In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Alaah [The Most High] said:
وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تَكۡرَهُواْ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَهُوَ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّڪُمۡۖ وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ۬ لَّكُمۡۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ وَأَنتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ
And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” [AI-Baqarah. Verse 216]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: There is for the servant -in this verse – a number of insightful guidelines, underlying benefits and welfare, because indeed if he knows that Al-Makrooh (what is hated) can bring forth Al-Mahboob (i.e. what is beloved), and vice versa, then neither would he feel safe from the harm that might occur from something that makes him happy nor would he lose hope whilst expecting a final source of happiness from a situation of harm. That is because he does not have (infinite or perfect) knowledge of the Awaaqib (i.e. the final outcomes), but Allaah knows that which he does not know.
There is nothing more beneficial for him than fulfilling Allaah’s commands, even if it is difficult for him in the beginning and his soul dislikes it, because all its end result will be good – a means to happiness, pleasure and joy. Likewise, there is nothing more harmful for him than doing what he has been forbidden, even if his soul desires and inclines towards it, because indeed all its end result will lead to pain, grief, evil and calamities. A distinguishing characteristic of (sound) intellect is that it prefers to bear little pain whose end results will lead to great enjoyment and abundant good, and it avoids that little enjoyment whose end results will lead to great pain and prolonged evil. The observations of an ignorant person does not permit him to (pay attention to the true or real) goals behind events that occur from the very beginning of an affair, but as for the sensible person, he always looks at the (true or real) goals behind those events. He looks at the praiseworthy and unpraiseworthy goals that are not obvious (to the ignorant one). He sees what is forbidden as tasty food that is mixed with deadly poison, therefore, whenever he is urged towards eating that food due to its tastiness, he is turned away due to the poison in it. As for the commandments, he sees them as bitter medication that will lead to physical well-being and cure; therefore, whenever he is turned away from the medication due to its bitterness, he is then urged towards it due to its benefits.
However, this requires the blessing of knowledge by way of which a person can perceive the (praiseworthy and unpraiseworthy goals) behind those events that occur from the very beginning of an affair, as well as firm patience that would enable him to bear the difficulties upon the path towards achieving the expected goals. If he does not have certainty and patience, it would be difficult for him to achieve that; but if he has firm certainty and patience, he would be facilitated with ease whilst bearing every difficulty in his pursuit of everlasting good and enjoyment.
The servant should hand over his affair to the One (Allaah) who knows – (perfectly without anything hidden from Him)- the end result of affairs. He should be pleased with what Allaah chooses and decrees for him because of the good end result he hopes for.
Neither should he make suggestions to his Lord nor put forward his choice over that of his Lord, nor does he ask for something about which he has no knowledge, because it maybe that what will bring about harm and destruction on him is found in what he asks, whilst he does not know. Therefore, he does not choose anything over what his Lord chooses; rather he asks his Lord to choose the best for him and make him pleased with what has been chosen for him, because there is nothing more beneficial for him than this.
When he hands over his affair to his Lord and is pleased with what has been chosen for him, his Lord facilitates him with strength, determination and patience in that which has been chosen for him; repel the afflictions he would have encountered due to the choice he makes and show him some of the good end results of the choice his Lord made for him, which could not have been attained through the choice he makes for himself.
