Remember that suffering exists even if we don’t hear about it
Many of us may be feeling unsettled due to the current global pandemic. Many of us may not have experienced a situation like this before. Normally, we may be affected by what we see in the media about people around the world who are suffering and the reasons behind their suffering. As Muslims, it is especially important for us to remember that there are so many things that we may not hear about and people who suffer that we do not hear about it.
When we remember that suffering exists and has always existed even if we don’t hear about it, it will help us not to be become so overwhelmed by the current situation. We read in a hadith:
“Look at those below you (less fortunate than you), and don’t look at those above you, for this is better.” (Muslim)
There are people whose homes have been destroyed in earthquakes. They have had to move away from their area to take shelter elsewhere with little or no belongings. They have lost the normality they once had in their lives. Others have been left homeless or separated from their families.
There are families who have had their relatives go missing in avalanches. The families have had to go through a lot of pain and unbearable patience as they waited for any news about their missing relatives. They were worried about the safety of their relatives and they feared the worst.
There have been major floods in parts of the world as a result of which people have lost their homes and have had relatives who drowned. There are others who were drowning but were lucky enough to be rescued, but still suffered complications. Families’ lives changed completely as they tried to move forward in life without their relatives who were so important to them.
In many parts of the world, there are people who have a main goal of finding something to eat for the day. They walk miles in order to look for food and to feed their families. They resort to eating things which are not safe because they are so desperate.
With various mental and emotional health problems that go unrecognised, many people suffer in silence. People appear to be stable but are struggling on the inside. Whether they are suffering with anxiety, depression, neglect, or they are a victim domestic violence – there are so many people that suffer and their suffering goes unnoticed.
There are people who are victims of discrimination as they live in a place where they are deemed as ‘different’ to the majority in that area. They face harsh comments and are treated different purely because of their background. They live by themselves or with their families and fear for their safety. They don’t know what they will experience the next day or even in the next hour. They are too scared to leave their homes even when they really need to.
Some people have lost their homes in fires. Perhaps there was a larger fire in the area they live which caused their home as well as the homes of their neighbours to burn down. There may have been something faulty in an appliance which caused homes to burn down.
Therefore, amidst these unsettling times, understanding that suffering exists and has always existed in this world, will help us not to become so overwhelmed. We may not have experienced a situation like this before, but there are so many disasters that occur in the world that we are unaware of.
It is also very important for us to remember that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” (Bukhari)
We must remember that this life is temporary. The happiness, the sadness, our worldly possessions, and our hardships – none of it will last forever. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“The life of this world compared to the hereafter is as if one of you were to put his finger in the ocean and take it out again then compare the water that remains on his finger to the water that remains in the ocean.” (Muslim)