Does everything really happen for a reason?

It’s a common sense answer for Muslims who believe in destiny, right? Not really. It’s not so easy to respond in the positive when life’s challenges begin to surface and our “plans” come to nothing. At such moments, trying to define a reason may be unreasonable to ask for, but still necessary.

Three years ago, I HAD to find the reason for what was happening to me. I do not believe anything I write here will do my story justice. But the point here is to provide perspective, not a re-run of the story. Simply put, I faced discrimination that forced me to leave my job and discontinue my PhD studies.

Yep, my case was reported in various newspapers and TV newscasts. Of course, this was never part of my plans! But eh, there’s always a reason, right?

Nonetheless, discrimination was challenging to deal with, let alone to have faith that things were going to work out for the best. “Why was this happening to me?” Nothing I did, whether it was through grief or regret, answered this question at the time. But, slowly and steadily my answers were found in what I held dearest, my faith.

Fast forward three years – and not only have I found one answer to that question, but rather many! God knew I needed to slow down. He wanted me to appreciate the simple things in life. God’s plans for me were the same as my own, but he took me on a different route to get there–empowering me with strength and perspective for what was ahead. God’s answers didn’t end there.

I was hired by one of my current employers who heard about my case on TV. What’s the big deal, you ask? Oh, it’s big deal alright, considering this employer has been a dream employer of mine since childhood and I was holding off on applying to them until I felt “qualified.” Suddenly, they reached out to me and I was hired! God brought forth this incident as a reason for me to follow my dreams. This was yet, the most unexpected answer to my question.

Oh and if you’re curious about what happened to my discrimination case, rest assured. It was completely resolved to my satisfaction and I am still pursuing my PhD studies!

And so, with confidence I say, “of course, everything DOES happen for a reason!” It’s all about the way you look at your challenges. Try to always find the brighter side and dig deep to find the purpose of your challenge. Identify the ways in which it was necessary for your growth. Hold fast to what you know to be true, especially in times of difficulty. It’s not so easy to always see the good or bad in what’s happening to us. God reminds us in the Quran, “…but perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And God Knows, while you know not.” (2:216)

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