‘A Principle Regarding Patience & Gratitude’ Shaykh al-Islām ibn Taymīyyah (rahīmahullāh)
To proceed, then the lecture that I have chosen for this conference is a small treatise by Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah (rahīmahullāh), and the title of it is ‘A Principle Regarding Patience and Gratitude’, and this risālah, it is only ten pages long, but it contains such amazing benefits for a believer in his īmān and in his relationship with Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), in the way that he deals and interacts with al-qadā wa al-qadr; with what Allāh has decreed. Really it is something that a person should read every day if possible, if not then every week if possible, and if not then every month if possible. Thus when you read, or when you listen to what Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah (rahīmahullāh), presents and advises the believer as to how to deal with a certain type of harm that is going to come his way, then he will recognise how great and amazing these words actually are, and he will attend to them and he will read them and re-read them and remind himself; so this is the value of this particular short treatise.
So the Shaykh, (rahīmahullaah), he begins, and in fact I’ll give an overview of the risālah first. He first of all mentions the different categories of al-sabr, different types of sabr, and then after that he explains twenty different points, or twenty different pieces of advice as to how a Muslim, a believer, how he deals with one specific type of patience; so how he builds a specific type of patience, and he begins then by saying that Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), that he has made for his believing servants, that every single position, every manzila that a servant finds himself in, then Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) has made that manzila, that particular situation that he is in, at any one point in time to be goodness for him, it is khayr. Meaning that every situation, every single situation that a believer finds himself in, is khayr for him, and this is because Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) is constantly showering his favours upon him, and whether what comes to him from Allāh is something that he likes or dislikes, it is nevertheless a favour. So meaning, if something comes to you and you dislike it, in reality it is a favour from Allāh, and if something comes to you and your soul likes it and is inclined towards it, it is obviously a favour from Allāh, but here he made no distinction between things that you like and things that you dislike, as it relates to what Allāh is putting in front of you, or what he is putting you through it is a ni’mah, it all depends upon whether you recognise it to be a ni’mah, and that is your perception in your eyes.
So then he says, after this, Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), everything from his qadā, every single qadā that He brings for His servants, and every single, the aqdār, the things that He decrees for them and which he determines for them is, and he uses the word ‘matājir’; matājir here means it is a merchandise, so in other words, everything that comes to you, you experience, whether your soul likes it or dislikes it, and everything from al-qadā wa al-qadr, when it comes to you at its appointed time, it is merchandise. These are goods which Allāh has come and presented right in front of you, and the meaning here is that these goods are supposed to be used by you to profit and trade, and to succeed in this trade and to make profit, and these are ways and paths by which you reach Allāh and arrive at Allāh, and this is in essence the meaning of the hadīth which is reported in the Sahīh, from the Messenger (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), that he said:
‘How amazing is the affair of the believer, indeed the whole of his affair is goodness…’,
That no decree or qadā does Allāh judge for him except that is good for him.
‘If something good comes to him then he is grateful, and this is better for him, and if some harm comes to him, then he has patience and this is better for him.’ (Sahīh Muslim #2999)
So in reality the rest of what Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah (rahīmahullāh) says is an explanation and clarification of this hadīth. Thus he says, this hadīth, it includes every single qadā of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla); meaning nothing is left out of this hadīth, as it relates to what Allāh has decreed upon His believing servant; and so it means that everything is khayr, everything that comes to you is khayr, and when he has patience upon that which is harmful to him, or dislikeable to him, and likewise when he is grateful to the things which are likeable to him, then all of this is from the īmān; it enters into in the meaning ofīmān, which Allāh has commanded us to have in the Qur’ān in abundance, when He says,
‘O you who believe, believe in Allāh and do righteous deeds.‘
And so on and so forth, and this is why some of the Salaf they used to say,
‘Īmān is in two halves, one half which is sabr, and one half which is gratitude and being grateful.’
And then he mentioned the āyah in the Qur’ān,
إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ۬ شَكُورٍ۬
‘Indeed in this is a sign for every sabār (one who has habit and developed patience as a skill and a virtue) and likewise for the one who is shakūr (the one who is grateful to Allāh.)’ (Surah Ibrahim: 5)
And this āyah occurs in the Qur’ān four times.
So then he says, when a servant thinks about īmān and he reflects about īmān itself, he will see that the whole of īmān is made up of these two things; either it is sabr showing patience, or it is showing shukr and being grateful. This is the whole of īmān.
Then he explains that sabr itself is of three types. So he says the first one is the sabr upon the obedience to Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla); so he shows sabr up until he performs the act of obedience, so meaning that sabr is something that he shows beforehand, and he continues upon that up until the act of obedience he is ordered to perform is fulfilled.
Then he says that a servant is not able to do that which he is commanded with except after showing sabr and musābarah, and after making jihād, striving against his enemy, which is internal and the enemy which is external; and this means his soul, because there is in his soul that which is an enemy to him, and likewise it refers to the other enemy outside of him which is the Shaytān, and it can also refer to other people who prevent him and hinder him. So when he makes a striving and shows sabr then this is what is meant by having patience upon obedience to Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), and so this patience is related to doing things which are wājib and doing things which are mustahabb, so this is the type of patience shown in respect to that.
The second type is the sabr that he shows in keeping away from the things which are harām and which are prohibited, and this is because again there are three things; a soul inside him which invites him to the evil, and likewise there are shayātīn who beautify the evil to him and beautify to him disobedience, and likewise there are the evil companions, the evil friendship and the evil associates; be they those people who are upon sin, or be they those people who are upon innovation and these people surround him and order him with disobedience, and they order him to depart from what Allāh has commanded him with, and so therefore to the extent that he has this sabr, and this sabr is strong within him, then to that extent will he be in obedience to Allāh.He quotes a nice statement from one of the Salaf,
‘The righteous deeds are done by both the righteous and the sinful person.’
So the righteous deeds are easy, the one who is a sinner and the one who is a righteous pious person, they both do the righteous deeds, there is no distinction there between one or the other, but, then he says, but only one who abandons disobedience is the Siddīque, and the Siddīque means the one who is true to Allāh in his speech, in his belief, in his deed, in his intent in everything.
He is truthful. So that is the distinction between the one who is Siddīque and the one who does righteous deeds; because righteous deeds are easy to do they, are not difficult to do, but the struggle and the sabr is when it comes to abandoning disobedience and that is what distinguishes between the Siddīque and the one who is not like that; and that is why you see in the Qur’ān Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) mentioning those categories of people; the Prophets, and after them he mentions the Siddīqīn, because they are the most like the Prophets, and then he mentions after them the martyrs and the righteous and so on and so forth.
