Do not Falter or Grieve: Quranic Guidance for Building a Mindset of Triumph in Hard Times
This article is translated and adapted from a lecture by Dr. Ahmad Abdelminem
The Ummah today is reeling at the horror of genocide in Palestine. With silencing and criminalization surrounding even coming together to grieve for Palestine, many of us are stuck scrolling through video after video and post after post, each charged with brutality and dehumanization. We’re left overwhelmed by the scale of cruelty and the machine working against us globally to enable this injustice. Instead of mourning, we fight propaganda across every news source, risking our jobs and academic endeavors just by speaking the simple truth about Palestine, responding to attacks from people we once believed to be friends, and rising against our policymakers who are complicit in or actively supporting genocide.
We drift between exhaustion and outraged mobilization, the guilt weighing us down, in dire need of support.
Hardship tests our faith in Allah. We struggle to understand the crisis and the suffering we witness. In the whirlwind of anguish, we fall into a mindset of defeat without realizing it and lose hope in the promise of triumph. In adopting this resigned mindset, we defeat ourselves before the battle is lost.
Allah provided a source of healing and empowerment so that this does not happen. Allah’s words offer us clarity and guidance that crowds out the feelings of grief and despair. The Quran is a stabilizer, making our hearts steadfast, transforming our mindset into one of hope and conviction in Allah’s promise that the believers will be triumphant.
Do Not Falter or Grieve
Allah addresses the believers during a time of hardship in Surah Aal-‘Imran:
وَلَا تَهِنُوا۟ وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا۟ وَأَنتُمُ ٱلْأَعْلَوْنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
Do not falter or grieve, for you will have the upper hand if you are believers. (Aal ’Imran 3:139)
This verse was revealed after the battle of Uhud, a time of grueling defeat and immense loss for the Muslim community. The disbelievers’ assault at Uhud was an unprovoked aggression by a formidable military force against a small agricultural community with few resources and no standing army — the intent was the complete annihilation of the Muslim community. Many Companions were killed, and their bodies were mutilated. Beloved members and leaders of the community were lost, including Hamzah, the uncle of the Prophet ﷺ. Good people suffered immensely and senselessly. The crux of the anguish was that much of it might have been avoided had the Muslims themselves maintained the strategy they prepared to keep the upper hand.
Amid this devastation, Allah assures the believers through this verse that He is aware of the intensity of their experience— but He also, in His Wisdom, discouraged sinking into the emotions such that their hearts were broken beyond repair.
The Defeated Mindset
It makes sense that this command ((وَلَا تَهِنُوا۟ وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا۟ — Do not falter or grieve)) came in the aftermath of the battle of Uhud. These two feelings — the feeling of weakness or faltering and the feeling of sadness and grief — will easily lead to the defeat of the faithful if not addressed.
Wars are fought psychologically just as much as they are physical experiences. We have seen many examples throughout history of a few firm believers defeating larger and stronger armies through a strong mindset and mental fortitude. Feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness strike directly at the heart of a believer, allowing weakness and despair to creep in and spread like cancer until the believer throws up their hands with frustration and defeat. This resignation is the ultimate extreme that emerges from sadness and weakness that goes unchecked.
A few verses after ((وَلَا تَهِنُوا۟ وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا۟ — Do not falter or grieve)) comes a description of God-devoted believers who fought beside the Prophet ﷺ and did not allow weakness or resignation to enter their hearts, instead keeping their faith and trust in Allah as strong as ever amid the circumstances.
وَكَأَيِّن مِّن نَّبِيٍّ قَاتَلَ مَعَهُ رِبِّيُّونَ كَثِيرٌ فَمَا وَهَنُوا لِمَا أَصَابَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَمَا ضَعُفُوا وَمَا اسْتَكَانُوا ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الصَّابِرِينَ
[Imagine] how many devotees fought along with their prophets and never faltered despite whatever [losses] they suffered in the cause of Allah, nor did they weaken or give in! Allah loves those who persevere. (Aal ’Imran 3:146)
Let’s analyze the Quranic terminology around faltering and weakness, as highlighted in the above verse:
Wahn – Faltering
Wahn is a faltering and weakness within the heart, a decline in preexisting resolve and determination, that may or may not manifest on the body and actions.
