In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation. May Allah extol the mention of the Prophet in the highest company of Angels and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, his Companions and all those who follow him exactly till the Day of Judgement.

Fellow Muslims! Know that a gem is not polished without friction, nor is a man perfected without trials! ALLAH says in the glorious Qur’an:

“And we will surely test you with some fear, Hunger and shortages of property, People and Produce, But give good tidings to the steadfast.”

It is through calamities, ALLAH forgives sins and raises our status. Through trials, ALLAH shows our faults, and gives us the opportunity to correct our mistakes!

Dear brothers and sisters! Are you going through a hard time in life? Are you facing a lot of difficulties which seem to get the best out of you? Does it seem like these difficulties are never going to end? Know that you are not alone. We all experience difficulties that shake our cores deep within, and leave us scarred for life. They bruise us deeply and seem like they will never end. They cause us great physical, psychological, spiritual and mental distress. We experience thoughts of depression, loneliness and lack of self worth. But don’t be alarmed. They are here for a short time to benefit, and not harm us.

My beloved people! Know that difficulties are part of this life. They are natural, and no human being is immune to them. All of us will experience them throughout our lives, until we depart to the next world where pain and suffering doesn’t exist. Until then, realise that pain and suffering is part of being human and of the inhabitants of this world. Embrace your difficulties with patience and a “fighter attitude.” Know that you are way bigger than any of your problems. Deep down, you are certain of your strength to overcome all your problems and you know that you will greet your problems with “goodbyes”, when their end comes.

Problems are often our time to step out of the noise we live in, and give our hearts time to rest and contemplate in solitude. It is our opportunity to feed our soul with understanding and prayers that we normally neglect, when everything is going great. I urge you to stay strong and be a wise fighter. Accept your problems with joy, knowing that they are here to heal you, not to break you. Understand that this phase is here for a reason, and it shall certainly pass. And when it does, you shall come out stronger and wiser. You shall have a renewed soul with extra strength and skill ready to rejoice in the blessings that Allah has for you, in the near future.

The trials and difficulties that you face today are your preparation and introspection phase, where you shall gain a lot by going through a lot. They are here to mould and transform you. They are here to expose you to your weaknesses, by giving you the opportunity to fix them. Difficulties are usually our blessings in disguise. They give us understanding of why we are suffering and the opportunity to rectify our problems. Know that trials and difficulties that we face as a result of our own consequences give us the opportunity to learn from them so we don’t repeat our mistakes over and again. They are the result of our past actions. They break us in order to close the broken pieces hidden from us, that constantly allow problems to sneak in. They are here for a purpose and a short time. They are not here to break us but to mould and purify us from our shortcomings and negligence. Embrace all your problems with a “wise fighter attitude!”

If you are going through a lot and you believe these trials and difficulties are undeserved and divinely inspired, then embrace them with passion and thankfulness. Know that Allah is Merciful and wants whats best for us. The fact that you are going through difficult times means Allah may be testing you. For indeed, when Allah loves a person, He tests them. By trials, Allah wakes our spirits from the darkness it is occupied with. He gives us a reason to go to Him, not live away from Him in error and mediocrity. Truly, anything that comes from Allah is a blessing only to unleash our full potential. He cares too much to see us living stagnant and limited lives. He Has great plans for us and wants to elevate us. When His trials visit us, He is showing His unconditional love to us. He is giving us guidance to apply in our lives.

Allah’s trials and difficulties are blessings to us. They expose our core to us before the world can discover our weaknesses and impurities in us. Only when the core is laid wide open can we truly see clear whats inside us and fix the dark spots that take our light away. Allah wants perfect light for us, not incomplete light. If Allah molds us, nobody can change us anymore. We are perfect and ready to help others to the way of righteousness, by giving them the light of knowledge and morality.

