The Virtues of Patience
By Imam ‘Abdul Rahman Ibn Hasan
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of the al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.
Patience is Solution for Life’s Sorrows
Allah Almighty says:
- "And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirun (the patient; perseverance)". [Al-Baqarah, 2:155]
- “O ye who believe! Endure, outdo all others in endurance, be ready, and observe your duty to Allah, in order that ye may succeed. [Ali-`Imran, 3:200].
- "Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning." [Az-Zumar, 39:10]
- "And verily, whosoever shows patient (perseverance) and forgives, that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah." [Ash-Shura, 42:43]
- "Seek help in patience and As-Solah. Truly, Allah is with As-Sabirun (the patient; perseverance)." [Al-Baqarah, 2:153]
- "And surely, We shall try you till We test those who strive hard (for the Cause of Allah) and As-Sabirun (the patient; perseverance)" [Muhammad, 47:31]
Imam Ahmad (d.241H, rahimahullah) said: “Allah has mentioned sabr (patient; perseverance) in over ninety places in His Book.” [Related by Ibnul-Qayyim in Madārijus-Sālikeen (2/152)]
It is stated in the authentic hadith, the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Sabr (patient; perseverance) is light.”[Related by Muslim (no. 223) and Ahmad (5/343), from Abū Mālik al-Ash’arī (radiyallahu ‘anhu)] The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) also said: “No one has been given anything more excellent and more comprehensive than sabr (patient; perseverance).” [Related by Al-Bukhari (no. 1469) and Muslim (no. l053) from Abū Sa’eed al-Khudrī (radiyallâhu ‘anhu)]
‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: “We considered the best part of our lives to be that in which there was sabr (patient; perseverance).” [Related by Al-Bukhari (1 l/303) in ta’leeq form, and it has been related in connected form by Imam Ahmad in az-Zuhud with a Sahīh isnād – as Al-Hāfidz Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalani mentioned in Fathul-Bārī (11/303)]
‘Ali bin Abi Talib (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: “Indeed sabr (patient; perseverance) is from iman (faith). Its position is like that of the head with respect to the rest of the body.” Then he raised his voice and said, “Verily, there is no iman (faith) for the one who has no sabr (patient; perseverance).” [Related by al-Lālikā’īe in Sharh Usūl I’tiqād Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah (no. 1659), Al-Bayhaqi in Shu’abul-Iman and Abi Shaybān in Kitābul-Iman (no. 130), with a slightly different wording.]
Meaning of Patience and Perseverance.
The word sabr (in the Arabic language) is from sabara means to be patient and to persevere, and it indicates to holding back and restraining oneself. In the Shaee’ah sense) it implies: restraining the soul from being agitated; restraining the tongue from complaining and restraining the hands from slapping the cheeks, tearing the clothes and doing other similar actions.
Ibn al-Qayyim (d.750H, rahimahullah) categorized sabr (patience and perseverance) into three:
1. Sabr whilst fulfilling the orders of Allāh Almighty;
2. Sabr whilst abandoning and keeping away from the prohibitions of Allāh; and
3. Sabr with the Decree of Allāh Almighty with respect to afflictions and difficulties.
The Muttaqun would adhere to the three categories of patience in obedience to Allah.
[Madārijus-Sālikeen (2/156) of Ibnul-Qayyim]
Patience Whilst Fulfilling the Orders of Allāh Almighty.
This sabr (patient and perseverance) refers that the believer should always be energetic, without placing hardship on oneself. Allah says:
“God has laid no hardship on you in anything that pertains to religion” [Al-Hajj, 22:78].
The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) saw an old man walking, supported by his two sons, and asked about him. The people informed him that he had vowed to travel on foot to the Ka`bah. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Allah is not in need of this old man's torturing himself”; and ordered him to get a ride to the Ka`bah. (An-Nasa`ie) It is not considered as a ‘patience’ to cause torture, hardship or harm upon oneself.
Patience Whilst Abandoning and Keeping Away From the Prohibitions of Allāh.
This sabr (patient and perseverance) means that a believer should stay away from committing what Allah has forbidden. We read in the Qur'an about Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) and one of the tests he was put to.
Allah Says: “And it so happened that she in whose house he was living conceived a passion for him and sought to make him yield himself unto her; and she bolted the doors and said, ‘Come you unto me!’ Joseph answered: ‘May God preserve me!’” [Yusuf, 12:23].
There is a great reward for this type of sabr (patient and perseverance). The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) says that one of the seven persons whom Allah would give protection with His Shade on the Day when there would be no shade but that of Him is "A man whom a beautiful woman of high rank seduces for adultery, but he rejects by saying: ‘I fear God’." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Patience with the Decree of Allāh With Respect To Test of Afflictions and Difficulties.
This sabr (patient and perseverance) is at different levels, all of which bear the meaning of refraining from something. The most basic level of sabr (patient and perseverance) with Allah’s tests is to refrain from the act of complaining about the test, but to repent and surrender to Allah's Decree. Then, a higher level is to refrain from complaining by your tongue. Finally, the highest level of sabr (patient and perseverance) is to refrain even from complaining in your heart.
Refraining from committing sins is a condition for purifying one's heart. Allah says about the hypocrites: “Indeed, We tested them through suffering, but they did surrender to their Sustainer; and they will never humble themselves” [Al-Mu’minun, 23:76].
When a person faces some problems, then he or she is at a cross-road; either to repent and surrender to Allah, or to fall into sins, which means failing the test.
At a higher level, patience with Allah's tests requires one to refrain from even complaining about the test. This is called ‘beautiful patience’, as Allah tells us about the story of Prophet Jacob (`alayhis salam), when he said: “I will only show beautiful patience” (Yusuf, 12:18), and “It is only to Allah that I complain of my deep grief and my sorrow” (Yusuf, 12:86). Prophet Jacob (`alayhis salam) complained only to his Lord and refused to complain to anyone else.
Being sabr (patient and perseverance) with Allah's Decree on the level of the heart is the best type of patience. The believer attains this degree when he or she not only refrains from speaking about the difficulty, but also refrains from agonizing about it in his heart. The soul is always at peace, even at the peak of crisis.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said:"Genuine patience is at the first stroke of a calamity" [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
If the believer is sabr (patient and perseverance) at the face of tests, he or she will advance in the way of Allah. “Consider the flight of time! Verily, a human is bound to lose himself, unless he be of those who attain to faith, and do good works, and enjoin upon one another the keeping to truth, and enjoin upon one another patience in adversity”[Surah Al-`Asr, 103:1-3].
And in any case, adversity does not last forever. “And, behold, with every hardship comes ease: verily, with every hardship comes ease!” [Surah Al-Inshirah 94:4-5].
Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “When a slave's child dies, Allāh the Most High asks His angels, `Have you taken out the life of the child of My slave?” They reply in the affirmative. Allāh then asks, ‘Have you taken the fruit of his heart?’ They reply in the affirmative. Thereupon Allāh asks, ‘What has My slave said?’ They say: `He has praised You and said: ‘Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rāji`un (We belong to Allāh and to Him we shall be returned)’. Allāh says: ‘Build a house for My slave in Jannah and name it as Bait-ul-Hamd (the House of Praise)’.”[At-Tirmidzi]
This Hadith points out the eminence of sabr (patient and perseverance) and the merit of praising Allāh in the event of a calamity, especially on the death of one's own child. Rather than weeping and wailing, one should submit himself to the Will of Allāh and show perseverance. Such attitude of patience and resignation is highly meritorious and has great reward.
Anas bin Mālik (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Allāh is pleased with His slave who says: ‘Al-hamdu lillah (praise be to Allāh)' when he takes a morsel of food and drinks a draught of water.'' [Recorded by Muslim]
The Hadith indicates that to praise Allāh Almighty when eating and drinking is a source of Allāh's Pleasure, no matter whether the quantity one consumes is small or large.