Da`f – Weakness
Da`f is the eventual consequence of internal faltering; the individual loses motivation and slows down. Da`f manifests on the body, typically in the form of dwindling of actions, as well as on the mindset and the heart.
Istikanah – Giving in
Istikanah means to resign, surrender to the situation. It is to give in, stop struggling, and let things be. It is the final and most extreme stage of defeat after faltering and weakness.
Istikanah — the state of giving in and resignation — does not set in immediately; it develops over time. Consider the verse again. First, in verse 139 of Aal ’Imran, Allah tells us not to falter within our hearts and not to allow grief to consume us. Then, a few verses later (3:146), He describes the believers as they go through the most strenuous and extreme trials: they do not falter internally, resist physical and mental weakness, and refuse to give in or become resigned to their circumstances. Even in the face of overwhelming losses, they do not lose hope just because they failed this time.
These verses emphasize the importance of actively fighting the urge to sink into negative feelings that may arise during the natural course of struggle. Instead, we are called to acknowledge the hardships and make a deliberate decision to replace our defeat with hope and a determination to emerge victorious.
The Triumphant Mindset
We will experience hardship and loss as individuals, as a community and as an ummah. We will suffer defeat and endure bloodshed. However, people of faith should never surrender to a state of faltering or sadness, nor should we allow our weakness and grief to fester unchecked until we reach a state of resignation. Instead, we should meet our defeat with a conviction in the promise of triumph and a hope for victory.
Times like these put into stark relief how limited our perspectives are. We typically only observe events through a worldly perspective, wherein we only see the suffering, death and destruction. Yet, imagine the angels that are watching over the earth and searching for the most luminous points. We know that they see places where Allah is remembered, where His servants are worshiping, supplicating, sacrificing, and persevering. Where we see destruction and death, what do you think the angels see?
This is the heavenly view of hardships that the horror of injustice might make us overlook. When we observe the world through a limited lens focused only on the material, we will only see the outermost effects — the disaster and suffering — when there is so much more beyond the surface. The heavenly outlook, by contrast, lifts us above the narrow short-sightedness of worldly interpretation, enabling us to see the fuller, more comprehensive picture.
In our overwhelm, we miss the many good consequences that arise only through trials, such as elevated reward and rank with Allah, increased worship and duaa throughout the Earth, the discovery of new meanings and wisdom in the Quran, the resurrection of causes and movements, unity of the ummah, and the revival of faith. The heavenly outlook also shows us the ways Allah compensates those who suffer in this life and the next and reminds us how exceedingly short and impermanent this world is, providing us the hope and strength we need to carry on with fervor and to maintain our triumphant mindset.
Hopelessness might creep in, interfering with our heavenly outlook as we scroll incessantly, overwhelmed by the destruction of innocent souls, but the Quran gives us a way forward. We are instructed and guided on how to control our feelings of weakness and channel our grief so it doesn’t debilitate us or interfere with our ability to take action. While experiencing negative emotions is normal in hardship and suffering, we must actively avoid getting stuck, instead nurturing the positive, triumphant mindsets that the Quran trains us to have. In the following section, we will explore how to Quran coaches us to shift our mindsets, rising out of grief and setting our sights on the certainty of triumph.
The Believer’s Approach to Hardship
The Quran is full of examples of believers witnessing times of hardship and trials, even oppression at the scale that we witness today in Palestine. The Quran, as our Source of guidance and clarity, is a powerful reset for the believers’ mindsets toward trials and tribulations. It encourages us to adopt the triumphant mindset, offering guidance to help us reframe the narrative, cautioning against thought processes that lead down a darker path, and reminding us of how to carry ourselves and what to prioritize in challenging injustice. Let’s explore some of the wisdoms the Quran offers on countering weakness and resignation, while building a mindset of triumph and hope.
