The Virtues of Patience

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Rewards are Proportional to Afflictions

The Prophet sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam said:

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“Reward is directly proportional to the affliction. If Allâh loves a people, He inflicts them with a calamity. Whoever accepts it, Allâh is pleased with them, and whoever resents it, Allâh is displeased with them.” [31]

Likewise, the Prophet ﷺ said:

“Whenever Allâh 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.” [32]

The meaning of the first hadîth 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 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, contentment with the Decree of Allâh, repenting to Allâh 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 hadîth is: Indeed, the reward is proportional to the affliction, providing there is sabr and expectation of reward.

Similarly, in the hadîth of Sa’d: The Prophet sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam 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 Dîn, so if he is firm in his Dîn, then his afflictions are strong and if he is weak in his Dîn, 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.” [33]

This hadîth and its like are from the proofs for Tawhîd. Since if a person knew that the Prophets and the awliyâ (the friends of Allâh) are themselves afflicted with calamities and that none can remove these afflictions from them except Allâh, 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 Allâh alone – the One who is able to accomplish this.

Attaining Tranquility

And ar-Ridâ (the pleasure of Allâh) – which occurs in the saying of the Prophet sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam: “So whosoever is pleased, then Allâh is pleased with him.” – is one of the Attributes that Allâh has described Himself with in various places in His Book, such as His saying:

“Their reward are Gardens of Adan, beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. Allâh is well pleased with them, as they are with Him.” [34]

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 Allâh has affirmed for Himself, or which have been affirmed by His Messenger sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam – in a way which befits His Majesty and Greatness – without tamthîl (likening Allâh to any of His creation), and without ta’tîl (divesting Allâh of His Attributes). So when Allâh – 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-Ridâ is: a servant’s surrendering his affairs to Allâh, whilst having a good opinion about Him and expecting His reward. Such a person will then experience tranquility and joy, love of Allâh and reliance upon Him.

Ibn Mas’ûd – radiallâhu ’anhu – said:

“Indeed Allâh – from His Justice and Fairness – made delight and tranquility the fits of yaqîn (certainty) and ridâ (pleasure). And He made grief, anxiety and worry the result of doubt and resentment.” [35]

The meaning of resentment being: “A dislike for something, with the absence of pleasure.” [36] Thus, whosoever resents what Allâh has decreed, then Allâh will resent that person; and this is sufficient as a punishment from Allâh. Also, from the above hadîth, some Scholars have deduced that ridâ (contentment and pleasure) with the Decree of Allâh is obligatory – this being the view of Ibn ’Aqîl. However, al-Qâdî Abû Ya’lâ did not consider it to be obligatory [but rather preferable], and this was the preferred view of Shaykhul-Islâm Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim. [37]

Shaykhul-Islâm Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“Just as there is a specific command attached to having sabr (patience), there is, however, no such command for having ridâ (contentment and pleasure). Rather, there is a praise and an excellence for those who have ridâ with the Decree of Allâh.” He further said: “The narration: ‘Whosoever does not have sabr with My afflictions, nor have ridâ with My Decree, has taken a Lord other than Me.’ [38] This narration is one of the Isrâ‘îliyyât and is not authentically related from the Prophet sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam.” [39]

Shaykhul-Islâm Ibn Taymiyyah also said:

“Indeed, there is a station higher than [both sabr and] ridâ, and that is to show shukr (gratitude) to Allâh for the affliction, since this is the cause of receiving excellence and bounties.” [40]


(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)



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