by Anisha Khatoon
When you think of sabr and its value in Islam, do you consider the English translation of the word “sabr” could do justice to it? Sabr is way more than having patience. It’s about how rich you grow internally deep within while being patient. These transitions can never be deduced as transparent as a person’s productivity displayed outwardly. These upheavals are always meant to be secretive and hidden, far from anyone’s notice. In a genuine sense, sabr provides fertile land, where you are just supposed to sow the seeds anticipating no expectations from it, knowing the seed embedded inside the soil is changing its form. It is struggling to break its shroud. Maybe we cannot witness such changes, yet Allah’s Barakah has already been revealed upon it.
As we contemplate the stories of Prophets and Sahabiyas, to say such stories moved us to tears would be an understatement. Its magnificence is beyond anyone’s capacity to elucidate in mere words. For example, when we draw our attention to how Ibrahim (AS) was about to sacrifice his son for the sake of Allah, how could anyone have gauged the tawakkul he bore in his heart when he placed a knife right at his son’s neck? Similarly, when he (AS) was being asked to abandon his wife and son in the middle of a vast desert without being given a reason for doing so and without being aware of the purpose of such a seemingly absurd command, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) complied without question. Along the same lines, it is baffling to us to read about the amount of sabr and submission exhibited by Hajra (RA) while being left with an infant son by her beloved husband right in the middle of the desert. And yet we cannot compare the sabr exhibited by them in these challenging circumstances. We have no right to rank or grade them in any case.
Sabr came to Ibrahim (AS) wrapped in the form of a task. He had to do something beyond his sanity to prove his tawakkul on Allah. He had to do the job of putting his wife and his heart into such an uncertain situation. On the other hand, in the case of Hajra (RA), she was confined to an isolated place and her tawakkul made her believe that Allah’s help lies somewhere within that confinement. One had to do a job that was beyond his capacity to do and the other had to endure something which was beyond her capacity to do so.
But Allah never tests us beyond our capacity. It’s a promise from HIM. In the case of Hajra (RA) Allah not only removed her anxiety but bestowed upon her with a spring of water that washed away all of her pain and provided her with countless bounties. The knack for sabr already resides somewhere within us. It’s growing without our notice.
Al-Fadl ibn Sahl said: “There is a blessing in the calamity that the wise man should not ignore; for it erases sins, allows one to attain the reward for patience, dispels negligence, reminds one of the blessings at the time of health, calls one to repent and encourages one to give charity.”
Now if we would just ponder on this incident, the fundamentals of this story are reflected in our stories too. Often we catch ourselves engulfed by darkness, which deprives us of happiness. We build thousands of claustrophobic walls around us, trapping us in a state of impasse. We may fail to muster up the courage to smash these walls. All the while you may have concluded that I am talking about the darkness that outwardly surrounds us but what we fail to recognize is the darkness that we have been feeding in our hearts for years and years is the actual cause of our grievances.
When you are waiting for something with devotion the first thing that will pop into your mind is sabr. However, before sabr there must be shukr. Once shukr has been established, then it’s like you are waiting for a flickering light that will pass through the cracks of the wall or a ray of faint light that will cross the broken window of your home and light up your entire world. You are waiting for one particular moment when these walls will be shattered. Sometimes, we fail to embrace the light which already resides in our beating hearts. Allah has moulded our hearts with tranquillity in HIS remembrance. Your heart possesses such a versatile ability. It’s like a controlling compartment, every nerve discerns its function and how to make its owner feel better with every passing moment. You need to secure a connection with its Creator by preserving its sanctity. This world might abandon you but your Al-Wali (closest friend) is always closer to you than your jugular vein.
“Hasbunallahu Wa Ne’emal Wakeel” (Allah (alone) is sufficient for us and He is the best disposer of affairs). Allah will be enough to crumble those walls into rubbles and you’ll feel like they never existed.