Address your stress- Learn to help yourself!

stressStress is the most common problem humanity has to deal with. Every single being is under the spell of stress; he might be a poor teenager or an old millionaire, he will be consumed in ferocious storm of stress and depression. We all are victims of this battle; some might win, but most will perish. Stress has this power, not just to manipulate minds, but squander the body and soul altogether. Increased number of stress relief medications, enhanced therapeutic technologies, modified stress releasing machinery, escalating demand of psychiatrists, and psychologists show how our stress is becoming the ultimate victor of this battle.

Pressing the issue of increased suicidal rate in Muslim community is posing a big question mark on the lifestyle of a religion-oriented nation. It is unfortunate that Muslims are not very considerate about ‘dealing with stress’ issue on a massive scale. A special homework must be done in the scientific and therapeutic fields in the Muslim world, in order to design techniques which are compatible to Muslim mind set and lifestyle; rather than mindless application of the contrastive work of western scholars on Muslims. Meanwhile, we can try to win over the stress within our individual power frame. Usually, people run towards music, party, drinking, smoking, or drugs etc. to get rid of stress; but good news is that there are many alternative Halal (permissible) ways to beat stress. I have enlisted simple, yet powerful tips, which can help overcome stress.

1. Dhikr (rememberance of Allah (swt))

As a Muslim our very first source to beat stress is Dhikr. Allah (swt) said,  “Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.”  (Ar-Rad 13:28)

Now what is this Dhikr? Dhikr literally means to “hold something in conscious mind” and in Islamic terms it means “the remembrance of Allah”. He also said,
“And men who remember Allah greatly and women who remembers (Allah greatly)- Allah holds in store for them forgiveness and a great reward” (Surah Ahzab 33:35)
We find examples of Dhikr in the Quran and narrations of Prophet (sa). Quran itself is the best kind of Dhikr. The psychology behind Dhikr is very interesting. When a person calls his Creator and Sustainer in his conscious mind then he ‘unconsciously’ starts developing a sense of belonging- where he starts trusting his Creator and becomes contented with what is given or taken by Him. This contentment is the key to the door of happiness, and this sensation of felicity beats stress.

2. Follow the Sunnah
Muslims already have a set pattern of life style provided by our prophet (sa). The more you practice Sunnah, the more you beat the stress. Anyone can get those guidelines, anywhere, at any time, just by contemplating over the life of prophet (sa). Allah (swt) said in the Quran, “Say (O Muhammad) onto them that if you love Allah SWT than follow me. Allah will love you and forgive your sins”

When one is loved by Allah (swt) then there is nothing in this entire universe that can harm him/her, or even cause any discomfort. Living a sinless life, gives a great comfort to one’s heart and mind which helps beat stress.

3. Fulfil your obligations/responsibilities

Every adult has to deal with some specific responsibilities. As Prophet (sa) said: “Every one of you is a Shepherd (responsible) and every one of you is accountable for the ones you are responsible for.” In fact, the ever mounting stack of unfulfilled responsibilities and obligations are the cause of depression and stress. Hence, when one fulfils his/ her obligations sincerely on a daily basis then there is nothing to worry about at the end of the day.

4. Develop a habit of physical exercise

Study of Harvard Health shows that regular exercise enhances the action of chemicals in our body, known as Endorphins. These chemicals help in building immunity and serve to improve our mood. Walking briskly for 35-thirty five minutes daily, shows to have a significant influence on mild to moderate symptoms of depression. On the other hand, our Islamic tradition strongly recommends physical exercise where Prophet (sa) used to motivate Muslims to practice different types of sports. Develop a habit of daily exercise, and participate in your favourite sport, so that you can ward off boredom and stress.

5. Provide a helping hand

Helping others gives ultimate happiness. If we observe the poor or destitute closely, we develop a sense of thankfulness; and when we will be thankful to Allah (swt) for His bounties, He will give you more- that is His promise. Hence, start helping others. Find a welfare organization in your area, and participate in community service to beat your stress.

6. Find your vision/mission

Everything in this universe has a purpose of its existence. The tragedy of Muslims nowadays is the lack of vision in their lives; they are confused and negligent of their purpose of creation. Existence of vision in one’s life instils fun, trill and enduringness in it which is a very helpful component in beating stress.

