Patient Shaytan, Impatient Insaan

- by Sabeen Mansoori | Source :

The light is red. It seems to have been red for an eternity. The minutes tick slowly forward as the heat of the sun mercilessly beats down. Is it broken? You are so late! Not a single vehicle is passing through the intersection. It seems to be red for everyone. The empty intersection shimmers like a mirage before your eyes. Surely it must be malfunctioning. The person in the car next to you mouths a curse and as if on a cue you complain, “It’s never going to turn green.” The instant the words leave your lips, as if by magic, the light turns green and you are free to go.

How many times do we try our best not to complain but the circumstances seem truly impossible and whining just seems the natural, acceptable thing to do? We rarely question these slips of the tongue, especially because everyone around us is doing the same. But these sighs, eye rolls and snippets of ingratitude chip away at our iman (faith). They are a subtle form of arrogance. The thought process behind the complaints is that I am so special that all lights should turn green as I approach. The carefully crafted car commercials are a true indicator of what our hearts desire. In the commercials there are rarely any stop lights.  The cars zoom by or climb to heights that no mortal can actually drive to; leaving all the ordinary people in the dust. Confetti falls and flags wave in the breeze as music blares in the background.

This message of hedonistic self-fulfillment is the greatest trap of Shaytan (Satan). When he promised Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (may He be glorified and exalted) that he would take us down with him to hellfire his strategy was already set. He did not ask for a few years to operate. He asked for our entire testing period.

“(Satan) said, “Reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.”  (Qur’an, 7:14)

What worked for him would work for humans, since we are mere mortals crafted from clay. If he could make us arrogant and ungrateful, than the descent to moral depravity and the fall from the favor of Allah (swt) would be simple. There are those, however, who escaped from his devious designs and made it safely through this life and were guaranteed Paradise. Most eminent among them was the second Khalifah `Umar bin Khattab radi Allahu `anhu (may Allah be pleased with him).

The Prophet ﷺ (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “O Ibn Al-Khattab! By Him in Whose Hands my life is! Never does Satan find you going on a way, but he takes another way other than yours,” (Sahih Bukhari).

Subhan’Allah—glory be to God—the life of Umar (ra) is an amazing story of the love of Allah (swt) and His Messenger ﷺ. That love is stamped forever on the pages of history through his success in this world and in the Hereafter. But why did Shaytan consider him a hopeless case? Why was the Shaytan, who whispers to us day and night, afraid to even go near `Umar?

`Umar (ra) was a source of strength for the Muslims from the day he accepted Islam to the day he returned to his Lord. Verses of the Qur’an were revealed that agreed with his opinion. During his ten years as the khalifah (caliph) the Muslim state grew to an unprecedented degree as the empires of Persia and Rome toppled. `Umar (ra) had much to be proud of, but he never let arrogance taint and destroy any of his deeds. He led a simple, humble life and even at the moment of death asked his son to put his face on the ground.

If we look into his achievements as a sahabi (companion) and as a khalifah and then we read his words his greatness becomes apparent.

From `Amir ibn Rabi`a: “I saw `Umar pick up a straw from the ground and say, “Would that I were this straw! Would that I were nothing! Would that my mother never bore me!”

He walked the streets of his city for fear that Allah (swt) would hold him to account. From Dawud ibn `Ali: “If a sheep dies on the shore of the Euphrates I fear lest Allah ask me to account for it on the Day of Resurrection.”

Once `Umar (ra) called people to the Masjid and when they all assembled, `Umar stood on the pulpit and said, “I had some aunts and I would take their goats or sheep to this valley and I would come back at the end of the day and they would give me a handful of dates or raisins and I would have a miserable day.” Then he came down from the pulpit.

Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf (ra) said, “You haven’t done more than belittle yourself.” `Umar (ra) replied, “Woe to you son of ‘Awf! My nafs [lower self] was telling me that you are Ameer ul-Mu’mineen so who is better than you? So I wanted to teach myself a lesson and let it know who it is.”

How could Shaytan influence his nafs when he never let it stray for a moment? He reined in his ego before it had a chance to become inflated. It is reported that `Umar ibn al Khattâb (ra) said: “Bring yourselves to account before you are brought to account, and weigh your deeds before they are weighed,” (At-Tirmidhî).

It would have been so easy for `Umar (ra) to let his achievements instill in him a sense of false pride but he always considered himself nothing but a slave of Allah (swt). Presidents and kings rule for a few years and have memorials and statues built in their honor and books written eulogizing on their greatness. They write memoirs listing and elaborating on their terms in office. `Umar (ra) who was assassinated while in salah (prayer) was worried about completing his salah even as the blood poured out of his body! He was irritated with Ibn Abbas (ra) because while trying to comfort him Ibn Abbas (ra) used words of praise. `Umar (ra), whose example we can only read about and tremble at his greatness, was with his last breaths anxious about being saved from the fire:

“When `Umar was stabbed, he showed signs of agony. Ibn `Abbas, as if intending to encourage `Umar, said to him, ‘O Chief of the believers! Never mind what has happened to you, for you have been in the company of Allah’s Apostle and you kept good relations with him and you parted with him while he was pleased with you. Then you were in the company of Abu Bakr and kept good relations with him and you parted with him (i.e. he died) while he was pleased with you. Then you were in the company of the Muslims, and you kept good relations with them, and if you leave them, you will leave them while they are pleased with you.’ `Umar said, (to Ibn “Abbas), ‘As for what you have said about the company of Allah’s Apostle and his being pleased with me, it is a favor Allah did to me; and as for what you have said about the company of Abu Bakr and his being pleased with me, it is a favor Allah did to me; and concerning my impatience which you see, is because of you and your companions. By Allah! If (at all) I had gold equal to the earth, I would have ransomed myself with it from the Punishment of Allah before I meet Him,’” (Sahih Bukhari).

