Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am very much upset about my life right now, my kids, their education, my marital relation, my health. I have been a good person. I do admit my prayers were on and off. People are suggesting we are affected by black magic. I think it’s punishment for not praying. How do I make it right?

Answer: In the Name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate           

Thank you for sending in your question. As believers, when things don’t go right in our lives, the two most important steps in correcting things is first to ensure that our faith is sound and strong, and secondly, to check that all aspects of our life are in order. As such, a firm believer will always have the correct etiquette with Allah during good and bad times, and be more likely to find solutions when life presents with difficulties and tests.

PUTTING THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE

The relationship between good deeds and recompense

Our good deeds, and our being good human beings, are not a direct bartering system with God, in which an immediate exchange takes places between good deeds for an easy worldly life in return. On the other hand, Allah does not make the good deeds of any believer to be lost, as He Most High informs us that, ‘We shall not suffer to be lost the reward of anyone who does his (righteous) deeds in the most perfect manner’ [18:30]. So the way to understand this relationship of good works and recompense is that, while Allah will answer the prayers of a sincere person, it will be in the way He wishes and when He wishes.

The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) informed us that Allah answers our supplications in three ways, ‘Either He will answer his Dua soon, or he will store it up for him in the Hereafter, or He will divert an equivalent evil away from him because of it.’ [Musnad Ahmad]

Although the hadith specifically mentions supplication, the same applies for all our good works and good character, and how to expect the recompense and reward for them. We should understand that our time of doing good works is limited to this life, whereas Allah’s rewarding us for those deeds are not constrained by time or place. All we need to do is roll up our sleeves and keep going, the result and payday to this struggling we leave to Allah.

We should also realise that our knowledge is limited whilst Allah’s knowledge is unlimited. What we feel we may need or want now is constrained by our knowledge of only the present. Indeed, we cannot even know what will happen in a few seconds or minutes from now. Allah Most High knows everything as it was, as it is, and as it will be. Therefore, He is better to know what is right for us and when it is right for us.

Do not tire of good works

The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said, ‘The supplication of every one of you is granted if he does not grow impatient and says: I supplicated but it was not granted.’ [Muslim]. As we mentioned above, the same principle applies to any good works. Think of it like this, ‘The virtuous works, struggles, and good character of any of us will be rewarded so long as we do not grow impatient and say, I am doing this and that but God is not making my life easy and happy.

Life is a Test vs Punishment

Allah sends us trials in life to test our faith. God tells us, ‘It is He who created death and life to test you as to which of you are best in deed, and He is the Almighty, the Forgiving.’ [67:2]. The very best of creation, the Prophets (peace and blessings be upon them all), as well as the companions of those Prophets, were all tested greatly, and in ways greater than most of us suffer. Our beloved Prophet himself (peace and blessing upon him) and his family and companions endured severe hardship through the loss of their homes, livelihood, children and family, and many other tragedies and hardships.

The test is in being patient and grateful during these times, even if it is a lifetime. Tests are not only a chance to strengthen your faith, but are an expiation from sin. The Prophet said, ‘Trials will continue for the believing man and the believing woman, in person, property and children, until they meet Allah free from sin.’ [al Tirmidhi].

We cannot say that someone is being punished for such and such action. Nor do we say that one’s children are being punished for the parent’s sins. Allah Most High tells us that, ‘And no burdened soul can bear another’s burden.’ [35:18]. Therefore, the only option is to realise that how we act, and how we are as individuals and as believers, has a direct effect on how things go in our lives and the effect our behaviour and actions (or lack of action) has on those around us.

PRIORITISING DUTIES

Worship

Imagine if an employee turns up to work whenever he felt like it, some days coming in, other days turning up late and going home early, whilst other day not turning up at all, perhaps a few days at a time. At the end of the month when he receives his wages, he gets a shock that he has not received his full wages! Even worse, he gets called into the board room and is fired on the spot! Does such a person have the right to be indignant or angry at his employers? Likewise, the observation of the prayer must be maintained, on time and each day. If we ‘don’t turn up’ to the prayer, then we are not in a position to turn around to our Lord, and complain that we’re not getting our due.

The prayer is the most important part of our daily life and a sign of the believer. It is a major sin to intentionally miss an obligatory prayer, and this is something that is unfortunately taken too lightly. It is akin to committing major sins a few times every day, for years on end for some people.  It is the first of the five pillars in our religion and without careful observation of it, both our life and next life are liable to ruin. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) informed us that ‘The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.’ [al Tabarani].

This is an important hadith. The most important aspect for us here are the words, ‘If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound.’ Without the prayer being sound, meaning on time and with attentiveness and sincerity, all our other acts of obedience and goods will be deficient. Moreover, we cannot expect, nor should we be surprised or complain that our lives are in disarray, when the very essential pillars of our religion are not being upheld. We can only ask ourselves, in whose hands is our lives being left to ruin?

If we are missing prayers, we must also look at what other fundamental aspects and pillars of our religion are we neglecting or being deficient in. This is necessary to finding solutions to our worldly problems.

HOW TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT?

Below is a brief list of things you can do to ensure things are in order:

  1. Start praying on time and do not miss any prayers. Likewise make sure that all your other obligations to God are fulfilled.
  1. Ensure that you are fulfilling other people’s rights, such as debts etc.
  1. Make Tawba. Pray two rakats tawba from all your sins in general, and ideally specifically for neglecting prayers. See the following link for more information.
  1. Be patient, and persistent in your supplication and good deeds. Do not give up and think God has abandoned you.
  1. Give charity if possible. Many of life’s problems on one’s life are solved through giving sadaqah to the needy.
  1. Make sure you are avoiding more overlooked sins such as back biting, tale bearing, and contempt for others.
  1. Look at the worldly solutions to your problem. These include, home life and environment, diet and nutrition, television and negative influences, how one spends their time and money, and the choices you make.

MAGIC

While it’s not impossible that black magic may be at work, it seems the case here is that it is not. Black magic, while real, is most often than not used as a scapegoat to avoid looking at ourselves, our own actions, and making a change. As you mentioned yourself, the answers lie closer to home and are of a more practical nature. Prioritise your life, correct your intentions, and be patient and steadfast. Insha’Allah you will find real solutions to the problems you are facing.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007 I travelled to Tarim, Yemen, where I spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with my main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, I moved to Amman, Jordan, where I continue advanced study in a range of sciences, as well as teaching. Away from the Islamic sciences, I am a qualified Homeopath, and run a private clinic in Amman.

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)