7. Organize yourself
Organization of oneself is one of the most important things in one’s life. If you ponder upon the system of this universe, you will see that everything has its specific time of happening. Nothing falls off the set schedule. Similarly, humans are also designed to organize their lives, or else they will fall from the divine dignity. Start your organization from little things like cleaning your messy cupboard, your book shelf and room, office desk then move up and design your daily routine, manage your events, and make a timetable. Rest assure- the more you organize yourself, the more you beat the stress.

8. Be Patient

Sabr (patience) makes it easy to deal with depression and stress. When a person thinks that everything belongs to Allah (swt), and He has complete authority to give and take any of His bounties whenever He wills; only then, he will experience true peace. Allah (swt) the Almighty knows what is best, and if one is patient at the time of calamity, Allah (swt) rewards him in this world and hereafter. One should try to practice patience, and be contented for what Allah (swt) has ordained for him for He is not unjust.

9. Let Go

Psychology tells us, when a person experiences, or senses something- it immediately goes into his short term memory, and when, it is repeated few times, it becomes long term memory where it resides for a long time. So, when you experience something unlikely and depressive- try to let go of it. It might be extremely depressing, but thinking about it over and over again will just make it worse, and ultimately, lead you to severe depression. Letting go needs a lot of practice and patience as it involves the training of your brain.

Practice these tips and God willing, you will regain your strength to fight stress. May Allah (swt) grant us all the peace of heart and mind. Ameen.

Sabr and Shukr- Formula for a happy life

inna lillahThis world is full of trials and tests, and there comes a time when Sabr and Shukr is the need of the hour. As it is said in the Quran, that everyone will be tested in life- some will be tested with property and some with off springs.

Recently, I was tested by Allah (swt).  He blessed me with a beautiful daughter on 17th of June 2014 and she died the next day. It was a very hard day for me and my family. I felt that my whole world has shattered. I couldn’t imagine my life without her. As soon as a girl comes to know that she is expecting, she starts imagining about the baby being formed inside her. It was a big shock for all of us, but being Muslims we have to bow our heads in front of Allah (swt).

It is said in the Holy Quran that get patience through Salah. The thought that helped me observe Sabr was that my daughter is at a better place- in the arms of her Creator Who loves her more than me. She will be there waiting for me and my husband, and she won’t enter paradise until we have entered.

Secondly, Durud Sharif and ninety-nine names of Allah (swt) also helped me in observing Sabr. After every Salah, I thank Allah (swt) for all His blessings upon me. Also, reciting Quran daily and making Duas regularly have boosted my Sabr to a higher level. One more thing that has given me Sabr is the recitation of Inna lillahi wa inna iliahi rajioon (we all belong to Allah and to him shall we return) and that He will provide me with something better as the reward is so good.

Trials as Blessings for the Believers

trials-and-tribulations“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe” and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test).” (Al-Ankabut 29:2-3)

It is certain from the following verses of the Quran that Allah (swt) will test those who believed in one way or the other- as He tested the believers before. These tests may be in the form of hunger, loss of a loved one or health, or wealth as stated in the Holy Quran: “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 ones, etc.).” (Al-Baqarah 2:155)

Why believers?

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “This world is prison for a believer and heaven for the disbeliever.”

But why these tests are specified only for those who believe? What is the wisdom behind it?
Firstly, it is to check the level of their Iman – to make sure, whether they are strong enough to bear a calamity with an unwavering Iman; and secondly, to wipe out their sins – to purify them for the Akhirah.

Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Trials will continue to befall the believing man or woman on himself, his child and his wealth until he meets Allah (swt) with no sin on him.” (Tirmidhi)

It was narrated by Anas (ra) that the Prophet (sa) said: “When Allah (swt) wills good for His slave, He hastens the punishment for him in this world; and when Allah (swt) wills ill for His slave, He withholds the punishment for his sins until he comes with all his sins on the Day of Resurrection.” (Tirmidhi)

Aisha (ra) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “The believer is not harmed by a thorn or anything greater, but Allah (swt) will raise him in status thereby, or erase a sin thereby.” (Muslim)

The wisdom behind testing the believers through trials and tribulations is that they are made to remember Allah (swt) on account of these adversities. This makes them accustomed to remember Him and keep their thoughts busy with Him. It is natural for the believers to seek and turn to Allah (swt) for help in adversities; while in the times of comfort they forget and neglect it. A believer’s heart only gets content and rest while he remembers Allah (swt) as it is stated in the Holy Quran: “Those who believe, and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28)

How to deal with trials and tribulations?