Shaytan was smart enough to realize early on that it would be useless to waste time trying to deceive `Umar (ra). Shaytan’s time is much better spent riding with us. Ibn Qayyim described Shaytan as patient. He can wait for years till his whispers convince someone to boast about an act of goodness they had done. Sadly for many of us he only has to wait a few seconds before we utter some words of arrogant impatience.

The reality is that we can only pay lip-service to the greatness of `Umar (ra). There is little chance that we will adopt his ascetic lifestyle and attain the high stature of humility that he achieved.  One small step that it is possible for us to take is to eliminate the whining from our lives and become content with what Allah (swt) has blessed us with. This could be as simple as accepting the seemingly interminable thirty seconds at the light, or the greater challenges that we face in our relationships, finances and health. We cannot convince Shaytan to take another street but we can gradually nurture our level of patience so that we make his journey as miserable as possible. If Allah (swt) wills, the light will still turn green and opportunities to do good will open up before our eyes.

Steps to Gaining Allah’s Love

The Quran details seven qualities that Almighty Allah loves and seven qualities that Almighty Allah does not love. Then, we -Muslims- have a way to explore the steps to gaining His Love.

Human beings by nature, love rewards when they exert themselves. And when they are devoted to a cause, coupled with anticipating the rewards, they tend to strive more and bear the discomfort that comes with the struggle.

This is similar to our relationship with Allah. Almighty Allah loves it when we exert ourselves for His sake and He describes the payoffs when He loves His servant.

As Abu Huraira narrates in a hadith:

“Allah’s Apostle said, “Allah said, ‘I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks My protection (Refuge), I will protect him; (i.e. give him My Refuge) and I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer, for he hates death, and I hate to disappoint him.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book #76, Hadith #509)

This is indeed an aspiration worth pursuing, a dream worth fulfilling and a love worth nurturing.

Therefore, to complete one’s faith and gain this love, we should seek only Allah alone in love, hate, giving and withholding and Allah alone must be our Lord and the only One whom we worship.

Let me break it down – It is total submission and the essence of submission is to love what the Beloved loves and to abstain from what He does not love.

This was how our pious predecessors achieved the criteria of true worshippers and reached the highest level in their efforts. Allah loves His servant to beautify his tongue through speaking the truth, his heart through sincerity, piety, repentance, trust and patience, his body through obeying and purifying it from all dirt.

Seven Qualities that Allah Loves

1. Tawbah (Repentance)

“…For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly (in repentance)…”  (Surah Al Baqarah 2:222)

Repentance is a form of detoxification – Sincere repentance cleanses and beautifies the Iman (faith).

We all commit sins but Allah loves those who after committing sins, seek forgiveness with deep sorrow and regret.

This is the only way by which the past can be set right. Allah has a concern for those He loves, therefore each time we slip and relapse into the abyss of desires and sincerely repent, He (exalted be Him) leads us out of it to the summit of forgiveness and further relieves us of hardship and provides for us.

2. Taharah (Purification)

“…Allah loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:222)

This is the external purification. The secret to this is performing the acts with the intention of following the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

The removal of filth from the body by performing wudhu (ablution) and ghusl (ritual bath) and removal of filth from the garment, body and place of prayer. They are acts that purify the body and radiate the Iman. It is a means by which Almighty Allah will wipe out our sins and raise our ranks.

3. Taqwa (Piety)

“…for Allah loveth the righteous (the pious).” (Surah Al Tawbah 9:4)

The fear of Allah is the source of a pure soul – it is borne out of love and obedience. Thus, a pious person is constantly driven to do good only.

He/She is humble and does not flaunt piety in front of others. The fear of Allah beautifies the Iman and is the origin of all good as one continues to strive to do only what pleases Allah and stay away from the things that would displease him.

Piety is an internal quality as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“The piety is here, (and while saying so) he pointed towards his chest thrice.” (Sahih Muslim, Book #032, Hadith #6219) and it is a quality that puts us above others in the sight of Allah.

4. Ihsan (Goodness & Perfection)

“…for Allah loves those who do good;-“ (Surah Ali ‘Imran 3:134)

Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) says,

“Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion then you must consider that He is looking at you.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book #2, Hadith #47)

Ihsan goes beyond a noble trait; it is an integral part of Islam. It is the secret to an attentive heart – knowing that Allah is watching everything. This fills the heart with respect and veneration and one becomes too embarrassed to go against Allah’s commands. It promotes performance of good deeds for the sake of Allah and not for show-off or to gain praise or fame.

5. Tawakkul (Trust in Allah)

“…For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).” (Surah Ali ‘Imran 3:159)

The secret and reality of trust in Allah is the reliance of the heart on Allah alone. Therefore trusting in Allah by word of mouth is different from trusting in Him by the heart.

Reliance is doing and hoping; doing everything necessary within one’s capability to achieve one’s aim and hoping with tranquility of heart and soul and putting one’s trust in Allah with firm belief that whatever the outcome might be, it is as a result of the Will of Allah and His Decree.

One should never feel that too much time has passed by without supplications being answered; rather we should always place our hope on the One who is able to do all things. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him ) says, “If you all depend on Allah, with due reliance, He would certainly give you provision as He gives to birds who go forth hungry in the morning and return with full bellies at dusk” (At-Tirmidhi)

6. Qist (Justice)

“…for Allah loveth those who judge in equity.” (Surah Al Ma’idah 5:42)

“…for Allah loves those who are fair (and just).” (Surah Al Hujurat 49:9)

Justice is a prerequisite to peace which is missing in our contemporary society. It involves giving other people the right we give ourselves, treating people the way we would like to be treated.

