Health Problems, Work, and Trust in God?

>> Friday, January 17, 2014

I have health problems which recur from time to time, like 85% of the time I'm healthy and fine MASHALLAH, but 15% of the time, I get really really sick. My second job understands because I do call of when I'm sick and they're understanding about the situation. My primary job however, the managers are very rude. The few times I did call of due to being sick and because our city was flooded so I couldn't get to work, they hinted at firing me. So, whenever I call of work due to not feeling well, I feel this guilt of not living up to my manager's expectations and not being a good employee. Yesterday I listened to a talk by Yusha Evans on the symptoms of weak iman, and he said that we must have absolute tawakkul in ALLAH s.w.t and understand that rizq is from him.
But I don't understand how to reconcile my tawakkul and this fear of calling off. My question is should I not care about what my managers think and how do I let tawakkul over-ride my fear of not living up to expectations and not being fired. My employers already are discreetly racist and don't like me because Im Pakistani and a hijaabi and theyre all white, I can tell because of how they interact with me and with others, I don't want the label of bad employee to be attached to me. Because what if another hijaabi applies and they discriminate against her because of me.
I know I sound a bit looney and my thoughts are jumbled up, but I would appreciate your take on this.
JAZAKKALAH KHAIR x a million =)

Dear Sister,
 Wa iyyaki x a million n one :D

MayAallah subhanoo Wa' Tala give you the best of health and IMAAN. Ya Rubb. :)

Thanks so much for sending in your question. I will tell you my take on this. :)

Ok, so I’m sensing that you’re not comfortable at your (primary) job. If that's the case, don't ignore your gut feeling. If something doesn't feel right at your job, try to find out why you feel that way. The environment plays a huge part in how we feel in a given situation. You already mentioned how your employers don’t treat you and others in the best manner. Maybe that could be a contributing factor. Also, let me just say, I can totally relate!

It can be challenging to work in an environment where you don’t feel welcome. So you grow anxious that you have to be ‘perfect’ and feel you can’t make any mistakes whatsoever. Because any mistake you make might cause you to have a ‘bad label’ or be fired. And that includes things out of your control e.g. missing days because of your health. But, sister, that’s putting undue stress on yourself. We are human, and making mistakes doesn't necessarily translate to you being a “bad employee” especially things out of your control like missing work because of health reasons. Having said that, I know how hard it can be in situations like this where we feel any mistake we make will be a sign that we are inadequate. However, if your employers choose to fire you because of health reasons, know that it’s not because of something wrong you did, but an error on their part. I know that you might think that it would be the end of the world if that were to happen, but in reality, it could be another door opening for you. We'll talk about that, in a moment.

I’m glad you mentioned how in your other job you felt different there. Isn't it interesting to note that in that job, you feel more at ease. It’s good to compare the two jobs and see how you feel at both places. Do you notice how you are the same person, but whereas in your second job, you feel at ease, in your primary job, you are anxious and feel incompetent. But you’re the same person!

Just like how we feel the most comfortable and our best self around some people e.g. our best friends, and we may feel totally awkward and out of place in a different crowd, it’s the same thing at your work environment. It’s not that suddenly you have changed, that you are no longer skilled at one job, but it only shows how the environment plays a huge part in how we feel.

I love how you brought up how we should have tawakkul in Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala. It is important. Having tawakkul in Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala is something that we, as Muslims, should strive for. Allah Subhanoo Wa' tala says multiple times in the Quran:

وَعَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَلۡيَتَوَكَّلِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ  
...And upon Allah let the believers rely. 3:160

Having tawakkul in Allah subhanoo Wa Ta'la's will is realizing that everything is in Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala's power, and anything that happens to us is ultimately good for us. It's understanding that sometimes things come and things go, but there is always benefit to the believer in that. Therefore, we try to be thankful in hard times as well as times of ease.

Surely We will test you with a bit of fear and hunger, and loss in wealth and lives and fruits, and give good tidings to the patient (2.155) Who, when a suffering visits them, say: “We certainly belong to Allah, and to Him we are bound to return.”(2.156) Those are the ones upon whom there are blessings from their Lord, and mercy as well; and those are the ones who are on the right path. (2.157)

I'm sure you've also heard of this well-known hadith:

On the authority of Abu Yahya Suhaib bin Sinan (May Allah be pleased with him) it is related that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said,“How amazing is the affair of the believer. There is good for him in everything and that is for no one but the believer. If good times come his way, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him, and if hardship comes his way, he endures it patiently and that is better for him." [Muslim]

On the other hand, Shaitan  tries to put fear in our hearts about poverty:
Satan frightens you with poverty, and bids you to commit indecency, and Allah promises you forgiveness from Him, and grace as well. And Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. (2. 268) 
So what does this all mean? It means sister, as long as you are doing your best, and you are putting your trust in Allah, everything is going to end up okay, and you don't need to worry about your manager's opinion of you. Even if the worst case scenario happens and that place fires know what? Allah is the one who got you that job, in the first place. I really want you to think about that. From what you have written, they are not the kind of employers who are searching for a Muslim girl like you...and yet, they accepted you. This was part of Allah's plan. He is the One who provides! And if they fire you, perhaps it is because Allah has  a wayyyyy better job for you....There could be something else totally in store for you.