Look for Allah’s Attributes in the Hardship
Surah al-Buruj details a prior community of believers who were brutalized and massacred. The disbelievers tortured the believers, dug huge trenches full of fuel and fire, and threw the people of faith into the fire. They gathered around the fire as if watching a show, enjoying the scenes of suffering and death. The verses say that they are witnesses to the evil they have done — and Allah is Witness over them.
Allah’s attribute As-Shaheed and the meaning of “shahada” — The Witness and being witnessed — is repeated almost four times in Surah al-Buruj. We might think that the believers are being killed, maimed, and tortured, and no one knows or hears their courage and pain. Even the few cameras actually present and trained on the people suffering don’t film everything, but Allah describes Himself as the One who witnesses and testifies for those suffering and against those who oppressed others. Allah is witnessing everything.
Allah mentions another attribute in this Surah: Al-Aziz, The Almighty, The Invincible that no one can overpower. He gives dignity and strength to whom He wills and how He wills. In this surah, Allah tells us of His Glorious Throne above everything. The oppressors may think they have control today, but Allah will remind all of us who really holds control over everything.
Throughout Surah al-Buruj, Allah highlights many of His qualities, each teaching us about Him and how we should perceive oppression and calamity in light of His attributes. Allah says beginning in verse 12 that the assault and onslaught of your Lord is severe. He originates and restores, and is All-forgiving and Loving (al-Ghafoor al-Wadood), for those who return to Him in sincere remorse. He is the Doer of whatever He wills, no consequence nor intervention is beyond His Ability. Each one of these attributes and descriptions deserves hours of reflection and contemplation.
Allah mentioned these descriptions of Himself in Surah al-Buruj to ground us when we are confronted with suffering and oppression. Recalling Allah’s qualities and attributes will help us remain aware of Allah within and throughout the hardship. As we search for Allah and His attributes in every experience and event, we reignite the spark of faith in our hearts and are fortified against succumbing to despair, even while seeing good people suffer.
Don’t Overconsume Bad News
None of us is immune from doom-scrolling; the tendency to immerse ourselves in bad news and over-consume the images of injustice and horror is pervasive. However, this is one of the biggest threats to our ability to maintain a comprehensive, long-sighted mindset during hardship. In Surah al-Baqarah, Allah tells the story of someone who passed by a village that had fallen into ruin. Overwhelmed by the extent of the desolation, he questioned whether Allah could revive life in such a state.
أَوْ كَٱلَّذِى مَرَّ عَلَىٰ قَرْيَةٍۢ وَهِىَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَىٰ عُرُوشِهَا قَالَ أَنَّىٰ يُحْىِۦ هَـٰذِهِ ٱللَّهُ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا
Or [are you not aware of] the one who passed by a city which was in ruins. He wondered, “How could Allah bring this back to life after its destruction?” (Al-Baqarah: 2:259)
Pay close attention to the man’s exclamation. The actual phrasing is closer to, “How can all this be brought to life by Allah?” The man, so unnerved by the extent of the destruction, delayed the mention of Allah in the question, as if seeing the devastation made him forget the power of the Creator. Allah’s response to the man was swift:
فَأَمَاتَهُ ٱللَّهُ مِا۟ئَةَ عَامٍۢ ثُمَّ بَعَثَهُۥ ۖ قَالَ كَمْ لَبِثْتَ ۖ قَالَ لَبِثْتُ يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍۢ ۖ قَالَ بَل لَّبِثْتَ مِا۟ئَةَ عَامٍۢ فَٱنظُرْ إِلَىٰ طَعَامِكَ وَشَرَابِكَ لَمْ يَتَسَنَّهْ ۖ وَٱنظُرْ إِلَىٰ حِمَارِكَ وَلِنَجْعَلَكَ ءَايَةًۭ لِّلنَّاسِ ۖ وَٱنظُرْ إِلَى ٱلْعِظَامِ كَيْفَ نُنشِزُهَا ثُمَّ نَكْسُوهَا لَحْمًۭا ۚ فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُۥ قَالَ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ قَدِيرٌۭ