There Are Signs for Every Sabr (Patient and Perseverance)
In the following verse Almighty Allāh mentions both of the criteria: “Most surely there are signs in this for every patient, grateful one.” [Surah Ibrahim, 14:5]
The wisdom in that approach is well illustrated by an anecdote related by Sheikh Sa`adi. While he was traveling he reached Damascus in a miserable condition; he did not have any money to buy new shoes to replace his old ones and it really hurt him for unable to do so. With the feelings he entered the mosque where he observed a lame person, without feet. On seeing this, he immediately fell into prostration, thanking Allāh profusely for having provided him with feet, if not with new shoes. This incident identifies the perspective in which we should look at things. Those with a feeling of gratitude observe numerous manifestations of Allāh's favors, which then fill them with greater gratitude. However, there are others who are always complaining of what they do not have and are, therefore, unable to thank Allāh for the many blessings He has bestowed upon them.
Guidance for the Hearts.
Allah Almighty says: “And whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart aright. And Allah has full knowledge over everything.” [Sūrah Al-Taghābun, 64:11]
And this ayah begins with, “No affliction occurs, except by the permission of Allah.” About this Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: “By the command of Allah – meaning: by His Will and His Power.” [Tafsir Qur’ānul-’Adzeem (2/164) of Ibn Kathir]
So, the meaning of this ayah is: No affliction occurs except by His Mashi’ah (Will), His Iādah (Desire) and His Hikmah (Wisdom) as Allah says: “No affliction occurs upon the earth, nor in yourselves, except that it is written before We bring it into existence. Indeed, this is easy for Allah.” [Sūrah Al-Hadid, 57:22] And Allah says: “Give glad-tidings to those who have sabr. Those who – when afflicted with an affliction – say: Indeed, we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return. They are those on who are the blessings from their Lord and His mercy. They are the ones who are guided.” [Sūrah Al-Baqarah, 2:155-157]
And Allah’s saying: “And whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart aright.” Means, “Whosoever , when afflicted with a affliction , knows it is by the Decree of Allah and His Power, and thus patiently submits to it, then Allah rewards such a person by guiding their heart aright. So this is the root cause of all happiness, and the foundation of excellence in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allah promises such a person (a reward) for what He has taken from them.” [Tafsir Qur’ānul-’Adzeem (8/163)
And Allah’s saying: “And Allah has full knowledge over everything,” is a reminder that such a affliction is by His Knowledge which necessitates His Wisdom, which obligates sabr and being (ridha) contented with His Decree.
Abu Dhibyan said: We were with ‘Alqamah [Related by Ibn Jarir At-Tabari in Jāmi’ul-Bayān ‘an Ta’wilil-Qur’ān (28/123), ‘Abdur-Razzāq in his Tafsir (3/95) and also As-Suyūti in ad-Durrul-Manthūr (8/183). It’s like is also related by Al-Bukhari in ta’liq form (8/652) from Ibn Mas’ūd] and this ayah was recited to him, “And whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart aright.” So, he said: “It is the man who – when afflicted with an affliction – knows it is from Allah, so he is pleased with it and submits to it.” [Tahdhibut-Tahdbib (7/276) of Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalāni]
In the above narration is a proof that actions are a part of iman (faith).
Sa’eed Ibn Jubayr (d.104H) said about: “And whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart aright.” means: “That (at the time of an affliction) a person says: Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”
In the above ayah is an explanation that having sabr (patient and perseverance) is the cause for the heart’s guidance; this being the reward for the sābir (the one having patience).
Complaining Against the Decree of Allah.
The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Two characteristics of the people are from disbelief: attack on one’s genealogy and bewailing the deceased.” [Related by Muslim (no. 67) and Ahmad (2/377), from Abū Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu)] It means: that these two characteristics are actions of kufr (disbelief), since these are actions of jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance) which continue to remain in people. And no one will remain safe from them, except for the one to whom Allah grants safety, and the one to whom Allah grants knowledge and iman (faith).
