Hajj Reflections: Hardship and Ease

Hajj Reflections: Part 1 | Part  | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

One theme that ran throughout my Hajj trip was that this life is a balance between hardship and ease. We go through stages in life alternating between tests of hardship and tests of comfort, and my Hajj trip was no different.

My Hotel in Mina - Funduq Al-Jamarah, lucky nobody stoned it by mistake

On the one hand, I was treated to five star treatment including a Hotel roomÂin Mina (ten in a room though), three buffets a day and even spending money. On the other hand, I had to endure bus drives that lasted forever, dangerous crowds, fiqh clashes with roommates and very long walks. It was a complete balance, for every luxury I enjoyed I faced a tough test.

This got me thinking about the reality of this world. We are always going through tests as Allah has informed us, “He is the one who created death and life to test which of you is the best of deeds,” (Surah Mulk 67:2) These tests take different forms and come with regular intervals of ease, as Allah has promised us, “Indeed with every hardship is ease, indeed with every hardship is ease,” (Surah Ash-Sharh 94:5-6)

This is exactly as my trip was, Hardship WITH ease. Many times people misunderstand this verse to ONLY mean that the ease will come after the hardship; while that is true, the wording suggests that the hardship itself has ease along with it to help you through. For example, you could be unemployed yet at the same time have a supportive wife comforting you during that period, or you could be stuck with an abusive spouse yet have children around you who are the coolness of your eyes. As the proverb goes, “Every dark cloud has a silver lining,”

Jumah crowd in Makkah spills into Shopping Centre

There is another aspect that people tend to ignore though, which is that the comfort and luxury itself is a test. Tests do not come only in the form of hardships, but also in the form of extreme comfort that can make you forget Allah, and I saw many people fall into this during my Hajj trip.

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Buffets!

I saw people so caught up with the fancy hotels that they would stay all day in the hotel watching television and not go to the Haram for their prayers. I saw people at Arafah indulging in lavish meals and then sleeping during the one time in your life that Allah answers all your du’as, and I saw people sleep through salah in Mina due to the comfort of their hotel rooms.

It is important to understand that Islam is not against Halal entertainment and comfort, rather we are encouraged to enjoy the good things of this world, but in moderation. Ibadah should be our priority and especially when you are on a spiritual journey like Hajj, our minds should be focused on ibadah and getting a Hajj Mabroor more than anything else.

Hardship may come with ease, but in either situation Allah always comes first.

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25 responses to “Hajj Reflections: Hardship and Ease”

  1. Infitar says:

    Beautiful reminder! That was really well put. Makes you wonder why people spend so much on a spritual journey like hajj and not try to constantly gain rewards throughout their hajj.

    Jazakallah Khair!

  2. HadithCheck says:

    Jazaka Allahu khairan brother, this post would make for a good khutbah! Although brief, yet it brings up several important points, and overall is a good reminder.

  3. Mediha says:

    What a wonderfull read along with a so true title!

  4. Mujahid says:

    Jazakallah Khair sharing your experience.

    For some reason, I just could not fathom the idea of people going to Hajj and watching TV all day or sleeping through Salah. I am SHOCKED.

    I’d like to point something out though:

    “Many times people misunderstand this verse to mean that the ease will come after the hardship; while that is also true…”

    If it is true, is it a misunderstanding or a different understanding of the verse? Also, have you looked at different books of tafseer regarding the meaning of the verse?

    • You answered this yourself when you quoted my words, “that is also true,”

      I was merely showing the explanation is not limited to this.

