The Law of Duality in this world will enable you to experience all emotions and see your growth on a spectrum from bad to god Aml (actions) , from worst to better Afiya (wellness), from disheartening to heart-lifting Silat al-rahm (relationship with kins) , from mindlessness to mindfulness of your Nafs ( subconsciousness), from heedlessness to seriousness of you Ihsan (sincerity in faith). This ambiguity as a pattern is guaranteed by your Lord in Quran and rather confirmed by the theories in the (existential) psychology. You can not escape the versality of human experience but you can prepare yourself for it and set the right techniques and mind set in order to transcend to the ‘other side’ quicker and without profound experience of PAIN.
We will certainly test you with a touch of fear and famine and loss of property, life, and crops. Give good news to those who patiently endure. who, when faced with a disaster, say, “Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we will ˹all˺ return.” (Quran, 2:155 – 156)
The above invitation to Sabr on the outset might have no links with strengths of your character or resilience. However, if you look closer you will understand that resilience is build up by multifaced ingredients accordingly to Islamic Psychology, to name the few: Niama, Qadr, grief, steadfastness and effort. Where western approach to resilience encourages you to concentrate on full functioning of all your faculties and nourishment of your ability to pick your self up , the Quran and Sunna centred approach offer you a spiritual insight. Resilience in Islamic eyes is born when we attain realistic view on this Life – Dunya and are able to detach our selves from it’s laws and effect on human psyche.
“Islam began as something strange and will go back to being strange, so glad tidings to the strangers.’” (Ibn Majah) “I am not of the world and it is not of me. Verily, I have been sent and the Hour is not far behind.” (Tārīkh Dimashq)
We as Muslims are encouraged to recognise that this Dunya is a place of duality, whereby we have a chance to experience happy and nourishing moments but also their opposites. We as Muslims are encourage to travel through the time that is given to us in this Duna as tourists, with one aim in the heart – Akhera. It is therefore our responsibility how we position our selves in the face of PAIN and what use of Free Will and choices will we commit ourselves to. If we are careful enough and heighten our consciousness, we will not only see the Adl (justice) of Allah swt in all life scripts and personalised Qadr but also the opportunities for growth in strength, resilience, wisdom and inner serenity. The fitnah of this world in other words is the invitation , the stimulus and the motivator toward psycho spiritual personal growth.
So have they not travelled through the earth and have hearts by which to reason and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the breasts.” (Quran, 22:46) “Do they not earnestly seek to understand the Quran , or are their heart locked up by them” (Quran, 47:24)
This path of adjusting and accepting the reality of Dunya brings us every time closer to realising Allah swt essence and the truth about our own existence. What Islam means is acceptance and obedience to this exact truth. The truth which could set our inner self free from illusions, desires, egoistic tendencies and arrogance of our hearts. The invitation to resilience in Islamic sense is far from growing a thick skin, or embracing cynical attitude or becoming thought and rough. It is not a Muslim job to question God’s Will, Permission for things to happen and Wisdom in all mysteries of the world but rather it is a Muslim duty to humble themselves in the face of ununderstood, embrace the Self in perseverance and steadfastness and simply carry on.
“But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you and the you love a thing which is bad for you but God knows and you know not.”(Quran, 2:216)
Resilience in Qur’anic sense means being realistic but active about your self-development at the same time, through use of attested methods such as Patience. Patience does not allow a believer to sit down and dwell on things, feel sorry for themselves and complain. Patience is a synonym for inner motivation which encourages us to strive harder and longer in order to achieve our goal. Sabr equates to wisdom that the journey might not be as exciting as we might envisioned and keeps us in check, that the result might also bring another degree of disillusionment. Receiving Rizq and Niama from Allah swt brings challenges and traps of spiritual pathologies such as pride, arrogance, selfishness and irritation.
And whoever exchanges the favour of Allah [for disbelief] after it has come to him – then indeed, Allah is severe in penalty. Beautified for those who disbelieve is the life of this world, and they ridicule those who believe. But those who fear Allah are above them on the Day of Resurrection. And Allah gives provision to whom He wills without account. ( Quran, 2:211-212)
Resilience also means that we know when to let go on ambitions, disappointments, SHAME, resentments and control. Living with loss and pain is intertwined with experience of satisfaction, success, love and peace. Any type of pain reminds us about the truth, brings about clarity and inner wisdom, humbles us and reconnect with Fitrah. Our days become intensified, our thoughts centred around problem, our feelings unbearable and actions scattered in the face of loss. However, once this initial state of shock disappears, we look for solutions and if we listen carefully enough the answers become clear. The answers from the bottom of our hearts become the key to successful rejuvenation of our Self. The key to resilience normally lies within us and reorients us to prayers, conversations with God, reliance on His mercy and recalibrating our investment in this world. Embracing freedom from our heightened Ego and retrospection on our own spiritual states starts the divine processes of purification – Taskiya. And soon after this process, the pain is to dissipate only for us to be ready for – a reset.
“Nothing afflicts a Muslim of hardship, nor illness, nor anxiety, nor sorrow, nor harm, nor distress, nor even the pricking of a thorn, but that Allah will expiate his sins by it.”(Muslim)