Justice sounds like a word meant for the leaders alone but rather it affects us all.

It means:

- To be equitable in speech and in actions.
- With no degree of discrimination or false testimony.
- It involves being fair with regards to one’s family and those who are in our custody; justice between children by not giving one preference over the other.
- By not committing wrong against oneself such as engaging in sinful practices and immoral acts.
- Justice with Allah in not associating any being with Him in worship and obedience.

7. Sabr (Patience)

“…And Allah Loves those who are firm and steadfast (As-Sabirin (the patient)).” (Surah Ali ‘Imran 3:146)

Patience is one of the most noble of virtues and traits. It is to endure what one dislikes with a sense of acceptance and submission and anticipating Allah’s reward.

Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “patience to Iman is like the head to a body: if the head is cut off, the body perishes as well.” (Gems and jewels – wise sayings, interesting events & moral lessons from the Islamic history, compiled by Abdul-Malik Mujahid (Darussalam))

Muslims should adhere to patience when afflicted with calamity and should not yield either to desperation nor despondence because if we are patient, everything that was destined and preordained for us will occur and we will be rewarded. If we complain and are hopeless, then all that was destined for us will still occur, but we will be blamed for our impatience at Allah’s Will.

Seven Qualities that Allah does not Love

1. Israaf (extravagance)

“…But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters (Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance)).” (Surah Al An’am 6:141)

Excessive spending and lavishness in everything is the core of evil and leads to greater evil. It makes one forget the hereafter and preparing for it. Such acts would be a cause of humiliation and disgrace on the Day of Judgment.

That is why Almighty Allah has prescribed zakah (obligatory alms) and sadaqah (voluntary charity) in order to bless the wealth and to curb extravagance in eating, drinking, clothing and in everything we do.

2. Istikbaar (Pride)

“…verily He loveth not the arrogant (proud).”  (Surah Al Nahl 16:23)

And the Prophet says,

“Pride is to completely disregard the truth and scorn (looking down upon) the people” (Muslim)

Sometimes a person might be deceived by his/ her knowledge, wealth and property, lineage and ancestry, or worship and be arrogant and boastful.

Al-Hasan Al-Basri advised that: “Do not become proud merely because you worship often, for consider what happened to Iblis after he spent a great deal of time worshipping” (Gems and jewels – wise sayings, interesting events & moral lessons from the Islamic history, compiled by Abdul-Malik Mujahid (Darussalam))

Pride is among the greatest means of damage to a person’s wealth and circumstances. It distances one away from Allah’s love and “He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter paradise.” (Sahih Muslim, Book #001, Hadith #0166)

3. Mukhtal fakhoor (Arrogant boaster)

“…for Allah loveth not any arrogant boaster.” (Surah Luqman 31:18)

Being arrogant and boastful are a deadly combination – beauty, knowledge, wealth and noble lineage should be taken as gifts from Almighty Allah and one should be humble and grateful for them rather than make them a means of pride and oppression.

Servants of Allah cannot be true to themselves as long as they are flattering themselves, walking in an arrogant manner and looking down on people who are inferior to them and not mix with them. The one who is arrogant in this world will be disgraced on the Day of Judgment.

Prophet Muhammad says, “The arrogant will be gathered on the Day of Judgment in the form of small ants. Humiliation will surround them from everywhere.” (At-Tirmidhi)

4. Udwaan (Transgression)

“…for Allah loveth not those given to excess (Transgression).” (Surah Al Ma’idah 5:87)

Human characteristics have limitations, which if surpassed would be transgression and if one falls short of it, it would be a defect – for example, generosity has a limitation, when surpassed, it becomes extravagance, when courage is surpassed, it becomes rashness; when ibadah (worship) is surpassed, one falls into the risk of adopting bid’ah – some of the Companions almost fell into this trap.

Narrated by Anas bin Malik: “A group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet asking how the Prophet worshipped (Allah), and when they were informed about that, they considered their worship insufficient and said, “Where are we from the Prophet as his past and future sins have been forgiven.” Then one of them said, “I will offer the prayer throughout the night forever.” The other said, “I will fast throughout the year and will not break my fast.” The third said, “I will keep away from the women and will not marry forever.” Allah’s Apostle came to them and said, “Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me (not one of my followers).”” (Sahih Bukhari, Book #62, Hadith #1)

Therefore, moderation is the best way to deal with all matters – it is not to exaggerate and make it hard for ourselves by prohibiting the permissible things. And not to transgress the limits by excessively indulging in the permissible matters but rather we should only use what satisfies our need and not fall into extravagance.

5. Zulm (Evil, wrongdoing)

“…but God loveth not those who do wrong (Zalimun (oppressors, polytheists and wrong doers)).” (Surah Ali ‘Imran 3:57)

This is a reprehensible trait whose existence spoils the Iman and darkens the heart. The wrongdoers are those who have chosen the tempting transient life instead of the hereafter. All acts of wrongdoing such as stealing, breach of trust, embezzlement, usurping the rights of others, and bribery, have serious consequences in the hereafter.

In a Hadith, Abu Dharr reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: “My servants, I have made oppression unlawful for Me and unlawful for you, so do not commit oppression against one another.” (Sahih Muslim, Book #032, Hadith #6246)

6. Khiyaanah (Treachery)

“…for Allah loveth not the treacherous.” (Surah Al Anfal 8:58)

The treacherous one is two-faced and inconsistent in words and deeds. Acts of treachery lead to betrayal, disloyalty, perfidy, deception and hypocrisy which in turn soil the Iman.

