A Call to Allah: Navigating Life's Challenges with Faith

Shaykh Abdullah Waheed
October 25, 2023

One Call Away 

Pain is the elemental cause of human heartache; it enfeebles our existence. Yet, as believers, the sweet substance of ease is assured, if we cling on to Allah ﷻ. The measure of fortitude is in enduring our hardships with unfaltering faith.  


It is necessary to comprehend that we are not immune to emotions, and that we are not built upon perfection – for this is the attribute of the Divine. No matter how successful a believer may be in their life, whether they surpass another in piety or power, trials and tribulations will weigh upon them and wear them out. Allahﷻ Himself declared:

أَحَسِبَ ٱلنَّاسُ أَن يُتۡرَكُوٓاْ أَن يَقُولُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا وَهُمۡ لَا يُفۡتَنُونَ

Do people think once they say, “We believe,” that they will be left without being put to the test? (29:2)

Every trial enables a believer to rush to Allahﷻ. Whatever we simply cannot explain to others, Allahﷻ is our avenue to bravely pour out everything that we may have withheld. He listens, He responds and He relieves; all we have to do is call.

A Hidden Pain

ʿUmar ibn al-Khattāb RA is revered as one of the most powerful leaders in history, that Islam saw its peak in what was known as the Golden Age under his outstanding caliphate. Though he may have navigated conquests with tremendous success; valiantly conquering empires and ruling with an acute sense of justice, the only time he allowed himself to completely let his guard down was when he stood in front of Allahﷻ.

Underneath his tough exterior, ‘Umar had a tender heart which every so often left his eyes overflowing with tears. In spite of all the merit that he had acclaimed, no one could have guessed the deep-rooted pain the leader of the believers had buried internally, if not for the telltale sign of his loud sobbing while leading the fajr prayer one morning.

‘Umar’s pain was so apparent that his uncontrollable sobbing could be heard even from amongst the last row of worshippers. Abdullah ibn Shaddād narrates:

سَمِعْتُ نَشِيجَ عُمَرَ وَأَنَا فِيْ آخِرِ الصُّفُوْفِ فِيْ صَلَاةِ الصُّبْحِ وَهُوَ يَقْرَأُ سُوْرَةَ يُوْسُفَ

“I would hear the sobbing of ʿUmar when I was in the last rows during the morning prayer, while he recited Surah Yusuf.”

While reciting the story of Yusuf, ʿUmar would reach the verse in which Yusuf's brothers tell their father, Yaqūb,

قالوا تَاللَّهِ تَفتَأُ تَذكُرُ يوسُفَ حَتّىٰ تَكونَ حَرَضًا أَو تَكونَ مِنَ الهالِكينَ

‘By Allah! You will go on remembering Joseph until you wreck your health or perish.’ (Surah Yusuf, Verse 85)

When the children of Yaqūb showed no sympathy towards their father, Yaqūb said,

إِنَّما أَشكو بَثّي وَحُزني إِلَى اللَّهِ وَأَعلَمُ مِنَ اللَّهِ ما لا تَعلَمونَ

‘I complain of my anguish and grief only to Allah. I know from Allah what you do not know.’(Surah Yusuf, Verse 86)

بَثّ   is a type of pain that is so intense that one can no longer keep it hidden inside. We know that Yaqūb had extraordinary love for Yusuf and he was so deeply grieved by the loss of his son that he kept weeping continuously until he lost his eyesight. But pause for a moment and think: what kind of pain did the person who ruled one-third of the known world at that time experience, which left him sobbing uncontrollably upon reciting this verse?

Only Allahﷻ knew about the crippling emotions ‘Umar kept in his heart. This is the beauty of complaining to Allahﷻ instead of people – no one ever has to know what we are experiencing, except for Allahﷻ. Whenever we have no reference point or no hand to hold, Allah’s hand is there for us to grasp, and we will never suffer a moment of futility whenever we appeal to Him in prayer.

