Going Through Hard Times? Reflect on This Prayer

{Allah does not burden any human being with a responsibility heavier than he can bear.

Everyone will enjoy the fruit of the good that one has earned and shall suffer for the evil that one has committed.

(O Believers, pray like this to Allah:) “Our Lord, take us not to task if we forget and lapse into error inadvertently.

Lord! lay not on us the kind of burdens that You had lain on the people before us.

Lord, lay not on us the kind of burden that we have not the strength to bear.

Be kind to us, forgive us and show mercy to us.

You are our Protector: help us against the disbelievers.“} (Al-Baqarah 2:286)

The prayer made in this verse is that God should not subject believers to the severe tests and the terrible hardships undergone by their predecessors.

It is God’s law that those who commit themselves to follow Truth and righteousness are subjected to tests and tribulations, and it is a believer’s duty to meet them with patience and fortitude.

At the same time, the believer should always pray that God may make it easy for him to follow the path of Truth and righteousness.

Believers pray to God not to place upon them a burden beyond their capacity of endurance, and to subject them only to those tests from which they may emerge triumphant.

May it not happen that the hardships are too much for them to bear, and that their feet falter and are turned away from the path of righteousness.

In order to appreciate fully the spirit of this prayer, one should remember that these verses were revealed on the occasion of the ascension of the Prophet, a year before his migration to Madinah. At that time the struggle between Islam and unbelief had reached its climax.

Prayers at Difficult Time

Not only in Makkah, but throughout the Arabian peninsula, life had been extremely difficult for those who wished to follow the religion of God. In these circumstances the Muslims were told in what manner they ought to pray to their Lord.

It is obvious that if the Bestower Himself tells one how to present one’s request, the granting of the request becomes virtually assured. Hence, this prayer greatly strengthened the hearts of the Muslims.

Moreover, this prayer implicitly taught the Muslims not to allow their feelings to flow along undesirable channels. They should instead mould them into a prayer to their Lord.

No Worldly Ambitions

Think of the heart-rending cruelties to which the Muslims were subjected merely because of their devotion to Truth, and then turn to the contents of this prayer. Consider the physical afflictions and material losses which the Muslims suffered, then note how this prayer does not contain the slightest hint of worldly ambition.

Compare the wretchedness and misery of these devotees of Truth with the pure, exalted feelings with which this prayer is overflowing. This comparison will enable us to appreciate the nature of the spiritual and moral training provided to men of faith.

Based on the author’s tafhem ul Quran.