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Wise Muslim: Are You Patient and Grateful?

Do you sometimes find yourself in a situation where things did not go as you planned or wished for?

How do you usually react?

Do you lose your temper, perhaps even cursing and hurting those around you?

Or do you try exercising patience and gratitude, uttering the words of Allah:

{Who, when afflicted with calamity say, “Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” They are those on whom the Salawat (i.e. the blessing and forgiveness) of their Lord is upon them, and who shall receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones.} (2:156-157)

As hard as it may be to accept, what happens to us is always for our own good as our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) teaches us:

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“Strange is the affair of the Mu’min (the believer), verily all his affairs are good for him. If something pleasing befalls him he thanks (Allah) and it becomes better for him. And if something harmful befalls him he is patient and it becomes better for him. And this is only for the Mu’min ” (Muslim)

Patience and Gratitude in Affliction

We are constantly bombarded with the idea of how this life is about pleasure and leisure, with the false promise that this is merely what we need to make us happy.

However, the problem is that this is not the truth. Let alone that we need to feed both our body and soul (the larger portion) to be in balance, we need to understand that it is an illusion to believe that we can attain total happiness in this world, as it is a place of trials.

We are tested in our health, wealth, offspring, etc. But why does Allah test us?

Indeed, hardships purify us. The world tends to consume us, diverting us from the remembrance of Allah. Hardships draw us closer to Allah and to the Hereafter; reminding us to work more to reach our ultimate destination in the Hereafter; Jannah.

Al-Fadl ibn Sahl said:

“There is a blessing in calamity that the wise man should not ignore, for it erases sins, gives one the opportunity to attain the reward for patience, dispels negligence, reminds one of blessings at the time of health, calls one to repent and encourages one to give charity.” Ibn al-Jawzi said:

“If this dunya was not a station of tests it would not be filled with sicknesses and filth. If life was not about hardship, then the Prophets and the pious would have lived the most comfortable of lives. Nay, Adam suffered test after test until he left the dunya. Nuh (Noah) cried for 300 years. Ibrahim (Abraham) was thrown into a pit of fire and later told to slaughter his son. Ya’qub (Jacob) cried until he became blind. Musa (Moses) challenged Pharaoh and was tested by his people.

Isa (Jesus) had no provision except the morsels his disciples provided him with. And Muhammad (peace be upon him) met poverty with patience, his uncle – one of the most beloved relatives to him – was slain and mutilated and his people disbelieved in him… and the list of Prophets and the pious goes on and on.”

But, with calamities, Allah grants us glad tidings of a better reward. Umm Salamah narrates:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say:

“Any Muslim that says when a calamity befalls him that which Allah commanded him: To Allah we belong and to Him we return. O Allah reward me in this calamity and give me better than it – (any Muslim that says this) Allah will grant him better than (that which he lost).” (Muslim)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said:

“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.”  (Al-Bukhari)

After we feel we have been blessed with patience in affliction, we should aspire to reach a higher level; which is that of gratitude. Gratitude that Allah wants us to be purified from our sins, gratitude that Allah gives us the promise of something better than that with which we were afflicted with. Only then will we reach a state of contentment and serenity.

Patience and Gratitude in Blessings

It is common to feel gratitude in blessings, but what about patience? Patience in blessings is abstaining from using those blessings in anything sinful and/or patience in still being consistent in good deeds after being blessed.

For example, a person who was afflicted with poverty and becomes blessed with wealth; how will he use his wealth? Will he use it in sinful actions? Or will he use it in what conforms to Islamic teachings? Will he still have remembrance for Allah as he used to when he was poor and needy or will he feel that he is needless now that he is rich?

Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“A calamity that makes you turn to Allah is better for you than a blessing which makes you forget the remembrance of Allah.”

Let us not be amongst those Allah warns us against:

{And of the people is he who worships Allah on an edge. If he is touched by good, he is reassured by it; but if he is struck by trial, he turns on his face [to the other direction]. He has lost [this] world and the Hereafter. That is what is the manifest loss.} (22:11; 11:9-11)



Works Cited

(From Discovering Islam archive)

About Suzana Nabil Saad, MA
Suzana Nabil Saad is the former Ask About Islam Editor. She has many years of experience in dawah work.She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the Faculty of Languages, Ain Shams University, Egypt. She obtained her Master’s Degree of Arts in English Literature from Gothenburg University, Sweden.She currently resides in Texas, USA with her husband, and three kids. When she is not editing or writing, she enjoys reading, ideally followed by nature excursions.