So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years then brought him back to life. Allah asked, “How long have you remained [in this state]?” He replied, “Perhaps a day or part of a day.” Allah said, “No! You have remained here for a hundred years! Just look at your food and drink—they have not spoiled. And look at the remains of your donkey! And so We have made you into a sign for humanity. And look at the bones, how We bring them together then clothe them with flesh!” When this was made clear to him, he declared, “I know that Allah is Most Capable of everything.” (Al-Baqarah 2:259)
This man’s line of questioning is not unusual, even if it was misguided. Confronting brutality and destruction overwhelms us all. In his overwhelmed state, the man in this story lost sight of the reality of the next world and the complete presence of Allah in everything that occurs Today, many of us are doing the same thing. We find ourselves overwhelmed with anguish for our people suffering from horrific oppression, and we get caught there, unable to rip our eyes away or put it in perspective.
Allah shares this story to remind us that although we may lose sight of the Unseen reality, it is still real. Even when faced with the worst scenes of horror and desolation, we should remember Allah and His Names and Attributes. Allah still has complete power, and His Will always prevails. A firm believer reaffirms this reality when they feel themselves sinking into despair.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تَكُونُوا۟ كَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ وَقَالُوا۟ لِإِخْوَٰنِهِمْ إِذَا ضَرَبُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ أَوْ كَانُوا۟ غُزًّۭى لَّوْ كَانُوا۟ عِندَنَا مَا مَاتُوا۟ وَمَا قُتِلُوا۟ لِيَجْعَلَ ٱللَّهُ ذَٰلِكَ حَسْرَةًۭ فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يُحْىِۦ وَيُمِيتُ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌۭ
O you who believe! Do not be like those who disbelieved and said of their brethren who marched in the land or went on the offensive, “Had they stayed with us, they would not have died or been killed.” So that God may make it a cause of regret [and anguish] in their hearts. God gives life and causes death. God is Seeing of what you do. (Aal ’Imran 3:156)
We might similarly speculate, in our grief, whether those we would have suffered such losses and whether so many would have died if only this or that was different. It’s important to remind ourselves in these moments of weakness that Allah gives life and causes death for reasons only He knows. He alternates days of victory and defeat out of His Wisdom. It’s not for us to understand, only to surrender to Him with patience and trust and to do our best to confront evil with light and falsehood with truth.
Meet Despair with Hope
وَقَالَ ٱلْمَلَأُ مِن قَوْمِ فِرْعَوْنَ أَتَذَرُ مُوسَىٰ وَقَوْمَهُۥ لِيُفْسِدُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَيَذَرَكَ وَءَالِهَتَكَ ۚ قَالَ سَنُقَتِّلُ أَبْنَآءَهُمْ وَنَسْتَحْىِۦ نِسَآءَهُمْ وَإِنَّا فَوْقَهُمْ قَـٰهِرُونَ
The chiefs of Pharaoh’s people protested, “Are you going to leave Moses and his people free to spread corruption in the land and abandon you and your gods?” He responded, “We will kill their sons and keep their women. We will completely dominate them.” (Al-Araf 7:127)
The Pharaoh and his followers engaged in the spreading of falsehood — propaganda — against Musa (as) and his followers. This propaganda demanded a counter-response that would disprove the lies and highlight the truth. It could not be ignored, otherwise, it would demoralize the believers. Musa (as) provided a response quickly:
قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ ٱسْتَعِينُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱصْبِرُوٓا۟ ۖ إِنَّ ٱلْأَرْضَ لِلَّهِ يُورِثُهَا مَن يَشَآءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِۦ ۖ وَٱلْعَـٰقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
Moses reassured his people, “Seek Allah’s help and be patient. Indeed, the earth belongs to Allah [alone]. He grants it to whoever He chooses of His servants. The ultimate outcome belongs [only] to the righteous.” (Al-Araf 7:128)
