My brothers and sisters, we live in calamitous times. True these are not as calamitous as other times in the history of the Ummah of Muhammadﷺ which we lived through and survived, becoming stronger. But we can only deal with what we are faced with, so these times are difficult enough for us and we ask Allahﷻ for His help and protection for all Muslims and all innocent people. It is therefore very important to understand why difficult times happen and what to do about them. You will find that many well-meaning people gather to conceptualize and think about strategies to deal with difficulties, but nothing seems to work. Let me illustrate with an example. Say you want to cook a special dish. You put all the ingredients into the pot and stir the mix very thoroughly, but nothing happens. The ingredients remain separate and as you stir them, they just go round and round in the pot but there is no sign of your dish being cooked. Then comes a chef into your kitchen and in one glance, he knows what’s missing and why your dish is not cooking. There is no fire under the pot. You have all the ingredients, but you didn’t light the fire. There is no energy to cook and so the dish remains raw and cold. This is our state. We have all our schemes, technology, money, expertise, and the desire to solve our problems. But we have not lighted the fire under the pot. The fire under our pot is our connection with Allahﷻ. Ramadan comes to help us to connect. To remove the copper oxide on the wire and ensure that it is ready to receive the current. The power of the Noor of Allahﷻ to illuminate our lives in both worlds.
We spent almost three weeks fasting, praying, and remembering Allahﷻ. We feel close to Him and want to know Him. He in His Mercy said:
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِى عَنِّى فَإِنِّى قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ ٱلدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا۟ لِى وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا۟ بِى لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
Baqara 2: 186 And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammadﷺ) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be guided.
I remind myself and you that all the promises of Allahﷻ in the Qur’an are conditional. Do something to get something. Nothing will happen if nothing is done. Actions must leave our hands for Allahﷻ’s decisions to descend. Allahﷻ says: Let them obey Me and believe in Me so that they may be guided. The key is to understand this truth; that Allahﷻ changes conditions. All our schemes will work only if Allahﷻ is on our side. Allahﷻ is on the side of those who obey Him. Not of those who disobey and anger Him.
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَوا۟ وَّٱلَّذِينَ هُم مُّحْسِنُونَ
Nahl 16: 128 Truly, Allah is with those who fear Him (have Taqwa), and those who are Muhsinun
If there is no Taqwa and Ihsaan, there will not be any help from Allahﷻ.
Before we go to solutions, let us see why difficulties happen. The same rule applies to personal or global problems. Let us reflect on this in our lives.
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا۟ مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ وَإِذَآ أَرَادَ ٱللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ سُوٓءًا فَلَا مَرَدَّ لَهُۥ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِۦ مِن وَالٍ
Ra’ad 13: 11 Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins). But when Allah wills a people's punishme