He is relieved of the difficult reasoning about all types of choices and his heart is emptied of projections through which he ascends one obstacle and descends into another. And alongside this, he cannot escape what is decreed for him. If he is pleased with Allaah’s choice, then what has been decreed will come to him, whilst he is deserving of commendation and graceful in it; otherwise, what has been decreed will come to him while he is blameworthy and ungraceful, because he left with the choice he made for himself. [An Excerpt from ‘Al-Fawaa’id’ pages 203-204. slightly paraphrased]
Umar Ibnul Khattaab [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, “The best life we have attained is through patience, and if patience was a man, he would have been an honourable (or noble man)”. [As-Sabr Wath-Thawaab Alayhaa. By Ibn Abee Ad-Dunyaa. Page23
Ali Bin Abee Taalib [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, “Indeed, patience in relation to Imaan is the same as the head to the body, so if the head is cut off, the body will perish” then he raised his voice and said, ” Indeed, there is no (sound) faith for the one who has no patience.)”. [As-Sabr Wath-Thawaab Alayhi. 124]
Ash-Sha’bee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] reported that Shurayh [may Allah have mercy upon him] said, “Verily, if I am afflicted by a calamity, so I praise Allah four times. I praise (Allaah) that it is not greater than what it was. I praise (Allaah) as He blessed me with patience to bear it. I praise (Allaah) as He bestows on me (the ability) to remember what I hope for of reward, and I praise (Allaah) for not placing this calamity in my religion”. [Siyar A’laam An-Nubulaa 4/105]
Yahyah Bin Mu’aadh [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Paradise is surrounded by hardships and you hate them, and Hellfire is surrounded by desires and you seek them, so you are like a severely ill patient. You are nothing except like a severely ill patient. If your soul exercises patience with the reluctance to take medicine (and then take it), you gain wellness (wellbeing) through patience; but if your soul is anxious about what it faces (and thus you refrain from taking the medication), the illness with which it suffers will prolong”. [Sifatus Safwa 4/94]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: There are two (types) of strengths within the soul: The strength of abstinence and the strength of courage. The reality of patience is that one makes the strength of courageousness a means of action in what benefits him and the strength of abstinence a means of action in refraining from what is harmful to him. Among the people, there is one whose patience in carrying out what benefits him and being firm upon it is stronger than his patience in refraining from what is harmful to him; so he exercises patience in facing difficulty whilst carrying out acts of obedience, but he does not exercise patience in refraining from urges towards what he is forbidden. And among them, there is one whose patience in refraining from things that are in opposition to the religion is stronger than his patience in carrying out acts of obedience, and among them there is one who does not exercise patience in both affairs. The best of people are those who fulfil both affairs. Many people patiently bear the hardship of praying Tahajjud during hot and cold nights, and the difficulty in fasting; but they do not exercise patience in refraining from looking at forbidden things. Many people exercise patience in refraining from looking at the forbidden things and inclination towards [forbidden] images, but they do not exercise patience in commanding good and forbidding evil..[An Excerpt from Uddatus Saabireen. page 37]
What Makes It Easier to Bear Calamities By The Tawfeeq of Allaah
The Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “If one of you is afflicted with a calamity, then let him reflect upon his calamity through me [i.e. my death], for indeed it is the greatest of calamities”. [Saheeh Al-Jaami As-Sagheer. Number 347]
Imaam Al-Qurtubi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] reported in his Tafseer that Imaam Ibn Abdil Barr [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: “Indeed, he [i.e. the Messenger] spoke the truth, because indeed the calamity that results from his death is greater than every calamity that will afflict a Muslim after him until the day of judgement. The revelation stopped and Prophethood ceased [forever]”. [Al-Jaami Li-Ahkaam Al-Qur’aan. Tafseer Surah Al-Baqarah Aayaat 155-157]
So, let us finally ponder finally upon some of the fruitful outcomes and end results of Sabr. Allaah [The Most High] informed us about Yusuf [peace be upon him] and his brothers:
قَالُوا أَإِنَّكَ لَأَنْتَ يُوسُفُ ۖ قَالَ أَنَا يُوسُفُ وَهَٰذَا أَخِي ۖ قَدْ مَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا ۖ إِنَّهُ مَنْ يَتَّقِ وَيَصْبِرْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
They said: “Are you indeed Yusuf (Joseph)? “He said: I am Yusuf (Joseph), and this is my brother (Benjamin). Allah has indeed been gracious to us. Verily, he who fears Allah and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of the good-doers to be lost.”
They knew that the one who addressed them was Yoosuf, so they said: [ أَإِنَّكَ لَأَنْتَ يُوسُف – Are you indeed Yusuf (Joseph)?] He [Yoosuf] said: [أَنَا يُوسُفُ وَهَٰذَا أَخِي ۖ قَدْ مَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا – I am Yusuf (Joseph), and this is my brother (Benjamin). Allah has indeed been gracious to us]- Meaning: Allaah granted us Imaan, piety and authority in the worldly life, and that is due to patience and piety. [ۖ إِنَّهُ مَنْ يَتَّقِ وَيَصْبِرْ-Verily, he who fears Allah and is patient]- Meaning: One who keeps away from what Allaah has forbidden, exercises patience when facing pain and calamities, and [exercises patience] when carrying out the commandments [of Allaah], [فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِين – then surely, Allah makes not the reward of the good-doers to be lost]; because that is part of Ihsaan [perfection in worship] and Allaah makes not the reward of the one who perfects his deeds to be lost. [An Excerpt from Tayseer Al-kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam al-Mannaan’]