However, it should be known, that whosoever has within him a branch of kufr (disbelief), then it does not cause the person to become a kafir (disbeliever) with absolute kufr; just as a person who has within him a branch of iman (faith), is not called a mu’min (believer)with absolute iman. Indeed, there is a difference between the word kufr having the definite article attached to it (i.e. al-kufr) and the word kufr without the definite article – as occurs in the saying of the Prophet(Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), “There is nothing between a servant and between al-kufr and ash-shirik, except abandoning the Solah.” [Related by Muslim (no. 82), Abū Dāwūd (no. 4679) and at-Tirmidzi (no. 2621), from Jābir Ibn ‘Abdullāh (radiyallahu ‘anhu)]
The saying of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), “Attack on one’s genealogy,” means: finding faults and defects. Entering into this also is a person’s false denial of another man’s genealogy by saying, “This is not the son of such and such,” and the person knew that this denial was false.
And his saying, “And bewailing the dead.” means: raising the voice in lamentation and wailing and in enumerating the virtues of the deceased. All of this is a form of complaining against the Decree of Allah and is against having sabr – such as the saying of the one bewailing: “He was my close friend,” or “he was my aid and supporter.”
So in the above hadith is a proof for the obligation of having sabr, and a proof that there is a type of kufr (disbelief) which does not cause its doer to become a kāfir.
Tender Hearts and Compassionate Tears.
The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “He is not one of us who strikes the cheeks, tears the clothes and calls with the call of jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance).” [Related by Al-Bukhari (no. 1294) and Muslim (no. 103), from Ibn Mas’ūd (radiyallahu ‘anhu)] This is one of those textual threats related in the Revelation. It is related from Sufyān ath-Thawrī and Imam Ahmad) that they disliked explaining the meaning of such threats, so that people would have fear of committing such actions and would remain far away from them. This narration is a proof that the actions mentioned are against complete eman (faith).
Al-Hāfidz Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalani(d.852H, rahimahullah) whilst explaining the saying, “Whosoever strikes the cheeks,” said, “The cheeks have been particularized since that is the most common place of striking. However, striking any other part of the face is just the same.” [Fathul-Bāri (3/164) of Ibn Hajar]
The saying of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), “Tearing the clothes,” implies: tearing open the clothes from the chest. This was the practice of the people of jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance) as an expression of grieving for the deceased.
Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H; rahimahullāh) said about, “And calls with the call of jahiliyyah,” “It means to wail over the deceased.”[Iqtidā ‘us-Sirātil-Mustaqim (l/204) of Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah].
Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullāh) said, “Included in calling with the call of jahiliyyah is calling to tribalism, partisanship and party-spirit; being zealous and bigoted towards one’s madhhab (school of thought), party, or Shaykh; giving precedence to one over the other and calling to this; and forming alliances and enmity based upon this. All of this is from the calls of jahiliyyah.”
Abu ‘Umāmah relates the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) cursed the woman who strikes her face, tears her clothes and wails over the deceased. [Sahih: Related by Ibn Mājah (no. 1584) and also Ibn Hibbān (no. 737). Al-Bawsiri authenticated it in Masābihuz-Zajājah (1/521).]
So, this is a proof that these matters are from the major sins. Also, whosoever laments lightly-without being impatient with Allah’s Decree, nor complaining against it, and says only that which is true – then such lamenting is acceptable. Just like the lamenting of Abū Bakr [Related by Ahmad (6/31), from ‘Aa’ishah (radiyallahu‘anha)] and Fātimah (radiyallahu ‘anha [Related by al-Bukhāri (no. 4462) and Ibn Mājah (no. 1629-1630), from Anas bin Malik (radiyallahu ‘anhu)] when the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) died. There is a text also from Imam Ahmad) concerning this. [As az-Zarkashi mentions in Sharh Mukhtasarul-Kharqi (2/356)]
However, this is not a proof for the prohibition of crying, since there occurs in an authentic narration: That when the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) came to know about the death of his son Ibrāheem, he said: “The eyes shed tears, the heart grieves, but we do not say except that which pleases our Lord. O Ibrāheem! It is because of you that we are grieving.” [Related by Al-Bukhari (no. 1303) and Muslim (no. 2315), from Anas bin Malik and Asmā’ Bint Yazid (radiyallahu ‘anhumā)]
In the Sahīhayn, Usāmah Ibn Zayd relates: That the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) went to one of his daughters, who had with her a young child that was dying. So she raised the child and placed the child in his lap, who was gasping for air. On seeing this, tears rolled down the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) eyes. So Sa’ad said: O Messenger of Allah! What is this? So he (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied, “This is mercy which Allah puts into the hearts of His servants. And Allah is merciful to those of His servants that show mercy to others.” [Related by Al-Bukhari (no. 1283) and Muslim (no. 923)]
Trials Faced By the Believers.