So this is the second type, and as for the third type, which is having sabr upon those things which afflict him from Allāh’s decree, from the qadā of Allāh, this itself is of two types; and the first one is when calamities come to him which no other human being has any choice in or has any involvement in, and this is for example, sickness or disease. So disease is from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) or calamities which do not involve the choice of another person. So these come to him, and he refers to them as al-masā’ib al-samāwīyyah, meaning the ‘heavenly calamities’, meaning those which come from Allāh, but there is no choice for any individual in that.
So they come to him and he, Ibn Taymīyyah says, these are very easy to show sabr. To show sabr upon these is something quite easy, because a servant knows that these come from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) and no individual has had any role or involvement in this calamity coming to him, so when this is firmly fixed in his mind, he knows that he has to show patience, either he is forced to show patience, as Ibn Taymiyyah says, ‘ittirāran’, or he chooses to show patience, ‘ikhtiyāran’; because when calamities come to us then there is one category of people who are strong and out of choice, they know in their mind that ‘I’m going to show patience in front of this calamity’, so they know beforehand; and another category of people are such that when they experience the harm, the toil, and the hardship and the pain, they are forced to show sabr, not something that they chose to begin with, that ‘I’m going to show patience’, but they are forced by this calamity ‘now I’ve got no escape, except to show patience.’
So this is the difference between the two types of people. So either out of compulsion or necessity a person shows patience, or out of choice he shows patience to this type of harm which comes to him. Why? Because he knows that it is from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), and thus he has no complaint.
So then they Shaykh says that if this individual is a person for whom Allāh (subhānhu wa ta’āla) he opens up his mind and his thinking and his imagination, and he makes him realise that this calamity which has come to him, then it has so many benefits and so much compassion for him and so much goodness for him, then he will move and transfer from this station of being patient, to a station of being grateful, so he now moves from sabr and he goes into shukr; this is another level above and beyond just merely having sabr upon a calamity; because now he has realised with the thinking that Allāh has opened up for him, he sees, and inshā’Allah when we read through the twenty points of Ibn Taymīyyah, you will see how a servants mind changes into thinking into a different way, so he sees that in fact everything is a ni’mah from Allāh.
So he says here at this point, that when Allāh allows a servant to think and reflect and he makes him see the benefits, then he moves from just sabr to a higher level which is now actually being grateful to Allāh, he is now praising and thankful to Allāh that this calamity came to him despite all of the pain and hardship and toil, and so on and so forth.
So then he says, it is at this stage that a believer, he makes this particular supplication, which is reported from the Messenger that he says,
So it is here that the believer makes this du’ā,
اللَّهُمَّ أَعِنِّيْ عَلَى ذِكْرِكَ وَشُكْرِكَ وَحُسْنِ عِبَادَتِكَ
‘O my Lord aid me and support me in remembering you, and in being grateful to you and in making good worship of you’(Abu Dāwūd 2/86)
So in other words, he is asking Allāh to bring to him, to aid him with that which he will become a better worshipper, be more grateful to Allāh, to remember Allāh, and what is this for a person who is shakūr, except calamities that he sees as being a ni’mah from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla).
So then he says that we find that every person he is either strong in this or weak in this and so the people vary in their levels as to how they treat the particular issue, and then he gives a line of poetry in which the poet said, that a person, he has someone beloved to him and,
‘Even though some harm has come to me from you, you are beloved to me and have harmed me, and hurt me, but at least I am happy to know that at least you are thinking of me.’
So what that means, in terms of what Ibn Taymīyyah is saying, a servant, when he knows that harm has come to him from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), and even though this is harmful to him and painful to him, and has caused grief to him, he is happy and pleased that Allāh knows of him and that Allāh is intending something for him and Allāh is concerned with his servant, even though he brought something that is a calamity to him. Because the calamity is actually a ni’mah for him, so therefore he is pleased and happy that this is the concern that Allāh is showing to him. Just like as we said, in the line of poetry, a person, he has someone whom he loves, and although the one whom he loves has harmed him, nevertheless, he is still pleased and happy and delighted at the fact that he was actually in the mind of that person who was thinking of him.
So this was the third type of sabr; and there is the fourth type of sabr, and this type of sabr is the one in which harm comes to him from the people. This is now not purely from the calamities which are outside of the hands of the people like illness and disease and death and whatever else, but rather this is now harm that comes from the people, and this can be in terms of his wealth, it can be in terms of his honour, in can be in terms of his self, his person, his body, and this type of patience is the most difficult to have, the most burdensome, and the reason is because, now he can see that the harm has come to him from a person, from an individual, it is now no longer purely from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), although it is from Allāh, but it in the first example there isn’t anyone whom he can blame, there isn’t any person who wilfully chose to harm him, so therefore he can’t direct his frustration or anger or vengeance or retribution towards anything, because he knows it is from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla).
However in this example, when the harm comes to him from the people, then this is the most difficult affair to have patience upon, and the reason is because he knows and sees and perceives the one from whom harm came to him and the soul is such, that the soul dislikes to be dominated; people do not like to be harmed and controlled, and to be dominated by others and to have their wealth, their person, their honour and their bodies to be harmed, abused and reviled.
Thus, this is something that the soul is upon and so therefore his soul inclines him towards revenge and vengeance, and so this is why we see that there are only a certain category of people who actually are able to show patience in this and they are the anbiyāh and the siddīqīn. These are the people we see in the Qur’ān, they are mentioned and praised and this is from their characteristics, that they are the ones who are able to show patience in respect to this type of calamity, and then we see examples of this from the Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhī wa sallam), who used to say, as is reported in al Bukhārī and Muslim,
‘May Allāh have mercy upon Mūsā (‘alayhi al-salām), for indeed he was harmed much more than this, and he showed patience’
Meaning much more than what the Messenger Muhammad (sallAllāhu ‘alayhī wa sallam) was harmed with, because Mūsā received harm from banī Isrā’īl and from Fir’aun, and so on and so forth, so he said ‘may Allāh have mercy upon him, for he was harmed with much more than this, and he showed patience.’
The Messenger also informed us in other ahādīth, of Prophets who used to come in the past and they were beaten by their people and this Prophet would say, ‘O Allāh forgive my people because they do not know.’
And we see that the likes of this was also reported about the Messenger (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that he himself said the likes of this remark when he was put through a tribulation; and so we see, if we look in these examples, that there are three things that we see in the Prophets when they receive this harm from the people; the first one is that they pardon and overlook the harm that has come to them from those people, the second thing is that they make istighfār, that they ask Allāh to forgive those people and the third thing is that they make an excuse for them in that they are ignorant and they excuse them. This is the quality of the Prophets (‘alayhim al-salām).
