From Al- Baqarah: Verses 155 to 157
Based Upon the Explanation by Sh. Muhammad Bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah)
Allaah Subhanahu wa ta’ala (the One Free of all Imperfection, the most High) said:
“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin. [2:155]
“Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” [2:156]
Calamities inflicted on man:
1- Fear: covering the general fear and the specific fear.
2- Hunger: state when one’s stomach is empty of food while being eager to have it.
– Having little food
– Having little means of acquiring it
– Afflicted with an illness which prevents the person from eating due to loss of
appetite, a blockage in the throat, ulcers in the stomach or a disease preventing
absorption of nutrients.
3- Loss of wealth: This covers money, belongings, cattle etc.
4- Loss of Lives
5- Loss of fruits, either less produce or destruction of the produce
The saying of Allaah subhanahu wa ta’ala (what means): “but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin,” tells us of the merits of the patient ones.
“And seek help in patience and As-Salât (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khâshi’ûn [i.e. the true believers in Allâh – those who obey Allâh with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise, etc.) and in His Warnings (Hell, etc.)].” [2:45]
The people of knowledge said that patience is of three types:
1. Patience on the obedience to Allaah
2. Patience on avoiding disobedience and keeping away from sins
3. Patience on the pre-decrees of Allaah.
The most difficult and the most superior of them all in merits is the first type because it involves acting, which covers doing acts of obedience and restraining the self from laxness towards that so that the self does not abandon obedience.
As to the patience on avoiding the sin there is only restrainment. This type of patience has more merits than the patience concerning the pre-decree of Allaah.
Patience on the pre-decrees of Allaah subhanahu wa ta’ala, is inevitable: whether we are patient or not the decree is certain to pass, and one’s sorrow would not lift the pre-decree.
People as a whole can be divided into two types in relation to patience:
1. The patient ones
2. The discontent ones: those who express displeasure and complaints
Having patience on calamities is obligatory and people afflicted with calamities react in different ways:
– Displeasure and complaint (and this is unlawful)
– Gratitude (Ash-Shukr)
Concerning the first one it is unlawful. It is not permitted for the person to be displeased and discontent with the pre-decree of Allaah neither in his heart, on his tongue or by his actions as this is from the major sins
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “He who slaps his cheeks, tears his clothes and follows the ways and traditions of the Days of Ignorance is not one of us.” [Al Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23, Number 382].
This does not mean that the person cannot be sad and that he is the same whether afflicted by calamity or not. He is called, however, to persevere and be patient. The situation is not the same to the person before and after the calamity, he feels it but he does not say except that which pleases Allaah and does not do what angers Allaah.
The second reaction is having patience, it is obligatory and a must for the person to observe patience.
And the third reaction is contentment, being content with the pre-decree of Allaah, and content with this calamity which befalls him.
The difference between being patient and being content is that the patient person feels pain in his heart but does not express it in his sayings and actions and does not do what displeases Allaah while the content person does not go in pain, meaning that the presence or absence of the calamity, knowing it is from Allaah, does not make him feel in his heart the pain and (or) sorrow.
The third level of Contentment is higher than the second level of Patience.
The fourth reaction of gratitude for the calamity (Ash-shukr):
How is a person thankful for a calamity which touches him and affects him?
First, these calamities could be hastened punishments for sins which he has done so he thanks Allaah that He hastened the punishment of these sins in this life.
Secondly, he thanks Allah for not making his calamities more sever i.e. in his deen.
Thirdly, he thanks Allaah by anticipating the reward because the more severe the calamity, the more is he rewarded. Therefore, he thanks Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala for the reward which will be much more than what he can expect.
These are the four stations that people fall in with respect to calamities that Allaah mentioned.
The patient ones have combined Allaah’s Lordship with the rewards necessitating the righteous work and they refer the whole thing to Allah, in their hearts and on their tongues. So to say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return,” is from the completion and perfection of patience.
Also to say that which came in the Sunnah: “O Allah give me reward on my calamity; bring forth to me something better than it” [Saheeh Muslim].
“Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” Saying this together with patience is the guidance.