Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
For years I have been facing severe difficulties especially since my brother passed away. Things always seemed to come my way. But now, I think I am right in saying that I am on the verge of total ruin.
The required response is patience. But what exactly is patience? Should I just do nothing and let everything drift? Is that what patience is?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Patience is remaining steadfast on what will be pleasing to Allah.
Sayyid Sharif al-Jurjani said that patience is leaving objection— and this is the inward state of the patient. [Jurjani, Ta`rifat] [see: The Qur’an on Patience, Steadfastness, Resolve, Mindfulness, and Success – 3.200]
Allah Most High says, “You who believe, seek help through steadfastness and prayer, for God is with the steadfast.” [2.153] And “You who believe, be steadfast, more steadfast than others; be ready; always be mindful of God, so that you may prosper.” [3.200]
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Patience is illumination.” [Muslim]
Thus patience isn’t passiveness. Rather, there is work, and the believer strives. Patience comes from having a sense of contentment with the Divine Decree: realising that this is what Allah has destined. Contentment, as Ibn `Ajiba explained, “is to face even destruction with a smiling face” [Ibn `Ajiba, Mi`raj al-Tashawwuf]. Knowing what hit was never going to miss, and what missed was never going to hit. When the servant realises this, his matter becomes easier.
The famous master of the Spiritual Path, Ibn `Ata’illah al-Iskandari, said in one of his aphorisms, “No task is arduous if you seek to fulfil it through your Lord, and no task is facilitated if you seek to fulfil it through yourself.” [Ibn `Ata’illah, al-Hikam]
Tribulations are opportunities of seeking the Divine. By recognising our neediness to Allah, doors open. We are in utter need of Allah at every single moment, and when we forget, oftentimes Allah sends us something to remind us. Seek His assistance at every moment, and ask Him for your every need. Follow the Qur’anic advice, and pray the prayer of need nightly. [see: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?]
With all of this, strive to increase in remembrance and gratitude. Allah Most High said, “Work thankfully, family of David, for few of my servants are truly thankful.” [34.13]
And Allah alone gives success.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani