Book Review: “Hidden Blessings” Sheds Light on Tests and Trials

Book Review: “Hidden Blessings” Sheds Light on Tests and Trials

Hidden within every suffering, adversity, grief or discomfort are a myriad of spiritual bounties and blessings for the believer. Hidden Blessings - Forty Wisdoms Behind Calamities, Difficulties, Trials, & Tribulations is a collection from the writings of Hakim ul Ummah - Maulana Muhammad Ashraf Ali Thanawi, and other great scholars. It is a spiritual compilation that is sure to soothe a troubled soul's heart. The words of wisdom not only provoke positive thinking and a growth mindset but also allow the reader to self-reflect at a deeper level and gain wisdom in the advent of different situations emanating from difficulties, calamities, trials, and tribulations.

The main Author, Maulana Muhammad Ashraf Ali Thanawi, is a highly revered South Asian Muslim figure who has contributed tremendously towards the revival and reawakening of Islamic teachings in the 20th century, particularly in South Asia. He was attributed with the title Hakim al Ummah (Spiritual Physician of the Muslim Ummah) and Mujaddid al-Milla (Reformer of the Nation). What served as his distinguishing mark and guiding principle, ultimately accounting for the vast success of his message, was a remarkable sense of balance and straightforwardness in his speech and writings.

His approach and viewpoints on religious matters reflect a genuine, profound and thorough examination of traditional Islamic thought. His acute intelligence, revolutionary method of training and teaching, love of Allah and His Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, organized management of time, broadmindedness, tolerance, and unique (yet conservative) understanding of religious disciplines has etched him a permanent place in Islamic history.

The book beautifully helps unravel the complexities in the most distressing moments of a believer’s life. It begins with the exploration of “mind over matter” which helps unveil a better understanding of trials and tribulations, before it goes on to unearth the fruits and virtues of various spiritual struggles.

Under one of the chapters titled “Trials & Tribulations as a Manifestation of Love,” Hakim ul Ummah, reminds,

"For the seeker and lover of Allah, both suffering and comfort are divine bestowals. The seeker does not differentiate the two. Just as he is in peace and contentment when in comfort, he remains in peace and contentment during trials and tribulations." 

In conjunction with this thought, there is the mention of blessings upon the onset of calamities, which is viewed as a means of purification from one’s wrong-doings and sins. 

This book encourages the believer to realize their own ability to manage their thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. It enables one to rid themselves of perceiving things or events in a negative way, by simply altering the perspective. 

Turning Back to The Creator

On account of another reference from the book, which is found under: “A Different Perspective on Afflictions, Hakim ul Ummah prompts:

“The reality of the matter is that calamities and afflictions do not come over a person. Rather, it is the blessings and bounties (that were already upon that individual) that are taken away. It is actually the disappearance of these bounties and blessings that appears to be a calamity.”  

This very notion is so powerful that it encompasses the reader to search for the answers within and ultimately turn towards The Creator to seek His forgiveness, instead of complaining about the hardships. In the process, the believer finds themselves to be experiencing a different level of Imaan or faith, and that feeling is surely unlike any other. The book is sure to leave the reader in awe and wonderment of the mercy and magnificence of The Creator, SubhanAllah, all praise be to Allah. 

This brief anthology can serve as a great resource for every Muslim, and particularly those who may be experiencing a rough patch in their lives and are finding themselves to be consumed by negative self-talk and emotions. It helps uncover many secrets that underlay some of the greatest struggles in our lives and manifests us to ponder upon them in light of spiritual gains and as a means of becoming grateful for having received such opportunities. Another interesting perspective and great reminder is that these experiences allow the believer to develop empathy for others who are going through a difficult time. 

So, this might just be one of the resources you could use to boost your mental health without having to fear losing track of the Deen. This book will in shaa Allah serve as beneficial and also a worthwhile investment in terms of procuring one's Aakhirah, the final abode. And finally, a beautiful duaa that is referenced in the book:

“O My servants, all of you are astray except those whom I have guided, so seek guidance from Me and I shall guide you. O My servants, all of you are hungry except those whom I have fed, so seek food from Me and I shall feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked except those whom I have clothed, so seek clothing from Me and I shall clothe you. O My servants, you commit sins by day and by night, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness from Me and I shall forgive you.” (Muslim)

Umm Ahmed is an early childhood educator and writer who is passionate about seeking knowledge and passing it on to others. She and her husband are parents to three boys and are currently living in Abu Dhabi.

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