1 – Matters which a person may strive to achieve or to achieve whatever he can of them, or to ward them off or alleviate them. In such cases a person must strive and make the effort, and also seek the help of Allah.
2 – Matters where such is not possible, so he must have peace of mind, accept them and submit to Allah’s will.
Undoubtedly paying attention to this principle will bring happiness and relieve worry and distress.
5 – One of the greatest means of feeling content and relaxed and of acquiring peace of mind is to remember Allah a great deal (dhikr). That has a great effect in bringing contentment and peace of mind, and relieving worry and distress. Allah says:
“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest”
Remembering Allah (dhikr) has a great effect in achieving this aim because it has a special influence and because of the hope that it brings of reward.
6 – Another of the means of bringing happiness and relieving worry and distress is striving to eliminate the things that cause worry and to achieve the things that bring happiness. That may be done by forgetting about bad things in the past which cannot be changed, and realizing that dwelling on them is a waste of time. So a person must strive to stop himself from thinking of that, and also strive to stop himself from feeling anxious about the future and the things that he may imagine of poverty, fear and other bad things that he thinks may happen to him in the future. He should realize that the future is something unknown; he cannot know what good or bad things are going to happen to him. That is in the hand of the Almighty, the Most Wise, and all that His slaves can do is to strive to attain the good things and to ward off the bad things. A person should realize that if he diverts his thoughts from worrying about his future and puts his trust in his Lord to take care of his situation, and puts his mind at rest concerning that, if he does that, then his heart will be at peace and his situation will improve and he will be relieved of worry and anxiety.
One of the most effective ways of dealing with worries about the future is to recite this du’a which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to recite:
“Allaahumma aslih li deeni alladhi huwa ‘ismatu amri, wa aslih li dunyaaya allati fiha ma’aashi, wa aslih li aakhirati allati ilayha ma’aadi, waj’al al-hayaata ziyaadatan li fi kulli khayr, wa’l-mawta raahatan li min kulli sharr (O Allaah, correct my religious commitment which is the foundation of my life, and correct my worldly affairs in which is my livelihood, and grant me good in the Hereafter to which is my return. Make my life a means of accumulating good, and make death a respite for me from all evil).” (Narrated by Muslim, 2720).
And he said, “Allaahumma rahmataka arju fa la takilni ila nafsi tarfata ‘aynin wa aslih li sha’ni kullahu, laa ilaaha illa anta (O Allaah, for Your mercy I hope, so do not abandon me to myself even for a moment. And correct all my affairs. There is no god but You).” (Narrated by Abu Dawood with a saheeh isnaad, no. 5090; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Kalim al-Tayyib, p. 49).
If a person utters these du’as, which ask that his spiritual and worldly affairs may be set right or corrected, with proper presence of mind and sincerity of intention, whilst striving to achieve that, Allah will grant him what he has prayed for, hoped for and striven for, and He will turn his worry into joy and happiness.
7 – If a person experiences anxiety and distress because of a disaster, then one of the most effective means of relieving himself of that is to think of the worst scenario to which that may lead, and try to accept that. When he has done that, then he should try to alleviate it as much as possible. By means of this acceptance and these efforts, he will relieve himself of his worries and distress, and instead of worrying he will strive to bring about good things and to deal with whatever he can of the bad things. If he is faced with things that cause fear or the possibility of sickness or poverty, then he should deal with that by striving to make himself accept that, or something even worse, with contentment, because by making himself accept the worst-case scenario, he lessens the impact of the thing and makes it seem less terrible, especially if he occupies himself with efforts to ward it off as much as he can. Thus as well as striving to achieve something good which will distract him from his worries about calamity, he will also renew his strength to resist bad things, and put his trust and reliance in Allah. Undoubtedly these matters are of great benefit in attaining happiness and peace of mind, as well as bringing the hope of reward in this world and in the Hereafter. This is something which is well known from the experience of many who have tried it.
8 – Steadfastness of heart and not being disturbed about the imaginary things that bad thoughts may bring to mind. For when a person gives in to his imagination and lets his mind be disturbed by these thoughts, such as fear of disease and the like, or anger and confusion stirred up by some grievous matter, or the expectation of bad things and the loss of good things, that will fill him with worries, distress, mental and physical illness and nervous breakdowns, which will have a bad effect on him and which causes a great deal of harm, as many people have seen. But when a person depends on Allah and puts his trust in Him, and does not give in to his imagination or let bad thoughts overwhelm him, and he relies on Allah and has hope of His bounty, that wards off his worries and distress, and relieves him of a great deal of mental and physical sickness. It gives indescribable strength, comfort and happiness to the heart. How many hospitals are filled with the mentally sick victims of illusions and harmful imagination; how often have these things had an effect upon the hearts of many strong people, let alone the weak ones; how often have they led to foolishness and insanity.
It should be noted that your life will follow your train of thought. If your thoughts are of things that will bring you benefit in your spiritual or worldly affairs, then your life will be good and happy. Otherwise it will be the opposite.
The person who is safe from all of that is the one who is protected by Allah and helped by Him to strive to achieve that which will benefit and strengthen the heart and ward off anxiety. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):