By Shaykh Abdur Rahman Khan
All praises are for Allah, The Almighty, and may His peace and blessing be upon His true servant and final Messenger Muhammad, on his Companions and his household.
These days Muslims are being tested; from being mocked at, to threats of direct monitoring and expulsion and even vile remarks towards Allah SWT, The Creator and Sustainer of all that exists.
In these tough times it is faith in Allah SWT, Sabr and Tawakkul in Him SWT that would bring about calmness amidst all these fireworks and would provide peace and tranquility to the hearts. Moreover it will provide light in moments of darkness as Rasoolullah SAS said: meaning: والصَّبْرُ ضِياءٌ and patience is light
Often Sabr is translated as patience or withstanding with patience what has befallen you. One may think that it is a passive state of accepting injustice. But another meaning of Sabr is التصبر “Tasabbur” or perseverance; the ability to continue in spite of difficulties. In other words: Don’t give up!
Both of these are required when going through trials and tribulations and let us be reminded that Allah SWT is with those who persevere:
وَاصْبِرُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ ﴿٤٦﴾
And be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient. (8:46)
Allah SWT tests the Believers regardless to time or place. Throughout our lives, from childhood to old age, we go through with trials. Situations constantly change. Whether circumstances change from
- richness to poverty;
- from ease to hardship;
- from joy to sadness;
- from health to sickness;
- from strength to weakness;
- form security to fear; life does not always go on the same path.
He tests Believers whether they are the Prophets or they are just like any of us. He tests us as individuals, as families, as a community as a tribe, as a country and as an Ummah as He SWT says:
الم ﴿١﴾ أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ﴿٢﴾
Alif-Lam-Mim. (1) Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested. [29:1-3]
More importantly, in each of these tests the Believers are measured how truthful they are to their belief. Allah SWT says in the very next verse:
وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۖ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ ﴿٣﴾
And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars. [29:3]
So this is not the time to take off Hijab. This is the time all Muslim sisters must feel honored to wear their Hijab and let America and the world come to know that FEAR WILL NOT WIN OVER FAITH! This is not the time for brothers to shave off their beard but must be proud to be a Muslim.
When the genocide took place in Bosnia two decades ago many Bosnians did not know how to perform Wudhu but when they were massacred just because they had a Muslim name they said: We are proud to be Muslims!
Furthermore, we must never think that one will enter Jannah without being tested.
Allah SWT says:
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ ﴿١٥٥﴾ الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّـهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ ﴿١٥٦﴾ أُولَـٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ ۖ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ﴿١٥٧﴾
Or do you think that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the Help of Allâh?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allâh is near! (2:214)
In Islam, there are three types of situations in which we must strive to practice patience. Indeed in these circumstances Sabr becomes Waajib or compulsory. Today all these three types are quite manifest in our lives.
The first is Patience in handling challenges and tests from Allah
Allah gives the most striking examples of patience in the lives of the Prophets, because they showed patience in situations we could never dream of. Examples are many: The example of Prophet Yusuf (AS) who was thrown in a well by his own brothers; Prophet Yunus (AS) was in the belly of a whale for three days; Prophet Ayoub (AS) (AS) was tested with loss of health, wealth and family and not to mention the tests endured by the “Ulul ‘Azm” the five who are strong-willed and persevering:
- Prophet Noah (AS);
- Prophet Abraham (AS);
- Prophet Moses (AS);
- Prophet Jesus (AS) and
- Prophet Muhammad (SAS).
They never deviated from their devotion to Allah, and remained resolute only for Allah SWT’s Pleasure.
In fact, Allah tests most, those that He loves most. Thus, the Prophets whom He loved the most were tested the most. Rasoolullah SAS said:
الْأَنْبِيَاءُ ثُمَّ الصَّالِحُونَ ثُمَّ الْأَمْثَلُ فَالْأَمْثَلُ مِنْ النَّاسِ يُبْتَلَى الرَّجُلُ عَلَى حَسَبِ دِينِهِ فَإِنْ كَانَ فِي دِينِهِ صَلَابَةٌ زِيدَ فِي بَلَائِهِ وَإِنْ كَانَ فِي دِينِهِ رِقَّةٌ خُفِّفَ عَنْهُ وَمَا يَزَالُ الْبَلَاءُ بِالْعَبْدِ حَتَّى يَمْشِيَ عَلَى ظَهْرِ الْأَرْضِ لَيْسَ عَلَيْهِ خَطِيئَةٌ
The Prophets, then the righteous then those nearer to perfection. A man will be tested with regards to religion. Hence if he is firm in his religion his test will increase and if he is weak in his religion it is lightened. And a servant will continue to have tests until he walks this earth without any sins.
This type of Patience Rasoolullah (SAS) describes:
عَجَبًا لِأَمْرِ الْمُؤْمِنِ إِنَّ أَمْرَهُ كُلَّهُ خَيْرٌ وَلَيْسَ ذَاكَ لِأَحَدٍ إِلَّا لِلْمُؤْمِنِ إِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ صَبَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ
Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (Allah SWT), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and is shown resignation and endures it patiently, there is a good for him in it.
Today as we are bombarded with bigotry, rejection, hatred and even physical abuse. Yet we must not give up but be steadfast and persevere. This is what causes our Imaan to increase in Allah SWT.
We are reminded what Allah SWT informs about Prophet Musa (AS):
قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ اسْتَعِينُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَاصْبِرُوا ۖ إِنَّ الْأَرْضَ لِلَّـهِ يُورِثُهَا مَن يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ ۖ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ ﴿١٢٨﴾
Moses said to his people, “Seek help through Allah and be patient. Indeed, the earth belongs to Allah. He causes to inherit it whom He wills of His servants. And the [best] outcome is for the righteous.” (7:128)
The second: Patience in obeying Allah’s commands
Throughout our daily lives, especially when performing our Ibaadaat, we are taught to be patient and to be steadfast to Allah’s orders.
The obedience of a Muslim towards Allah SWT and his Messenger SAS must be based and backed by a strong character of patience. This is because without patience; it is hard for us to consistently perform all our religious obligations with complete sincerity and devotion.
With regards to exercising patience Allah SWT says:
وَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ فَإِنَّكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ
”And be patient to Allah’s commandments, for you are under our observance, and glorify the Praises of your Lord when you get up from sleep.” [52:48]
Thus our Salaah; our Zakaah; Zhikr of Allah SWT; Fasting, Hijaab are not always easy and convenient. They require us to have patience in fulfilling them. Sometimes they become a test for us yet we have to try our best to fulfill them for none but Allah SWT.
Unfortunately there are those who reject Allah SWT spend their wealth to prevent those who believe from worshipping Allah SWT. But patience and perseverance is required to withstand such onslaughts. Allah SWT says
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ لِيَصُدُّوا عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۚ فَسَيُنفِقُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسْرَةً ثُمَّ يُغْلَبُونَ ۗ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَىٰ جَهَنَّمَ يُحْشَرُونَ ﴿٣٦﴾
Indeed, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to avert [people] from the way of Allah. So they will spend it; then it will be for them [source of] regret; then they will be overcome. And those who have disbelieved – unto Hell they will be gathered. (8:36)
The third: Patience in refraining from Allah SWT’s prohibition
This situation is one in which we can all relate to, and think of our own examples. When we come across situations in which we know we are doing something Haraam, sometimes we still continue doing the Haraam thing for whatever reason.
We should remember also that, Allah is the All Seeing, All Knowing. We are also reminded of His promises if we exercise patience in refraining from His prohibitions.
What benefits of adopting Patience in our character?
- Patience results in Allah’s Mercy and Guidance. Allah Says in the Qur’an:
أُولَئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ
They are those on whom are the Salawât (i.e. blessings) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones.
Allah Also Says:
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولَـٰئِكَ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ كَبِيرٌ ﴿١١﴾
Except for those who are steadfast and do right actions. They will receive forgiveness and a large reward. (Surah Hud, 11)
- Patience leads to Intelligence in thought and action. One of the major factors preventing people from acting intelligently is their impulsive thinking and behavior brought about by impatience. Sudden anger or desire shuts down the mind and pushes people to act without thinking.
For this reason Rasoolullah SAS when asked for advice by one of his Companions he replied: Don’t get angry. And he kept on asking for more advice and each time Rasoolullah SAS responded: Don’t get angry.
- Every single time we practice patience Allah removes our sins from us even if it is something physical. The Prophet said:
لَا يُصِيبُ الْمُسْلِمَ مِنْ نَصَبٍ وَلَا وَصَبٍ وَلَا هَمٍّ وَلَا حُزْنٍ وَلَا أَذًى وَلَا غَمٍّ حَتَّى الشَّوْكَةِ يُشَاكُهَا إِلَّا كَفَّرَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِنْ خَطَايَاهُ » رواه مسلم.
“No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.”
- Allah SWT grants true leadership with Sabr. He SWT says:
وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا ۖوَكَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ ﴿٢٤﴾
And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs. (32:24)
- Most importantly the reward of Sabr will be in the highest plains of Jannah. May Allah SWT make us amongst them. He SWT tells us:
وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَنُبَوِّئَنَّهُم مِّنَ الْجَنَّةِ غُرَفًا تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ نِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ ﴿٥٨﴾ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ ﴿٥٩﴾
And those who have believed and done righteous deeds – We will surely assign to them of Paradise [elevated] chambers beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally. Excellent is the reward of the [righteous] workers (58) Who have been patient and upon their Lord rely. (59))
What are the methods for acquiring patience?
The biggest question we ask in these trialing times how can we increase in our Sabr. Here I would suggest just a few:
- Zhikr of Allah SWT
These days we should be engaged in Zhikr of Allah. Our morning and evening Zhikr (The Ma’thuraat) should be recited for ease and protection. Allah the Almighty Says in the Qur’an:
أَلاَ بِذِكْرِ اللّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest! (13: 28 )
While others defend our rights and we feel good about it, it is the help from Allah SWT that brings about the greatest of joy. Allah SWT tells the Believers in Badr:
وَمَا جَعَلَهُ اللَّـهُ إِلَّا بُشْرَىٰ لَكُمْ وَلِتَطْمَئِنَّ قُلُوبُكُم بِهِ ۗوَمَا النَّصْرُ إِلَّا مِنْ عِندِ اللَّـهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ ﴿١٢٦﴾
Allah made it not but as a message of good news for you and as an assurance to your hearts. And there is no victory except from Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. (3:126)
- Qadr of Allah SWT
We must also keep in mind that everything comes from Allah SWT. This is the Imaan in Qadr. If we are firm in our belief that only Allah possesses knowledge of the past, present, and future, we will be able to put our trust in him, fully aware that He does as He pleases, and whatever He wills to be done, can never be undone.
We must believe that Allah SWT is in control of everything.
أَلَا لَهُ الْخَلْقُ وَالْأَمْرُ ۗ تَبَارَكَ اللَّـهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿٥٤﴾
Unquestionably, His is the creation and the command; blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds. (7:54)
- From the Sunnah of Rasoolullah SAS
In all what we are going through we must not give up. Today we witness Islamophobia from the media, politicians and some members of the public. Many of our fellow citizens escaped bigotry; racism; and injustice in their home countries and came to these shores with the hope of living in freedom to serve their Creator and freedom to serve humanity; freedom to think; freedom to live.
Unfortunately, recently especially in the presidential debates Islamophobic remarks have intensified, notwithstanding the fact that Muslims were here in America long before Christopher Columbus saw these shores.
But we must gain strength from the life and example of Rasoolullah SAS. It is his example that will lead us out of the darkness that is thrust upon us.
During the Makkan period from the time Rasoolullah SAS declared his Prophethood until he was expelled, he endured from Quraish of Makkah what we cannot dream of enduring. Just to mention some:
- Make appeal to the highest authority for him to stop this mission
- Pressured his close family members to force him to stop preaching
- Option to be exchanged for Umaarah bin Waleed bin Al Mugheerah. In other words Abu Talib would hand over Rasoolullah SAS to Quraish and they give him Umaarah and they could do as they wished…
- Verbal abuse
- Make noise while The Qur’an was recited
- Media attack (Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab)
- False accusations
- Quraish sent for help from People of The Book to hurl Rasoolullah SAS with questions hoping he would stumble
- Physical abuse (camel entrails was thrown on him and choking him)
- Tortured those who follow him (the case of Bilaal – RA)
- Complete boycott of his entire tribe
- Killed the weak among his followers (Sumayyah (RA) and her husband Yasir (RA)
- Pelted and expelled (Taif)
- Accusation of being a sorcerer, possessed, a poet, liar, a madman
- Being rejected by his own tribe… meaning he now has no protection
- Psychological torture
- Assassination attempt
- Confiscation of property
- Then after expulsion 27 Ghazawaat including Ahzaab where all the tribes united to eliminate them. They plotted and plotted and Allah SWT plots and He SWT is the best of plotters!
