In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.
'AN old friend', Prof Dr Safiah Osman posted to me her latest book - 'Stories of Trials, Tribulations and Hope' - which was published by 'Yayasan Rosni Noor'. Actually, it was a compilation of 29 stories by 23 different writers - Dr Safiah contributed two stories but had 'a big part' in it because in the book it was stated 'special credit mention to Dr Safiah Osman for her dedicated guidance'.
The book which is priced at RM35 for charity, comprising true stories exemplifying effort, hope and faith that go into overcoming hardship, and how people can emerge stronger from the obstacles they face. It was printed by MPH Group Printing (M) Sdn Bhd.
Other than Dr Safiah, the other writers were Che Wan Esah, Dinah Khairuddin, Halimahtun Khalid, Hazline Mahmood, Julien Drolon, Kabuye Uthman Sulaiman, Kalsom Taib, Khadijah Khalid, Khairiyah Mohd Ghazalli, Latifah Abdullah Tamerlane, Martin Helander, Noorshin Ng Abdullah, Nor Amriah Abdul Rahman, Putri Zanina Megat Zainuddin, Rafiah Bahar Rasip, Rahimah Haji Ahmad, Sabariah Mohd Zin, Sakinah Alhabshi, Wan Sallehah Wan Mahmood, Yasmin Gan Abdullah, Zawiyah Baba and Zuraidah Omar.
'Jazakallah khairan kathira'...thank your Dr Safiah for sending me the motivational and guidance book at the right time...as you know many of us among the 'rakyats' (people) were facing hard and difficult times...I too included...
'Alhamdulillah' (all praise to Allah), while browsing the book you sent me (Stories of Trials, Tribulations and Hope', I met 'soothing' words that helped raised the spirit in me; for example in the book's Foreword it was mentioned: "So many things shape our lives. Our upbringing. Our beliefs. Our experiences. Nor matter how life turns out, be it good or bad, there will always be trials and tribulations along the way.
"Think of the times when you did what ever it took to get through each test in your life. How you agonised over your problems. How the agony forced you to think through every decision and the possible outcome of every move.
"How you acted with courage, confidence, strength, and even fear. And how you placed your trust in the Almighty through it all. Or did you? Did you experience how that trust in your Creator gave you hope to overcome the adversities in your life? How did it end up?"
"...My heartfelt appreciation to all 23 writers who volunteered to write and contribute their stories for the sake of charity, without expecting any remuneration..." wrote Datuk Azrin Mohd Noor the founder of Yayasan Rosni Noor in his forwarding piece.
He also noted: "As a Muslim, I believe that trials and tribulations can be a sign that Allah SWT intends good for us because He expiates our sins by testing us so that we will have the opportunity to repent and perform good deeds that allow us the hope for a better life.
"I believe Allah SWT will challenge us with hardships because He has great plans for us. We may understand some but some are beyond our comprehension...The Messenger of Allah (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him - s.a.w.) said: "If Allah intends good for someone, then He afflicts him with trials." (Sahih Bukhari 5321)
Reflecting on the difficulties I am facing now, it was just like an ant bite compared the sufferings of those people (characters) portrayed in the 29 stories of 'Stories of Trials, Tribulations and Hope'.
For example in Puteri Zanina's 'The Ten Ringgit Note', the writer focused on a dear friend who was reduced to only RM2 in her wallet! Puteri Zanina wrote: "I (her friend) had only RM2 left in my purse, just enough to to pay the highway toll on the way home. I felt wretched. My head throbbed. 'Where could I get some money to feed my kids tonight?'..."
In 'Aceh Calling Heaven', writer Sakinah Alhabshi portrayed a young Acehnese girl, Dewi who had lost her whole family during the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami on 26 December 2004. Dewi recounted the events that led her to a mountain and was safe there but "we were there for weeks...there was no electricity...we lived in makeshift huts, drank rainwater and ate leaves, bananas, papayas and whatever we could find..." Still Dewi could make it to university, it should put shame on most of us us...perhaps some of us, teenagers especially, cried because of a broken puppy love or other trifling matters!
Dr Safiah Osman in her 'Lesson from Egypt' told a story about a wealthy Egyptian who was devastated when told he had a heart problem while performing medical examination in Germany..."When he heard the news he was shock. He felt his world was falling apart. He felt a real fear of death, and that it was imminent."
Well, how the rich Egyptian was able to 'uplift' his illness and sorrow...perhaps readers should get hold of the book 'Stories of Trials, Tribulations and Hope' right now.
As for me, my tribulations was just like an ant bite compared to what they had faced. And to compared them to trials and tribulations faced by those very close to Allah SWT such as His prophets they were nothing. Here I would like to pick up the conversation of Prophet Ayyub a.s. with his faithful wife before she left him after being consoled and trick by Iblis as written in the chapter 'Islamic Worldview of Life' by Kabuye Uthman Sulaiman of the book.
"Iblis reminded her of the days when he (Ayyub a.s.) had enjoyed good health, wealth and children. The painful memory of years of hardship overwhelmed her. She burst into tears and asked her husband: 'How long are you going to bear this torture from our Lord? Are we to remain without wealth, children and friends forever? Why don't you call upon Allah to remove this sufferings?'
"Ayyub a.s. sighed and replied softly: 'Iblis must have whispered to you and made you dissatisfied. Tell me, how long I enjoy good health and riches?' She replied, 'For 80 years.' Then he asked, 'How long have I been suffering like this?' She said, 'Seven years.'
"Then he told her: 'In that case I am ashamed to call on my Lord to remove the hardship, for I have not suffered longer than the years of good health and plenty that I enjoyed. Your faith seems to have weakened and you are dissatisfied with the fate decreed by Allah. If I ever regain health, I swear I will punish you with a 100 strokes. From this day, I shall not eat or drink anything from your hand. Leave me alone and let my Lord do with me as He pleases.'