Despite Musa’s reassurance, those among Bani Israel who were weak in belief or settled in their despair resisted the call to rise above defeat:
قَالُوٓا۟ أُوذِينَا مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَأْتِيَنَا وَمِنۢ بَعْدِ مَا جِئْتَنَا ۚ قَالَ عَسَىٰ رَبُّكُمْ أَن يُهْلِكَ عَدُوَّكُمْ وَيَسْتَخْلِفَكُمْ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ فَيَنظُرَ كَيْفَ تَعْمَلُونَ
They complained, “We have always been oppressed — before and after you came to us.” He [Musa] replied, “Perhaps your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors in the land to see what you will do.” (Al-Araf 7:129)
Musa’s response was to reframe the situation and correct their mindset. He recognized his people would fall into a defeatist mindset in the face of the Pharaoh’s threats and falsehoods. Musa addressed his people accordingly, imploring them to be patient and offering reminders of hope in the Ultimate Power of Allah. We, too, should keep a mindset of hope, rooted in the understanding of Allah’s Power and Will, when we encounter propaganda or see violence against our people. We should also remind others around us just as Musa (as) reminded his people.
Be Hopeful for Victory, but Humble Before Allah’s Plan
In times like these, some people might suggest that we are living out the promise of Allah or a certain verse of the Quran. They may predict victory in a specific way based on this assertion. Hope is necessary to keep our hearts firm and our minds resilient, but expecting or suggesting deliverance at a certain time or place is dangerous. We know Allah has promised believers victory, but we should not get involved in the unknowns, trying to control, derive, or anticipate the details of how or when victory will come or how it will look. This is, at the very least, counterproductive. At worst, when we try to interpret or foresee that which is beyond our realm of sight, we may spoil the very triumph and reform we seek. We should always keep in mind that although victory is promised, we are not aware of Allah’s plan.
The opening verses of Surah ar-Rum promised that the Romans would be victorious in a few years. Upon their revelation in Makkah, Abu Bakr made a prediction with the disbelievers of Quraysh that the time until the Roman victory would be six years. The six-year mark came and went, and the Romans were not victorious. In fact, that victory came a few years later. The disbelievers took winning this bet as a victory over the believers and an affirmation of their misguided belief that the Quran was false.
It is tempting to pull different verses of the Quran that point to prophecies and claim that we are living the prophecy and we will be the ones to fulfill it. Interpreting verses without certainty of their actual meaning may cause us to grossly miscalculate and miss the mark entirely. At the very least, this gives our opponents fuel to further delegitimize our faith. It can also be incredibly demoralizing for people supporting our cause who believed in a misinterpretation of a Quranic verse and may cause individuals to deflect from Islam altogether.
It is enough for us to recall what Musa told his people in a time of calamity:
“The ultimate outcome belongs to the believers.” (Al-Araf 7:128)
This promise of Allah is always true, but this does not necessarily mean we ourselves will emerge victorious from the specific calamity our eyes are fixated on today. We may or may not witness victory during our lifetimes. Furthermore, even if the present calamity is one we perceive as a resounding defeat, we actually do emerge victorious from a heavenly perspective, as long as we are believers. The believers have three possible outcomes in hard times. The first is that they fall at the hands of the oppressor and are made a martyr, thus emerging in victory. The second is that they triumph over the oppressor and witness victory in their lifetime. The third is that they spend a lifetime exhausting energy, resources, and time in striving against the oppressor until they are called back to Allah, never witnessing worldly results but earning high rank for their striving.