Rasoolullah SAS endured all with patience and Tawakkul in Allah SWT and never gave up.
In fact, every time they did any of the above to him, he and his Companions became stronger. Indeed, many who did some of the torture to the Muslims themselves became upright Muslims and defended Islam. One only need to look at the example of Abu Sufyan who was the leader of the disbelievers. In the end he accepted Islam and from his generation came the Umayyad Dynasty.
With the perseverance and endurance of Rasoolullah SAS today the world is filled with 1.8 billion Muslims in every nook and corner. Rasoolullah SAS predicted:
عَنْ تَمِيمٍ الدَّارِيِّ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ لَيَبْلُغَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرُ مَا بَلَغَ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ وَلَا يَتْرُكُ اللَّهُ بَيْتَ مَدَرٍ وَلَا وَبَرٍ إِلَّا أَدْخَلَهُ اللَّهُ هَذَا الدِّينَ بِعِزِّ عَزِيزٍ أَوْ بِذُلِّ ذَلِيلٍ عِزًّا يُعِزُّ اللَّهُ بِهِ الْإِسْلَامَ وَذُلًّا يُذِلُّ اللَّهُ بِهِ الْكُفْرَ
“This message will reach to wherever the night and day have reached. Allah shall not leave any home built by clay or stones or by animal skin (tent) except Allah will make this religion to enter it, to give honor to those who are honorable and to disgrace those who are disgraceful. The honor Allah shall give to Islam and dishonor Allah shall give to unbelief. (Musnad Ahmad)
What can we do? Action items:
- Du’a to Allah SWT. Never despair of the mercy of Allah SWT.
- Reach out to neighbors and coworkers and invite them over for tea, coffee or lunch.
- Students should be brave to form a committee and go to their Principal and discuss ways and means how they can address their fellow students.
- Build coalitions with interfaith partners, there are many people out there who are sorry for what is being said and done in their names.
- Masaajid should be more engaged in interfaith dialog and open houses.
- Write an article to local newspapers
- Tweet positive messages and use Facebook to call for peace and understanding.
- Order free dawah literature from Whyislam.org and Gainpeace.com
- Reach out to ICNA Relief for social work in your community and work together with them to help alleviate poverty, hunger and social ills.
- Reach out to ICNA Social Justice for injustices done whether to workers or racial violence
- Report all acts of hate crimes to law enforcement immediately.
Finally, let me end a final thought: It what Rasoolullah SAW said:
مَثَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِ كَمَثَلِ الْخَامَةِ مِنْ الزَّرْعِ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَتَتْهَا الرِّيحُ كَفَأَتْهَا فَإِذَا اعْتَدَلَتْ تَكَفَّأُ بِالْبَلَاءِ وَالْفَاجِرُ كَالْأَرْزَةِ صَمَّاءَ مُعْتَدِلَةً حَتَّى يَقْصِمَهَا اللَّهُ إِذَا شَاءَ رواه مسلم
“The example of a Believer is that of a fresh tender plant; from whatever direction the wind comes, it bends it, but when the wind becomes quiet, it becomes straight again. Similarly, a believer is afflicted with calamities (but he remains patient till Allah removes his difficulties.) And an impious wicked person is like a pine tree which keeps hard and straight till Allah cuts it down when He wishes.”
O Allah SWT! Guide our people to the Straight Path and protect us all! Those among us whose Imaan is weak let it be strengthened with these trials. Help us to remain truthful to our faith. Help us to speak truth. And if there is one good that stems from all these trials and tribulations is that the Muslim Ummah become more upright and their faith, Sabr and Tawakkul be increased.