7. Ifsaad (Mischief-making)

“…And Allah loveth not those who do mischief.” (Surah Al Ma’idah 5:64)

This is a comprehensive term which includes great crimes, sins, oppression, carrying false tales, hypocrisy, tyranny and all kinds of mischief. All these acts are despicable and stain the Iman.

Hasten today to adopt the qualities that Almighty Allah loves and don’t rest until they become second nature to you; hasten today to abandon all the qualities Allah does not love and don’t relent until you hate them with all your heart. The Prophet said: “Faith wears out in the heart of any one of you just as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts.” (Al-Haakim in Al-Mustadrak and Al-Haythami in Majma Az-Zawaa’id)

Therefore the key is supplication, resorting to Allah and sincere desire to please Him followed by action, so we say,

“O Allah make Iman beloved to us and beautify it in our hearts.”

Sources: Excerpt from Sisters magazine courtesy of

Sabr or Shukr – The Worry Stops Here!

Sabr or Shukr – The Worry Stops Here!

By Sheikh Muhammad al-Shareef

Aasiyah, the wife of Fir’own (Pharoah). Her Iman in Allah thrived under the shadow of someone that said, “I am your Lord, Most High!” When news reached Fir’own of his wife’s Iman he beat her and commanded his guards to beat her. They took her out in the scalding noon heat, tied her hands and feet and beat her perpetually. Who did she turn to? She turned to Allah! She prayed, “My lord, build for me a home with you in Paradise and save me from Fir’own and his deeds and save me from the transgressing people.”

It was narrated that when she said this, the sky opened for her and she saw her home in Paradise. She smiled. The guards watched astonished, she’s being tortured and she smiles? Frustrated, Fir’own commanded a boulder to be brought and dropped on Aasiyah, to crush her to death. But Allah took her soul before the boulder was brought and she became an example for all the believing men and women till the end of time:

“And Allah sets forth, as an example to those who believe the wife of Pharaoh: Behold she said: “O my Lord! Build for me, in nearness to Thee, a mansion in the Garden, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings, and save me from those that do wrong”;” [Surah Al Tahrim 66:11]

In the Hadith of Jibreel [the Angel Gabriel], when he came to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (May Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him), and asked him about Islam, Iman, and Ihsaan, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said about Iman,“Iman is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His Messengers, the Final Day, and the divine decree, the good and the bad thereof.”

As you and I travel through life we find ourselves in one of two situations. Either something good is happening in our lives and in which case – as Muslims – our role is have Shukr (to thank Allah for the blessing). Or something bad is happening to us, something we dislike and our role here is to have Sabr (patience). This is the formula for a happy life, a life cruising towards the pleasure of Allah. Sabr or Shukr, the worry stops here.

The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Strange is the affair of the Mu’mmin (the believer), verily all his affairs are good for him. If something pleasing befalls him he thanks (Allah) and it becomes better for him. And if something harmful befalls him he is patient (Saabir) and it becomes better for him. And this is only for the Mu’mmin.”

Ibn Al-Jowzee said, “If this Dunya was not a station of tests it would not be filled with sicknesses and filth. If life was not about hardship, then the Prophets and the pious would have lived the most comfortable of lives. Nay, Aadam (Adam) suffered test after test until he left the Dunya. Nuh (Noah) cried for 300 years. Ibrahim (Abraham) was thrown into a pit of fire and later told to slaughter his son. Ya’qub (Jacob) cried until he became blind. Musa (Moses) challenged Fir’own and was tested by his people. Isa (Jesus) had no provision except the morsels his disciples provided him with. And Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam met poverty with patience, his uncle – one of the most beloved relatives to him – was slain and mutilated and his people disbelieved in him… And the list of Prophets and the pious goes on and on.”

What happens to us happens by the will of Allah. It is an article of our Iman in Qada’ and Qadr that we are pleased with Allah’s choice, Good or seemingly bad it is all the test of this Dunya. How could we imagine that we shall not be tested when those who were better than us suffered what they suffered? They however came away with the pleasure of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala (How far from imperfection is He and He is the Most High).

Al Hasan ibn Arafah narrated, “I visited Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal after he was whipped and tortured. I said to him, “O Abu Abdillaah, you have reached the station of the Prophets!” He said, “Keep quiet. Verily, I saw nothing more than people selling their Deen. And I saw scholars that were with me sell their Faith. So I said to myself, ‘Who am I? What am I? What am I going to say to Allah tomorrow when I stand in front of Him and He asks me, “Did you sell your Deen like the others did?” So I looked at the whip and the sword and chose them. And I said, “If I die I shall return to Allah and say: ‘I was told to say that one of Your Characteristics was something created but I did not.’ After that, it will be upto Him – either to punish me of be Merciful on me.”

Al-Hasan ibn Arafah then asked, “Did you feel pain when they whipped you?” He said “Yes, I felt the pain up to 20 lashes then I lost all feeling (They whipped him over eighty times). After it was over I felt no pain and that day I prayed Dhurhr standing.”

Al-Hasan ibn Arafah started weeping when he heard what had happened. Imaam Ahmad questioned him, “Why are you crying? I did not lose my Iman. After that why should I care if I lose my life.”

They were better than us but this was how they were tested.

Let us discuss some facts about these tests of life, the good and the bad that befalls us:

* Much of what befalls us – the hard times – is the direct result of our own sins.

Allah, ta’ala (The Most High), says:

“Whatever misfortune happens to you, is because of the things your hands have wrought, and for many (of them) He grants forgiveness.” [Surah Al Shura 42:30]

Muhammad ibn Seereen used to say when his debts piled up and he felt sad, “I know that the cause of this sadness is a sin I committed over 40 years ago.”