      • Mujahid says:

        My point was that it is not a misunderstanding of the verse. In fact, I just looked up the tafseer of the 2 verses and I found the following:

        1) Several Sahaba narrated that when this Surah was revealed, the Prophet (s) came out with apparent happiness in his face and voice and said “Rejoice, for one Hardship will never beat two Eases.”
        – This is not apparent at all in the English translation, it seems that hardship is mentioned twice and so is ease. So how can there be one hardship but two eases?
        – In the verse (in Arabic) notice that “Al-‘Usr” (hardship), both times, has the “Al-” article which means it’s definite, so both times the word is mentioned refers to a single, definite, hardship. On the other hand, “Yusr” or “Yusran” (Ease) does not have the definite article “Al-” so the two times the word is mentioned refer to two different eases.
        – This means that Ease will outdo hardships if we just have patience

        2) Ease Follows Hardship (as opposed to being “along with it”) as suggested in the article.

        Here is my source for those who speak arabic:
        http://www.altafseer.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=1&tSoraNo=94&tAyahNo=5&tDisplay=yes&Page=2&Size=1&LanguageId=1

        I really don’t mean to be argumentative but just wanted to emphasize that the proper research should be done before sharing such sensitive info as the meaning of a verse in the Quran. Could it apply to our daily lives in the way you mentioned? Maybe! But as far as the tafseer of the verses, that is what I found. If you happen to find otherwise, please forgive me and share it with us.

        One last thing to point out and remind everyone is that “translation” and “tafseer” (exegeses) are NOT the same. A lot is lost in translation when we read the “Meaning of the Quran in English.” Tafseer is more like a commentary on the verses to give us things like the meaning, beyond face value, of the verses; things that happened at the time the verse was revealed to help us understand; reasons the verse was revealed… etc. So, while many verses are straight forward and could be understood at face value, we should not come up with our own opinions on the deeper meaning of the verses. I ask Allah to forgive me if I said anything wrong or wronged anyone.

        Sorry for the long post.
        Wassalamu Aleikum!

        • HadithCheck says:

          Several Sahaba narrated that when this Surah was revealed, the Prophet (s) came out with apparent happiness in his face and voice and said “Rejoice, for one Hardship will never beat two Eases.”

          Assalam Alaikum

          Although this doesn’t affect the tafsir of the verse much, but this hadith is Weak (Rejoice, for one Hardship will never beat two Eases) and we shouldn’t attribute it to the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him.

    • UmmZahi says:

      Assalamualikum warahmathullahi wabarakathuhu. I’m not able to view part 2 of this article. Can someone pls copy paste it here?
      Jazakillahu khairan

      • WaAlaikum Assalam warahmathullahi wabarakathuhu:

        Sister this article is Part 2 of the Series. I just tried all the other articles from the links at the beginning of the article and it seems they all work. Please let us know if there is some specific issue you are facing.

        Jazakillahu Khairin
        WasSalamuAlaikum
        Aly

        Comments Team Lead

  5. Zuleyka says:

    Jazakallah Khair.. looking forward for Umrah this coming March, InsyaAllah… can’t wait! :-)

    As far as the above comment is concern, frankly the meaning of that verse is so direct. I believe any books would give the same meaning & interpretation on it. Try to relate it on your everyday situation (like example given by the author).

  6. Sister says:

    jazakallahu khairaan for a wonderful reminder.Sabr during hardship and shukar during ease.

  7. Hafiz SP says:

    HEY I was there too, well not in the hotel in mina. I was in a tent but it was amazing the beding mattress was actualy better than my beds in Makkah and Madina, Such is the level of comfort for Hajjees. If i could I would most definatly write a letter to the King of Saudi saying thank you for there efforts. But not only the Royal family but every single worker they were all AMAZING.

  8. hajja says:

    U 4got 2 mention the Starbucks and how the “royal family” is changing the true meaning of hajj to more of “luxurey while sipping starbucks and spending time shopping” , instead of the focusing on IBADAH!

    I know Xtians have this saying of “WWJD?” Now, I sometimes say to myself “WWMD?” upon seeing his birthplace & it’s surrounding today….what would he say about the ruling,military like family of the so called “kingdom”, too?

    There’s only 1 malak el mulk ya know

    • HadithCheck says:

      Starbucks and how the “royal family” is changing the true meaning of hajj to more of “luxurey while sipping starbucks and spending time shopping” , instead of the focusing on IBADAH!

