Pain- A Blessing In Disguise

By Asma Nemati

Isn’t it amazing that we recoil from even thinking about painful things? When going through something painful, it’s as if a heavy weight has been placed on us, on our souls. We are confused, lost perhaps, and scared. This heavy weight is there, in the back of our minds and it is an unwelcome companion.

I’ve been thinking a lot about pain in the last few years. Having had children back to back and who are all still very young, I have been watching them go through a lot of physical pain. Endless, sleepless nights of being awake, or so they seem. A growth-spurt every so often — pain and tears, both from baby and myself! It’s so hard to watch our beloved children go through them, but at the same time, it is the same pain that they have to go through to get to the next, physical stage of maturity. Boy, I loved those moments when, one day, I’d wake up and feel refreshed. Alhamdulillah, my baby slept through the night! I actually feel I have rested. Oh, those covetous moments…Alhamdulillah indeed.

Going back to growth-spurts…so isn’t it amazing that a seeming struggle has to take place in order for our bodies to grow? It’s actually quite a difficult thing to grow a few inches, for one to teethe, or to develop mentally and emotionally. So much work is being done within our bodies; everything is working in perfect unison — science has yet to tell us how it all works. I don’t think we will ever know, but we can surely see the wondrousness of Allah Most High in it all:

“So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators!” Indeed, the words of Allah Most High suffice.

This same pain that is weaved through growth-spurts has made me muse about life in general. Problems are something we shun. They seem endless and they weigh on us like a ton of bricks. Emotional pain is probably worse than physical pain — we shirk from emotional pain, or even the thought of it, as we do the plague. We are intimidated by it, we get scared and perhaps panic. But it is those very same emotional pains that we need in order for our souls to mature. I call them spiritual growth spurts. In order for change to occur, there has to be struggle:
What defines us and differentiates us is not what we achieve in our souls before, during or after these struggles, but whether we reach out to our Lord, our loving point of adoration, through it all. 

In His absolute Divine Wisdom, He sends us trials, some of which almost break us. We feel stepped on, as if we are thin as rose petals. We feel so weak and immobile. The difficulty overcomes us and we feel as if darkness upon darkness is placed over us. May Allah help each believer through his or her difficulty and may we ask Allah for well-being in our deen, dunya and Akhira. I am not  one to welcome pain, but I see that it’s so important for me — and for us women especially, because we can, in turn, benefit others — to mould our minds to see pain not as something scary, something to run away from, but as an opportunity from Allah for the development of our soul. An opportunity from Allah Most High to get closer to Him. He wants to hear us call His name. He wants to know that when He looks in our heart, that He only finds Himself in it. He wants to know that while we’re going through this dunya, through the adornments of it (marriage, children, wealth, health, etc), that we don’t lose sight of Him, that we’re true to Him, loyal to Him, and sincere with Him.

So when you’re going through a difficulty, dear sister, turn to Allah and ask Him: O Allah, what am I to learn from this? O Allah, please grant me beautiful patience and good character with You and all those I’m dealing with while going through this. You’ll find that over time and when you come out of this difficulty, you will be a changed person. As long as you’re holding onto Him, you will come out of it stronger, and more mature in spirit inshallah

Remember also, dear sister, that this dunya is the realm of trials. With each trial, there’s ease twice over, as Allah Most High has said to us in His noble Quran. And, inshallah, with each difficulty, you’ll realize that out of this whole world, you won’t be able to take anything with you to your grave. It’ll be you and your works that go down with you. Get comfortable with that idea. When you do, you’ll find freedom from clinging onto things and you’ll learn to cling to only Allah Most High, the mover and shaker of all things. Alhamdulillah.


Moreover, did you know that many in the past have reached a point in life when going through difficulty or ease, that it becomes all the same to them? It may sound strange but it is possible. After watching your baby go through a few growth spurts, you’ll know what to do when the next one comes, inshallah. And after you go through several trials in life, your soul, too, will know how to handle the next one, inshaAllah. Indeed, you will realize that whether it’s difficulty you’re going through, or whether you’re experiencing a lot of happiness, that you’re constantly turning to Him — beautiful patience in times of difficulty and absolute and perfect gratitude in times of ease and elation. Alhamdulillah. Both of these opposite feelings end up becoming the same because you’re worshipping Allah in each case, but just in a slightly different way. That point of difficulty and ease being two different sides of the same coin was expressed as following by a Syrian scholar:

                             Your absorbing me in difficulty and Your having mercy on me is all beauty itself.
I pray that we can all reach this high yet attainable understanding of things that may appear in our lives, and I pray we reach it with khayr and knowledge that Allah Most High is in control, and that everything is okay: Just let go of everything and find Him.

About the author:

Asma Nemati is a full-time mother who lives in Jordan with her husband and three children. She loves to cook, organize and deepen her understanding of Islam.

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