Allah (swt) has stated in the holy Quran that the most powerful methods to bear calamities and trials are being patient and seeking help from Him through prayer.

“And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashiun (i.e. the true believers in Allah – those who obey Allah with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise, etc.) and in His Warnings (Hell, etc.)).” (Al-Baqarah 2:45)

Inspiration from the Prophets (as)

a) Prophet Adam (as)

Allah (swt) forbade Adam (as) to eat from the forbidden tree in paradise; but he got impatient and listened to Iblees. As a result, he gained Allah’s (swt) wrath and was sent down to earth. It took forty years of Dua and patience by Adam (as) to be forgiven.

b) Prophet Yusuf (as) and Yaqoob (as)

Prophet Yusuf (as) was sent to prison for the crime that he had not committed, but he remained patient and was released after several years; while, on the other hand, Yaqoob (as) met his son after the patience of thirty-four years.

c) Prophet Ayoob (as)

Prophet Ayoob’s (as) story is the most famous story of patience and forbearance. He remained patient during his illness, which lasted for eighteen years, and kept supplicating.

The reward for the patient ones

The trials and tribulations faced by the believers, who remain patient and rely on Allah (swt), never go un-rewarded. This is what Allah (swt) has promised in the Holy Quran:

“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 ones, etc.).Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” They are those on whom are the Salawat (i.e. blessings, etc.) (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones.” (Al-Baqarah 2:155-157)

“And be patient; verily, Allah loses not the reward of the good-doers.” (Hud 11:115)

May Allah (swt) place us among the patient believers, to whom Allah (swt) has promised greater rewards. Ameen.

Understanding Surah Asr – 3

time management sunnahTranscribed from the Bayyinah podcast Tafseer series by Iqra Asad.

“By Al-Asr (the time). Verily, man is in loss, Except those who believe (in Islâmic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma’ruf) which Allâh has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allâh has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allâh’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islâmic Monotheism or Jihâd).”

Don’t wait to do good- It is now or never!

Many times, when you have to give advice, you hesitate. You wait for a better time. You keep waiting and that better time will never come. The sense of urgency is in the word “Tawasi”. “Wasiya” is also when you bequeath someone with property. What you are to offer someone is literally of value. When you give someone good advice, they reply with, “But I’ve seen you do this, what about you?” Most of us are reactive when we receive advice. When you are on the side of giving advice, you take the good of it and leave the bad.

“Tawasi bil Haq”

First, it is mentioned generally to do good deeds. Then one specific good deed is mentioned i.e. patience. Allah (swt) puts patience at the end and “Haq” first, to emphasize the nobility of good.

This Surah challenges us to change our definitions of success and failure.

The true essence of faith

A lot of people consider faith to be just a declaration. You could claim it as a lack of knowledge but in reality it’s an attitude; the assumption that we have faith, and the assumption that faith alone is enough. What does it mean to have faith? From a legal point of view, anyone who declares the Shahadah has faith. Legally speaking, anyone who claims to be a Muslim, is a Muslim. Then there is the matter of the distinction that Allah (swt) Himself makes in Surah Hujurat.

He says, “The bedouins say: ‘We believe.’ Say: You believe not but you only say, We have surrendered (in Islâm), for Faith has not yet entered your hearts.” (Al-Hujurat 49:14)

What people assume to be “Iman” (faith) is actually just the declaration of Islam. Faith is in the heart. The first thing inside the heart is faith, the second is revelation. If you memorize the Quran, it resides in your heart. The third thing, among others, associated most with the heart is Dhikr (remembrance). These three things are inter-connected.

In Surah Al-Anfal, “The believers are only those who, when Allâh is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Qurân) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith” (Al-Anfal 8:2)

The easiest gauge of faith is your Salah (prayer); “Allah would not be one to waste your faith.”(Al-Baqarah 2:143) This verse refers to prayers as “faith”. So where goes the statement, “I don’t pray, but I still have faith”? The second misconception that once you have faith, you don’t need deeds is crushed in this Surah. What kind of faith is this that you don’t have action? If we internalize this, we know that our faith will not survive, unless we have action.

A Believer vs. Those who believe!

