Allah Almighty states in the Holy Quran:

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّکُمْ بِشَیۡءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوۡفِ وَالْجُوۡعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الۡاَمۡوٰلِ وَالۡاَنۡفُسِ وَالثَّمَرٰتِ ؕ وَبَشِّرِ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ﴿۱۵۵﴾ۙ

  And We shall definitely put you to test with something of fear and hunger and with some loss of wealth and lives and fruits; and give glad tidings to the patient.

 (Al-Baqarah 2, Verse 155)

Hadeeth:

وَعَنْ أبِيْ عَبْدِ اللهِ خَبَّابِ بْنِ الْأَرَتِّ – رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهٗ – قَالَ: شَكَوْنَا إِلٰى رَسُوْلِ اللهِ – صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – وَهُوَ مُتَوَسِّدٌ بُرْدَةً  لَهُ فِيْ ظِلِّ الْكَعْبَةِ، فَقُلْنَا: أَلاَ تَسْتَنْصِرُ لَنَا ألاَ تَدْعُوْ لَنَا فَقَالَ: «قَدْ  كَانَ مَنْ قَبْلَكُمْ يُؤْخَذُ الرَّجُلُ فَيُحْفَرُ لَهُ فِيْ الْأرْضِ فَيُجْعَلُ فِيْهَا، ثُمَّ يُؤْتٰى بِالْمِنْشَارِ فَيُوْضَعُ عَلٰى رَأسِهِ فَيُجْعَلُ نِصْفَيْنِ، وَيُمْشَطُ بِأمْشَاطِ الْحَدِيْدِ مَا دُوْنَ لَحْمِهٖ وَعَظْمِهِ، مَا يَصُدُّهُ ذٰلِكَ عَنْ دِيْنِهِ، وَاللهِ لَيُتِمَّنَّ الله هَذَا الْأَمْرَ حَتَّى يَسِيْرَ الرَّاكِبُ مِنْ صَنْعَاءَ إِلٰى حَضْرَمَوْتَ لاَ يَخَافُ إلاَّ اللهَ وَالذِّئْبُ عَلَى غَنَمِهِ، وَلٰكِنَّكُمْ تَسْتَعْجِلُوْنَ».

 رواه البخاري.

Khabbab bin Al-Aratt – May Allah be pleased with him – reported: We complained to the Messenger of Allah – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – while he was lying in the shade of the Ka’bah, having made a pillow of his cloak. We submitted: “Do you not supplicate for our help (over the opponents)?”. He replied, “Among those people before you, a man would be seized and held in a pit dug for him in the ground and he would be sawed into two halves from his head, and his flesh torn away from his bones with an iron comb; but, in spite of this, he would not wean away from his Iman. By Allah, Allah will bring this matter to its consummation until a rider will travel from San’a to Hadramout fearing none except Allah, and nor will he fear the wolf for his sheep, but you are in too much of a hurry”.

(Sahih Bukhari)

Commentary:

Shareh-e-Bukhari Mufti Shareeful Haq Amjadi – may Allah be pleased with him – writes in the commentary of this Hadeeth:

Sayyiduna Khabbab ibn Aratt – may Allah be pleased with him – was badly oppressed by the polytheists.  He was a slave and had no one to his rescue in the whole of Makkah Mukarramah.  He went through such excruciating torments that when we find out about them, our soul begin to shiver.  They would lie him down on burning coals and then place a boulder on him and leave him to suffer in this state until the coal went cold.  Once his oppressing master heated the iron and hit it on his head.  Frustrated with these oppressions, he pleaded in the court of the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him.

(Nuzhat al-Qari Vol. 4, p. 535(

Sabr of Sayyiduna Asiyah – may Allah be pleased with her – against her husband, Pharaoh’s oppression, her steadfastness on Iman and its Reward from Allah

It is mentioned that the wife of Pharaoh, namely Sayyidah Asiyah – may Allah be pleased with her – had kept her acceptance of Iman a secret. However, when Pharaoh came to know about this, he commanded her to return to his religion. She refused to listen to him. When Pharaoh saw her reaction, he became extremely angry and ordered that she be punished using different methods. Finally, she was nailed to a stake. In spite of this, she remained steadfast in her faith. As a matter of fact, she declared, “Even though, you may have captured by body, but my heart is in the Divine Protection of Allah Almighty. Even if you tore my body to pieces, still too, I will only increase in Iman.”

One day Sayyiduna Moosa – peace be upon him – passed by and she asked him, “O Prophet of Allah! Please inform me. Is my Creator pleased with me or not?”