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Whenever Allah intends to do good to a servant, He hastens to punish him in this world. And whenever Allah intends evil for a servant, He postpones the punishment until the Day of Judgement.” [Sahih: Related by At-Tirmidzi (no. 2398) and al-Hākim in al-Mustadrak (1/340), from Anas bin Malik (radiyallahu ‘anhu). It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albāni in as-Sahihah (no. 1220)]
His saying, “Whenever Allah intends to do good to a servant, He hastens to punish him in this world.” means: that he is punished by being inflicted with afflictions and difficulties due to the sins he has committed, due to which he is cleansed from them all, and in the Hereafter he has no sins to account for.
Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah ( rahimahullāh) said, “The occurrence of afflictions are actually a form of blessing, since they are an expiation for sins committed and they call for a person to have sabr – for which he is duly rewarded. Likewise they cause the person to turn to Allah in repentance, being humble and submissive before Him, whilst at the same time turning away from hoping in any of the creation. There are – besides these – other great advantages.”
Thus, those afflictions which befall a person are actually the cause of Allah wiping away his sins, and this is one of the greatest blessings. So the occurrence of afflictions are a source of mercy and bounty, providing such a person does not enter into that which is a cause for even greater disobedience than before. For this affliction will then become a cause of great evil to the person’s Religion. Indeed, there are people who – when afflicted with a trial or a affliction; such as poverty, illness or starvation – causes hypocrisy to sprout in them, or causes their hearts to become diseased, or it causes them to fall into ingratitude and disbelief, or to abandon certain obligations or commit certain prohibited acts – all of which is extremely harmful to one’s Religion. So to remain safe from, and to be protected against such afflictions and trials, is better for a person, since the afflictions and trials – rather than being a source of blessings – becomes a source of great injury. However, if the person had sabr and remained obedient, then such an affliction would have been the cause of mercy and blessings from Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, which necessitates praising Him.
So whosoever is afflicted with a calamity and is provided with sabr, then this sabr is a blessing for the person and a mercy for him, since his sins are expiated due to it. Likewise his Lord bestows upon him praises and prayers, as Allah, the Majestic, says: “They are those on who are the blessings and praises from their Lord and His mercy. They are the ones who are guided.”[Sūrah Al-Baqarah [2:155-157]]
Such a person is also forgiven by his Lord for his sins, and is raised to higher ranks – all of this is due to the one who has sabr.” [Abridged from Majmū’ul-Fatāwā (10/48) of Ibn Taymiyyah.]
The saying of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam): “Whenever Allah intends evil for a servant, He postpones the punishment until the Day of Judgement,” means: such a person’s punishment is delayed until the Hereafter, where he will receive severe punishment.
Al-’Azīzi (d.1070H; rahimahullāh) said: “Such a person is not punished in this world, so that in the Hereafter he can be punished for his sins in a way that he fully deserved.” [As-Sirājul-Munir (l/88) of Al-’Azizi]
In the above hadith are a lesson and a reminder that one must have good expectations in Allah and a good opinion about Him with regard to what He has decreed for a person, as Allah, the Most High, says: “It is possible that you hate a thing and it is good for you, and love a thing and it is evil for you. Allâh knows and you do not know.” [Sūrah Al-Baqarah, 2:216]]
Rewards Are Proportional To Afflictions.