And then Ibn Taymīyyah says that this type of sabr has certain rewards and benefits, there are certain consequences of this type of sabr, and he mentions eight of them.
– First of all al-nasr, first of all is the support and aid from Allāh (subānahu wa ta’āla);
– the second of them is al-hudā, guidance, a person receives more guidance;
– the third of them is al-surūr, happiness and pleasure;
– the fourth of them is al-amn, safety and security;
– the fifth of them is al-qūwwah fī dhātillāh, meaning ‘strength in pursuit of the pleasure of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla)’;
– the sixth of them, an increase in the love of Allāh, in Allāh’s love of him, and likewise;
– number seven, an increase in the love of the people of him;
– and eighth he will be given an increase in knowledge.
So these are all the consequences of a person who shows sabr with respects to the harm which comes to him from the people; and then the Shaykh mentions an āyah in the Qur’ān, that this type of sabr is a ni’mah and a fadl from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), and Allāh says,
ذَٲلِكَ فَضۡلُ ٱللَّهِ يُؤۡتِيهِ مَن يَشَآءُۚ وَٱللَّهُ ذُو ٱلۡفَضۡلِ ٱلۡعَظِيمِ
‘This is the bounty of Allāh and He gives it to whomever He pleases, and Allāh is the Possessor of Great Bounty.’ ( Surah al-Jumu’ah: 4)
So this is the introduction, so now what Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah does, he now gives us twenty ways or twenty benefits or twenty points by which we can have sabr and it is specifically about the fourth type of sabr; so every point that you are going to listen to, inshā’Allāhu ta’āla, the twenty points are specifically to do with the harms that come to you from other people; and this is important for us to understand because as you know, Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-jamā’ah, those people who follow the way of the Salaf, the Companions the tābi’īn, are the most trialled of people, the most tested of people, and as you’ve heard in the lectures that have taken place over the weekend, I’m sure you have heard many quotations and many ahādīth which mention about Ahl al-Sunnah and about how for those who stick to the Sunnah it is akin to holding onto hot coals; and how the most tested of people are the Prophets and those who are like them and follow them, and there are many narrations which you’ve heard like this, and you’ve also heard issues being discussed which relate to the tribulations that Ahl al-Sunnah face from the opposers and from innovators and from the followers of desires; and so when that is the case we see that likewise from the examples of the Scholars themselves; look at Ibn Taymīyyah himself, (rahīmahullāhu ta’āla) how much harm he received from the people of his time, from the Asha’rī’s and from the Jahmīyyah and from the Mu’tazillah and from the Sūfī’s and from other than them and from those whom he refuted, and the plotting that they plotted against him; they had him thrown into prison, and they tried to have him killed and so on and so forth, and so Ibn Taymiyyah (rahīmahullāh) when he is giving this advice to us, he is giving it from experience from insight, basīrah; and so this really is a lesson to us as people from the Sunnah who face tribulations more than any other people, because Ahl al-Sunnah are the ones who are upon the haqq, who are upon the Truth, and they follow the Prophets and the Companions and they hold onto the rope of Allāh and this invites opposition and enmity, and plotting and so on and so forth; and so this is what explains the great benefit in the small treatise of Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah and inshā’Allāh I will give you one example or a contemporary situation as well, so we can put everything into context.
If you remember in 1990, when the Gulf war happened, when Saddām, who was a Ba’thist Communist, invaded Kuwait and then shortly after this time there were a group of people who came out in the field of da’wah and their aim was to use this event or this calamity to try and to bring down the Scholars, to attack the scholars, to attack Shaykh bin Bāz (rahīmahullāh), to attack Shaykh ibn ‘Uthaymīn (rahīmahullāh) and to attack Shaykh al-Albāni (rahīmahullāh), and the Scholars; and so they came out, and they began to bring certain slanders and belittlement and mockery that ‘these Scholars are clueless, they do not know what they are talking about; all they do is speak about women’s menses, and the fiqh rulings of purity and so on and so forth, and they are not really people who understand what is going on, look at this war that is taking place, look at the Americans who have come into the land..’ And so they began to belittle them, and their aim was to attack the da’wah of the Sunnah and to belittle the da’wah ofTawhīd and the Sunnah, and to bring the da’wah of the Khawārij; the da’wah of Syed Qutb, and the fikr of Syed Qutb, and the very first people who recognised and saw what these people were up to right at the very beginning were the mashāyikh of Madīnah, may Allāh reward them.
At the head of them, Shaykh Rabī’ and Shaykh Muhammad bin Hādī and Shaykh Sālih al-Suhaymī and Shaykh ‘Ubayd and other than them; and these Scholars from the very beginning, they began to advise them and correct them and mention their errors, and as soon as these mashāyikh performed this obligation, then this is when these people ran to Shaykh ibn Bāz, they began to make all of these complaints; ‘yā Shaykh there are people out there who are causing splits, they are making slanders they are attacking the du’āt, they are attacking the scholars, they are saying this, and doing this, they are people of fitnah, they are people of sedition…’, and so from that point after the gulf war for many, many, many long years, these people began to bring harm and they began to attack these mashāyikh of Madīnah; at the head of them Shaykh Rabī’; and so as you read through these points that Shaykh al-Islām ibn Taymīyyah is mentioning, you will understand and appreciate what those mashāyikh had to go through, and then you will also realise that the wisdom of Allāh and the promise of Allāh is true and everything you’ve heard so far from ibn Taymīyyah, you will realise that it is the absolute truth because at the end of it all, after ten years; obviously there is much more to mention in between, but we can leave that out because it is unnecessary detail; but at the end of the ten years, did you ever see Shaykh Rabī’ attack or revile any of these people in their person or attack or harm their wealth, or attack them in their body or attack their honour? No, you didn’t see that, you saw them explain the truth and clarify the truth and call to Allāh.
Did you see any of these mashāyikh attack these innovators in their person, in their family, in their honour? No they didn’t, but what we see at the end of it all, what happened? You see that these very same people, Allāh humiliated these people, Allāh destroyed these people; these people came out making takfīr of the rulers and implying takfīr of some of the Scholars like Shaykh Rabī’; at the end of the ten years, Allāh humiliated them; that the very people who followed them rejected them and then began to make takfīr of them!
So now these people, Safar and Salmān, they are considered kuffār, why? Because they sold out and they were treacherous to the da’wah of takfīr and khārijīyyah, and so there are found amongst their followers those who declare them to kuffār, saying that Salmān al-Owdah is a kāfir, and Safar al Hiwāli is a kāfir; and look at these people, what happened at the end of them, we see some of them sitting with Sūfī’s and Shī’a’s, like we see Salmān al- Owdah; this is a humiliation upon these people and the people have abandoned them, these followers who used to be with them; and so the point being here, that we need to give some examples so that you can put into context these twenty points that you are going to hear from Shaykh al-Islām ibn Taymīyyah, and this is a matter that never ends for Ahl al-Sunnah, why, because we know that Allāh’s Messenger said,
‘There will never be cease to be a group from my Ummah manifestly upon the truth, and they will not be harmed by those who forsake them nor those who oppose them’. Muslim (3/1523
So there are two things, either opposition or desertion, and so this will continue up until the establishment of the Hour, which proves that Ahl al-Sunnah will always face this type of calamity and hardship which comes from the people; which is the fourth type of sabr which ibn Taymīyyah is speaking of, which only the Prophets and the Siddīqīn are able to show, and so these are examples which we must give so that you can put into context what is happening around you, and why these things are happening around us and why they are occurring, and then when a person looks at it in this way, then he will have a completely different perception of the affairs, and to show sabr will become very easy upon him, and inshā’Allāh this will made clear by these twenty points that ibn Taymīyyah is now going to present to us.
So he says, that the servant will be aided upon this sabr, (meaning this fourth type of sabr) by many things, and then he mentions from them the first of them; and notice as well that in about ten of these points, ibn Taymīyyah says ‘an yash-hada’ or he says ‘an ya’lama’ that a person either he witnesses, he sees, he observes, or he knows; which means that what ibn Taymīyyah is intending is that a person change the way he looks at things in his mind; such that when he looks at things in a different way then it will allow him to become patient more easily, so a lot of it is to change the way you look at Allāh’s qadā and qadr.
So the first one he says, that ‘he witnesses that Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) is the Creator of the actions of the servants’; this is from our belief. He created all of their movements, He created all of their rest, when they move or when they are at rest, He created all of that, He creates all of their irādāt, every wish or will, that arises in a person to do something, Allāh is the Creator of that wish, so if a person wishes you harm, for example, that the wish arises in a person to harm you, Allāh created that wish in that person; Allāh is the Creator of that irāda.
So he says, whatever Allāh wishes or wills, it will happen, and whatever he does not will and does not wish will not happen. So therefore nothing moves, there is no movement in this world, in this universe, the higher level of the universe or the lower level of the universe, meaning in the heavens or in the earth, and nor any atom, except that it moves by Allāh’s will and by Allāh’s wish.
And so therefore, every single servant, all of the servants are basically an instrument, they are a tool; so he says that the servants are a tool and an instrument, so don’t look at the servants look at the one who has used them against you; meaning Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla).
So don’t look at their action, but rather look at the action of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), and when you do this, then all of the ghamm and the hamm, all of the anxiety and the concern and the stress will be removed from you. So the point here that Shaykh al-Islām ibn Taymīyyah is mentioning, is that we tend to have tunnel vision, and when calamities come to us from the people, we don’t think beyond the individual, his actions, his intentions, his motivations, his irāda and we just limit it there, rather we should go beyond that and see who is the Creator of the actions of the servants and who is the Creator of the desires in the people, it is Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla).
And obviously a point of belief that we should mention here is that what ibn Taymīyyah is saying here is not like what the Ash’arī’s claim, because the Ash’arī’s claim that they are upon the belief ofal jarbar, which means that they believe that the servants actions are forced upon them they are forced to do the actions, they don’t have any true independent will, but they are Allāh’s actions which he performs in his servants, so we shouldn’t confuse with what ibn Taymīyyah is saying here between what they say, because they have a different type of belief; but what ibn Taymīyyah mentioned is that Allāh uses the servants as a means to bring certain things in front of his servant as a means to test him.
So even though Allāh creates their actions, they are still the performers of the actions, so even though harm comes to me from an individual, that individual is the one that acted the harm, not Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), but Allāh created that action, so that action is Allāh’s creation, but the one who did the action is that individual, and he will be punished for it, this is different to what the Ash’arī’s believe, because they believe in actuality, that the servant does not have any action, that he is forced by Allāh, and then Allāh gives him a credit if it is good, or Allāh takes away a credit or gives him a punishment if it is not something which is good.
So this is different to what the Ash’arī’s are saying. So anyway with that clarified, the second point he says is, that a servant looks at his sins, he witnesses his sins and that Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), that he empowered them, those people that this harm came to him, it only came to him because of his own sins, just like Allāh says in the Qur’ān,
وَمَآ أَصَـٰبَڪُم مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍ۬ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتۡ أَيۡدِيكُمۡ وَيَعۡفُواْ عَن كَثِيرٍ۬
‘Whatever calamity has come to you, it is what your own hands have earned, and he pardons many.’ (Ash-Shura: 30)
So when a person starts thinking about these things which come to him from the people, maybe his body has been harmed, maybe his wealth has been harmed, his honour has been attacked, he’s been reviled, name called and so and so forth, whatever it is, then the first thing that he should look at are his own sins. It is like the first step in a series of steps, the first thing that he looks at is, this is from my own sins, this is from my sins; and when he sees all of this is because of his sins, he will then become occupied with istighfār and with taubah, because that is the first thing that a person should turn to when a calamity comes to him. As we will see, the peoples priorities are all messed up, they do not follow these priorities that ibn Taymīyyah is mentioning, they are all messed up and the hawā comes in and so and so forth , and so a person’s action is now confused.
So what ibn Taymīyyah is doing is, he is giving you a methodology, how do you recognise something for what it actually is, then what are the steps you take.
So the first thing is that you know that Allāh created the actions of every servant, then when a calamity comes to you the first thing that you think is, it is from my sins, so when he makes this acknowledgement that this is from his sins, then it leads him to make istighfār and taubah as the first step; and so he makes taubah and istighfār from all of the sins, because there are many sins, and it is likely that because of these sins these calamities come to him from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) through the people, and when he does this it will take him away from just reviling that person, cursing that person, abusing that person and trying to blame that person. This shows the difference between a person who understands al-qadā wa al-qadr, and between a person who is not like that. The person who understands al-qadā wa al-qadr, this is how he behaves, with the mannerisms which ibn Taymīyyah is mentioning.
A person who does not actualise this behaves in a different way; a calamity comes to him he starts getting mad, angry, he reviles abuses, curses, he wants revenge, and so on and so forth, this shows this person has not been nurtured upon a sound ‘aqīdah and a sound understanding of what has come to him from his Lord in terms of the revelation and what the Messenger brought.
So he says when a person moves from the calamity and he sees that this calamity is from his own sins, this realisation in his mind moves him from thinking about the calamity as a calamity to thinking of it as a ni’mah from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla).
So now this has become a ni’mah for him, a person who thinks in this way, he sees it as a ni’mah from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), and for that reason he shows shukr to Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) as we said earlier on in what ibn Taymīyyah mentioned; and this is why we see from ‘Ali (radhiyAllāhu ‘anhu), many statements, and from them is,
‘No calamity descended except on account of a sin, and no calamity was removed except by taubah to Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla)’
So this is the second point, that a person when a calamity comes to him, the first thing is taubah and istighfār. The third benefit is that a servant understands that the reward for having sabr and for the one who pardons and overlooks is a great reward and has been specified by Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), and then he mentions a verse in the Qur’ān,
وَجَزَٲٓؤُاْ سَيِّئَةٍ۬ سَيِّئَةٌ۬ مِّثۡلُهَاۖ فَمَنۡ عَفَا وَأَصۡلَحَ فَأَجۡرُهُ ۥ عَلَى ٱللَّهِۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
‘And the reward for an evil is an evil like it, and so whoever pardons and rectifies then his reward is with Allāh. And indeed Allāh does not love those that oppress.’ (Surah al-Shūra: 40)
In this āyah, Shaykh al-Islām ibn Taymīyyah says, there are three types of people mentioned, three classifications, and he says that the first person is a dhālim; a dhālim is someone who when he is wronged, and he wants his revenge, he takes more than the right to what is due to him, this now is a dhālim, because even though he was wronged, when he tries to address the matter and tries to correct it he wants more than what came to him, so he is a dhālim, he takes more than his right. The second one is the muqtasid, the one who takes only what is his right, when he is harmed by someone he takes only what is his right, so he is just in the middle, he is muqtasid; and the third one is the one who pardons and forgives and shows sabr and he leaves his right, he doesn’t take his right, he leaves it and all of these three are mentioned in this āyah. Look at this āyah he quotes,
وَجَزَٲٓؤُاْ سَيِّئَةٍ۬ سَيِّئَةٌ۬ مِّثۡلُهَاۖ
‘The reward for an evil is an evil of its like’
This is the muqtasid, an evil comes to him he returns it with its like, meaning that he takes his due right through the sharī’ah means, so this is now the muqtassid.
And then Allāh says,
فَمَنۡ عَفَا وَأَصۡلَحَ
‘But the one who pardons and forgives’
Meaning the one who has sabr and overlooks it and takes an honourable position,
فَأَجۡرُهُ ۥ عَلَى ٱللَّهِۚ
‘He is the one who has reward from Allāh’,
And at the end He says,
إِنَّهُ ۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
‘And Allāh does not love those who are the dhālimīn, the oppressors’ (Surah al-Shūra: 40)
And those are the ones who take more than their right that is due to them.
So when a person he understands that these are the three types of people then he will realise in order to get the reward which Allāh has mentioned in this verse, he has to show sabr, he has to be patient, he has to even sometimes leave the right which is due to him if he is one who wants that reward.
So look at all these things which Allāh has brought to the individual by means of a single calamity or harm through another person, all these things have been opened out for him, these are favours and bounties from Allāh. And then he mentions a statement or a hadīth that it will be mentioned on the Day of Judgement, a caller will call,
‘Every person upon whom reward has become obligatory for Allāh to give to him, let him stand for that reward’
And so no one will stand for that reward except for the one who forgave and had patience and overlooked the harm that came to him, only these people will then stand, because only these people actually deserve it and are appointed for it; so this is the third benefit.
The fourth point that he mentions is that a person when he pardons and overlooks and he hussar, then his heart inherits this purity, his heart is pure, it is salīm, and so all of the other negative qualities like al ghish, which is a type of deception, and a type of hatred and seeking revenge and intending evil upon someone else and all of these kinds of diseases of the heart, he saves his heart from being afflicted by these diseases, meaning when he shows patience, and when he overlooks and when he expects his reward from Allāh; then he keeps his heart pure, and then he tastes the sweetness of the deliciousness of īmān and of patience and so on an so forth, and he will also, as a result of this, he will receive multiple times reward than if he pursued revenge and vengeance from that individual or spent his effort and time in trying to correct that wrong; rather in this he has more reward from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) and so what happens here is that he becomes someone who is beloved to Allāh as Allāh says,
وَٱللَّهُ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ
‘Allāh loves those who do goodness’ (Surah al-Imrān: 134)
And so he becomes one of those who is loved by Allāh, so in other words meaning, when he shows sabr, and leaves off all of those diseases of the heart, like seeking revenge and retribution and all those things which come into his heart when a calamity comes to him from something else, when he is harmed and he leaves that for the sake of Allāh, and he makes ihsān, he is benevolent and he pardons and forgives and overlooks it, this in turn wins him the love of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), because Allāh says, ‘Allāh loves the muhsineen’ and because he has done ihsān, then this harm which has come to him from someone else has earned him the love of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla).
And this is the fourth point that Shaykh al-Islām ibn Taymīyyah mentions and he gives an example, he says this is like someone comes to you, he steals a dinār from you, he takes one dinār from you and so you leave it, you do not pursue it and as a result, thousands of dinārs come back to you in return. So this is an example, someone comes and he has harmed you he’s abused you he’s reviled you he’s attacked your name he’s attacked your honour, he has spread it on the internet or whatever. Leave him, don’t pursue him, ignore him, make your ihtisāb with Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) and when you do that and you protect your heart from all of those diseases and those negative feelings and emotions and so on and so forth, you have kept your heart clean and pure, and you’ve done ihsān, what have you earned in return? You have earned the mahabbah of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla). So a dinār was taken from you and thousands came to you in return, and this is how ibn Taymīyyah has given that example.
The fifth point he says, is that you should know that never does a person seek revenge for himself, for his own personal self, meaning for his own sake except that he will be made to inherit ‘dhull’, meaning humility, and disgrace; such that if you pursue a matter in which you are trying to seek revenge for your own soul, for your own self, for your own sake, that will lead you to inherit dhull from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), meaning humility and disgrace, and he says, however, if he overlooks and pardons the particular issue at hand then Allāh will give him ‘izzah, Allāh will give him even more ‘izzah, Allāh will make him even more noble and strong, and this is in fact stated in a hadīth of the Messenger of Allāh (sallaAllāhu ‘alayhī wa sallam), where he said in a hadīth,
‘Never did Allāh increase a servant who showed pardoning and overlooking things except in ‘izz honour and might and strength and nobility’
So when hardship comes to an individual from other people from the opposers from the innovators from the people of desires, even from sometimes from Ahl al-Sunnah who may encroach upon your right, upon your person and upon your wealth; he shows pardon, he forgives and he overlooks, then we find Allāh makes him even more noble and gives him even more strength.