The difference between two commonly used terms in the Quran, “believers” (Muminoon) and “those who believe” (Allazeena Aamanu): one of them is verbal (those who believe), the other (believers) is a noun. In Arabic, a verb is temporary, it is not stable, but a noun is fixed. “Believers” is used for people of mature faith. It is always used in a positive aspect. However, with “those who believe”, you may not find nice things. You find Allah (swt) saying to them, “those of you who believe, believe!” Become true believers. “Those who believe!”—category of those who are not necessarily doing well. “Believers”—mature faith who have already attained success.

The three core pillars of faith: “faith in Allah (swt)”, “faith in the Message” (the Book and the Messenger), and “faith in the Afterlife”. Sometimes people take one or two of these and say their faith is complete. If you do that, you will fall into a serious psychological imbalance.

Faith in the Messenger of Allah (swt)

Sometimes you can say something about the Messenger (sa) that can waste your Iman. On one hand, you have people who love him so much that they end up giving him a status beyond a human being. On the other hand, you have pseudo-intellectuals who treat him as just another historical figure. “It’s just a Hadeeth.” “It’s not even in the Quran.” The Surah Muhammad, Fath, and Hujurat discuss faith in the Messenger. When Allah (swt) mentions the Prophet (sa) in the Quran, He doesn’t use his name, and if He does, He says “RasulAllah” next to it. In the Quran, “O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet (sa), nor speak aloud to him in talk as you speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds may be rendered fruitless while you perceive not.” (Al-Hujurat 49:2) In order for good deeds to count, you must have faith.

Fruits of faith

Tranquility: you come to terms with the fact that all deeds are rewarded.

Iman: a treasure that you get to keep when you do good deeds. But what kind of person would you be if by feeding a hungry person, you would get more food back, but you still wouldn’t do it?

This statement is very empathetic because both the preposition and the verb have been repeated.

Haq: “truthfulness” means that you convey the advice in a truthful and sincere manner, holding nothing back. “With truth”, refers to Quran, that you counsel each other with Quran. Someone’s losing hope, how do you do “Tawasi bil Haq”? Through Quran, quote Quran to them: “My slaves who have violated against their own selves, don’t lose hope in Allah’s Mercy!”(Az-Zumar 39:53)

It’s easy to sit behind a microphone and talk about these things to strangers. It requires courage to do this with family. It requires patience.

What does “Sabr” mean? Patience, perseverance, commitment, constancy.

“It is to have the same level of obedience to Allah (swt) whether in ease or in difficulty.”(Ibn Taimiyyah)

Fidelity and forbearance is the key

Good people, who are working for Islam, may lose heart at all the criticism they receive. You must do “Tawasi bil Sabr” with them; tell them to be patient, no matter how difficult things get. They will appreciate it. Those who do work for this Deen; whether you are doing work for Islam inside your house or outside it, are under direct attack of the Shaytan. You must have patience and obedience to Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) speaks to us and He knows what kinds of lives we lead. There are brothers and sisters who are active in spreading Islam, but they have some very bad habits. They need someone to do Tawasi bil Sabr with them, to tell them to hang on.

These statements are in the past tense. Why not mention it in the present tense? It implies that these people spent their entire lives doing Tawasi bil Haq and Tawasi bil Sabr. You can never stop until death.

They are encouraging each other with patience. The way you deliver it requires patience, and what you are recommending them to do is patience.

These four things are connected to each other. If someone loses Sabr, they will not be able to do Tawasi bil Haq.

This is the shortest Surah, but also the heaviest Surah. It will change your attitude towards success and failure. Your time to get serious about faith, action, Tawasi bil Haq and Tawasi bil Sabr is short. May Allah (swt) make us of those who successfully fulfill the conditions of Surah Asr. Ameen.

How to Fill Your Spiritual Void

INDONESIA“Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture (the Taurat, Torah)! Have you then no sense? And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashiun [i.e. the true believers in Allah – those who obey Allah with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise, etc.) and in His Warnings (Hell, etc.)].” (Al-Baqarah 2:44-45)

Is there a spiritual hole inside you?

I would like to share with you yet another reminder. This one is particularly for those of you that are involved in any sort of Islamic activity: volunteering at a Sunday school or an islamic school, helping out at the MSA, working at a youth group, helping put a conference together, bringing educational programs to your community, trying to put together a soup kitchen or a humanitarian cause, putting up a halaqa for the youth. There are so many activites that many of you are involved in and you are doing it for the sake of Islam. It also includes learning the Deen and attending courses.

