SABR-Where do I find thee?

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم
Bismillahir-Rahman-Nir-Rahim
(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful)

 يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ اسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَوةِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّـبِرِينَ

“O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salah (the prayer). Truly, Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient)” [2:155]

Since my early days of youth I have always personified my mother to SABR ( may Allah grant my parents the best in deen, duniya/world and akhirah/hereafter), but I never really understood it though!!! It just seemed as a mere word or de facto.

After having come closer to the Quran I realised it was an essential part of my daily routine that needs to be embedded within me to solve the majority of my soo called challenges.

Constantly working on this quality SABR, the ayah from Surah Baqarah struck me in a number of ways. Reflecting and pondering over the meanings and exegesis of the verse significantly explodes the necessity to praise Allah (SubhanawaTaala). Allahu Akbar.

Apparently we are all facing challenges in our everyday lives. When we ask a kid if he
has difficulties, he responds to the positive. If the same question is asked to a middle school student if he was busy then or now, and the challenges were greater then or now, he would definitely respond to the current position. The response would be the same if the question is posed to a high school student, a university student, a master’s student, a bachelor, a married man, a man with kids that his previous position was a lot better than his current one.

Every entry to a new level is obtained by passing the previous level and higher the level more difficult is the test. Life at every stage is full of changes and challenges.

Our existence is for a purpose. These challenges are a test. Allah says

الَّذِى خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَوةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلاً وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ
“Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the Almighty, the Oft-Forgiving” [67:2]

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوفْ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الاٌّمَوَالِ وَالاٌّنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّـبِرِينَ
“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient)”[2:155]

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ حَتَّى نَعْلَمَ الْمُجَـهِدِينَ مِنكُمْ وَالصَّـبِرِينَ وَنَبْلُوَ أَخْبَـرَكُمْ
“And we will surely, try you until We know those who strive among you and the patient, and We will put to a test all your affairs” [47:31]

 It is apparent from these ayah that we will be tested.  Tests challenge our abilities to
force the best out of us to take us to the maximum. The beauty of these tests, is that at every stage Allah is preparing us for the next one and Subhan Allah, Allah also mentions,

لاَ يُكَلّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا
“Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope”[2:286]

فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْراً – إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْراً
” Verily, along with every hardship is relief. Verily, along with every hardship is relief” [94:5-6]

 This verily implies that we are capable of handling our situations with the help of Allah.

When we acknowledge the fact that we are here to fulfill a purpose, we are certain we will be tested on our journey and our destination is based on the grades we achieve from the tests, would Sabr not be one of the many factors to make the road easier?

Getting back to the ayah,

يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ اسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَوةِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّـبِرِينَ

The ayah starts of by addressing the believers, “يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ” which is called Hurfe Nida. It states the importance of that which is going to be stated further in the ayah. It tells the reader /listener to be become alert and attentive.

“آمَنُواْ”- “those people who have believed” which is a verb or action-word. Allah addresses the people using the best Quality-Imaan. The literal meaning of Imaan/Tasdeekh is  to confirm truthfulness of something or someone. Only if a person has Imaan within him can he recognize Allah and perform the duties towards him.

 It has been narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RadiAllahuunhu) (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Noble Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: Iman (faith) has 70 plus branches. The greatest of all is to say: La ilaha illallah and the least is
to remove something harmful from the way and modesty (haya) is also a branch of Iman.(Bukhari, Muslim)

Subhan Allah this Hadith encompasses bil lisaan/action of tongue, bil jawareh/action of limbs and bil Qalb/action of heart. Imaan is manifested through person’s actions, until then Imaan is just a claim, plain simple words.
Allah says “Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will
not be tried?” [29:2]
The point to bring to attention here is, Allah will test us even with our Imaan. TEST again…

Then Allah says اسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَوةِ

Although we know the importance of Salah is great yet Allah tells the believers to seek help firstly through SABR followed by Salah, not vice versa.