However, if he were to seek revenge and seek his own right, and pursue this matter for his own sake, then he has lost that ‘izzah which Allāh would otherwise have given to him. And then he says, in reality when we see a person tries to seek revenge or correct a wrong and he pursues it, then it might look outwardly as if he has acquired some honour, but inwardly he has acquired dhull, in the bātin he has acquired dhull, whereas if he left the matter completely from the beginning and he showed patience and he expected his reward from Allāh, he overlooked it and left it, then this is al-‘izzah, nobility would be both on the inside and on the outside. So this is the fifth point that a person should realise, so all of these points that you realise when a single calamity comes to you from somebody else, these are all ways and opportunities by which Allāh has brought a ni’mah to you in front of you and are all different ways by which you can achieve the mahabbah of Allāh and ‘izzah with Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), and reward from Allāh and so on and so forth.
Then he says point number six, and he says this is from the greatest benefits that a person witnesses that the reward for anything is always with its like, meaning you do good, good will come to you, if you do evil, evil will come to you. So this is from the greatest of the principles which you should look at; and then he explains what he means, so pay attention to see what he is actually meaning here, he says, what it means is that you as a servant are ‘dhālim ul li nafsi’, you are wronging your own soul, you are a sinner, we are all sinners, we wrong ourselves, we are disobedient to Allāh and in this is an opportunity for you, because if you pardon other people who wrong you, if you have sabr you overlook and pardon them then Allāh likewise in turn upon you, you who are wronging yourself and disobeying Allāh, then Allāh will in turn will pardon and forgive you.
So he says, so therefore a servant when harms come to him from others, they attack his honour they attack his wealth they attack his body, and whatever else whether it is a dunya thing or a dīn thing, and he overlooks them and shows nobility and honour and overlooks it and he shows patience, then in turn the reward for an act is its like, and Allāh in turn will give you the same; He will forgive you and pardon you and so on and so forth; and so he says, but as for when a person does not forgive and then he pursues, he wants revenge and vengeance, he wants to seek to redress the matter for himself, then you have just lost that pardon and forgiveness from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), you have just sacrificed it, because you wanted to pursue your own desires and anger and so on and so forth. So this is the sixth point that he mentions.
The seventh point that he mentions is that a person who becomes preoccupied in trying to redress the wrongs done against him to seek revenge to correct things, so maybe he has been slandered, his name has been called, he has been reviled he has been abused, his honour has been attacked, his family has been spoken of and so on and so forth like these people do nowadays, on the internet and elsewhere; you speak the truth, you defend the Scholars, and the next thing you know, the whole dunya knows that you are this and you are that, so if you were to now chase these people and start correcting everything and defending your honour and so on and so forth, and pursue things for your own self then what you have done is entered into a matter which is going to waste even more of your time and so even more harm has come to you than the initial harm that came to you in the first place. So you are just wasting your time, your heart is becoming scattered, you are just filled with anxiety and stress and you are losing so many benefits which you could have been preoccupied in as a result of pursuing this matter for your own self.
So ibn Taymīyyah is saying that a person, his heart should simply show patience and to overlook things and to ignore things and to just continue upon his path, otherwise more harm will come to him.
The eighth benefit that he mentions here is that, and he gives a beautiful example here, he says, look at the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), do you see that he ever, ever, ever sought revenge for his own self? He says, never, he never sought revenge for his own self, and this is alongside our knowledge that he is the best of creation, he is the most noble of creation and he never sought revenge for himself, even though he was harmed in the path of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), meaning that this was purely a dīn thing, this was to do with religion, all the harm that came to him was for the religion, and all the rights of the religion were the ones that were violated when the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was being harmed by the people in his self, in his person in his honour and so on and so forth, and his soul is the most noble of souls, the most purified and the most righteous of them, and he is the one furthest away from having any negative quality or any negative characteristic, rather he had all the best of the qualities, the best of the khuluq, the best of the akhlāq; and alongside all of this do we see that he ever sought revenge for himself, we see never did he seek revenge for himself, and so when we as Muslims know this, and at the same time we know that our souls are not like the soul of the Messenger, and we do not have the qualities of the Messenger, then how can we be in a position, why should we be in a position that we start seeking revenge for our own selves.
The point he is making is that the Messenger’s soul and character was the most noble, was the most perfect, the most pure, if anyone should be seeking revenge it would have been him, because he has the right to; because he is the most purest and noblest of souls and characters, so he should have a right to seek revenge for himself, but he never did; and so when we are not like the Messenger, are our souls like the soul of the Messenger, do we have the akhlāq of Messenger, do we have the position and the nobility of the Messenger? Of course we don’t, so what right do we have then to now start seeking vengeance and retribution, so this is the point that ibn Taymīyyah is putting across.
So he says at the end that a man who truly knows his own self he knows that his soul does not equal anything such that he should now try and seek revenge for it, or to aid and support his own soul, so this is a very important point that he mentions.
Point number nine, is that when a person is harmed in the path of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla); so now we are speaking specifically in the path of Allāh, also bear in mind that when you go through these points sometimes they can apply to something which is a matter of dunya only, sometimes they can apply to a matter of dīn only, sometimes they can apply to both, so keep this is mind as you hear what ibn Taymīyyah is putting across.
So here now he is saying that if a servant is harmed in something which he has done purely and sincerely for the sake of Allāh, now this is dīn; he has done a righteous deed, or he is calling to Allāh and to the Sunnah, he is calling to the way of the Salaf; this is for the sake of Allāh and within that he is now harmed, in this situation it is wājib upon him to show sabr and have patience, meaning it is not permissible for him at all to try to seek revenge for himself; the reason is because he is harmed in the path of Allāh, the reward comes from Allāh, and nobody else, and this is why he gives the example of those who are mujāhidūn fī sabīlillāh, those who struggle and strive to fight in the path of Allāh, that there is no one from the people who is a guarantor for them; their lives and their wealth, there is no guarantee for them from anybody else, rather it is guaranteed by Allāh; so when they die, it is Allāh that guarantees it for them, so likewise here in a situation where a person is proceeding upon the path of Allah, in the dīn of Allāh, then it is wājib upon him to have sabr and not to seek revenge or retribution for his own self, because this then means that he has removed from himself the guarantee from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) and he has entrusted himself to the people.
So this is the ninth point that he mentions, and then in fact he continues to explain it quite well, there is a good example he gives, he says that if you are a person who has some goods, and you want to sell these goods, but you are unable to handle travelling to a hot climate to sell them, and you are unable to handle being in a cold climate to sell them, and you cannot have patience in trying to avoid all of the thieves upon the path, the highway robbers that might steal your goods, whilst you are travelling to sell your merchandise, then you do not deserve these goods in the first place.
