There are times in our lives when we face immense difficulty. Sometimes that difficulty keeps you up at night, it causes you to toss and turn. It causes you to lash out at others, to lose patience and to scream out of a loss of self. I’ve felt that way before, I would argue to say that we all have at some point or another. Those times when it seems like the world is against you. Where people swear that they have your best interest in mind when they stand in front of you but aim to tear you down once you walk away. Sometimes these people are neighbors, family, or some of the very community members and leaders that claim to serve you, it’s not easy.
Then in comes the reminder.
“Abu Huraira reported: A man reviled Abu Bakr while the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was sitting down. That made the Prophet impressed by Abu Bakr and he smiled. Then, Abu Bakr reviled the man with the same words as him and the Prophet became angry and he stood to leave. Abu Bakr went to the Prophet and he said, “O Messenger of God, the man reviled me and you were sitting, but when I responded you became angry and stood up.” The Prophet said, “Verily, there was an angel with you responding on your behalf, but Satan appeared when you responded with the same words as him and I will not sit in the presence of Satan.”
My teacher was recently mentioning this hadith and it was exactly the reminder I needed. He had mentioned the words, “The people of God do not stand up for themselves, God does,” and it was all I needed to hear. I could reply, retort, slander but what good would all of that be if it meant losing the closeness of the beloved and the Creator of Love itself? Who are we to think that everyone must love us and understand our intention for good in this world? This world is one of trials and difficulties, our role is to exert patience through it all. To attach ourselves to the Divine and to serve those around us through showering them with love. To first serve our families for they have the most right upon us, to rekindle family ties despite the harm they may cause, and destroy the ego that would call us to forsake those relationships. We must then turn our attention to those neighbors that live around us, to serve them with love, charity, and attention. Some will spite you because of your faith, some may even share your faith and spite you for various other reasons. Then we serve our communities, and you may never make it this far. In fact, you may never make it to your neighbors. Maybe your life will be spent serving your family, that is completely fine! Every person has their state and when within that state they should dedicate themselves to reaching its highest rank.
If you are busy serving your wife, then serve her wholeheartedly until you have nothing else to give. By serving her you are serving the Divine. If you are still residing with your parents then you ought to give them your love and care and win their pleasure as well. If you are a business owner then your customers have a right over you and you ought to serve them. By serving them you can gain God’s pleasure.
Just remember that you don’t do anything for the people. The people are conduits to God, the people are faulty, you are faulty. Just like you have hurt others, so will others hurt you. Serve them, love them, protect them, cover their sins even if they uncover your own, forgive them, and if you must, separate yourself from their harm. . . but never wish them ill, because they are God’s mercy manifested in this world. Every person you come across is a walking miracle. They are all a reminder of God’s mercy, of His will and power, so love them for this religion’s foundation is in love.