 I want you to think for a moment about how much Allah provides. Allah takes care of the birds who leave in the morning empty and come back home full. Allah takes care every single living creature in this vast universe- the grass that needs water, the ants that need crumbs, the bees that need honey, the baby in his mother's womb, everything.

 “And so many a moving (living) creature carries not its own provision! Allah provides for it and for you. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” (Al-Ankabut 29; 60

Whenever you start to feel like your tawakul is 'diminishing', ask yourself this: Do you possibly think that Allah would forget a servant of His? Someone who bows down to Him, every day and praises Him?

Remember that Allah actually calls Himself in the Qura'n "Al Wakeel"- the Guardian/Trustee: 
Al-Wakeel is the only One who takes charge of the affairs of those under His care, managing all matters as He pleases. 
Also, begin your mornings with this daily supplication:
Allah is sufficient for me. There is no God but He.  I have placed my trust in Him, He is Lord of the Majestic Throne. Whoever says this seven times in the morning after fajr, and seven times after Asr, Allah will take care of whatever worries him of the matter of this world and the hereafter. [Abu Dawood, Muslim]
And when you leave your house, say:
The Prophet said: Whoever says(when he leaves his house) – Bismillaah, tawakkaltu ‘alaa Allaah, wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa billaah – In the name of Allah, I put my trust in Allah and there is no power and no strength except with Allah- , it will be said to him: You are taken care of and you are protected and guided, and the devils will move away from him, and one devil says: What can you do with a man who has been guided, taken care of and protected? [Abu Dawood, At-Tirmidhi]

and it doesn't hurt to say the dua of Prophet Moosa:

“My Lord! I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me.” (Al-Qasas 28; 24)

All of these will inshaAllah help you with your tawakul in general. But if you still feel uncomfortable at your job, maybe you could look for a different job that won't cause you this much stress. Otherwise, try your best to be professional with them, pray to Allah subhanoo Wa' tala for calmness of your heart. Realize that you're trying your best on your part and the way they treat you says a lot about them, not you.

Another thing you can do is prepare for it. In your mind, or writing down, ponder this: "What if..they fire me?" Write down how you would feel and why. Would it really be that bad? If so, why? Could you see how it could be a good thing? Think of some possible decisions you would make if that happened.

I have read in a recent book that the meaning we attach to a given situation really determines how well we're able to cope with that situation, not the situation itself. That's why two people may react quite differently to the same situation.

For example: one person upon losing their job may become anxious because of the meaning they would attach to it: "It's because I wasn't good enough for the job" then they may worry, "What if I don't find another job?" and then: "How will I live financially?"

Another person upon losing their job may become angry because they would attach the meaning: "My boss is unfair and unreasonable," and "I can't believe they would fire me after I did so much for them." In that way, they would focus on that alone and not be willing to accept the fact of losing their job.

Yet, another person upon losing their job may become disappointed but relieved because they would think to themselves, ":You know, I didn't like the way my employers treated me, anyways." and "I was feeling like finding a better job anyway so this might be a great opportunity." and then they could come to the solution, that "Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala must have better plans for me."

So it all depends on how you would feel at losing your job.

Finally, it’s sweet that you care that another hijaabi isn't mistreated because of you. But that isn’t really your responsibility how your employers choose to treat someone else. It’s true that as Muslims, we must set a great example. We should also try to speak up against unjust actions we witness as well as help those who are mistreated.

But at the same time, we are not responsible for how someone else chooses to treat another. We are only held accountable for our own deeds:

“O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow (of deeds)—and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” (Quran, 59:18)

"That was a nation which has passed on. It will have [the consequence of] what it earned, and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be asked about what they used to do." ( 2:134)

Ok, sister, hope this helped. :)

Take care,

3 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Anonymous,  January 17, 2014 at 6:46 PM  

I'm in a similar situation and want to quit the job. I really needed to see/read this. Thank you!

Anonymous,  January 17, 2014 at 10:29 PM  

This was my question that I sent it and In retrospect, everything happens for a reason. Anonymous^ before you do anything drastic, I would suggest praying Istikharah, and allow time to sort things out. IA! things will get better over time. ALHAMDULLILAH I'm no longer working at that first job as it was temporary and it ended a bit sooner than expected, but I am soooooooooooooooo RELIEVED that its over, and I dont have the stress of it. Im still at my second job, but after almost 2 years of retail and family responsibilities, I need to spread my wings and move to a more professional career since I need to start supporting my family more as my parents are older and cant work as much. Please keep me in your duas that I get a good full time job soon and ALLAH s.w.t puts barkaat in my rizq. Ameen! Last but not least, some pearls of wisdom I'd like to share for anyone in any tough situation, ALLAH s.w.t gives his toughest battles to his bravest soldiers.

Anonymous,  January 18, 2014 at 2:54 PM  

This is Anon 1 with the thoughts of quiting. Thank you for the reminder! And alhamdulillah to you (:

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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
P.S. I reserve the right to remove any disrespectful comment ;)

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