You should not even have these goods in your hands and your pockets; do not sell them, it is not for you. So what he is explaining here is when these goods came to you from Allāh; and remember at the beginning we said that every qadā and qadar that comes to you collectively is matājir, it is merchandise that has come to you from Allāh; so if you cannot handle this merchandise, you cannot have sabr and you cannot have the patience, you should not even have the merchandise in your hand.
So this is how he is connecting this particular issue to the issue that came earlier on, so meaning you have to develop patience in yourself, you have to build patience in yourself, and without this you will never ever reach your path, because the trader, his aim is to make profit, if you cannot have patience within a hot climate, or a cold climate, you cannot handle travelling and the burdensome aspects of travelling, and you cannot handle the thieves and whatever else may come in your way; you cannot have patience upon that, then there is no point in you being upon this path, there is no point in you trading, because you will not reach your goal.
So in a similar way a person who wants to reach Allāh, then sabr is something he must have in all of these different things.
And so he moves on to the tenth point and he says, that a person should also observe thema’iyah of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), that he knows that Allāh is with him; when he has patience, that he knows that Allāh is with him, and this is by virtue of the saying of Allāh in the Qur’ān,
وَٱصۡبِرُوٓاْۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
‘Be patient, indeed Allāh is with the patient.’ (Surah al-Anfāl: 46)
So now he knows that when he shows sabr in all of these steps we have mentioned, he knows that the ma’iyah of Allāh, Allāh is with him in his sabr, and he knows that if Allāh is with him, all of these harms will be moved and repelled by Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), which no one else from the creation is able to repel from him and remove from him; and likewise he knows that Allāh’s love will come upon him because Allāh said,
وَٱللَّهُ يُحِبُّ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
‘Allāh loves those who are patient’ (Surah al-Imrān: 146)
So we have the mahabbah, and we have the ma’iyah of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) on account of a person showing this sabr.
The eleventh point is that sabr is one half of īmān; so if he were to seek revenge for himself, he has lost and sacrificed a part of īmān which he otherwise could have had, and increased upon. So in other words when you pursue your own vengeance and retribution and try to take your right for your own soul, meaning that you do not have patience, then you have just sacrificed a part of īmān, you have just let it go, which otherwise would have increased your level of īmān.
The twelfth point he mentions, is that one should witness that the patience he is showing is something by which he controls his soul, and he dominates his soul and he enslaves his own soul, meaning that he has now captured his own soul, and he has locked it and controlled it from every single angle, and he says that when a soul is dominated, conquered and subdued it is in control and tied.
He says, the soul in turn cannot try to enslave him, and then he says the soul will not be able to lead him to destruction and the soul will obey him and listen to him instead of it being the other way round and he listens to the soul, and the soul then leads him to destruction. Then this is the result of patience. The patience is such that it allows him to dominate and control his soul, and so what this will lead to when a person does this, he says, that the authority, the sultān returns back to the heart; the heart now becomes the sultān, because this is how it should be, is that not right? You remember the hadīth,
‘The piece of flesh in the body if it is sound then all of the other limbs will be sound’. (Bukhārī)
The heart is the King and the limbs are the soldiers, so when he subdues the soul and conquers the soul, the authority remains with the heart, the heart remains King; but when he does not, the heart no longer remains King, so it is the soul that overtakes and dominates.
So you understand what ibn Taymīyyah is saying here, that by implementing this patience in all of these ways that we have mentioned, then the heart remains the King, and the limbs which are the soldiers will always follow whatever the heart is upon, and then he says, so therefore his soldiers, meaning his limbs, will become firmly established, they will be strong and they will aid him against himself, against his soul and against the Shaytān.
The thirteenth benefit here is that when a person has patience, then his aid from Allāh is guaranteed, as we said before ‘be patient, verily Allāh is with the patient’, and so he says that when you try to seek revenge for your own self then you have just sacrificed that aid from Allāh, that aid now has gone, because you did not show that patience which would have brought the aid of Allāh.
The fourteenth point he mentions is that when he has patience upon the harm of somebody else, then that patience itself is something that will force that other person to return back from his oppression, because what will happen is that when a person shows patience and the people see him being patient, then those people will in turn start speaking about that individual, because they can see that you have conducted yourself with honour and with nobility, and you have shown all of the noble characteristics, and over time the people will realise that you are the one who is upon the truth and you are the one who is following the guidance, and you are the one whose character and honour and behaviour is like that which the Messenger has commanded, and as for the dhālim, the one who is reviling you and speaking ill of you and being unjust to you and taking your honour, then the people will recognise from the fitrah that this person is upon falsehood.
So when you show patience upon all the harm, then that person himself will be forced by the circumstances to either leave his dhulm or to be hated by the people, and so either this person will become embarrassed and humbled and become ashamed for what he did, and he will be remorseful for what he did, and then he will become a friend to you, meaning that when he sees you are the one who acted nobly and you are the one who acted with nobility and honour and so on and so forth, then he will recognise his own evil and his own oppression, then he will come and he will become your best friend, and this is what Allāh mentions in the Qur’ān,
وَلَا تَسۡتَوِى ٱلۡحَسَنَةُ وَلَا ٱلسَّيِّئَةُۚ ٱدۡفَعۡ بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحۡسَنُ فَإِذَا ٱلَّذِى بَيۡنَكَ وَبَيۡنَهُ ۥ عَدَٲوَةٌ۬ كَأَنَّهُ ۥ وَلِىٌّ حَمِيمٌ۬ (٣٤) وَمَا يُلَقَّٮٰهَآ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَمَا يُلَقَّٮٰهَآ إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ۬ (٣٥)
‘The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better then verily! He, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient – and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter i.e. Paradise and of a high moral character) in this world. (Fussilat: 34-35)
So this is how when you have sabr and you behave in a honourable noble manner, that either it will lead your adversary to humble himself and recognise his error and to become ashamed and to become as if you are best friends, or it will humiliate him and disgrace him in the eyes of the people and he will be left and abandoned and spoken ill of. This will always be the eventual outcome.
The fifteenth benefit he says, again similar to what he said before, that an intelligent person always chooses the lesser of two harms. So if a harm came to him from an individual and he showed patience upon it and he acted honourably, and nobly and so on and so forth, then this is the lesser harm compared to him trying to pursue his own right and to defend himself and to seek vengeance for himself, so if he overlooked it and pardoned it and so on and so forth, then he has followed the lesser of two evils, because if he pursued that path, he will become drawn into a long winded situation, going backward and forward, getting involved in meetings and confrontations and so on, and this is the greater of the two harms.
