patient and place all my trust in Allah..for He can remove all the difficulties….
    so having the strongest iman makes u better in dealing with any difficult situations in life…

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