Usually nowadays, when we exhort someone to follow the deen and live righteously, to shun the prohibited things - music, backbiting, ogling (it's amazing how much people do that!) To read salah all five times; to obey the parents; to follow the sunnah; grow a beard; don the hijab, you either get blank looks or apologetic mumblings about how difficult it is, and how we can't keep at it and how....how we want to look, listen and disobey.
To be honest, I can see their point. Practising Islam in the current times has become very difficult and at every turn there's a new temptation. We should resist. But we can't.
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi comments on the following ayah and provides us with the answer
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
29:69 And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right
All of Islam is a mujahida - a striving against ones desire.That's what everyones complaining about right? Our goal is to attain Allah's (subhanahu wa ta'ala) Pleasure through obeying him and striving. Maulana understands this and says:
When we think of the loftiness of the goal, when the majesty of Allah is so high, we think so should the path be lengthy and difficult. By this thinking though, reaching the end seems impossible so who would attempt it? What will be the point? In the end of the above ayah, Allah dispels this doubt when he says 'verily Allah is with those who do right'.وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ . It signifies that one shouldn't be worried, the goal will be achieved when Allah Himself takes him through.
To elaborate I give you the example of a child who only crawls, and you order him to go all the way to the next town which of course is impossible. Now like us, this child says 'I'll go....but what will happen when I get tired?' to which his guardian says 'then I'll pick you up and take you with me'. Sure enough he makes the effort but manages only a few steps before his guardian is overcome with love and picks him up in his arms.
So similarly, there is the assurance in this ayah that you should strive your utmost and Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) will take you to the end. An otherwise impossible path will be completed easily with Allah's 'ma'iyyah' (help, support). It is seen that when a guardian takes the hand of a child and leads him he becomes at ease and here as well you should feel heartened by Allah's promise that he will be with those who are righteous.
Friends! That person will not fail whom Allah accompanies! Though the path is very long and fraught with danger, it will become lighter than flowers and very attainable. But here we must understand who those people are who recieve Allah's help.
Next post, insha Allah, I will write the next part of Maulana Thanavi's advice, in which he informs us what kind of people are rewarded with Allah's support. Up till then, it should be easier to wake up in Fajr insha Allah, now that you are buoyed with the knowledge that Allah's help is not far off if you make the effort. And now you know what to say to those unmotivated peers when they complain of it being too hard.