The sixteenth benefit he mentions is that a person might change from being the oppressed to being the one who is the oppressor. So he says that a person who does not have sabr, then he tries to pursue these affairs, he tries to seek revenge for his own soul for his own self, and in the process he might go beyond the limits and beyond the bounds, and he might fall into something which is harām, and as a result he has now moved from being the one who is madhlūm to the one who is now a dhālim, the one who is initially oppressed, now he has become the dhālim himself. So if he is not careful and he does not have sabr and he does not overlook things, then he is in danger of becoming the dhālim after being the madhlūm. So this is a danger he needs to be aware of.
The seventeenth benefit the Shaykh mentions here is that this harm that has come to him from other people, then it only has two reasons or two things behind it; either it is an expiation of a sin, or it is a raising of your rank. So if you feel that you are harmed and oppressed and reviled and abused by other people either in a dunya matter or in a dīni matter then there are only two things; either it is Allāh expiating your sin for you, so it is a ni’mah or it is Allāh raising your rank if it is not in relation to a sin; so this is also a ni’mah, so again it is a matter of perception this is how we look at calamities that come to us from the opposers and other than them.
The eighteenth benefit is that he says that his sabr and his forbearance and his overlooking things is from the greatest of soldiers, the greatest of the armies that he has in his possession, against his opponent, against his enemy and against his disputant, that is the greatest army that he has against his opponent, why, because he says when a person has sabr and he overlooks these affairs, his sabr and his patience and his overlooking things is something that necessitates the humiliation of his enemy, of his adversary of his disputant. It is something that brings the dhull of his ‘aduww, the humiliation of his enemy, and likewise it is something that will bring fear and awe into the heart of that individual, from the rest of the people; meaning that your adversary, your enemy, or your opponent who is harming you and oppressing you, then your nobility and your patience and your honour and your overlooking things itself is the greatest army the greatest tool that you have that will necessitate that person being humiliated, that he will be brought down and he will begin to fear the people; he will fear what the people are saying, and he will start to fear you as well, as ibn Taymīyyah says; he will start fearing you and he will fear the people as well, when he sees your honour, nobility, patience, behaving in an honourable way and not doing what he is doing; this will bring about his humiliation and he says that you will eventually see that the people will not remain silent, the people will start speaking about him about his adversary, and so if a person now were to seek revenge, and for his own self and for his own soul and to aid his own soul, then all of this would be sacrificed, meaning that he has just sacrificed the greatest army that is in his possession that necessitates his enemy or oppressor or adversary or disputant would otherwise have been subdued, and humiliated. Meaning he has just sacrificed it all, if he began to seek it for his own self.
The nineteenth benefit is that he avoids this disputation and coming to the level of his disputant, so the one who is reviling him and arguing against him and attacking him and calling him names, and spreading things about him, if he overlooks him and says ‘well I don’t care what you’re saying about me, I overlook it, it doesn’t bother me at all, I’m going to have sabr,’ what will happen is this will bring about in that person the feeling that ‘I am lesser than that person, he is higher than me and I’m down here, he is up there and I am down here’, even though he might not like it, but he will be forced in his soul to acknowledge, even though he might not like it, even though he might continue to oppose you, but his soul will be forced to acknowledge that ‘he is up there and I am down here’, just by you behaving in the way you are behaving; being honourable, being noble, having sabr, not resorting to what he is resorting to.
It is a law and rule that he will be made to feel that he is lowly and that you are the one who is honourable and superior, this is just how it is; and he says, and so therefore this person will have an inferiority complex, he will never cease to consider himself to be lower than you and below you and so sufficient is this for a person who has sabr as a sharf, and as nobility for him.
And finally, point number twenty, he says, that when he has sabr and he overlooks this matter, and he pardons and so on and so forth, this is now hasanah, this is now one good deed for him, but this hasanah, this good deed itself will now give birth to another good deed, and that deed will then give birth to another good deed, and so on and so forth, which means that his good deeds will never cease to end. His good deeds will always continue to grow and grow, and this is like there are certain types of plants where if you plant one seed, a bit like mint for example, you plant it in one place the next thing you know, it is growing everywhere, and you cannot control it.
There are some plants which are like that; so a good deed is like a seed and it produces another good deed, and then it just continues on and on and so this is from the greatest favours upon a servant, that his good deeds never cease , they continue to grow and generate and so on and so forth; and so this is how it is that if he did not have that patience and did not have sabr and did not have that honourable way of dealing with things, and he sought revenge for himself and wanted to defend his honour and so on and so forth, then he has cut off that seed from the very beginning; meaning that he has just sacrificed all of that goodness that would have otherwise come to him, because he did not have sabr and did not have patience.
So that is the end of the twenty points, but remember, this risālah is called ‘Qā’idah fī al-sabr wa a-shukr’; so al-shukr is still left, so all ibn Taymīyyah says at the end is just one sentence,
‘Gratitude is that you work deeds in obedience to Allāh, (subhānahu wa ta’āla).’
So obviously this is where the risālah ends and this would require an elaboration upon shukr itself, but that is where Shaykh al-Islām ibn Taymīyyah has ended so inshā’Allāh we will end the dars here, but inshā’Allāh I hope you understand the intent behind the risālah; because we, as Ahl al-Sunnah, no doubt are going to face harm and opposition and tribulations and trials, not just in our dunya affairs but our dīn affairs as well, from all of the mukhālafīn, from the innovators; and how many and in abundance they are, and if we do not understand and see al-qadā wa al-qadr and patience to what comes to us from al-qadā wa al-qadr, in the way that ibn Taymīyyah has explained, and we do not see it from that angle; then we will not really be able to proceed with basīrah upon sabr, and we will not really be able to maintain nobility, honour and strength.
So this is why I said that this risālah is really beautiful; a person should read it once a week if he can, everyday if he can, because it contains mighty and amazing benefits, and this is more so for Ahl al-Sunnah; the people who follow the way of the Salaf because they are always being subject to harm and abuse and revilement by those who abandon the truth or those who are upon other than the truth to begin with, in the first place.
So with that I hope inshā’Allāhu ta’āla this has been of some benefit to myself and yourself, and with that we conclude the lecture.
Subhānaka Allāhumma wa bihamdika wa ash-hadu an-lā ilāha illā anta wa astaghfiruka wa atūbū ilayk.
A lecture delivered by our noble brother Abu Iyād Amjad Rafīq (hafidhahullāh)
Audio courtesy of www.salafisounds.com
[Slightly edited for brevity and fluidity]
Transcribed by Umm Yousufyaan Zeenat b. Ahmed
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