"God helps those who help themselves" ~ Ben Franklin
I came across this saying a long time back and was pretty impressed by it. I often get annoyed when people surrender to circumstances and bluntly blame destiny for their failures and problems in life without even attempting to improve things for themselves when clearly certain things are in their control. So I quote them this saying and ask them to think about it deeply. I will share my thoughts on it.
We have to make righteous efforts on our part and then leave the results to Allah and trust Him with the outcome He wills for us. Our efforts and hard work never go in vain. Allah doesn't overlook the struggle we go through. He has promised us rewards essentially in the hereafter and from my experiences and observation one does get rewarded in this life too, though sometimes in a different way than we expect. There is just and mercy in all of Allah's decision. It is for a strong believer to realize that whatever happens, happens for the best and if one is patient this realization is affirmed with time. Things might not turn out the way we hope for. Regardless, it is our obligation to sincerely work for what we wish to attain. To wait for things to happen and destiny to shine without efforts on our part when we truly are capable of doing wonders, is being ungrateful to the capabilities Allah has blessed us with. Not only is it an ungrateful mentality, it is being unintelligent too.
"Nothing happens by itself, all will come your way, once you understand that you have to make it come your way, by your own exertions." ~Ben Stien
This is not in contrary to reliance on Allah and Trust in Allah to fulfill all our needs. Indeed Allah is most giving and the ultimate provider and facilitator. But it is our job to reach out and make the most of His countless blessings. The Prophet (God bless him and give him peace) said, “Rely on God, and don’t deem yourself incapable.” (Related by Muslim, on the authority of Abu Hurayra – God be pleased with him)
Sunnah entails that one should strive to respond to all challenges that arise in the best way possible(i.e in true Islamic spirit in terms of intentions, goals and means). In the journey of life everybody faces obstacles and difficulties. Success doesn't come in a silver platter. History is full of examples where people assumed responsibility and changed the quality of their lives amidst all the negativity. The obstacles are there, but the opportunities are there too, for the positive minded to see. Allah (s.w.t) says in is book: “Verily with hardship comes ease; verily with hardship comes ease.” (Sûrah al-Sharh: 5-6) . Those who realize that the hardships of life are transient, preceded and followed by times of ease are those who eventually succeed. Blaming fate, and getting bitter about life is not the way. People of faith continue to strive and await Allah's blessing. Being patient being one form of expressing trust in Allah.
God helps those who helps themselves. Destiny favors those who help themselves. I believe so, do you?
I quote a short story from Paulo Cohelo's book Maktub :
A master and his disciple are riding across the Saudi Arabian desert. The master makes use of every moment of their ride to teach the disciple about faith. "Trust in God," he says. "God never abandons his children." At night, in their camp, the master asks the disciple to tie the horses to a nearby rock. The disciple goes to the rock, but remembers what the master has taught him: "He must be testing me," he thinks. "I should leave the horses to God." And he leaves the horses unfettered. In the morning, the disciple sees that the horses have disappeared. Revolted, he comes back to his master. "You know nothing about God," he exclaims. "I left the horses in His care, and now the animals are gone." "God wanted to care for the horses," the master answered. "But to do that, he needed your hands to tie them."