* People understand that when something bad happens it is a test from Allah. But dear Brothers and Sisters, the good things that happen to us are also a test.

Allah, ta’ala, says:

“We broke them up into sections on this earth. There are among them some that are the righteous, and some that are the opposite. We have tried them with both prosperity and adversity: In order that they might turn (to us).” [Surah Al A’raf 7:168]

Abd al-Malik ibn Ishaq said, “There is no one that is not tested with health and prosperity to measure how thankful he is (Shukr).”

And the Companion – Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf, radhiAllaahu ‘anhu (May Allah be pleased with him), said, “We were tested with hardship and were patient. And then we were tested with prosperity and we were not patient. Because of this Allah states:

“O ye who believe! Let not your riches or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. If any act thus, the loss is their own.” [Surah Al Munafiqun 63:9]

* Patience must happen from the beginning, not three days later or one day later, at the first news of the calamity, when it first happens. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, Verily patience (is only Sabr when practiced) at the first hit (of news).”

* There are things that contradict Sabr. Tearing ones shirt, for example, slapping ones face, slapping hands, shaving ones head, and cursing and wailing.

Umm Salamah narrates: I heard the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say, “Any Muslim that says when a calamity befalls him that which Allah commanded him: To Allah we belong and to him we return. O Allah reward me in this calamity and give me better then it – (any Muslim that says this) Allah will grant him better than (that which he lost).” [Muslim]

* These tests and hardships wash our sins. ‘Aisha radhiAllaahu ‘anha said, “Verily fever sheds sins like a tree sheds leaves.”

* The hardships that befall us distinguish the believers from the insincere. Shumayt ibn Ajlaan said, “The pious and the ungrateful are hidden by health. Yet when calamities befall the two men are separated (by how they react).”

Allah says in the Qur’an:

Alif, Lam, Mim. Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, “We believe”, and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false.” [Surah Al ‘Ankabut 29:1-3]

Ali radhiAllaahu ‘anhu said, “Verily Sabr is to Iman what the head is to the body. When the head is cut off, the body falls. (He then raised his voice) Verily there is no Iman for he who has no Sabr (patience).”

There are three types of Sabr that the Muslim must have:

a. Sabr in the obedience of Allah. For example, One must be patient and perform their Fajr at it’s time.

b. Sabr in not disobeying Allah. Like someone might say, “I have to listen to music in the car.” No you are command by He who gave you those ears to not listen to those lullabies of the Devil. And you must have Sabr in not disobeying Allah.

c. Sabr in what Allah Decrees on us. For example, if our child was to pass away we should be patient and seek the reward of Allah in our patience and say only that which is pleasing to Allah.

There are two keys. If we understand them we shall open the door to Sabr in our lives:

The First Key: Know that our souls, families and wealth do not belong to us, they belong to Allah. He gave it to us as a loan to see what we would do with it. And when he takes it back He is taking back what belongs to Him. We had nothing before the blessing and we’ll have nothing after it. We did not create the blessing from nothing, so how can we claim that it belongs to us.

The Second Key: We are on a journey and the destination is the hereafter – Paradise or Hell. We’ll be leaving the Dunya behind us and we’ll come back to Allah by ourselves. This is what needs our focus. And if Allah is pleased with us then no worry. If He is not pleased with us then all worry.

Let me draw your attention to a verse. Listen carefully. Allah revealed:

“Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers, especially the Middle Prayer; and stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind).” [Surah Al Baqarah 2:238]

The verses before this deal with divorce. The verses after it deal with divorce. Why was this verse placed in the middle? The Ulama’ (Islamic scholars) have suggested, Wa Allaahu a’lam (and Allah knows best), that in the hard times that a person goes through they should not forget the remembrance of Allah, the Salaah. And it is that Salaah coupled with Sabr that will pull them through.

“O ye who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer; for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” [Surah Al Baqarah 2:153]

There is good news for those who intend to act on their Sabr. Allah promised them three things: His prayer for them, His Mercy, and their guidance.

“Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return”:- They are those on whom (descend) blessings from their Lord, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.” [Surah Al Baqarah 2:156-157]

Allah says:

“And We appointed, from among them, leaders, giving guidance under Our command, so long as they persevered with patience and continued to have faith in Our Signs.” [Surah Al Sajdah 32:24]

Sufyan ibn Uyaynah commented, “i.e. When they took hold of the leading issue, we made them leaders!”

Important Lessons to be learnt from Ramadan

Important Lessons to be learnt from Ramadan
Source : Al-Istiqaamah Magazine, Issue No.5 ,Jan 1997

Allah – the Most High – said:

“The month of Ramadan in which the Quran was revealed, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance of the Criterion between right and wrong. So whosoever of you sights the crescent for the month of Ramadan, he must fast that month.” [Surah Al Baqarah 2:185]

Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“lslam is built upon five: Testifying that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and the Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the Prayer, giving the Zakah, performing Hajj to the House, and fasting in Ramadan.” [Related by al-Bukhari (1/48) and Muslim (no.16), from Ibn ‘Umar radiallahu ‘anhu.]

He sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said:

“There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month, in which Allah has made it obligatory to fast. During it the gates of paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained. In it is a night (Laylat-ul-Qadr) which is better than a thousand months. He who is deprived of its good has truly been deprived.” [Sahih: Related by an-Nasa’i (no.1992), from Abu Hurayrah radiallahu ‘anhu. It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albani in Takhrijul-Mishkat (no.1962).]