Without Sabr there is no way we could do Salah. Salah requires endurance which we
will read further ahead.
Prior to studying this Ayah I thought the meaning of Sabr was patience, but that is just
the tip of the ice berg. SABR in Arabic is Habs un Nafs(Controlling ones self). Along with Patience the additional meanings of SABR are endurance, foreberance, steadfastness, perserverence, restraint, strength.

Mostly when we think of Sabr our mind takes us to the point when a calamity strikes.

There are 3 major types of Patience:

  1. Endurance required in order for fulfilling commands of Allah
    Without Endurance there is no way we could bear the cold water, standing
    in  Tareeweeh prayer, the tahajjud Prayer,leaving our sleep.

“And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashi’un” [2:45]

“Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, so worship Him and abide patiently in His worship. Do you know of any who is similar to Him” [19:65]

 وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلوةِ وَاصْطَبِر عَلَيْهَا لاَ نَسْأَلُكَ رِزْقاً نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكَ وَالْعَـقِبَةُ لِلتَّقْوَى
“And enjoin Salah on your family, and be patient in offering them. We ask not of you a provision: We provide for you. And the good end is for those who have Taqwa” [20:132]

وَرَابِطُواْ وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ  يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ اصْبِرُواْ وَصَابِرُواْ
“O you who believe! Endure and be more patient, and Rabitu, and have Taqwa of Allah, so that you may be successfull” [3:200]

2.   Restrain from the Prohibitions-Eg Adultery, Hijaab of the eyes.

3.   Acceptance of the Decree when calamity strikes
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam), said: “There is no calamity
that befalls one of the Muslims and he responds ‘Inna Lillahi wa inna ilahi raaji’oun,
Allahumma ujurni fi museebati w’ukhluf li khayran minha,’ (Truly to Allah we belong
and truly to Him we shall return, O Allah reward me in this calamity & compensate
me with something better than it), but Allah will compensate him with something
better than it.” (Muslim 918)

Islaam is the only religion where we need to believe in Decree with unwavering surety.
Imaan-i-Mufassal : Amantu Billahi wa Malaikatihi wa Kutubihi wa Rusulihi wal – yaumil-akhiri wal qadari khairihi wa sharrihi min Allahi Ta ‘ala wal-ba’thi ba’dal maut. This is one of the essentials of faith.

By Accepting the decree of Allah we say Alham du liah to any matter be it positive or negative. For a true believer, there is, nothing negative. What might   seem to be negative for a human brain is in fact a plan from our creator, but we fail to realise and make use
of the abundant opportunities to get closer to him.

“Once there was a lady who came to the Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam). She said, ‘I get epileptic seizures and my body becomes uncovered. Please pray to Allah to help me.’ The Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam), said to her, ‘If you remain patient you will have Paradise; but if you want, I will ask Allah to cure you.’ The woman replied, ‘I will remain patient.’ Then she said, ‘But I become uncovered, so please ask Allah to help me
so I won’t become uncovered.’ So the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)) asked Allah to help her.”

This wonderful story is full of wisdom and encouragement for Muslims suffering through the trials of this world. Here is a woman living with a disability that causes her unfathomable embarrassment and enormous distress.

This woman finally has an opportunity to be relieved of her misery, but then she’s told to pause a moment. She can choose to either be relieved of her suffering in this world or be patient and win Allah’s eternal happiness in the hereafter. She chooses the everlasting bliss of paradise.

Even after she has opted to sacrifice her relief in this world, this righteous woman remains committed to pleasing Allah. She is now concerned about her body becoming uncovered during her fits. This is a woman who knows what her purpose is in life—to worship Allah, Glory be to Him the Most High.

There is great Divine wisdom behind the concept of being pleased with Allah’s decree, known as “Al-Ridaa Bil-Qadr”. Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)prayed for this blessing in one of his ‘masnoon’ dua’s.
But how does one achieve this desired goal? Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam) said,“Do not look to those above you. Look to those below you, as it will more likely remind you of Allah’s favors bestowed on you.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).On the other hand we are encouraged to look up to those who do good so that we can try to be like them.