In each case, the outcome is a victory for the entire ummah. As we saw in Surah al-Buruj, the oppressors killed the entire community of believers. No one was left, but they were victorious. They died with belief, forced their oppressor to acknowledge truth (recall that the King could not execute the boy without saying “In the name of Allah, the lord of the boy”), and are memorialized in the Quran until today for their beautiful example. These are all triumphs for this community and Islam. Many times, a great deal of good emerges as a consequence of calamity, such as increased faith, empowerment of the Muslims, new alliances, or even exposing hypocrisy. With a heavenly mindset, we can see these good outcomes as triumphs too, and will not need to impose our views onto Quranic verses.
Strive for Victory, Even if You Do Not See Progress
Everything we do is for Allah, ultimately, and not for any personal gain or benefit. Every step we take and everything we share is to please Him and advance His cause, not for ourselves. We need to remember this because we may not see the fruits of our labor. The Companions of the Prophet ﷺ also understood that they might not witness the prosperity of the message.
فَإِمَّا نَذْهَبَنَّ بِكَ فَإِنَّا مِنْهُم مُّنتَقِمُونَ أَوْ نُرِيَنَّكَ الَّذِي وَعَدْنَاهُمْ فَإِنَّا عَلَيْهِم مُّقْتَدِرُونَ فَاسْتَمْسِكْ بِالَّذِي أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ ۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
Even if We take you away, We will take retribution upon them. Or show you what We have promised them; for We have absolute power over them. So adhere to what is revealed to you. You are upon a straight path. (Az-Zukhruf 43:41-43)
Some of the Companions died in Makkah, such as Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid and Sumayah bint Khabbat. They didn’t get to live glorious triumphs such as the hijrah and the Battle of Badr. Some martyrs of Uhud like Musab ibn Umayr and Anas ibn An-Nadr died after hearing the rumor that the Prophet ﷺ died and never knew whether he was safe. These companions did not live to witness how the Muslims recuperated and eventually conquered the city of Makkah.
Similarly, the boy who was the catalyst of the events in Surah al-Buruj (in which all the believers were thrown into the fire) died before he witnessed victory. After the unjust king tried many times and failed to execute the boy, the boy told him that the only way to kill him was to first say, “In the Name of Allah, the Lord of this boy.” Although the boy knew he would die before seeing the impact, he hoped that his death would cause his people to see the truth of Islam and believe. And believe they did. The boy never saw the way his actions inspired his people, but an entire nation believed in Allah with conviction due to his effort. He never heard how Allah memorialized his sacrifice in the Quran and how the Prophet ﷺ taught his people’s story, nor how the ummah persists today, still reciting it and drawing strength from his sacrifice.
We each wait for the moment our people are free from injustice and the world joins us in witnessing to the truth before Allah. Many of us will pass on never seeing this victory, just as the boy died never knowing his. We nonetheless will pass on, believing that this victory will occur and that good outcomes will result from our actions, no matter how small, because Allah has promised this. Know that although we may not see the impact we have, Allah will.
Our Main Concern: Our Commitment to Allah
What should concern the believer is to be utilized for Allah’s cause and not to be replaced with someone who will serve the cause of Allah better.
مِّنَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌۭ صَدَقُوا۟ مَا عَـٰهَدُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَمِنْهُم مَّن قَضَىٰ نَحْبَهُۥ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَنتَظِرُ ۖ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا۟ تَبْدِيلًۭا
Among the believers are men who have proven true to what they pledged to Allah. Some of them have fulfilled their pledge [with their lives], others are waiting [their turn]. They have never changed [their commitment] in the least. (Al-Ahzab 33:23)
The main concern we should have is our faithfulness to Allah’s covenant and remaining steadfast until we meet our Lord. We should not get distracted by the material and the problems of this world and forget the core purpose of creation. Rather, we should each find our roles and perform them with excellence. When Naeem ibn Mas’ud accepted Islam and joined the Muslim camp during the darkest, most difficult moments of the Battle of Trench, the Prophet ﷺ asked him to use his position to advance the cause in any way he could. It is imperative for a believer at these times to kindle their own momentum and keenly search for ways to advance the mission of Allah in their capacity, whether it is through marches, social media, donations, political work or lobbying. At the same time, we should not stop praying and striving to be sincere in our supplications.