From the many important lessons to be learnt from fasting are:


Fasting has been legislated in order that we may gain taqwa, as Allah – the Most High – said:

“O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed upon those before you in order that you may attain taqwa.” [Surah Al Baqarah 2:183]

Talq ibn Habib (d.100H) – rahimahullah – said:

“When fitnah (trial and tribulation) appears then extinguish it with taqwa.” So he was asked as to what taqwa was, so he replied: “Taqwa is to act in obedience to Allah, upon a light (i.e. iman, faith) from Allah, hoping in the Mercy of Allah. And taqwa is leaving acts of disobedience to Allah, upon a light from Allah, due to the fear of Allah.” [Related by Ibn al-Mubarak in Kitabul-Zuhd (p.473) and Ibn Abi Shaybah in his Kitabul-Iman (no.99).]

“This is one of the best definitions of taqwa. For every action must have both a starting point and a goal. And an action will not be considered as an act of obedience, or nearness to Allah, unless it starts from pure iman (faith in Allah). Thus, it is pure iman – and not habits, desires, nor seeking praise or fame, nor its like – that should be what initiates an action. And the goal of the action should be to earn the reward of Allah and to seek His good pleasure.” [Risalatut-Tabukiyyah (p.26) of Imam Ibn al-Qayyim.]

So fasting is a means of attaining taqwa, since it helps prevent a person from many sins that one is prone to. Due to this, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“Fasting is a shield with which the servant protects himself from the Fire.”[Hasan: Related by Ahmad (3/241). from Jabir radiallahu ‘anhu. It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albani in Sahihut-Targhib (no.910).]

So we should ask ourselves, after each day of fasting: Has this fasting made us more fearful and obedient to Allah? Has it aided us in distancing ourselves from sins and disobedience?


The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“Allah said: Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, I shall be at war with him. My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the obligatory duties that I have placed upon him. My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with optional deeds so that I shall love him.” [Related by al-Bukhari (11/481), from Abu Hurayrah radiallahu ‘anhu.]

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“Whosoever reaches the month of Ramadan and does not have his sins forgiven, and so enters the Fire, then may Allah distance him.” [Sahih: Related by Ahmad (2/246) and al-Bayhaqi (4/204), from Abu Hurayrah radiallahu ‘anhu. It was authenticated by Shaykh ‘Ali Hasan al-Halabi in Sifatus-Sawmin-Nabi (p.24).]

So drawing closer to Allah – the Most Perfect – in this blessed month, can be achieved by fulfilling one’s obligatory duties; and also reciting the Quran and reflecting upon its meanings, increasing in kindness and in giving charity, in making du’a (supplication) to Allah, attending the taraweeh Prayer, seeking out Laylat-ul-Qadr (the Night of Power and Pre-Decree), a night which is better than a thousand months, attending gatherings of knowledge, and striving in there actions that will cause the heart to draw closer to its Lord and to gain His forgiveness. Our level of striving in this blessed month should be greater than our striving to worship Allah in any other month, due to the excellence and rewards that Allah has placed in it. Likewise from the great means of seeking nearness to Allah in this month is making i’tikaf (seclusion in the mosque in order to worship Allah) – for whoever is able.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (d.751H)- rahimahullah – laid:

“Allah also prescribed i’tikaf for them, the objective being that the heart becomes fully preoccupied with Allah – the Most High – concentrated upon Him alone, and cut-off from being preoccupied with the creation. Rather, the heart is only engrossed with Allah – the Most Perfect – such that loving Him, remembering Him, and turning to Him takes the place of all the heart’s anxieties and worries, so that he is able to overcome them. Thus all his concerns are for Allah, and his thoughts are all directed towards remembering Him and thinking of how to attain His Pleasure and what will cause nearness to Him. This leads him to feel contented with Allah, instead of people. This in turn prepares him for being at peace with Allah alone, on the day of loneliness in the grave, when there will be no one else to give comfort, nor anyone to grant solace, except Him. So this is the greater goal of i’tikaf.” [Zadul-Ma’ad (2/81) of Ibn al-Qayyim.]


Imam Ahmad (d.241H) – rahimahullah – said:

“Allah has mentioned sabr (patience) in over ninety places in His Book.” [Related by Ibn al-Qayyim in Madarijus-Salikin (2/152).]

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“The month of Patience, and the three days of every month, are times for fasting.” [Related by Ahmad (2/261) and an-Nasa’i (1/327). from Abu Hurayrah. It was authentitated by al-Albani in Irwa’ul-Ghalil (4/99).]

Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr (d.464H)- rahimahullah – said:

“What is meant by the month of Patience is the month of Ramadan … So fasting is called patience because it restrains the soul from eating, drinking, conjugal relations and sexual desires.” [At-Tamhid (19/61) of AI-Hafidh Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr.]

He sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“O youths! Whoever amongst you is able to marry, then let him do so; for it restrains the eyes and protects the private parts. But whoever is unable, then let him fast, because it will be a shield for him.” [Related by al-Bukhari (123) and Muslim (no.123), from Ibn Mas’ud radiallahu ‘anhu.]

So fasting is a means of learning self restraint and patience. With patience we are able to strengthen our resolve to worship Allah alone, with sincerity, and also cope with life’s ups and downs. So – for example – with patience we are able to perform our Prayers calmly and correctly, without being hasty, and without merely pecking the ground several times! With patience we are able to restrain our souls from greed and stinginess and thus give part of our surplus wealth in Zakat (obligatory charity). With patience we are able to subdue the soul’s ill temperament, and thus endure the ordeal and hardships of Hajj, without losing tempers and behaving badly. Likewise, with patience we are able to stand firm and fight jihad against the disbelievers, hypocrites and heretics – withstanding their constant onslaught, without wavering and buckling, without despairing or being complacent, and without becoming hasty and impatient at the first signs of hardship. Allah – the Most High – said:

“O Prophet, urge the Believers to fight … So if there are one hundred who are patient, they shall overcome two hundred; and if there be one thousand, they shall overcome two thousand, by the permission of Allah. And Allah is with the patient ones.” [Surah Al Anfal 8:65-66]

Thus, without knowledge and patience, nothing remains, except zeal and uncontrolled emotions, shouts and hollow slogans, speech that does not strengthen, but rather weakens, and actions that do not build, but rather destroy! So in this month, we should strive to develop a firm resolve for doing acts of obedience, and to adorn ourselves with patience – having certainty in the laying of our Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship.” [Sahih: Related by Ahmad (1/203) and at-Tabarani in al-Kabir (11/100), from Ibn Abbas radiallahu ‘anhu. It was authentitated by Shaykh Salim al-Hilali in AsSabrul-Jamil (p.43).]