      Sister hajja, how is the royal family changing the meaning of hajj? They’re not forcing anyone to drink starbucks are they?! You might not like some of the new shops around there such as starbucks, and neither do I, but we can’t hold everyone to our preferences. As long as what they are doing is not prohibited in Islam, such as opening a coffee shop, then we can’t criticize them for it.

      As for ruling by a kingship, then the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him already predicted that! The Prophet peace be upon him said: “The Khilafah after me will be for thirty years, then there will be Mulk (kingship) after that.”

      and if we count the years of the khilafah of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali may Allah be pleased with them, it will add up to be thirty years, so the ruling of the great companion Mu’awiyah may Allah be pleased with him was a kingship, according to the hadith of the Prophet peace be upon him.

      So we can’t automatically criticize a ruler because he is ruling by a kingship! Sure we would prefer to have a khilafah and it would be better to have a khilafah established in place of a kingship, but that doesn’t mean if our Muslim rulers have a kingship established they automatically become disbelievers. The Prophet peace be upon him have commanded us to listen and obey our Muslim rulers so long as they don’t order us to disobey Allah.

      Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “It is obligatory upon a Muslim to listen (to the ruler) and obey whether he likes it or not, except when he is ordered to do a sinful thing; in such case, there is no obligation to listen or to obey.”
      [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

      Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “It is obligatory upon you to listen and obey the orders of the ruler in prosperity and adversity, whether you are willing or unwilling, or when someone is given undue preference to you.”
      [Muslim].

      Wa’il bin Hujr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Salamah bin Yazid Al-Ju`f (May Allah be pleased with him) asked Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him): “O Prophet of Allah! Tell us, what you command us to do if there arises over us rulers who demand of us what is due to them and refuse us what is due to us.” Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) turned away from him, but he repeated the same question. Thereupon Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Listen to them and obey them. They are responsible for their obligations and you are accountable for yours.”
      [Muslim].

      Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whosoever obeys me, obeys Allah; and he who disobeys me, disobeys Allah; and whosoever obeys the Amir (leader), in fact, obeys me; and he who disobeys the Amir, in fact, disobeys me.”
      [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

      Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If a person notices in his ruler what he dislikes, he should show patience because he who departs from the (Muslim) community a cubit, dies like those who died in the Days of Ignorance.”
      [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

      • Hajja says:

        Why should we follow one who leaves his fellow country poor, hungry,etc… Where is the justice in this? Your comments are not sound at all. Islam is built on a just sociology-economic system and we are forbidden from turning the other cheek when a “ruler” drinks his life away, allows prostitution and participates in such, spends money on haram, etc….

        Just don’t accept things because you are trying to justify immorality with the ahadeth you have chosen . Those hadeeth do not pertain to the “Muslim” rulers of these “Islamic countries”,which by the way, do not exist. There is more justice in America than there is in Saudi Arabia, emirates Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, and of the mid eastern countries combined. In America there is Islam,but not too many Muslims. In the mid eastern countries, there are Muslims but no Islam!

        • Hajja says:

          By the way when Saudi’s come to the states, the first thing they ask is “why is this country so green, I.e. There is vegetation, trees,etc…all around. Why don’t we have this in saudiyah?” the answer from a brother was that “because we have justice here”. Just look how Muslim are being tortured beyond our imagination in the prisons of Egypt, Arabia, Yemen, etc…. How many of them were sexually tortured under their leaders eyes? Should we obey the King, president or who ever you want to call them, because they have a Muslim name (and that is the only islamic ‘thing’ they have). Are we allowed to shut up & allow such a thing to occur b/c it is our duty to follow them every 30 years? What happened to enjoin what’s good & forbid what is evil (like forbidding the royal family from ruling just like president mubarak is ruling Egypt ruthlessly). If we all stood up for what is right, socially, morally, economically, environmentally,etc….then we would be the best ummah walking on this earth. However, without denial, we are not. So, just look around and ask yourself why are we in this state/ condition.What happened to the zakat and sadaqah that was supposed to be spent on the poor, masakeen and bin sabeel? We should not have a single poor person alive today, instead we have people selling their own bodily organs and children so that they can eat…….what a shame on us all!

