In this world of ours, there is joy as well as sorrow, comfort as well as pain, kindness as well as cruelty, and all this is from God, and by His will and command. A faithful bondsman should, therefore, neither feel grieved nor lose heart when misfortune befalls him, but accept it with good cheer and fortitude, believing that it was, after all, the working of God’s will who was All-wise and All-merciful, and it was He, alone, who could remove his distress. In the same way, when the circumstances are favourable and a person is getting what he wants and leading a comfortable life, he should not attribute it to his own effort or skill, but to the benevolence of the Lord and remember that the Almighty could withhold His favour whenever He liked. The bondsmen should, as such, feel thankful to God and express their gratitude to Him at every good turn of fortune. These are among the special teachings of Islam and the Prophet has attached much importance to them. An advantage of it is that the bondsman remains devoted to God, in all circumstances, and another that he never gives way to despair.
1. It is related by Suhaib that the Apostle of God said: “Strange is the case with the faithful bondsman. There is nothing but good for him in every circumstance. If joy or comfort reaches him and he feels grateful to the Lord, there is nothing but good for him in it, and if he is visited by sorrow or an affliction and he endures it with patience and perseverance, it, too, is nothing but a source of goodness and welfare to him.” – Muslim
There is pain and pleasure for everyone in this world, but to make it a means of gaining the propinquity of the Lord is given only to those who have forged such a living bond of faith with God that they give thanks to him on all occasions of joy and success, and show forbearance and fortitude, as becomes a devoted slave, in adversity. Besides, as life is never free from pain and pleasure, or joy and sorrow, the hearts of such bondsmen, also are always laden with the noble sentiments of patience and gratitude.
2. It is related by Abdullah b. Abbas that the Apostle of God said: “Whoever is faced with an economic or physical distress and does not reveal it to anyone or gives utterance to his grief or discontent before the people, it is due from God that He forgives him (his sin).” – Tabrani
A superior grade of patience is that one bore hardships and other strokes of ill-luck with resolute endurance and did not disclose his sorrow or suffering to others. To such bondmen, a firm promise of forgiveness and deliverance in the hereafter has been given in this Tradition.
3. Narrates Usama b. Zaid: “Zainab, the daughter of the Apostle of God, (once) sent a message to the Prophet asking him to come (to her house) as the condition of her child was critical. In reply, the Prophet sent to her his Salam and the communication: ‘Oh daughter! Whatever God takes from anyone, He takes what is His, and whatever God gives to anyone, He gives what is His. In short, everything belongs to God. And for everything, there is a time and limit predetermined by the Lord. (When the time comes, it is taken away from the world). So, be patient, and pray to God for recompense.’ Zainab, once again, sent him the message, imploring him, in the name of God, to come. The Apostle of God, thereupon, got up and left for Zainab’s house, and Sa’ad b. Obadah, Mu’ad b. Jabal, Ubbi b. Sabit and some other companions, too, went with him. (When the Prophet reached there), the child was lifted and placed in his arms. It was gasping for breath. The Prophet was moved to tears on seeing its condition, upon which Sa’ad b. Obadah asked: ‘What is it?’ ‘It is the effect of compassion the Lord has bestowed upon the hearts of His bondsmen, and the Mercy of God will be on bondsmen in whose hearts there is pity. (They will not be deserving of His kindness whose hearts are devoid of compassion),’ replied the Prophet.” – Bukhari and Muslim
From the last part of it, we learn that to react to a sorrowful happening and shed tears is not contrary to patience. What patience signifies, briefly, is that believing a hardship or calamity to be the will of God, we should accept it as becomes a bondsman and despair not of His Mercy, but be mindful of the Divine injunctions and observe them. As for the feeling of grief or pain and the shedding of tears at a distressing event, it is the natural outcome of the sentiment of kindness with which God has blessed the human heart. Sa’ad b. Obadah had made his enquiry, on seeing the Apostle of God weep, because he did not know, till then, that the shedding of tears and such other expressions of grief were not opposed to the spirit of fortitude.
4. It is related by Mu’ad b Jabal that when his son died, the Apostle of God had this letter of condolence sent to him:
“In the Name of Allah, Most Kind, Most merciful”
“From Muhammad, the Apostle of God, to Mu’ad b. Jabal.”
“First of all, I relate to you the Praises of God save whom there is no Deity. (After it), I pray that Allah may recompense you most bounteously on your loss, and endue your heart with patience, and grant you and me the good fortune to be thankful (to Him) for His favours. Our lives, our possessions, and our children are the gifts of God and the trusts He has placed in our charge. (Your son, also, was a trust of God, given in your keeping). As long as He wished, He gave you the opportunity to profit from him of joy and make yourself happy, and when he willed, He took the charge back from you. He is going to recompense you with a vast reward. (There are glad tidings of) the Lord, and benevolence and guidance from Him if you show patience, in confident expectation of the reward, and with the idea of wholehearted surrender to His will. So, O Mu’ad, be patient, and let not bewailing and loud lamentation ruin the recompense, and that you feel sorrow and shame (at suffering the loss, and, yet, remaining deprived of the reward). And, believe it, no dead person returns (to the earth) by mourning and lamentation, nor does it lessen the grief. And the will of God shall be done. In truth, it has been done already.”– Tabrani
In the Qur’an, glad tiding of three things are given to those who patiently persevere: “Such are they for whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. Such are the rightly guided.” (2: 157). Alluding to it, the holy Prophet has advised Hazrath Mu’ad, in his letter, that if he remained patient in his bereavement, with the intention of propitiating the Lord and earning the Divine recompense, there was the promise, for him, of the blessings of Allah, and His mercy and guidance. The letter contains a full provision of condolence, sympathy and good counsel for the bondsmen in moments of loss or grief.