The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“Whosoever does not abandon falsehood in speech and action, then Allah the Mighty and Majestic has no need that he should leave his food and drink.” [Related by al-Bukhari (4/99), from Abu Hurayrah radiallahu ‘anhu.]

He sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said:

“Fasting is not merely abstaining from eating and drinking. Rather, it is also abstaining from ignorant and indecent speech. So if anyone abuses or behaves ignorantly with you, then ray: I am fasting, I am fasting.” [Sahih: Related by Ibn Khuzaymah (no.1996) and aI-Hakim (1/430) who authenticated it. Refer to Sahihut-Targhib (no.1075).]

There narrations point towards the importance of truthfulness and good manners. Thus, this blessed month teaches us not only to abstain from food and drink, but to also abstain from such statements and actions that may be the cause of harming people and violating their rights – since the Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said whilst describing the true Believer: “A Muslim is one from whom other Muslims are safe from his tongue and his hand.” [Related by al-Bukhari (1/53) and Muslim (no.40), from ‘Amr ibn al-as radiallahu ‘anhu.]

Thus it is upon us as individuals, to examine the shortcomings in our character, and to then seek to improve them – modelling ourselves upon the character of the last of the Prophets and Messengers, and their leader, Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – aspiring also for the excellence which he mentioned in his saying:

“I am a guarantor for a house on the outskirts of Paradise for whosoever leaves off arguing, even if he is in the right; and a house in the centre of Paradise for whosoever abandons falsehood, even when joking; and a house in the upper-most part of Paradise for whosoever makes his character good.” [Sahih: Related by Abu Dawud (no.4800) and al-Bayhaqi (10/249), from Abu Umamah radiallahu ‘anhu. It was authenticated by al-Albani in as-Sahihah (n0.273).]

So by shunning oppression, shamelessness, harbouring hatred towards Muslims, back-biting, slandering, tale-carrying, and other types of falsehood, we can be saved from nullifying the rewards of our fasting – as Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“It may be that a fasting person receives nothing from his fast, except hunger and thirst.” [Sahih: Related by Ahmad (2/441) and Ibn Majah (1/139), from Abu Hurayrah radiallahu ‘anhu. It was authenticated in Sahihut-Targhib (no.1076).]


The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“Fast when they fast, and break your fast when they break their fast, and sacrifice the day they sacrifice.” [Related by at-Tirmidhi (no.693), form Abu Hurayrah radiallahu ‘anhu. It was authenticated by al-Albani in as-Sahihah (no.224).]

Imam at-Tirmidhi (d.275H) – rahimahullah – said:

“Some of the People of Knowledge explained this hadith by saying: Its meaning is to fast and break the fast along with the jama’ah and the majority of people.” [Jami’ut-Tirmidhi (3/312).]

Thus, in this blessed month we can sense an increased feeling of unity and of being a single Ummah due to our fasting and breaking our fast collectively. We also feel an increased awareness about the state of affairs of the Muslims and of the hardships that they endure, because: “During the fast, a Muslim feels and experiences what his needy and hungry brothers and sisters feel, who are forced to go without food and drink for many many days – as occurs today to many of the Muslims in Africa.” [From the words of Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz bin Baz, as occurs in Majmu’ Fatawa wa Maqalat Mutanawwi’ah (5/211).]

Indeed, the units of the Muslims – and their aiding and assisting one another – is one of the great fundamentals upon which the Religion of Islam is built, as Allah – the Most High – said:

“And hold fast altogether to the rope of Allah and do not be divided.” [Surah Ali ‘Imran 3:103]

Allah – the Most High – also said:

“The Believers – men and women – and friends and protectors to one another.” [Surah Al Tawbah 9:44]

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H)- rahimahullah – said:

“The welfare of people will not be complete – neither in this world, nor in the Hereafter – except with ijtima’ (collectiveness), ta’awun (mutual cooperation), and tanasur (mutual help); mutual-co-operation in order to secure benefits, and mutual help in order to ward off harm. It is for this reason that man is said to be social and civil by nature.” [Al-Hisba fil-Islam (p.9) of Shaykhul-lslam Ibn Taymiyyah.]

Thus we see that Islam lays great importance in bringing hearts together and encouraging ijtima’ (collectiveness). This is not only reflected in the month of Ramadan, but also in the other acts of worship as well. So, for example, we have been ordered by the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to pray the five daily Prayers in congregation, and that it has been made twenty-seven times more rewardful than praying it individually. [Related by al-Bukhari (2/109) and Murlim (no.650), from Ibn ‘Umar radiallahu ‘anhu.]

Likewise, this similar collective spirit is demonstrated in the act of Hajj (Pilgrimage). Even in learning knowledge and studying it, blessings have been placed in collectiveness, as Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “No people gather together in a house from the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it amongst themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy envelops them, the angels surround them, and Allah mentions them to there that are with Him.” [Related by Muslim (no.339). from Abu Hurayrah radiallahu ‘anhu.]

