The Five Golden Keys
So how do we manage to ensure that we can attain our purpose of life? In order to keep it brief, here are the golden keys for you to carry with you at all times:
The first key:
He is not questioned about what He does, but they will be questioned. (Al Qur'an 21:23)
In the above, the main message is not to keep questioning and digging to find out why something has happened or why something is ordained by Allah. Many people when faced by a calamity cry out "why me" and then lose heart and despair. Whereas, you will be questioned about your reaction, not the events themselves. The bottom line is to turn back towards Allah. If you are at ease with your situation, no matter how unpleasant, thank Allah and show gratitude to Him for what He has chosen for you for this moment in time. After all, that situation will pass, it is not a permanent state of affairs. Instead of dwelling in misery, anger or resentment, spend your time, money and resources for sabeelillah, and now you have fulfilled your duty and purpose of existence.
The second key is, if you have a difficult life, illness or hardship, financial problems, and other things you do not like, then repent, make taubah and istighfar. After all, aren’t all hardships a form of cleansing our sins if we are indeed true believers? Similarly, turn back to Allah and be patient. This is because you do not know what is best for you dunia and akhirah, and it may be that your calamity is what will lead you on the right path towards the Hereafter.
The third key is, if Allah opens doors of goodness and piety for you, be humble. Don't be arrogant about it, and in particular, don't find fault or look for the mistakes of others, because, if Allah wills it, you can be the next person to fall. Re-read the verses above very slowly and you will understand.
The fourth key is, if you become weak, give in to temptations, err, or even commit sins, don't despair from the mercy of your Lord. Seek forgiveness, make repentance, stop whatever wrong you're doing and turn to Him. He promises that He will love you and open the door for you.
But the ultimate golden key is summarized in the following verses:
No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a register before We bring it into being - indeed that, for Allah, is easy - In order that you not despair over what has eluded you and not exult [in pride] over what He has given you. And Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful. (Al Qur'an 57:22 to 57:23)
Always be thankful to Allah and say "Alhamdulillah". If your main calamity is not in your deen or in your faith, or any erosion or deviation of either of them, you have a lot to be thankful for. All the tragedies on earth, and any hardship, or your weakness, stumbles, sins, should not snatch you from your path. The cycle of ups and downs, give and take, wealth and scarcity, health and illness, are for Allah to test and see whether we are going to continue or move away from His path.
I only intend reform as much as I am able. And my success is not but through Allah. Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return. (Al Qur'an 11:88)
If you accept the journey of guidance, that guidance will increase. If you do not accept or you stumble, and He still accepts you, He will give you obstacles, hardship, and calamities in order to lead you back to the right path. When the journey is complete, He will judge you accordingly, dunia or akhirah, and this is inevitable for everyone.
What happens if you go on the path of heedlessness and material life? The calamities will keep piling up. After that it can reach a level of istidraj where Allah will open different doors of goodness and material life for you, to test what you are going to do next: lose yourself to dunia, or turn back to Allah. This test is extremely difficult, because the ocean of dunia are vast and its enticements are dazzling, and once you are cast adrift, it is hard to find your way back to the shore.
Take some time to understand the warnings below:
O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered. And fear a trial which will not strike those who have wronged among you exclusively, and know that Allah is severe in penalty. (Al Qur'an 8:24- 8:25)
But those who deny Our signs - We will progressively lead them [to destruction] from where they do not know. And I will give them time. Indeed, my plan is firm. (Al Qur'an 7:182-7:183)
So when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We opened to them the doors of every [good] thing until, when they rejoiced in that which they were given, We seized them suddenly, and they were [then] in despair. (Al Qur'an 6:44)
And when their messengers came to them with clear proofs, they [merely] rejoiced in what they had of knowledge, but they were enveloped by what they used to ridicule. (Al Qur'an 40:83)