Sayyiduna Moosa – peace be upon him – replied, “O Asiyah! in fact the Angels of the Heavens await your arrival and Allah Almighty has also displayed His Divine Pleasure in front of them as well. Therefore, you should ask for whatever you wish.”

She then made Du’a in the Divine Court of Allah Almighty, “Oh my Lord! Please establish a house for me Jannah and save me from the oppression of Pharaoh and his people.”

Sayyiduna Salman Farsi – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that Pharaoh used to punish her by leaving her in the hot burning sun. When Pharaoh used to go away, the Angels used to cover her with their wings and she used to also see her house in Jannah while she was in this world.

Sayyiduna Hasan – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that, “Allah Almighty saved her and has given her a great status in Jannah and she is able to go anywhere in Jannah and eat and drink anything.”

(Mukaashifatul Quloob p. 90)

Allah’s Servant Skinned Alive:

Sayyiduna Hasan Basri – may Allah be pleased with him – narrated the following story:

There was a pious man, by the name of ‘Uqaib, in the nation of the past.  He lived and prayed on a hill.  Once he received the news that in a nearby city lived a king who used oppress people.  He would cut their ears, nose, hands and feet etc. for no valid reason.  This pious man approached the king and boldly rebuked him, “O king, fear Allah!”  Hearing this, the evil king became furious and spoke disrespectfully, “O dog, it does not suit a man like you to remind me of Allah’s fear.  I will punish you for this audacity in such a way that no man in the history of mankind would have received such torment.”  He then ordered his men to peel his skin from his toe upto his head, so he dies a painful death.

They pinned him to the ground and began to peel his skin from his toes but he was miraculously patient and endured all of this until they peeled the skin off his body till his stomach.  The pain then became unbearable and he let out a sigh.  Allah’s Command was sent down to him swiftly, “O ‘Uqaib, be patient, we will rescue you from this abode of sorrow and grief and comfort you in the house of peace (paradise) and transfer you form this narrow and dark world and enter you into the vast paradise.”  He became quiet as soon as he received this command.

When they reached all the way to his face peeling his skin off, he again could not bear the pain and let out a sigh uncontrollably.  Allah Almighty stated, “O ‘Uqaib, the entire creation of the earth and the heaven is crying upon this calamity of yours.  The angels are completely focused on you.  If you let out a sigh a third time, I will torment this who nation.”  The pious man now became completely silent, fearing that due to his cry his entire nation would have to pay for it.  At last, his entire skin was peeled off and he handed his soul over to his creator.

(‘Uyoon al-Hikayat p. 101)

Such is the state and condition of the Awliyah. They would prefer to suffer themselves than allow others to suffer. They would prefer to face hardship than allow others to face the same hardship. At the same time, they were also making it clear that they thought nothing of the world and whatever hardship one has to face here.

The Endurance of a Pious Woman of Bani Israel and Allah’s Repayment for all her Troubles:

Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbas – may Allah be pleased with him – reported that the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – has stated:

A man of Bani Israel once embarked on a journey to some place.  While he was gone, his mother conspired behind his back andhat  sowed the seeds of hatred in his wife’s heart against her husband and gave her a fabricated divorce letter on behalf of her son.  As a result, the wife took her two children and went to her mother’s house.  The evil king there had placed a ban on feeding the poor.  One day, while the woman was baking bread, a beggar came begging for food.  She said, “Don’t you know the oppressing king here has placed a ban on feeding the poor?”  “I know that but if I do not get any food, I am afraid I would die”, replied the beggar.  The woman felt sorry for him and she gave two slices of bread and told him not to disclose it to anyone.

The beggar took the bread and left.  He encountered the policemen on his way who asked him, “Where have you got this bread from?”  He disclosed to them saying, “Certain woman has given to me.”  Hence, the policemen approached the woman and interrogated her about this matter.  She admitted to have done so.  They took her to the king.

The evil king cut off both her hands and threw her out.  On her way, she saw her one son drowning in the river while fetching the water and then her other son jumped to save his brother but he also drowned and both died on the spot.  The poor woman was left all alone.