Likewise, even in our everyday actions such, as eating, Islam teacher us collectiveness. Thus, when some of the Companions of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to him: O Messenger of Allah, we eat but do not become satisfied. He replied: “Perhaps you eat individually?” They replied: Yes! So he said: “Eat collectively and mention the name of Allah. There will then be blessings for you in it.” [Hasan: Related by Abu Dawud (no.3164), from Wahshi ibn Harb radiallahu ‘anhu. It was authenticated by al-Hafidh al-‘lraqi in Takhrijul-lhya (2/4).]

Indeed, even in the etiquettes of sitting the spirit of collectiveness is demonstrated. So, one day the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came across the Companions who were sitting in separate circles, so he said to them:

“Why do I see you sitting separately!” [Related by Muslim (no.331). from Jabir ibn Samurah radiallahu ‘anhu.]

Similarly, Abu Tha’labah al-Khurhani radiallahu ‘anhu said: “Whenever the people used to encamp, they used to split-up into the mountain passes and valley’s. So Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Indeed your being split-up in there mountain passes and valley’s is from Shaytan.” Thereafter, whenever they used to encamp, they used to keep very close together, to such an extent that it was said: If a cloth were to be spread over them, it would cover them all.” [Sahih: Related by Abu Dawud (1/409) and Ibn Hibban (no.1664). Shaykh al-Albani authenticated it in Takhrijul-Mishkat (no.3914).]

Thus, Ramadan is a time to increase our sense of unity and brotherhood, and our commitment to Allah and His Religion. And there is no doubt that this sense of unity necessitates that: “We all work together as required by Islam as sincere brothers – not due to hizbiyyah (bigotted party spirit), nor sectarianism – in order to realise that which is of benefit to the Islamic Ummah and to establish the Islamic society that every Muslim aspirer for – so that the Shari’ah (Prescribed Law) of Allah is applied upon His earth.” [Sualu wa Jawabu Hawla Fiqhil-Waqi’ (p.24) of Shaykh Nasirud-Din al-Albani.]

So we must examine ourselves during the month of Ramadan and ask: What is my role – and each of us has a role – in helping this precious Ummah to regain its honour, and return to the Ummah its comprehensive unity and strength, and victory that has been promised to it! Likewise, we should reflect upon our own character and actions and ask. Are they aiding the process of unity and brotherhood, or are they a harm and a hindrance to it!

So we ask Allah to grant us the ability to change ourselves for the better, during this blessed month, and not to be of there who are prevented from His Mercy and Forgiveness. Indeed He is the One who Hears and He is the One to Respond.



The Ayah and it’s Meaning

Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi Raji’un “To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return.” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:156)

The translation of the verses mentioned before and after this ayah is (Surah Al Baqarah):

2:155  “Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere (As-Sabirin),”

2:156  “Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return”:-“

2:157  “They are those on whom (descend) blessings from their Lord, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.”

When do we recite this ayah?

A prevalent perception in our society is that the words “Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi Raji’un” are only recited at the time of someone’s death. However, this perception is not correct. This ayah is to be said in cases where a person has suffered any kind of loss, be it the death of a person (Muslim or non-Muslim) or any living creature, loss of wealth or property, deterioration of health, etc.

There is one Hadith where the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is quoted to have said “Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi Raji’un” when the lamp went off at night. ‘Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) asked him, “O Messenger of Allah. Is this also a calamity?” Allah’s Messenger replied, “Yes. Whatever hurts or causes difficulty to a Muslim is a calamity and on bearing it patiently, it carries Allah’s promise of reward.”

The Virtues of reciting the Ayah

As mentioned before, Allah asks us to be those who are patient (As-Sabirun) during calamities by reciting the ayah “Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi Raji’un”. In the very next ayah Allah tells us of the reward for this practice:

“They are those on whom (descend) blessings from their Lord, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:157)

Umm Salama, the wife of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him), reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “If any servant (of Allah) who suffers a calamity says: “we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return; O Allah, reward me for my affliction and give me something better than it in exchange for it,” ‘Allah will give him reward for affliction, and would give him something better than it in exchange. She (Umm Salama) said: When Abu Salama died. I uttered (these very words) as I was commanded (to do) by the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). So Allah gave me better in exchange than him. i. e. (I was taken as the wife of) the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him).” (Sahih Muslim, Book #004, Hadith #2000)

Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), who could be a better husband than the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)?

It is narrated in the Hadith that the Messenger of Allah said: “When a man’s child dies, Allah, may He be exalted, says to His angels: ‘Have you taken the soul of the child of My slave?’ They say, ‘Yes.’ He says, although He knows best, ‘Have you taken the apple of his eye?’ They say, ‘Yes.’ He says: ‘What did My slave say?” They say: ‘He praised You and said “Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi Raji’un” (“To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return”).’ Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says: ‘Build a house for My slave in Paradise and call it the house of praise.’” [Narrated and classed as good Hadith by Al Tirmidhi]

A Reminder

“Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return”:-“ (Surah Al Baqarah 2:156)

This ayah reminds us that whatever is in this world belongs to Allah and is a Blessing from Him. If, for example, a person had given some money as loan to his friend for some time and now he wants the money back. Is the person doing anything wrong in wanting back his own money? Similarly when a person dies, Allah is only taking back the soul of His creation. By reciting this ayah at the time of someone’s death, we remind ourselves that the creation has returned to his Creator. We also should bear in mind that just as the departed soul we ourselves will one day return to our Lord and be answerable for our deeds on the Day of Judgment before our entry into Paradise (Allah willing) or the Hellfire. With this in mind we should always strive to attain Allah’s Mercy, for no one but Allah knows the appointed time of death.

In a Hadith, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) says, “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity comes to him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him.” (Muslim)



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