As we strive to do good work for the Cause and uphold our covenant with our Creator, we should consistently check our hearts and clarify our intentions. The loss of sincerity and hardening of the heart is the worst form of test or punishment. May Allah Almighty protect us from punishments that tear hearts apart. These are more dangerous than shells that destroy houses and kill people.
فَأَعْقَبَهُمْ نِفَاقًۭا فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يَلْقَوْنَهُۥ بِمَآ أَخْلَفُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ مَا وَعَدُوهُ وَبِمَا كَانُوا۟ يَكْذِبُونَ
So He caused hypocrisy to plague their hearts until the Day they will meet Him, for breaking their promise to Allah and for their lies. (At-Tawbah 9:77)
Someone may be the foremost supporter of injustice, but does so for worldly gain — such as to increase social stature — rather than concern for the state of humanity and the suffering of innocent people. This is a sign of hypocrisy that arises in good work. We should each regularly check for traces of disease in our hearts, because Allah tells us that the hypocrite will be punished in the deepest depths of the fire.
Actionable Steps to Overcome Faltering and Grief
When we sense ourselves sinking into grief and feelings of powerlessness, these are the moments it is most important to take steps to overcome them. A mindset that is resilient in the face of hardship and suffering — and ultimately hopeful in triumph — is developed through our connection with Allah. Here are some strategies to help with overcoming these debilitating emotions, fostering hope, and renewing our connection to Allah:
- Read the Quran, the Source of Healing and Guidance for our hearts. Within Allah’s Book is solace and perspective for those who seek it. Surah Aal ’Imran, Surah al-Ankabut, Surat al-Anfal, Surah al-Ahzab, and Surah al-Buruj among many others, offer pertinent reminders and comfort for us. Recite these surahs and others often during your day. Deepen your engagement with Allah’s Words by reflecting on the meanings of the verses on your own and with your brothers and sisters.
- Stand in night prayers, even if you are busy. Allah prescribed night prayer to the Prophet ﷺ to give him strength and resilience in delivering the Truth to humanity, even through hardship. Recite the surahs mentioned above and others. Make duaa for your brothers and sisters, and for your own heart. Turn to Allah with your grief and your hope, and know that He hears you.
- Avoid spending too much time following the news. It’s important to be aware of what is happening and to advocate for our cause with whatever tools are available to us, but too much exposure to brutal images or to hate and propaganda desensitizes and demoralizes us. We become overwhelmed by the details of what we see and that might make us forget about the absolute power of Allah and the wisdom behind every event and circumstance. We miss out on experiencing His Attributes and the good outcomes emerging from the hardship when we’re scrolling, and this makes us fall into despair. Balance your media consumption with tangible actions, making dua, praying at night, and reflecting on the Quran in light of current events.
- Pay little attention to the naysayers. Some may suggest that there is no hope, that it’s pointless to even try changing anything or raise our voices. They might say, “What is a tweet even worth?” Remember what our Prophet ﷺ said: “If the Final Hour comes while you have a shoot of a plant in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it.” These past few weeks have shown us time and time again that we can never know the full benefit of our work in the outset, but Allah knows. Others may have adopted a resigned mentality, but you don’t have to. Help to uplift others around you by encouraging them to keep going and sharing your optimism and hope.
- Do what is in your capacity and leave the results with Allah. We have to work with patience and perseverance, keeping in mind that results are in the hands of the Creator. Have conviction in the reality that the whole universe belongs to Allah, everything is within His complete control, and all that occurs is a result of His Wisdom. This will encourage us to carry on with the good work and keep our hope in the promise of victory, even if the prospect looks bleak from our limited perspectives. Allah is responsible for the outcome; we are only responsible for putting forth our best effort.