          Wake up and I challenge you to lift the veil off of your eyes.

          • HadithCheck says:

            b/c it is our duty to follow them every 30 years?

            My dear sister, it seems to me that you didn’t really understand the ahadith that I have quoted above, and you are trying to use what wrong that the rulers are doing to justify another wrong. I am willing to take the time and explain this issue in details, along with its proofs from the authentic ahadith and explain what the Prophet peace be upon him said so that you understand this issue properly, but only if you are willing to learn. If not, then there is no need for either of us to continue this discussion and waste our time.

            I quoted to you several ahadith that clearly and explicitly state that we should obey our muslim rulers and not go against them, even if they are bad, corrupt, and doing injustice, but so long as they are muslim, then we obey them in what is permissible. You brushed all these ahadith to the side, and just things that are irrelevant such as America having more trees? Besides, if you live in America, then why do you care about the rulers of other countries, worry about your own ruler/government here!

            My dear sister, you can’t use your own emotions to declare the muslim rulers to be disbelievers, because that is what it sounds like from what you were saying.

            It is simple. You either say that those rulers are muslim, regardless of the major sins and injustices that they are doing, because as you know a muslim who commits a major sin is still a mslim even though it isn’t something good and he/she might be punished for it in the hereafter, but committing a major sin does NOT take a muslim out the fold of Islam and does not make him/her a disbeliever! Only the deviant sect of the khawaarij and those who followed their footsteps say that if a muslim falls into a major sin then he is a kaafir, and that is clearly false for anyone who is knowledgeable of the teachings of Islam that the Prophet peace be upon him came with. If that is the case, and you say that these rulers are still muslim even if they commit major sins and injustices that are definitely wrong, then these ahadith of the Prophet peace be upon him that I have quoted above apply to them 100% and we have to obey them in what is permissible and not fight against them.

            However, if you choose the other option and say that no these muslim rulers are not muslims, and therefore we don’t have to follow them, then I ask you to bring forth a clear proof of their disbelief in order to show everyone that these rulers are no longer muslims. Takfeer is something very dangerous and not to be taken lightly! And please note sister that all what you have mentioned from the lack of greenery in muslim countries to the major sins and injustices and torture that these rulers might be committing are NOT proof of their disbelief or that they are no longer Muslims. Only the khawaarij would use such “proof” of their major sins to declare a muslim to be a disbeliever! Of course what these rulers are doing is wrong, and by no means am I saying that torturing people, falling into major sins, and doing injustice to others is something permissible and OK for them to do. No, these are all major sins and shortcomings which are wrong and completely forbidden in Islam, but the main thing is that these actions are NOT sufficient on their own to declare the muslim rulers to be disbelievers!

            So please sister, either admit that these rulers are muslim even though they have fallen into major sins, and if so then go back, read, and apply the many ahadith that I have quoted above.

            Or, if you claim that these rulers are no longer muslims, then please provide clear proof of their kufr, something which is clear cut proof of their disbelief (not a major sin) which you will have no problem with using when you are standing in front of Allah on the day of judgment and you have to justify declaring another muslim to be a kaafir, whether you did so justly or unjustly, and what bigger injustice there is than to declare a muslim to be a kaafir without any true proof!

  9. Hajja says:

    Brother

    I did not write that they are kaffars because I am in no position to write such an accusation. Only Allah knows best. However, the reason we were the best oumah because we order good and forbid wrong.

    Sure you know the story of Omar bin el Khatab and the gifts of clothes that were given the people of Madina at the time of his ruling. How people stood and disobeyed him utill he explained the extra clothes he had?