Because of our limited knowledge, we hardly see anything good in difficulties. We only see distress and pain in them. We often see good in bad things, and see bad in good things. Our minds are clouded with ignorance. But Allah has perfect and infinite knowledge, and is ready and willing to take our ignorance away from us. He wants us to see what He sees. For Allah often sees bad in what we see as good, and He sees Good in what we see as bad. Truly our minds are limited but Allah’s mind is unlimited. He therefore wants to turn our good into “truly good,” and will subject us to many difficulties, until we are great by Allah’s standards not ours.

Allah uses difficulties to prepare us for greater blessings not known to us yet. We are not ready and deserving of the blessings in our future path that will certainly meet us. Allah has to subject us to trials and difficulties to forgives our sins, because forgiveness without trial is similar to giving a man a fish instead of teaching him how to fish. Allah therefore causes us distress to qualify us for blessings He has for us. Allah truly has great plans for you and is preparing you for greatness. Be thankful and patient the season of growth and forgiveness has visited you. Indeed, when something never breaks, nobody is aware of it. The fact that you are broken means Allah has you woken. Allah has your attention, and He has selected you for guidance. How great of a reward is that?

Calamities and difficulties are tests for you, and these are signs that Allah loves you. These are signs that you have earned Allah’s pleasure and trust in giving you more. By giving you bigger problems, Allah is increasing your qualification for greater blessings. As Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, narrated in Hadith Sahih:

“The greatest reward comes from the greatest trial. When Allah loves people, He tests them, and whoever accepts it gains the pleasure of Allah and whoever complains earns His wrath.”

So the difficulties you face are signs of love from the Almighty Allah. He is using difficulties to increase your worth in this world and to increase your rank in the hereafter, where it matters the most.

Ask yourself, what has brought these difficulties and hard times unto you? Is it your current lifestyle? Is it your past actions or, is the Almighty subjecting you to many different trials that you feel “you don’t deserve them.” You shall know deep from within, why this difficult phase has entered your life. And when you do, accept them, knowing they are here for a specific reason and short season—often times, a growing and purifying season. Know that no mater what you do or how you react, you cannot avoid your difficulties. They are here for a purpose and a length of time, and will be gone once they complete their purpose in you. How you react is the difference maker. Your acceptance of them will give you peace and happiness whereas, your impatience will only frustrate you to further delay these difficult times, until you learn their purpose and value.

Often times, we enter seasons of trials and difficulties that are the consequences of our past actions. They cause us great pain and we may never be the same. They leave us scarred and often get the best of us, as they should. But don’t be discouraged. Great difficulties are often the weapon of great people. It is great souls that endure the most and make the most difference in the world. So embrace your greatness.

It is the greatness in us that often causes us suffering. We embark in many difficult journeys that subject us to many difficult tests. Our actions cause us suffering and our suffering brings our greatness into life. It is the degree of suffering that truly makes us great and different from others. It is the height of our greatest difficulty that makes the greatest impact in us. These are the moments that prepare us to transform lives, only because we were transformed through extreme testing. But don’t get ahead of yourself. Not every difficulty is because of our greatness in us. A lot of times, we go through hard times because of past sins we did. They eventually catch up with us and cause us tremendous distress. Truly, we reap what we sow. The scales of justice will be balanced. Anyway, only you have the true answers why suffering has entered your life. So learn and move forward, for in the past you were clay, but through trials you were backed only to be a gem in the future.

Having established that our greatness and immorality are often the result of our suffering, sometimes it is our greatness in the eyes of Allah that makes us go through even more difficult times. When we are living righteous and purposeful lives as our creator intended for us, He begins to bring the greatness He put in us long before we ever took a single breath in this life. Allah first gives us a vision to a future mission as a warning and sign of encouragement. We are unaware that the storm of greatest difficulty is just around the corner waiting to shape us. We are excited but we should also be ready to be tested. Allah is really giving us a heads up by giving us a glimpse of our future calling or a mission in this life. Know that a great storm is coming to hit you hard but it will not sink you. The storm is here to raise you above it, so no future storm can sink you. The storm is here to prepare you because you as a righteous servant of Allah have accepted His call to greatness.