Finding Strength in Weakness

Having the courage to admit our weaknesses to Allahﷻ and wearing our hearts on our sleeves as we prostrate to Him is not a sign of weakness. In contrast, reaching out and complaining to Allahﷻ, demonstrates strength and fills a spiritual void within our hearts.

Allahﷻ encourages us to call upon Him, and when Allahﷻ responds, what He can do for us is boundless; beyond rational thought and conventional perception. The prophets and pious predecessors understood this, and they were the most honorable and closest people to Allahﷻ.

In his moment of sheer sorrow in Ta’if, the Prophet (ﷺ) beautifully complained of his weakness to Allahﷻ:

اَللُّهُمَّ اِلَيْكَ اَشْكُوْ ضَعْفَ قُوَّتِي، وَقِلَّةَ حِيْلَتِيْ وَهَوَانِيْ عَلَى النَّاسِ يَا اَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِيْنَ، اَنْتَ رَبُّ الْمُسْتَضْعَفِيْنَ، وَاَنْتَ رَبِّي، اِلَى مَنْ تَكِلُّنِيْ اِلَى بَعِيْدٍ يَتَجَهَّمُنِيْ ؟ اَوْ اِلَى عَدُوٍّ مَلَكْتَهُ اَمْرِيْ ؟ اِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ بِكَ غَضَبٌ عَلَيَّ فَلاَ اُبَالِيْ وَلَكِنْ عَافِيَتَكَ هِيَ اَوْسَعُ لِيْ، أَعُوْذُ بِنُوْرِوَجْهِكَ الَّذِيْ اَشْرَقَتْ بِهِ الظُّلُمَاتُ، وَصَلُحَ عَلَيْهِ اَمْرُ الدُّنْيَا وَاْلاَخِرَةِ مِنْ اَنْ تُنَزِّلَ بِي غَضَبُكَ اَوْ تَحُلُّ بِي سَخَطُكَ، لَكَ الْعَتْبَي حَتَّى تَرْضَي، وَلاَ حَوْلَ وَلاَ قُوَّةَ اِلاَّبِكَ

O Allah! I complain to you of my weakness, my scarcity of resources and humiliation before the people. O Most Merciful! The Lord of the weak and my Lord too! To whom have You entrusted me? To one who does not care for me? Or have You appointed my enemy as master of my affairs? So as long as You are not angry with me, I care not. Your favor is abundant for me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face, by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or your displeasure descend upon me. I desire your pleasure and satisfaction until You are pleased. There is no power (to do good) and no might (to refrain from evil) except with You. (Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum)

Allahﷻ heard the Prophet’s plea and immediately comforted him through Jibril saying:

إن الله تعالى قد سمع قول قومك لك، وما ردوا عليك، وقد بعث إليك ملك الجبال لتأمره بما شئت فيهم

“Indeed, Allah, the Exalted, heard what your people said to you and the response they made to you. And He has sent you the angel in charge of the mountains to order him to do to them what you wish.”

Allahﷻ loves listening to us. He is al-Samī, the one who listens to every single one of our pleas – and calling upon Him in deep distress, is the best form of comfort we will find. Our walls are meant to be broken, not built in front of Allah. Rest assured He hears us loud and clear, even if we complain to Him silently.

قُلِ ٱدۡعُواْ ٱللَّهَ أَوِ ٱدۡعُواْ ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنَۖ أَيّٗا مَّا تَدۡعُواْ فَلَهُ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءُ ٱلۡحُسۡنَىٰۚ وَلَا تَجۡهَرۡ بِصَلَاتِكَ وَلَا تُخَافِتۡ بِهَا وَٱبۡتَغِ بَيۡنَ ذَٰلِكَ سَبِيلٗا

Say to them (O Prophet!): “Call upon Him as Allah or call upon Him as al-Rahman; call Him by whichever name you will, all His names are beautiful. Neither offer your Prayer in too loud a voice, nor in a voice too low; but follow a middle course.” (17:110)

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