A man appeared before her out of nowhere and enquired, “O Allah’s devotee, what has befallen you?  You look very disheartened.”  “Please leave me on my state, what has befallen me has left me so helpless.”  When the newcomer insisted, the woman narrated to him the whole incident.  He then asked her, “Which one of the two would you dearly want back; your hands or your children?”  She said, “I want my children back.”  By the Command of Allah the Most Merciful, he went to the river and brought back both her children unharmed and granted both hands as well, and said to her, “Allah Almighty has shown Mercy to you and had sent me to your rescue.  You have been returned both your hands in exchange for the two slices of bread that you had parted with the beggar, and for feeling sorry for the beggar and keeping patience at the calamities, you have been given back both your children as well.  Your husband had not divorced you, therefore you should now return to him.  He has returned from his journey and his mother is dead.  When the woman returned to her home, she found the situation to be exactly as she was told.

(Al-Raudh al-Faaiq p. 122)

Sabr of Sayyiduna Bilal – may Allah be pleased with him

Sayyidyna Bilal – may Allah be pleased with him, the companion of the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – is among the early adopters of Islam in such a time when one had to endure endless tortures and troubles to pay the cost of embracing Islam.  The infidels of Makkah Mukarramah tormented him in the most severe ways.  His master, umayyah ibn khalaf would lie him flat on the scorching hot sand in the burning hot sun and would place boulder on his chest.  He would then say to him, “I will continue to punish you like this until you either die or reject faith in your Prophet Muhammad (may Allah send peace and blessings upon him), and begin to worship (idols) laat and uzza.  Despite enduring so much of torments Sayyiduna Bilal – may Allah be pleased with him – would only utter “Ahad” “Ahad” (His faith in the Oneness of Allah that was taught to him from RasoolAllah – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him) from his tongue.

(Seerah Ibn Hisham Vol. 1, p. 297)

The Blessed Back of Sayyiduna Khabbab – may Allah be pleased with him

Patches of scars were all over the back of Sayyiduna Khabbab – may Allah be pleased with him.  Once Sayyiduna ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – asked him, “O Khabbab, what are these scars on your back?”  He replied, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, when I had begun to love our Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – and had embraced Islam, the infidels of Makkah Mukarramah would lie me flat on the burning coals and the fat melting from my back would only extinguish the coals and I would lie there unconscious for hours like that.  I swear by the Lord of Ka’bah, when I awoke, the first utterance that were on the lips was the Kalimah “La Ilaaha illAllah Muhammadur Rasoolullah”.

Hearing this from Sayyiduna Khabbab – may Allah be pleased with him, Sayyiduna ‘Umar’s – may Allah be pleased with him – eyes welled up with tears and he said, “Please remove your shirt, I wish to make Ziyaarat of your back.  How blessed is your back which has been burnt in the love of RasoolAllah – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him!”

(Al-Tabaqaat al-Kubra of Ibn Sa’d, Vol. 3, p. 122)

Patience of an Old Man:

Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Awzaa’i – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that this incident was related to a Saint who was always on the lookout of pious and noble people. In fact, he used to travel in desolate areas and barren deserts trying to meet the special creation of Allah Almighty. With this purpose, one day, he decided to travel to Egypt.

He narrates:

Just before entering the city, I noticed a tent which was established in a very dry and barren area. I also noticed that inside this tent, there was a person who was sitting and he had no hands, feet or eyes. However, at the same time he was making the following Du’a, “O Allah! I praise You equal to Your creation. There is no doubt You indeed are the Creator of everything. You are the Greatest. I give thanks to You that You have certainly elevated me above other creatures.”

When I heard this Du’a, I was certainly shocked and I decided to ask him the reason for his Du’a whose words seemed confusing to me.

I approached him and greeted him. He returned my greeting. I then asked, “O pious person! I wish to ask you something, will you be able to answer me?”

He replied, “If I know the answer, I will certainly give you the answer.”

I then asked him which were the excellences he was talking about which Allah Almighty had honoured him (in spite of the fact that he had no hands, no feet and no eyes).

He replied, “Do you not see that excellence with which my Creator has honoured me with. Look carefully, if Allah Almighty wanted, he would have rained down fire on my head and I would have burnt to death. If He wished, He could have commanded the mountain to fall me and I would have been crushed. If He wanted, He would have commanded the ocean to drown me. However, Allah Almighty has protected me from all of these terrible things. Therefore, why should I not give thanks to Allah Almighty for all of these great blessings?”

He then said to me, “I have a special request for you. If you can do me this favour, I would certainly be very thankful.”

He then continued, “I have a son who comes to see me during the time of Salaah. He also serves me in this time and he also comes during the time of Iftaar. However, I have not seen him since yesterday. If you can find out what has happened to him, I would greatly appreciate it.”

I left the place promising him that I will look for his son and my intention was that maybe I will receive some reward for this action. As I walked along this barren place, I saw a small valley and what I saw in this valley shook me. I noticed a wild animal that had torn a young man to shreds and was eating the body. I immediately realised that this was indeed the son of this old person. I was very sad when I noticed this and recited the Inna lillahi.

