Of the most noble deeds

يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا أَصَابَكَ ۖ إِنَّ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ

“O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination.” [31:17]

لَتُبْلَوُنَّ فِي أَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ وَلَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَذًى كَثِيرًا ۚ وَإِن تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ

“You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves. And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allāh much abuse. But if you are patient and fear Allāh – indeed, that is of the matters [worthy] of determination.” [3:186]

وَلَمَن صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ إِنَّ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ لَمِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ

“And whoever is patient and forgives – indeed, that is of the matters [requiring] determination.”[42:43]

The above three verses all mention patience, and Allah says that patience is from the most noble of deeds each time (min azmil umoor). In the first case, the father is advising his son and telling him to be patient over what is happening to him. In the second case, our entire nation is being told, you’re going to hear painful words, as well as going to be tested in lives and assets. Even then you should have patience and maintain taqwa. The third ayah is the most powerful because it has a laam in it (la min azmil umoor). Why is that?

First, we need to know that there are two kinds of patience: patience in a situation over which you have no control (your house got flooded, loss of health, loss of family, etc). Patience is a good option at that point. Look at the first two cases, whatever happens to you, have patience. You don’t have any control. And the second kind of patience is patience in a situation over which you do have control. Look at the third ayah:

Allah speaks about someone who has been wronged. You were insulted. You’re strong. You can take revenge. You have the option of insulting him right back. The fact that you wouldn’t do so isn’t because you can’t, but because you forgave. That indicates that you could have done otherwise. In the first two cases, you have the option of whining or having patience. In this case, you have the option of patience or taking revenge. So we see how Allah distinguishes this by just one letter.

[from Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan’s class taught at IlmSummit 2009]


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