I don’t know about you, but life can be a real roller coaster. Some days, I wake up and think, “This is going to be a good day, Insha Allah.” The kids are listening without talking back, the food tastes particularly good, people seem unusually positive and supportive, time for worship is plentiful and beneficial, and life is good. Then, the downward spiral of the roller coaster begins. Suddenly the storm clouds come out and crisis sets in.

Allah challenges the believers in the Qur’an, asking: Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe,” without being put to the test? No, we have tested those before them… (Qur’an, 29:2-3)

Indeed, Allah has decreed for mankind a life of hardships and struggles, tests of one’s true faith and resolve. Each person feels their individual trial as intensely as the next person, and life can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Perhaps the test is in your relationship with your spouse, or even finding a spouse. Maybe obeying your parents or taking care of them in their old age brings on hardship. Of course, there can be problems at work, difficulty in finding work, financial instability, trials with parenthood, academic struggles, and health problems; the list of possibilities goes on and on. Sometimes, the trial is long and your patience grows thin. You begin to believe the trial will never end, that this will become your permanent living situation.

It is during these times that one most needs a “Subhan Allah” moment, a remembrance of purpose, and a refuge in the beauty of creation.

I wanted to share with you some of my “Subhan Allah” moments. These are moments I return to when I am feeling most distressed that help brings back balance and perspective to my situation. I encourage you to try to slowly read each of the following moments out loud, one by one, allowing each to enter your ears and travel to your heart. Close your eyes after each one and experience the sights, smells, and feelings of each moment until your tongue responds with the Dhikr of Allah.

  • Embracing my child as he sits in my lap and softly explores my face with his tiny, roaming fingers.
  • Listening to a new Muslim nervously struggling through their Shahadah for the first time in front of the entire mosque.
  • Finally pondering a Qur’anic verse I have skimmed over numerous times and understanding it to the extent it brings tears to my eyes.
  • Inhaling the wonderfully intense smell of brewing coffee on a cold winter day.
  • Passing a grave site and thinking of the possible torture of its inhabitants.
  • Feeling the first drops of water roll down my parched throat and fill my belly with cool relief after a long summer day of fasting.
  • Reading a Hadith about the Prophet (peace be upon him) that exemplifies the beauty and compassion of Islamic manners, comforting me when I am feeling tested by the outside world.
  • Listening to the Imam struggle through his recitation as his voice weighs heavy with tears and fear of the Hellfire.
  • Finally getting confirmation of the first day of Ramadan, and anxiously calling my phone tree to spread the good news to friends and family.
  • Being humbled by a new Muslim’s sincerity and struggle for the Religion that I take for granted.
  • Staring at the dark night sky as a million stars dance around the crescent moon.
  • Standing at Arafat during Haj with millions of believers from all over the world, mutually grieving from the fear of the Day of Judgment.
  • Realizing the weight and immensity of Allah’s favor upon me when He guided me to the Truth.

The next time we are driven to the brink of insanity from the so-called realities of life, let’s seek refuge in the true realities, and say, Subhan Allah!