The blessing of pain
Pain is not always a negative force and it is not something that you should always hate. At times a person benefits when he feels pain.
You might remember that, at times when you felt a lot of pain, you sincerely supplicated and remembered Allah. When he is studying, the student often feels the pangs of heavy burden, sometimes perhaps the burden of monotony, yet he eventually leaves this stage of life a scholar. He felt burdened with pain at the beginning but he shined at the end. The aches and pangs of passion, the poverty and the scorn of others, the frustration and anger at injustices these all cause the poet to write flowing and captivating verses. This is because he himself feels pain in his heart, in his nerves, and in his blood, and as a result, he is able to infuse the same emotions, via his work, into the hearts of others. How many painful experiences did the best writers have to undergo, experiences that inspired brilliant works, works that posterity continues to enjoy and benefit from today.
The student who lives the life of comfort and repose and who is not stung by hardships_ or who has never been afflicted with calamity will be an unproductive, lazy, and lethargic person.
Indeed, the poet who knows no pain and who has never tasted bitter disappointment will invariably produce heaps upon heaps of cheap words. This is because his words pour forth from his tongue and not from his feelings or emotion, and though he may comprehend what he has written, his heart and body have not lived the experience.
More worthy and relevant to the aforementioned examples are the lives of the early believers, who lived during the period of revelation and who took part in the most important religious revolution that mankind has ever seen. Indeed, they had greater faith, nobler hearts, more truthful tongues, and deeper knowledge than those that came after them: they had all of these because they lived through pain and suffering, both of which are necessary concomitants to great revolutions. They felt the pains of hunger, of poverty, of rejection, of abuse, of banishment from home and country, of abandonment of all pleasures, of the pains of wounds, and of death and torture. They were in truth chosen ones, the elite of mankind. They were models of purity, nobleness, and sacrifice.
That is because they suffer neither thirst nor fatigue, nor hunger in the Cause of Allah, nor they take any step to raise the anger of disbelievers nor inflict any injury upon an enemy, but is written to their credit as a deed of righteousness. Surely, Allah wastes not the reward of the doers of good. (Qur’an 9: 120)
In the history of the world there are those that have produced their greatest works due to the pain and the suffering that they experienced. Al-Mutanabbi, when afflicted with a severe fever, wrote some of his best poetry. An-Nu’maan ibn Mundhir threatened An-Naabighah with death, and that is when the latter produced some of his best poetry. The well-known line he spoke, roughly translated is:
“Verily, you are the sun, and the other kings are the stars: for when the sun rises, no star in the sky is visible.”
In fact there are many examples of those that prospered and achieved as a result of the suffering they experienced.
Therefore, do not become excessively anxious when you think of pain, and do not fear suffering. It might well be that through pain and suffering you will become stronger. And furthermore, for you to live with a burning and passionate heart that has been stung is purer and nobler than to live the dispassionate existence of a person who has a cold heart and a shortsighted outlook.
But Allah was averse to their being sent forth, so He made them lag behind, and it was said [to them], “Sit you among those who sit [at home].” (Qur’an 9: 46)
The words of a passionate sermon can reach the innermost depths of the heart and penetrate the deepest regions of the soul, usually because the one who gives such sermons has himself experienced pain and suffering.
He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down As-Sakeenah [calmness and tranquility] upon them, and He rewarded them with a near victory. (Qur’an 48: 18)
I have read many books of poetry, and a high percentage of them are passionless, without life or soul. This is because their authors never endured hardship, and because they were composed among surroundings of comfort. Hence the works of such authors were cold, like blocks of ice.
I have read books filled with sermons that do not shake a hair on the body of the listener and that lack an atom’s weight of impact. The orator (whose sermons were put to print) is not speaking with feeling and sentiment, or in other words, pain and suffering.
They say with their mouths, that which is not in their hearts. (Qur’an 3: 167)
If you wish to affect and influence others, whether it is with your speech or with your poetry, or even with your actions, you must first feel the passion inside of you. You must be moved yourself by the meanings of what you are trying to convey. Then, and then only, you will come to realize that you have an influence upon others.
But when we send down water [rain] on it, it is stirred [to life]; it swells and puts forth every lovely kind [of growth]. (Qur ‘an 22: 5)