The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Reward is directly proportional to the affliction. If Allah loves a people, He inflicts them with a calamity. Whoever accepts it, Allah is pleased with them, and whoever resents it, Allah is displeased with them.” [Hasan: Related by at-Tirmidzi (no. 2398) and Ibn Mājah (no. 4021), from Anas bin Malik (radiyallahu ‘anhu). It was authenticated by al-Albāni in as-Sahihah (no. 146).]
Likewise, the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Whenever Allah loves a people, He sends affliction upon them. So whoever is patient is one of the patient-ones, and whoever resents it, is one of the resenters.” [Sahih: Related by Ahmad (5/427), from Mahmūd Ibn Lubayd (radiyallahu ‘anhu). It was authenticated by al-Mundhari in at-Targhib wat-Tarhib (4/283), al-Haythami Majma’uz-Zawā’id (2/291) and Ibn Hajar in Fathul-Bāri (10/108).]
The meaning of the first hadith is: the greater the affliction, the greater the reward. And it is said: Indeed, afflictions bring about a reward as well as expiating sins. This was the preferred saying of Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullāh) that the one afflicted with a calamity is not only rewarded for it, but his sins are expiated as well. However, if this affliction was the cause of him doing certain righteous actions – such as having sabr (Patience) , ridhā (contentment and pleasure) with the Decree of Allah, repenting to Allah or asking for His forgiveness – then the person will be rewarded for such actions as well. Because of this it is said that the meaning of the hadith is:Indeed, the reward is proportional to the affliction, providing there is sabr (Patience) and expectation of reward.
Similarly, in the hadith of Sa’ad, ‘The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was asked, ‘Who from mankind suffers the greatest afflictions?’ He replied, ‘The Prophets, then those most like them, then those most like them. A person is afflicted with calamities in comparisons to his Religion, so if he is firm in his Religion, then his afflictions are strong and if he is weak in his Religion, then his afflictions are lighter. A person is afflicted with calamities until he is left walking upon the face of this earth without any sins.” [Sahih: Related by Ahmad (l/172), At-Tirmidzi (no. 2398) and Ibn Mājah (no. 4023). It was authenticated by al-Albāni in as-Sahihah (no.143).]
This hadith and its like are from the proofs for Tawheed. Since if a person knew that the Prophets and the awliyā’ (the friends of Allah) are themselves afflicted with calamities and that none can remove these afflictions from them except Allah, then it will be known that they can bring neither benefit nor ward of harm to themselves – so how can they ward off harm for others! Thus rather than turning to the Prophets and righteous people for the removal of harm, or relief from worries and grief, one should turn directly to Allah alone – the One who is able to accomplish this.
And Ar-Ridhā (The Pleasure Of Allah), which occurs in the saying of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam): “So whosoever is pleased, then Allah is pleased with him.” – is one of the Attributes that Allah has described Himself with in various places in His Book, such as His saying: “Their rewards are Gardens of Adan, beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. Allah is well pleased with them, as they are with Him.” [Sūrah Al-Bayyinah, 98:8]
The way of the Salaf (the Pious Predecessors) and those who follow them from Ahlus-Sunnah (the followers of the Sunnah) is to affirm those attributes which Allah has affirmed for Himself, or which have been affirmed by His Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) – in a way which befits His Majesty and Greatness – without tamtheel (likening Allah to any of His creation), and withoutta’teel (divesting Allah of His Attributes). So when Allah, the Most High, is pleased with any one, then such a person has acquired all good and excellence and is safe from all evils.
Ar-Ridhā is: a servant’s surrendering his affairs to Allah, whilst having a good opinion about Him and expecting His reward. Such a person will then experience tranquility and joy, love of Allah and reliance upon Him.