A lot of times what happens is, and I speak from personal experience, we get caught up with these activities and there is a deepening, widening and gaping spiritual hole inside of us. You are doing all this stuff but your prayers have become empty, you do not enjoy reciting Quran and in your downtime you are addicted to entertainment. You cannot help but watch movie after movie or video after video and YouTube, like you are watching now. Or you do other things to entertain yourself, like video game after video game, and you just cannot help yourself. You are caught up in this cycle, every time you are by yourself, you are just doing these things that you hate yourself for. You know you should be doing something better with your time but you just cannot get yourself to do it. You try to pick up the Quran and recite it, but you just do not do it. You are so busy volunteering, you are tied up in all these things, that even in the most amazing course you have been in, you have not listened to anything because you were helping out. May Allah (swt) reward you for helping out, but you have other needs also, and there is this spiritual hole that needs to be filled.

we get caught up with these activities and there is a deepening, widening and gaping spiritual hole inside of us. You are doing all this stuff but your prayers have become empty, you do not enjoy reciting Quran

Types of Services for the Deen

So there are two kinds of services in this Deen:

  • There are services you provide for others for the sake of Allah (swt). For example, you serve the community or you serve a good cause.
  •  There are things in this Deen you do to make yourself a better person.

You need to have a balance between both of these things.

Allah’s (swt) Complaint to the Children of Israel

The Ayat I recited to you was a complaint Allah (swt) made to the Children of Israel. He (swt) says:

“Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah)]! Have you then no sense?” (Al Baqarah 2:44)

In other words, clearly the person who runs the halaqa and the one who is knowledgeable, they are the ones who tell other people to do good. But when they are by themselves, they forget so easily. Why did this person not get it? Why did he not understand?

The Remedy

So then Allah (swt) gives a remedy: if this is your problem, if in your public life you become very active (not to show off but sincerely active) but in your private life you have been devoid of spirituality and Khushu in your prayer, then what should you do?

“And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashi’un (i.e. the true believers in Allah – those who obey Allah with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise, etc.) and in His Warnings (Hell, etc.)).” (Al-Baqarah 2:45)

Seek help in perseverance and patience. Part of the meaning of perseverance is being tough with yourself. Get yourself up to pray, force yourself. Just turn that thing off and go recite some Quran or memorize some Ayat or do some Ibadah or make some Dua, memorize a new Dua or two. Force yourself to do this Sabr.

Seek help in perseverance and patience. Part of the meaning of perseverance is being tough with yourself. Get yourself up to pray, force yourself.

And then He (swt) says:

“Seek help in Salat.” The prayer is supposed to help you get out of this problem. You see, when Allah says “seek help” there is a problem for which you seek help. The problem was (mentioned) in the previous Ayat: you tell people to do good but you forget about yourself.  Allah says, to help yourself get out of this problem, you turn to prayer, you turn to the Salat.

Some Practical Advice for the Brothers

Now, I want to give some very practical advice, especially to the brothers. There are many spiritual excercises in the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), many Azkar, many practices of higher levels, like fasting every Monday and Thursday, and the Tahajjud and Ishraq prayers. But before you talk about any of that, let me just give you some very practical advice: if you can make it to Fajr and Isha to the Masjid and you can do so for a month, two months or three months regularly, without missing a single one, you would have addressed your spiritual problem for the most part. The way you feel after you come back from the Masjid after praying Fajr, you will know that feeling. I cannot argue with you, I cannot give you evidence for it. Rather you yourself will witness it.

Most Beloved People to Allah – As-Sabireen

indeed-allah-is-with-the-patient

Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Tasneem Vali

“…and many a Prophet (i.e. many from amongst the Prophets) fought (in Allah’s Cause) and along with him (fought) large bands of religious learned men. But they never lost heart for that which did befall them in Allah’s way, nor did they weaken nor degrade themselves. And Allah loves As-Saabireen (the patient ones, etc.).” (Al-Imran 146)

“This passage comments on the early events of the Battle of Uĥud up to the point at which the victory which was well within the grasp of the Muslim army turned into defeat.”(In the Shade of the Quran, Vol. 2 p.185). This was the first battle after Badr, and the Muslims felt victory was their destiny in every encounter as they were on the right path. Without making this ayah particular to a nation, Allah tells us that at any point, when faced with trial the true believer remains strong (both emotionally and physically) and patient – their reward is Allah’s love. This Ayah speaks to us in the present also. “It (Allah’s love) helps heal wounds and is accepted as ample and generous compensation for every hardship.”(In the shade…Vol 2, p.199)

To have patience/to be patient is mentioned many times in the Quran – but only once does Allah say He loves the patient ones. Reward for patience and the description of what patience means is mentioned many times, but Allah’s love as a reward for being patient is mentioned only once! This is the highlight; patience is a prerequisite to gain Allah’s love.

