In “Easy Good Deeds” Mufti Justice Muhammad Taqi Usmani (damat baraktuhum) writes an excellent chapter on Sabr (Patience), which I would like to share with all of you. Sabr is indeed such a quality, that we all should strive for acquiring it.
Allah has created three worlds: one of complete bliss and comfort without any shadow of grief or pain which is Paradise; the second of pain and grief without any shadow of bliss or comfort, which is hell, and hen there is the third world where bliss and grief and pain and comfort coexist, and this one is our present world. Consequently, there has never been nor can ever be a man who has not at some time in his life tasted sorrow. Man, however rich or pious or powerful he may be, would experience pleasure as well as pain; even Allah’s chosen messengers have suffered in this world.
Hence, one who wants to be wholly and permanently free of sorrow and pain does not know the nature of this world and this desire can never be fulfilled. Of course, the measures of pleasure and pain may vary, but complete and permanent freedom from pain is impossible.
ﻗﻴﺪِﺣﻴﺎﺕ ﻭ ﺑﻨﺪِﻏﻢ ﺍﺻﻞ ﻣﯧں ﺩﻭﻧﻮﮞ ﺍﻳﮏ ﮨﯧں
ﻣﻮﺕ ﺳﮯ ﭘﮩﻠﮯ ﺁﺩﻣﻰ ﻏﻢ ﺳﮯ ﻧﺠﺎﺕ ﭘﺎﮢﮯ ﻛﻴﻮﻥ؟
It is thus obvious that every one of us is visited by sorrow and pain in one form or the other. So if his lot impatient and frantic and laments his fate and bewails his lot it would not rid him of pain and sorrow. Such a behaviour would, on the one hand, exacerbate the feeling of pain and sorrow, and, on the other hand, his impatience would be of grave disadvantage to him in so far as the pain and sorrow which could earn him merit and reward would remain barren.
In contrast to this, there is a man who in times of pain and sorrow thinks of the brevity of mundane life and the inevitability of pain and then thinks that whatever Allah does has some Devine Design which man cannot unravel. This man then does not lament his lot nor does he complain; rather his faith in Allah and His doings is strenghtened since whatever Allah does he believes it to be for his good. So he turns to Allah and prays him to change his pain and sorrow into pleasure and comfort and to save him from such plights in future.
This way of thought is “patience”. Patience has the advantage that it brings solace and banishes dismay. Moreover, the pain and sorrow thus become causes for boundless reward and merit since Allah says:
“[…] Those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!” (39:10)
Please note that sorrowing and worrying in times of trouble and trial are not sins, even weeping in sudden shock is not a sin, nor is it an act of impatience. Impatience is to criticise Allah and to lament and complain. Patience is to hold firm to one’s faith in Allah even when his whole world is crumbling into ruins and heart is heavy with grief and eyes are brimming with tears. It is this patience for which has been promised boundless reward.
One sign of patience is to repeatedly say:
“Inna Lillahi Wa Inna ‘Ilayhi Raji’un.”
For those who recite these words in times of trial and tribulation, Allah has said:
“They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.” (2:157)
Consequently our saints and learned men have rightly said that patience is equal to a thousand acts of worship and it leads to man’s spiritual elevation.
It does not require any major catastrophe for one to show patience and recite “Inna Lillahi Wa Inna ‘Ilayhi Raji’un”; in everyday life there are many minor pinpricks whch should be countered with the recitation of this ayah
Umme Salma (radhiallaho anha) has quoted our Holy Prophet (sallallahu alahyhi wasallam) as saying that: “When someone of you is afflicted by some pain or is troubled, [rest of translation is missing]
A hadith tells us that once when a lamp went out our Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) recited this ayah.
This clearly shows that “Inna Lillahi Wa Inna ‘Ilayhi Raji’un” must be recited when assailed by even minor troubles, and similarly patience should be exercised even in everyday problems and worries so that one gets merit of an act of worship. A sudden stumble, a prick of a thorn, failure of electric power, a bad news, a loss, all should be met with a recital of “Inna Lillahi Wa Inna ‘Ilayhi Raji’un” and it should be firmly believed that some Divine Purpose is at work behind every unpleasant event. This is true patience that ways earns immense amount of merit.
Another point to be remembered is that just as shedding tears over some grievous event is not contrary to patience, trying to ameliorate one’s lot and remove the cause of pain and sorrow too is not against the practice of patience. Seeking employment when unemployed does not run counter to the practice of patience. One should try to better one’s condition and also go on praying to Allah. Groaning due to pain is also not contrary to patience. The reality of patience is, as described above, not criticizing or bewailing any Divine decisions, and reciting
“Inna Lillahi Wa Inna ‘Ilayhi Raji’un”
This recital is simple and brief but it earns immesurable reward and merit.