Whenever a calamity strikes there are 4 ways a person could react:

  1. SABR- He does SABR which is WAJIB (Mandatory). He does this by controlling his emotions. One is allowed to cry, but beating the chest, cheeks is disallaowed.On the death of his son the Messenger of Allah Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam), said, ‘The eye is tearful,the heart grieves, and we do not say anything but whatever pleases our Lord. We, on account of your parting, O Ibrahim, are grieved.”
  2. Al Ridhaa bil Qadr –which is mandūb(Recommended). He is pleased with the decree of Allah by accepting what comes his way. This makes a person positive and he looks for wisdom behind the calamity/problem.
  3. SHUKUR- Gratitude for the Musibah- By saying Alham du lillah alla kulli haal, he thanks Allah and appreciates the fact that the situation could have been even more worse or intense. He realises it is a means of purification and an opportunity for more reward.
  4. Sakat- Anger/Rudeness/Frustration/ Negative words which is Haraam(forbidden). It is a major sin and brings the wrath of Allah.

We must all realise there is much good in bearing with patience that which we dislike. Success comes only with patience and with hardship there is ease.-HADITH.”

The ayah ends by saying إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّـبِرِينَ “ indeed Allah is with those who do SABR. Subhan Allah the only statement sufficient to do SABR is to realise that ALLAH is with us.

Allah being with us refers to:-

  1. In its general sense-by his knowledge, power, his seeing, his hearing, his Khudrah
  2. In a special way- through his help and assistance(Taha: 46)

It is most important to do SABR at the time when calamity strikes. Narrated Anas: The Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam), said, “The real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.”Sahih Al-Bukhari – Vol 2Hadith 389

This is not undoable, as we have HISTORY bear witness to the innumerable people who did SABR. It requires a conscious, continuous and deliberate effort on the person to hone this quality. Allah’s help will come in the form of ease and barakah, In sha Allah. “And whoever remains patient, Allah will make him patient. Nobody can be given a blessing better and greater than patience.”

There are means to acquire this elusive, yet most precious blessing.

  1. Pray, because Prayer (Salah) is the way to Success. Having a sublime connection with our Rabb quenches our thirsty soul.
  2.  Make lots of Duwa. Duwa is a weapon towards Victory.
    Rabbana afrigh ‘alayna sabraw wa tawaffana Muslimeen
    “Our Lord! Pour out on us patience and constancy, and take our souls unto thee as
    Muslims (who bow to thy will)”! [7:126]Rabbana afrigh ‘alayna sabran wa thabbit aqdamana wansurna ‘alal-qawmil-kafirin
    “Our Lord! Bestow on us endurance, make our foothold sure, and give us help
    against the disbelievers” [2:250]                                                                                         Allahum.maj ’alni sabooran, waj ’alni shakooran, waj ’alni fi’ainee sagheeran wa fi ’ayoonin-naasi kabeera.
    O Allah, make me thoroughly patient and grateful to You and make me look small in my own eyes and great in the sight of others.
  3. Acquire and renaissance your knowledge and take it to the next level instead of repeating the same basic level information year after year. Conferences and seminars are good, but the importance of having something consistently and regularly going on is essential to help keep steadily growing and developing in one’s connection with Allah. Remember that if one’s faith is not increasing, it is decreasing.
  4. If something harmful befalls do not say if only I had done this or that rather say Allah ordained this and he does whatever he wills. It becomes easier to accept the situation and “If” makes way for the Shaitaan.

So whenever we find the command of SABR or any other command of Allah’s difficult, we need to first make a niyaah and command ourselves to do so as the obligation to fulfill Allah’s command is not nullified in any situation. The promise of Allah (SubhanawaTaala) is undoubtedly true, promised results are obtained  when we sincerely strive for it. In sha Allah.

Jaza e Khair to my friend who was an extra pair of eyes for editing and going through this article. May Allah multiply the reward manyfold for her and her family. Ameen.

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