 What is patience?

sabr

It is when a believer controls his/her desires when faced with a situation where it is difficult if not impossible to control the Nafs (ego/desire). Every part of a person’s body needs to exercise patience:  the heart – I should not complain or feel unhappy with what is going on (situation), the tongue – not to complain to people (as if complaining about Allah to the slaves of Allah), the limbs – control all my limbs from any kind of action that is displeasing to Allah. For example, to control oneself from being negatively influenced by others– when something painful happens and you are patient, others might provoke you by saying, “Why are you quiet? Go fight for your right.” This leads you away from patience – beware of it.

Characteristics of As-Sabireen

الاستعانة بالصبر و الصلاةThey rely on Allah alone

  • Prayer helps you rely on Allah and be patient

الصدق They are truthful

  • Liars are impatient – they cannot be patient in a situation, so they lie
  • Even during a trial/test, the truthful ones stay patient (accept the situation), they don’t try to change it by lying

التقوى They are pious

  • People who are pious are patient and vice versa
  • They control themselves from everything that is displeasing to Allah or following their own desires
  • They are patient because they know Allah, therefore they love Allah, and fear Allah alone

الغلبة على الأعداء They overcome their enemies

  • They remain strong and firm/steadfast
  • They are both physically and emotionally strong

تجنب المعصيةThey abstain from sins

  • Abstain from sins for the sake of Allah alone

عدم النزاعThey are patient during conflicts/fights

  • It’s easy to get angry/shout/complain/show impatience and fight/argue because of impatience
  • They don’t come near conflicts in order that it might lead to fights– they control themselves in such situations

و في الامر – الدعوة بالمعروف و النهي عن المنكر They are patient when giving Da’wah – enjoining good and forbidding evil

  • Patient when calling people to Islam – especially if the person who they are giving Dawah to is close to them (family, relatives)

الصبر على محبة الدنيا و الرغبة في الآخرة They are patient in this world and yearn for the Hereafter

  • Love of the world and love of the hereafter cannot be in the heart together
  • They are not always busy thinking about material things, money, property or children. They are busy thinking about the Day of Judgment, Sunnah, Quran and Allah’s commands.

الصبر على الأمراض والبلايا They are patient when in sickness or afflictions

  • They don’t complain about their situation/ health

الصبر على الاستهزاء و أذى الناس They are patient when they are mocked at / humiliated

  • When someone is trying to harm them using words or mock, insult, humiliate, make fun of them, they are patient

عدم خطوات الشيطان They are patient when the devil whispers to them

  • They don’t follow in the footsteps of Shaitaan
  • Being patient helps to refrain from falling into the trap of the Shaitaan
  • Being patient about things that are not clearly Haram or Halal. Asking for Allah’s guidance to help decide

When you run towards Allah, towards gaining His pleasure, towards attaining His love, everything in life will come to you easily, but the prerequisite is patience. No matter how much you run or struggle for this life, it will keep slipping away from you! Control your desires, and be patient – Allah will make it easy for you.

Rewards for being among As-Sabireen:

  • The love of Allah – the best of rewards. (Al-Imran 3:146)
  • The companionship of Allah (complete comfort and supporting all aspects of life and the Hereafter) – this is mentioned many times in Quran. Can you hope for a better companion than Allah?
  • Unlimited rewards, there are no bounds to their reward. (Az-Zumar 10)

“O ALLAH! MAKE US FROM AMONG THE PATIENT ONES” – Ameen

Formula for Peace

By Alia Ahmed

Once, there was a king, who offered a prize to any artist that would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried their luck. The king looked at all the representations, and only two fascinated him. Ultimately, he had to choose between them.

The first depiction was that of a placid lake with mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. It seemed a perfect picture of peace.

The other image had mountains too, but these were rugged and bare. Above was an enraged sky, from which rain fell and lightening flashed. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a furious, foaming waterfall. Apparently, this was not all, for when the king looked closely behind the waterfall, he saw a tiny bush growing in the crack of a rock. In that bush, a mother bird had built her peewee nest. In the midst of the rush of angry water, the mother bird sat on her nest in perfect peace.