I also thought that if I suddenly break this news to the old man, perhaps he might have a heart attack and die. I then decided to break the news to him in such a manner that he will understand and also be able to display patience as well.

I then went to his tent and greeted him. I asked him, “I wish to ask you a question and I would appreciate an answer.”

He replied, “If I know the answer, I will certainly give it to you.”

I then asked him, “Is your status greater or is the status of Nabi Ayub – peace be upon him – greater?”

He replied, “There is no doubt that the status of Nabi Ayub – peace be upon him – is greater.”

I then asked, “When trial and tests came to Nabi Ayub – peace be upon him – did he display patience or not?”

He replied that indeed Nabi Ayub – peace be upon him – displayed immense patience.

I then asked him that when he was afflicted with a certain illness and even certain people who were close to him distanced themselves from him, still he displayed patience. Was this correct or not?

He replied that indeed Nabi Ayub – peace be upon him – displayed immense patience even at this time.

I then said to him that now it was time for him to display patience because the son he was waiting for had been eaten by wild animals. When he heard these words, he again gave thanks to Allah Almighty for whatever he had received. He then began to weep and a few minutes later, he passed away.

I then thought to myself who would help me in this barren land to bury this person and also perform his last rites. Suddenly, I saw ten to twelve riders appearing from the side of the mountain. I indicated to them to stop and help me in this important duty. They then washed the person’s body with the sea water and we gave him his Kafan. They then asked me to perform his Janazah Salaah which I did.

After the burial had been completed, this group of people left and I was left alone near the grave of this pious person. I felt very sad to leave this blessed grave and decided to wait longer near the grave. At night, I saw a dream and I noticed that both me and the old man were in a green dome-like tent and the old person was wearing green clothing. I then asked him how Allah Almighty had treated him and he mentioned that Allah Almighty had blessed him with the same reward which He blessed those who make Sabr.

Sayyiduna Ma’roof al-Karkhi’s – may Allah be pleased with him – Teaching of Sabr

A man visited Sayyiduna Ma’roof al-Karkhi – may Allah be pleased with him – asked him, “Ya Sayyidi, please tell me as to you I may gain proximity in the court of Allah Almighty?”  He held his hand and took him to the gate of a wealthy man’s mansion.  There was a gate-keeper standing who had lost his one leg.  He pointed towards him and said whilst grabbing his hand, “Become like him, you will automatically become closer to Allah Almighty.”  (i.e. just like how this servant is serving his master despite having lost his one leg, if you be pleased with Allah’s Divine Decree with patience and steadfastness and engage in his worship in all situations)

(Al-Raudh al-Faaiq)

Lesson:

  • Our eminent Muslims of the past endured many trials and tribulations in the path of Islam, but they never uttered any words of complain or allowed themselves to lose hope. As matter of fact, as the trial and tribulation increased, so much so, their steadfastness and firmness in Islam continued to become stronger. Hoping for the Divine Pleasure of Allah Almighty and the reward of the Hereafter, they used to consider these trials and tribulations as minor irritations.
  • One should bear in mind that all of these tests and trials are from Allah Almighty and they should never allow themselves to be swayed through the misguidance of others.
  • Difficulties in the path of Faith do not come in any particular period. People devoted to their Deen have passed through trials and tribulations everywhere and in every age and have emerged purified as does the gold after passing through the furnace. So, it is unbecoming for a Muslim to be disturbed by hardships.
  • Our beloved Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – possessed the knowledge of the unsees as he foretold and gave the glad tidings about domination of Islam and peace and security that were to achieved in the early period of Islam which were subsequently witnessed by the people. Even now wherever Islam is practised in true sense, peace and security are distinctive features of the system of that country.
  • The illustrious Companions – may Allah be pleased with them – always presented themselves at the blessed feet of the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – whenever they encountered any trouble.
  • One who holds fast onto Sabr never fails and will certainly enjoy success both in the world and in the hereafter in sha Allah.
  • If the people of the previous nations could sacrifice for the sake of Islam then us, being the best of Ummahs, the Ummah of the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him, should excel the other Ummahs in this important factor as well.
  • When approached by a trouble then rather than panicking and praying to get rid of it, the first thing one should do is have patience and bear it keeping the pleasure of Allah in mind, so our rewards are multiplied in His Court.
  • Those who have feelings for the poor and needy and help them, Allah Almighty repels their calamities as a result of their generosity.