    As a Muslim I have the right to disobey and correct the rulers when they go astray. Again I refer you to Omar when he said help me to govern you and correct me when I am wrong and the Sahaba said we will correct you with the sold if we have too.

    Islam is not a blind faith. You have erased several years of scholars work by make these statement.

    As for me to just worry about my government here in the US, as a Muslim I am obligated to be concerned with all Muslim brothers or sisters no matter where they are. R

    • HadithCheck says:

      I did not write that they are kaffars because I am in no position to write such an accusation. Only Allah knows best.

      Alhamdulillah, this is a good sign. I ask Allah to bless you and guide you to all that which is good.

      Sure you know the story of Omar bin el Khatab and the gifts of clothes that were given the people of Madina at the time of his ruling. How people stood and disobeyed him utill he explained the extra clothes he had?

      This story is not authentic at all.

      As a Muslim I have the right to disobey and correct the rulers when they go astray.

      No, as Muslims we should obey the muslim ruler even if they are corrupt, refer to the ahadith I quoted above.

      The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “It is obligatory upon you to listen and obey the orders of the ruler in prosperity and adversity, whether you are willing or unwilling, or when someone is given undue preference to you.”

      Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If a person notices in his ruler what he dislikes, he should show patience because he who departs from the (Muslim) community a cubit, dies like those who died in the Days of Ignorance.”

      As for trying to correct what we see the ruler is doing wrong, then there is a specific approach to do so which is different when dealing with the ruler than when dealing with others. If you see the ruler doing something wrong, then you should advise him in secret, for that is the sunnah.

      The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said: “Whoever wants to advise a sultaan (leader/ruler) with a matter, do not do it outwardly but let him take him by the hand and go into seclusion with him. If he accepts it from him then that (is good) and if not then he (the adviser) has fulfilled that which was upon him (to do).”

      Again I refer you to Omar when he said help me to govern you and correct me when I am wrong and the Sahaba said we will correct you with the sold if we have too.

      This story isn’t authentic either.

      Islam is not a blind faith. You have erased several years of scholars work by make these statement.

      What? Who said anything about blind faith and the scholars? This issue is about how to deal with the rulers. Giving them advice is an obligation on us, and yes we should try and correct things that we see which are wrong, but the proper way of doing so is to give the ruler advice in private, not in public, as the hadith mentioned above states.

      As for me to just worry about my government here in the US, as a Muslim I am obligated to be concerned with all Muslim brothers or sisters no matter where they are. R

      Of course, we should all care about our fellow Muslims where ever they are, but what benefit comes from bashing the muslim rulers in public or criticizing them and mentioning their faults? Are we really correcting the wrong this way? Is this how enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is supposed to be done? This does nothing but go against the sunnah of our beloved Prophet peace be upon him.

      Here is the proper way to advise the muslim rulers about what we see them doing wrong:

      The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said: “Whoever wants to advise a sultaan (leader/ruler) with a matter, do not do it outwardly but let him take him by the hand and go into seclusion with him. If he accepts it from him then that (is good) and if not then he (the adviser) has fulfilled that which was upon him (to do).”

      Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal rahimahullah said: “Verily I supplicate for the ruler, for his correctness, success and support – night and day – and I see this as being obligatory upon me.’’

      Fudayl Ibn ’Iyaad rahimahullah said: “If I had a supplication that would be answered, I would not make it, except for the ruler. Because when the ruler becomes righteous, the towns and the servants become safe and secure.”

      Imam al Barbahaaree rahimahullah said, “Whoever rebels against a Muslim ruler is one of the Khawaarij, has caused dissent within the Muslims, has contradicted the narrations and has died the death of the days of ignorance.”

      I hope this issue is now clearer insha’ Allah.

  10. HadithCheck says:

    Brother Ismail, sorry for going off topic with the comments, but I thought that this issue was important to clarify as it isn’t talked about much by the Shuyookh here in the west.

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