Guess, which one turned out to be the award-winning illustration? Yes, the second one. Why? “Because,” explained the king, “peace does not mean being in a quiet place void of trouble or hard work. Peace means being in the midst of it all and still remaining cool, calm, and composed in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”

This narration compels one to ponder and cogitate. Since the basic unit of the human kind is an individual human, it is evident that in order to achieve peace in the outer world, it must first be attained within the heart of that individual. Consequently, outer peace, or world peace, is a by-product of personal tranquility and mental satisfaction of individuals that inhabit it. Thomas Kempis said: “First keep the peace within yourself, then you can bring peace to others.”

Some people are of the opinion that peace will only be achieved, when they control every single element in their lives. Maybe they are just oblivious to the fact that this is not possible. One must understand the difference between things that are within our control and things that are beyond. The concept of predestination (Qadar) is central to this understanding. Religious scholars and intellectuals are of the view that tribulation and distress in today’s world may have a perspicuous cause-we have lost the path that leads to salvation, because we are missing out on Allah’s (swt) cardinal instructions.

Inner peace is a feeling of calmness and satisfaction within our hearts. But the delicate question is: how can that be attained? ‘Iman’ – the true faith in Allah (swt) and the beliefs, on which the Islamic faith is based – is the only real fountain for one’s inner calmness and rapture. This Arabic word is derived from the root word ‘Amn’, pointing towards peace and tranquility that a believer enjoys in his heart as a result of practising and bolstering these beliefs. There must be no half-hearted consents but total submission to God’s commands. Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Truly, in remembering Allah (swt) do hearts find rest” (Ra’d 13:28). Dhikr, the remembrance of Allah (swt), leads to Allah (swt) consciousness, which persuasively brings forth total submission to His commands. Thereupon, it is imperative that in order to bring tranquility into our lives, we must live according to His commandments.

Another significant factor that massively contributes towards acquiring a complacent soul is ‘Shukr’ – thankfulness to Allah (swt). ‘Shukr’ is derived from the root word, ‘sh-k-r,’ and it literally refers to ‘when a cow feeds on less fodder but gives more milk’. Conspicuously, it indicates, how we as believers should be. We should be grateful to Allah (swt) under all circumstances. We must learn to develop a sense of gratitude within ourselves for all the blessings we have received. Most of us have a great deal in our lives to make us blissfully content, but, unfortunately, we lack the ability to acknowledge and appreciate it. A lot is taken for granted and this ingratitude prevents us from attaining tranquility within our hearts. As Melody Beattie says: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Gratitude (Shukr) is considered to be the best and the highest of all the stations of faith (Iman). Gratitude also includes in itself the virtue of patience (Sabr). When we look at the life of Prophet Muhammad (sa), we find that there is nothing greater than his patience and gratitude. He was ‘Saboor’ and ‘Shakoor’. The reality is that as servants of Allah (swt), we can be in one of the two states during our lifetime. Either we enjoy a bounty, for which we should be thankful for, or we may be suffering a calamity that we should meet with patience and forbearance. Muslim states the Hadeeth: “Amazing is the believer, for whatever Allah (swt) decrees for him! If he is tested with a bounty, he is grateful for it, and this is better for him; and if he is afflicted with hardship, he is patient with it, and this is better for him.”

Patience has three main forms:

(a) patience for avoiding the prohibitions and sins,

(b) patience for acts of worship and obedience,

(c) patience required in the face of afflictions and hardships.

The Quran explicitly mentions the finest tools that may be applied to help ease the effects of suffering and hardship: patience (Sabr) and prayer (Dhikr). It is stated in Surat-al-Baqarah, verse 152-153: “Therefore, remember Me (by praying, glorifying (Dhikr)). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for my countless favors on you) and never be ungrateful to Me. O you, who believe! Seek help in patience and Salah (the prayer). Truly, Allah (swt) is with the As-Sabireen (the patient).” One may conclude that ‘Sakina’ – peace and tranquility within the heart – is a gift from Allah (swt), and the most essential ingredients that contribute to a serene and placid heart are: remembrance of Allah (swt), gratitude and patience. Consequently, a heart that remains thankful and patient, while in constant remembrance of its Creator, can never lose peace of mind.