Ibn Mas’ūd (radiyallahu ‘anhu) said: “Indeed Allah, from His Justice and Fairness, made delight and tranquility the fits of yaqeen (certainty) and ridhā (pleasure). And He made grief, anxiety and worries the result of doubt and resentment.” [Related by Ibn Abi Dunyā in Kitābur-Ridhā (no. 94) and also Al-Bayhaqi in Shu’abul-Iman (no. 205)]
The meaning of resentment being: “A dislike for something, with the absence of pleasure.” [An-Nihayah fi Gharibil-Hadith (2/350) of Ibn al-Athir] Thus, whosoever resents what Allah has decreed, then Allah will resent that person; and this is sufficient as a punishment from Allah. Also, from the above hadith, some Scholars have deduced that ridhā (contentment and pleasure) with the Decree of Allah is obligatory. This is being the view of Ibn ‘Aqeel (rahimahullāh). However, Al-Qādi Abū Ya’lā (rahimahullāh) did not consider it to be obligatory but rather a preferable, and this was the preferred view of Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibnul-Qayyim. [Madārijus-Sālikeen (2/171,184) of Ibnul-Qayyim]
Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah ( rahimahullāh) said: “Just as there is a specific command attached to having sabr (patience), there is, however, no such command for having ridhā (contentment and pleasure). Rather, there is praise and an excellence for those who have ridhā with the Decree of Allah.” He further said, “The narration: ‘Whosoever does not have sabr with My afflictions, nor have ridhā with My Decree, has taken a Lord other than Me.’ [Da’if Jiddan: Related by At-Tabarāni in Al-Kabir (22/320), Ibn Hibbān in Al-Majrūhin (1/324) and al-Khatib in At-Talkhis (39/2) all by way of Sa’id Ibn Ziyād. Al-Haythami said in al-Majma’ (7/207), “In it is Sa’id Ibn Ziyād who is matrūk (abandoned).” And al-Hāfidz al-’Irāqi said in Takhrijul-Ihyā’ (3/296), “Its isnād is weak.” And al-Manāwi said, “Da’if Jiddan (very weak)” as occurs in ad-Da’ifah (no. 505).] This narration is one of the Isrā’eeliyyāt and is not authentically related from the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).” [Ibnul-Qayyim related this in Madārijus-Sālikeen (2/171).]
Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullāh) also said: “Indeed, there is a station higher than both the sabr patience) and ridhā contentment and pleasure) and that is to show shukr (gratitude) to Allah for the affliction, since this is the cause of receiving excellence and bounties.” [Majmū’ul-Fatāwā (11/260) of Ibn Taymiyyah]
Seeking Allah’s Mercy, Forgiveness and Repentance
Ibn Mas’ud (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “He who says: “Astaghfirullāhal`adzeem, Alladzi lā ilāha illā, Huwal-Hayyul-Qayyum, Wa atūbuilaīh (I seek the forgiveness of Allāh, who is devoid of imperfection which there is no true god except Allāh, He, the Ever Living One; the Self-Existing One, And I turn to Him in repentance” ;His sins will be forgiven even if he should have run away from the battlefield (while he was engaged in fighting for the Cause of Allāh).” [Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidzi and Al-Hakim].
`Abdullah Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: We would count for the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) in one sitting 100 times: ‘Rabb ighfir li wa tubb `alayya innaka antat-tawwābul-raheem (O Allāh, forgive me and accept my repentance, for You are the Accepter of Repentance, Most Merciful)’. According to another report: ‘Rabb ighfir li wa tubb alayya Innaka antat-tawābul-ghafūr (O Allāh, forgive me and accept my repentance, for You are the Acceptor of Repentance, Oft-Forgiving)’. [Abu Dawud (1516) and At-Tirmidzi (3434) and others: sahih].
‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (radiyallāhu‘anhu) narrated that Abu Bakar As-Siddiq (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported: I requested the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) to teach me a supplication which I could recite in my Solāt. Thereupon he said, “Recite:‘Allāhumma inni zalamtu nafsi zulman kathiran, Wa la yaghfirudz-dzunuba illa Anta, Faghfir li maghfiratan min ‘indika, warhamni , Innaka Antal-Ghafūr-ur-Raheem (O Allāh! I have considerably wronged myself. There is none to forgive the sins but You. So grant me pardon and have mercy on me. You are the Most Forgiving, the Most Compassionate).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
It was narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said to a man (one of the Sahabah): “What do you say when you prayer (Du’a after the Tashahhud)?” He said: “I recite the Tashahhud, then I say: “Allāhumma inni as alukal-Jannah wa a‘udzu bika Minan-nār” (O Allāh, I ask You for Paradise and seek refuge in You from the Fire).I cannot murmur like you and like Mu‘adz.” Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “It is about them that we were murmuring.” [Narrated by Abu Dawud, 792: sahih].
‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib (radhiyallāhu‘anhu) reported: When the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was in Solat, Rasulullah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to supplicate towards the end of prayer after Tashahhud and before the concluding Taslim:“Allāhumma ighfir li ma qaddamtu, Wa ma akhkhartu (O Allāh! Forgive me what I have done in the past, and what I will do in the future),Wa ma asrartu, Wa ma ‘alantu (And those I have committed in secret as well as those I have done openly),Wa ma asraftu, (And where I have transgressed all bounds,)Wa ma anta a’ lamu bihi minni. (As well as those things about which You are more knowledgeable.) Antal-muqaddimu, Wa antal-muakhkhiru (You alone send favours to whomever you will; and you alone defer it to whomever as you will).Lā ilāha illa anta (None has the right to be worshipped but You.).” [This is recorded by Muslim; Abu ‘Awanah, Abu Dawud (760)].
Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir recorded that Umm Salamah (radiyallāhu`anha), said that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to supplicate: ‘Ya muqallibal-qulubi, thabbit qalbi `ala deenik (O Controller of the hearts make my heart steadfast in Your religion).” Rasulullah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) then recited: Rabbana la tuzia’qulubana ba’ daiz hadaitana wahab Lana min laduñ karahmah; Iñnaka an tal wahhāb. (Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after Thou have guided us, and grant us mercy from Thou. Truly, Thou are the Bestower.) (Al-’Imran, 3:8) [This is recorded by Muslim and At-Tirmidzi]
‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported: The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to supplicate: “Allāhumma inni as ‘alukal-Huda, Wat-Tuqa, Wal-‘Afafa, Wal-Ghina (O Allāh! I beseech You for Guidance, Piety, Chastity and Contentment).” [Muslim]. This du’a contains four words, the meanings and implications of which constitute its essence. These words are guidance, piety (fear of Allah), chastity and sufficiency. Guidance here means guidance at every turn of life and steadfastness on the path of truth. Fear of Allah is the greatest means of piety and strongest defense against sins. Chastity is the state of being free from what is unlawful. Self-sufficiency is the antonym of poverty and here it means the self-contentment. What it implies is that one should not care for what people possess. In view of all these qualities, the prayer of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) mentioned in this Hadith is very comprehensive and valuable.
Anas Ibn Mālik (radiyallāhu’anhu) who said: “The supplication most often recited by Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam): Allahumma-ātina-fid-dunya hasanah, Wa fil-ākhirati-hasanah, Wa-qina-‘ādzabānnār (O Allah! Bestow upon us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the punishment of the Fire).’” (Al-Baqārah 2:201) [This is recorded by Al-Bukhāri, Muslim, and Tarmidzi]. Tarmidzi (rahimullāh) said: “Hasanah is very comprehensive and includes in all kinds of good and benefits of this world and of the Hereafter. Good health, wealth and satisfaction of the world and good status in Jannah, forgiveness from sins and Allāh’s bounties and favours in both worlds are included in this duā’” [At-Tarmidzi]
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[Edited and adapted from “Fathul-Majīd li Sharh Kitābit-Tawhīd” (2/603-615); Chapter: “Imān In Allāh Is to Have Sabr (Patience) With the Decree of Allāh”, Via Knowledge First Then Action]
2. Taqwa: Between Love and Fear of Allah;