“So verily with every difficulty, there is relief. Verily with every difficulty, there is relief.” (94:5-6) – “Fa inna ma’al ‘usri yusra, Inna ma’al ‘ussri yusra” 94:5-6)
Upon first impression when reading these verses, you might wonder – as I did when I initially came across them – why this particular verse is repeated twice, but once you get your head around, you start marvelling at the rather deep and profound wisdom it teaches us.
Classical scholars have observed a particular distinction in this repeated verse. In both of these verses, when Allaah mentions the noun al-‘usr (difficulty), it’s preceded with a definite article. This implies that even though the noun ‘difficulty’ is iterated twice, grammatically it only counts as one and as such both instances of the word denote to the same particular difficulty or a struggle that one is experiencing at that specific moment. For indeed, no trial is the same, and every experience is nuanced.
So if ‘difficulty’ is counted as one, does this indicate that its mentioned antonym al-yusra (relief) is also counted as one? This is the beauty of it; for both the first and second ‘relief’ are without a definite article, signifying that they stand on their own and thus are not counted as one – so for every specific difficulty, there is abundant relief.
So my interpretation reads as:
“So verily with this (specific) difficulty, there is (abundant) relief, indeed with the aforementioned difficulty there is (abundant) relief.”
Have you noticed that whenever we are faced with hardship or a difficult situation, we have an emotional need to take control – even if the situation is inherently uncontrollable? Whatever mechanism we employ (or don’t) to control the situation, eventually, once the difficulty (i.e. pain) is removed and things return to a semblance of normality (i.e. relief), we continue to navigate through life enjoying multitude of ease and opportunities (and no, I’m not referencing Epicureanism here) where we treat that recent difficult experience as an anomaly – a quick to be forgotten footnote – until the next difficulty knocks on our door and the cycle is repeated.
What this beautiful ayah teaches us is that whilst experiencing a painful hardship is inevitable, Allaah promises that the ensuing ‘plentiful of ease’ is more enduring and certain – like a case of delayed gratification.