Sabr – The true characteristic of a Muslim
All praises are due to Allah; we seek his aid and his assistance, and ask his forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our souls and from the evil of our actions.
Whomever Allah guides, no one will be able to able to mislead him. Whomever he leads astray, nobody can guide him. And I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah alone, having no partners. And I bear witness that Muhammad, SAW, the seal of the prophets, is his slave and messenger.
Ya ‘IbadAllaah, the topic of today’s khutbah, is one that is closely linked to the khutbahs that were delivered by our brothers in the previous weeks. It is closely linked to the khutbah about Tawakul ‘alallaah – Reliance in Allaah, and Istiqaamah – Steadfastness in the deen.
The topic is regarding the true characteristic of a Muslim.
It is regarding this characteristic that Ali Ibn Abi Talib RA has said ‘that this characteristic in relation to Eemaan is like the relation of the head to the body…if the head is chopped off then the body becomes useless. Certainly, the one who has not got this characteristic has no Eemaan, and this characteristic is like a riding beats that never gets tired’. (weak narration)
This characteristic is none other than the characteristic of Patience.
Patience, Ya Ikhwaan, at times of calamity, patience at times of adversity, patience at times of trials and tribulations, patience at the time of afflictions..Patience at times when you feel that something is eating away at your heart.
Patience is something that is becoming a rarity in society today. It is slowly fading away from the hearts of the Muslims. We become impatient at frivolous situations, at trivial matters.
Ibn Qayyum Al Jawziyyah RHM he mentions in one of his works, that patience is a condition of Jannah:
Allaah says in the Qur’aan: Surah Al Mu’minun Chapter 23 Verse 111
“I have rewarded them this day for their patience and constancy (patience): they
are indeed the ones that have achieved Bliss…”
The word constancy here refers to how one continuously remained patience. Such will be the people who will enter Jannah and be saved from the Naar.
May Allaah makes amongst those people who are rewarded with Jannah and saved from the fire …Ameen
It is from the consensus of the Ahlul-‘Ilm that patience is obligatory upon every believer. It is half of one’s faith. Yes, it is hard to keep patient in every situation. But, know that great success lies within patience. The Prophet SAW said in hadeeth recorded in Bukhari and Muslim from Abû Sa’îd al-Khudrî (RA) that “No-one can be given a better and more abundant gift than patience’’.
Allaah tells us that we will face calamities and we will face problems. He says in the Qur’aan:
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوفْ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الأَمَوَالِ وَالأنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ ﴿١٥٥﴾ الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُواْ إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ
Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere,
Those who, when afflicted with a calamity they utter the phrase: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return’’
It is a common misconception today, that we will only utter the phrase (innAllaha aw inna ilayhi raaji’oon) at the time of death. Yes, this is permitted however; we should not only restrict ourselves to saying this at the time when a person dies. The word used is ‘مُّصِيبَةٌ’
-Calamity, misfortunes. It is reported from A’ishah RA that the prophet SAW uttered this phrase when the lamp went off at night. Our Mother A’ishah she asked the Prophet SAW: Ya Rasulullaah, is this also a calamity?.. Allah’s Messenger Sallallahu alayhi wa’sallam replied, “Yes. Whatever hurts or causes difficulty to a Muslim is a calamity and on bearing it patiently, it carries Allah’s promise of reward.”
Unfortunately, this phrase is slowly fading away from the tongues of the Muslims. In fact, at the time of the death of a loved one, many people, and especially our womenfolk, they do not adhere to the commands of Allaah ta’ala and the teachings of our prophet Muhammad SAW. This is very dangerous. The prophet SAW was describing the day of judgement to his companions and he mentioned a very scary situation. He said ‘You will find some women on that day who have this Jilbab, this covering on their body. This is not the same as the jilbabs our sisters wear today. The prophet SAW described this clothing by stating that is made from (La’natullaah) the curse of Allaah ta’ala. This is something amazing, we cannot comprehend but, Allaah is competent and is able to do this. The prophet SAW went on to say that these women will also be wearing a cloak/head covering – dir’um- minan naar…made from the fire. This head covering will be sewn by the fire. Wallaahi, this is very scary. She will be in mad state and she will place her hands on her head and she will be screaming. Who is this person Ya Rasulullaah?…Who is this person who is made to suffer such a frightening experience. The prophet SAW said this person is ‘An-Naa-ihah’…This person is a weeper. These people they strike their cheeks, pull their hair out, and they shout ‘Woe to me, Woe to me’…Such people will face such a tremendous punishment. Yes, we are permitted to let the tears flow because Allaah knows we are weak. However, we cannot transgress out limits. Why….because when one acts in such a manner, he/she is not upset at the loss of a loved one, but, rather this expresses disapproval of what Allaah decreed. This is why the Ahlul ‘Ilm, they advise us, that when a brother is writing his will, he writes down that ‘my women are not allowed to wail and cry’..because this causes grief for the deceased. We have to practice patience at the time of death. May Allaah make us of those who are saved from such a punishment..Ameen.
To conclude the first part of the khutbah, I leave you with advice from the scholars of how to achieve patience during difficult times.
