It is reported by Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “The strong believer is better and more loved by God than the weak believer, but in both of them there is good. Work hard for that which benefits you, and seek help from God, and do not give up. If you are stricken by misfortune, do not say, ‘if only I had done such and such.’ Rather say, ‘God has decreed and God does what He wills.’ For verily, the words ‘if only…’ open the door to Satan’s works.”
Narrated by Muslim
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
Welcome to December! I can’t believe it is already time for another Hadith of the Month…
I chose this one for December mainly because of the last bit. December is a month where we are often looking back at what we have done and accomplished in the past year, and often setting goals for the year ahead. Most of these goals involve bettering ourselves in some way—losing five pounds, cutting out sugar, giving up a toxic relationship, getting promoted, etc. etc..
But as the year comes to a close I wanted to write about this hadith because of the message: If something bad has happened in your life, do not begin to think about “if only…” because this will only open the doors to Satan’s mischief.
This is especially pertinent as we come to the time of year where we begin to review our accomplishments for the past year.
I think when we think back on what we have done, it is very important to look at areas of our lives where we could improve, and begin to make changes as the hadith states, “work hard for that which benefits you.”
I think it is equally important, though, to not get lost in all the things that didn’t turn out like we wanted them. So I didn’t finish a big project I was working on this year; instead of saying “oh if only I had worked harder/spent less time on other things/been more productive,” it is infinitely more productive to accept that by God’s will this is what was decreed for you, and figure out how to move forward.
Maybe you just weren’t meant to finish that thing this year, maybe God has something much better in store for you later. Maybe now that you have taken extra time, the completed project will be that much better, maybe you really just didn’t work as hard as you wanted to; it is all in God’s plan for you.
So what can you do moving forward?
That is the important question. Instead of opening the door to regret, shame and misery (Satan’s mischief) by dwelling on the if only’s, ask yourself what you will do to work harder for that which benefits you.
And of course, set the intention to seek God’s help in all you do and accept his outcome when it happens!
As for the first part of the hadith, I think it is also a really good reminder to keep in mind both for those of strong faith and of weak faith.
It is comforting to one who feels they are weak in faith to know that God knows the good in them and loves them for it, and that they should keep striving to make themselves better. And it is a good reminder to those who feel themselves to be very strong in faith to not become arrogant, because God knows what is in every heart, and though God loves those of strong faith, even in a weak believer there is good to be found.
That’s it for me today I think…I would love to hear how y’all are feeling about the past year, and what you are looking to work on in the year to come!