When Allah reveals to us our calling and mission in this life, we often focus only on the good. We are excited and scared of the future that awaits us. We don’t really know what it will take to be successful but we are greatful. Fear gets the best of us. We shouldn’t worry though. When Allah calls us to a mission, He qualifies us through extreme trials. We will certainly be qualified candidates because Allah has employed us for a great task that will require great strength. When Allah promotes us, none is there higher than Him to demote us. His is the ultimate authority to command everything.

Allah will arrange our affairs gradually. He does not expect us to do great things by our own strength. We cannot do what Allah wants us to do without His help. But don’t worry. When Allah gives us a task, He will be there all along to guide and help us to success. If we obey Him and embrace His calling with patience, we are certain of success. But if we disobey Him, then we have rejected the keys of greatest success that were offered by the greatest king Himself. How ignorant and foolish would we be?

When Allah sends us a future vision, we put all the focus in ourselves. We imagine how great we are going to be. We are very naive. The vision is our hope to cope with whats ahead of us not to imagine how great we will be. Certainly, the difficulties we will face are intended to make us great and deserving of paradise in the sight of Allah, not to make us great in the sight of people. When we receive a vision, we should think how great we will make Allah appear by our success, because ultimately, all success comes from Allah—the giver of success.

Allah does not send to us difficulties in vain. They have many purposes. Among them is success and guidance. Allah will often send sickness our way to keep us on track with our mission that we have received. The sickness will teach us wisdom, patience and humility. We will know our strength. We will experience a lot of suffering, only to be able to relate to others when they are suffering of something alike. We will know who is in control when we feel the world is inferior to us.

There will be a lot of things happening to us that we may not be aware of, but in time of ease, we will understand that all this suffering was here to keep us on the right track while at the same time, giving us the necessary wisdom and experience for the ultimate plan of our life. The stronger and more knowledgeable we become, the weaker the sickness in us gets. But it doesn’t truly depart until we are ready to serve Allah by using the greatness that He instilled in us before we ever were born. The fact that you are suffering indicates you are uncovering your greatness that is hidden from you, in you.

When the time of preparation has completed its course, we will understand that all difficulties we endured protected us from sinning. They cleansed our sins and taught us humility. They positioned us to ask forgiveness from our creator. They were qualifying us and teaching us wisdom. They were humbling us. They were renewing us by taking the darkness out of us and turning it into light. They were savings us from the destruction of ourselves, only to elevate us in the hereafter. They humanised us by teaching us our flaws and weaknesses, only to perfect us for the greatness that we were made. They were permitted by Allah to purify us.

The difficulties that we endured gave us many reasons and opportunities to supplicate to our creator. They increased our faith and love for Allah. Our difficulties increased our trust and faith in Allah. They taught us gratitude towards our creator, which we can now put to practice to people around us. Allah wants us to embrace gratitude if we are going to be serving Him.

Your enemy wants to shut you down by giving you few goods of deception, but Allah gives you difficulties to give you the path to greatness. What a blessing it is be given the opportunity of greatness!

Respected brothers and sisters! Treat each difficulty and hardship as a calling from your lord to purify your soul and to increase your rank in the hereafter. The way you face and see each trial is half the battle. Realise that you cannot flee from trials, but you can pass all trials successfully with Allah’s help. Know that each trial is an opportunity to get closer to Allah, for nothing in this world is more valuable than a moment spent in contemplation and worship of Allah.

Oh Allah, give us eyes to see the benefits of each hardship, give us ears to only hear your messages in them, give us a heart to find contentment in your decree, and give us wisdom to turn hardships into blessings.

If we face each hardship with the realisation that one, we cannot escape what has been destined for us, and two, that any hardship no matter how painful it may be, it will come to pass, we will endure hardships with much ease. Know that Allah sends hardships to better us for the hereafter because he loves us. If we keep those thoughts in the forefront of our head, we have won the battle.

The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah the Almighty. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet, his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Shawwal 4, 1440 AH (June 7, 2019), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.