Hardship is like the Night Sky

June 4, 2021

The night sky serves as a comfort. A paradoxical reminder that the light always outshines the dark. When you look towards the night sky, the clear tapestry of endless black almost becomes unnoticeable in comparison to the shimmer of the stars and the brilliance of the moon.

It was narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas:

“Once I stayed overnight at the house of Maimuna and the Prophet (ﷺ) was there with her. When it was the last third of the night, or some part of the night, the Prophet (ﷺ) got up looking towards the sky and recited: ‘Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of Night and Day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding.’”

[Sahih al-Bukhari]

Something about the sky compels man to reflect, to think, to seek to understand. The night sky and the stars everywhere speaks to something inside of us. When I look towards the night sky, as I look at it at this very moment, I think to myself that hardship is like the night sky. This world exists in such a way that hardship is a constant backdrop to our existence, just as the black of the sky is a constant feature of the night.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) stood up in the night and looked at the horizon of the sky. He said, “What treasures has the night opened? What trials have occurred? How many are dressed in this world and will be naked on the Day of Rising. Warn the women in their rooms.”

[Muwatta Malik]

In the night descends our treasures and our trials. But what separates those who fear the dark and those whose eyes are drawn to the light, is an understanding that hardships, like the night sky, serve as a reminder for us to rise up even during the darkest times. It has always been a necessity of life and of the pursuit of excellence to work in the dark, to strive in the depths of the night – away from prying eyes and loose tongues. For us to do good work in the dark and to find the light of inspiration in that place of hardship, to choose to notice only the brilliance of the stars and the moon against the backdrop of the night sky. There’s something dazzling about that.

“The (members) of the first group to get into Paradise would have their faces as bright as full moon during the night, and the next to this group would have their faces as bright as the shining stars in the sky, and every person would have two wives and the marrow of their shanks would glimmer beneath the flesh and there would be none without a wife in Paradise.”

[Sahih Muslim]

A reward as lofty as Paradise can only come by facing hardship. Faith then becomes like the stars in the night sky, giving us a sense of direction even when what’s ahead of us is unknown. Just like the patterns of the stars in the sky change throughout the seasons, and the moon moves through its phases, the light of faith in our heart is constantly shifting as well. The light of faith against the night sky full of hardship reminds us to keep journeying and to stretch our hands out towards the heavens in longing, humility and hope.

During the lifetime of the Prophet (ﷺ) some people said: O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Yes; do you have any difficulty in seeing the sun at midday when it is bright and there is no cloud in the sky?” They replied, “No.” He said, “Do you have any difficulty in seeing the moon on a full moon night when it is bright and there is no cloud in the sky?” They replied, “No.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “(Similarly) you will have no difficulty in seeing Allah on the Day of Resurrection as you have no difficulty in seeing either of them.

[Sahih al-Bukhari]

The light of the stars and the moon in the night sky serve to remind us of what is greater. Hardship serves the very same purpose. Hardship is like the night sky. It is a means of orienting us in our journey, awakening the depths of our spirit, and reminding us clearly of our purpose.

And in the night time, also glorify His Praises, and at the setting of the stars

Surah At-Tur, Ayah 49


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