1. thinking of the good reward that lies ahead. The more you believe in the rewards that
are waiting for you, the easier it becomes to have patience. If it were not for the
anticipation of the rewards, no goals or objectives pertaining to this life or the hereafter
would have been achieved.
2. Expecting and hoping for a time of ease. This hope in itself offers a measure of
3. thinking of Allah’s countless blessings. When we realize that we cannot count the
blessings of Allaah because it is so great in number, it becomes easier for us to exercise patience in facing the adversity.
Allaah says in Surah Nahl Verse 18 that if you would count the blessings of Allaah; you will never be able to count them…Truly Allaah is oft-forgiving and most merciful.
Take the example of your eyelashes, Scientists today have said that without eyelashes the risk of eye damage increases greatly because it will allow dust and small objects in the air to enter the eye. Once we contemplate upon this we realise, this difficulty is nothing but a raindrop compared to vast ocean of Allaah’s blessings and favours;
4. Thinking of previous blessings of Allaah. This will remind us of Allaah’s care, and
strengthen our hopes and expectations of a time of ease to come.
May Allaah give us the Tawfique to practice patience.
Once an enemy ; he slapped Imam Abu Hanifah RHM across the face. The imams response to this is amazing. His reflected patience, it reflected Tawakul-‘alallaah and it reflected steadfastness upon the deen and upon the Quran & Sunnah. The Imaam he responded with words of gold, with words of wisdom and humility. He replied: If I wanted then I could slap you in the manner you slapped me, but I will not do so. If I wanted then I could report you to the khalifah, but I will not do so. I could invoke Allaah to take action against you at the time of Tahajjud, but I will not do so. I can ask for justice on the day of judgement, but I will not do so. But, I assure you that if I receive my record in my right hand and my intercession is accepted, then I assure you that I will not enter Jannah without you. This was the patience, the Tawakul ‘alallaah and the steadfastness upon the deen practiced by Imam Abu Hanifah RHM.
Umm Salamah RA; when her husband passed away, she thought to herself ‘Who is better than the my husband, Abu Salamah RA? He was the first to migrate to the Prophet SAW…However, she bore the death of her husband with patience..she remembered to say ‘Inna Lillaahi Wa Inna Ilyhi Raji’oon…and Allaah decreed for her something better…Allaah decreed that the prophet Muhammad SAW ask for her hand in marriage…and so, she married the prophet Muhammad SAW … the best of men
And lastly, I conclude by sharing the famous story of ‘Urwah Ibn Al-Zubayr RHM. He was once going on a journey with his son, Muhammad to visit the Khalifah at that time – Al Walid Ibn ‘Abdul Malik. . His son, Muhammad was known to be very handsome. He dressed in fine clothes and he braided his hair. The Khalifah he saw him and he said ‘This is how the young people of Quraysh look’ and as a result, he put the evil eye on him. Before, they went back to their home, Muhammad he fell ill and eventually passed away after being trampled on by horses. His father ‘Urwah, then suffered from Gangrene on his leg. Gangrene is when a part of the body decays as a result of dead tissues in the body. It can cause the area infected to turn black or green and also, may cause a foul smell to arise. However, ‘Urwah he remained patience and the doctors told him that they will have to amputate his leg in order to stop the decay spreading. At that time, they had no anaesthetic and no professional medical equipment that we are used to today. They used a saw to amputate his leg. As soon as the saw reached his bone, he fainted. Once he regained his consciousness, he was sweating profusely and he was repeating ‘La Ilaha Ill-Allaah, Allaahu Akbar. When the operation was over, he picked up his leg, kissed it and said ‘I swear by the one who gave me you to utilise, I never used to walk to a place of wrong-action or a place where Allaah prohibits me from being in. He then gave instructions that the leg should be washed, perfumed and wrapped in a cloth and buried.
‘Urwah then set to Madinah where, he would be greeted by his friends and family on the outskirts of Madina. He refused to enter Madinah because he said that the people there will either take amusement over his affliction or they will feel envious for blessings. So, he went to stay in a place in Al-Aqiq. ‘Isa Ibn Talhah came to visit him and consoled him. He said ‘May your enemies fathers perish. Thereafter, he consoled him even more by saying, Allaah has saved most of you, he has given you sanity, he has given you a tongue, he has given you eyesight, he has given you your 2 hands and one of your 2 legs. ‘Urwah remarked at ‘Isa’s kindness and said ‘No one has consoled me as you have’‘Urwah then set to Madinah where, he would be greeted by his friends and family on the outskirts of Madina. He refused to enter Madinah because he said that the people there will either take amusement over his affliction or they will feel envious for blessings. So, he went to stay in a place in Al-Aqiq. ‘Isa Ibn Talhah came to visit him and consoled him. He said ‘May your enemies fathers perish. Thereafter, he consoled him even more by saying, Allaah has saved most of you, he has given you sanity, he has given you a tongue, he has given you eyesight, he has given you your 2 hands and one of your 2 legs. ‘Urwah remarked at ‘Isa’s kindness and said ‘No one has consoled me as you have’
When the doctors came to perform the operation, they had asked ‘Urwah to drink some intoxicants to ease the pain. But, as a person who remained content with what Allaah had decreed, he replied ‘Allaah is testing me, to see the extent of my patience. How could I go against his commands?