Heartfelt Advice to A Friend (Book Excerpt) February 27, 2017 – Posted in: Book Excerpts
Patience (al-ṣabr) and Certainty (al-yaqīn)
Allāh, Most High, informed us that the state of being an Imām in religion [i.e. a righteous person who people take as a role model to follow his steps] is earned through patience and certainty; He said,
“And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs.”
[al-Sajdah (32): 251]
It is therefore with patience and certainty that a person can reach the status of al-imāmah in religion. [Scholars offered different interpretations of what patience refers to in the ayah]; some said it is to be patient with respect to this worldly life [i.e. abstain with perseverance from unlawful and sinful worldly pleasures], and some said it is to be patient with the hardships that befall, and some said it is to avoid the unlawful with perseverance. The correct interpretation, however, is that it is to have perseverance over all that; to perform the obligations that Allah ordained on us with perseverance, to avoid all that which Allāh forbade with perseverance, and to have perseverance over all that which Allāh decreed and predestined for us.
Allāh, Most High, combined patience with certainty in the said ayah because the source of happiness of Allah’s slaves emanates from them and without them Allāh’s slaves become detached from it. This is because the heart is [often] exposed to the knocks of the sinful desires that contravene Allāh’s orders, and to the knocks of the doubts that contravene the divine revealed texts, however, with perseverance such desires (al-shawahāt) are casted away and with certainty such doubts (al-Shubahāt) are pushed out – for [sinful] desire (al-Shabwa) and doubt (al-shubah) oppose all the aspects of religion. Only those who pushed away their desires with perseverance (al-ṣabr) and barred their doubts with certainty (al-yaqīn) will be saved from Allāh’s punishment i.e. Allāh, Most High, said in the ayah,
“[You disbelievers are] like those before you; they were stronger than you in power and more abundant in wealth and children. They enjoyed their portion [of worldly enjoyment], and you have enjoyed your portion as those before you enjoyed their portion, and you have engaged like that in which they engaged. [It is] those whose deeds have become worthless in this world and in the Hereafter and it is they who are the losers.”
[al-Tawbah (9): 69]
The part “enjoyed their portion of worldly enjoyment” refers to their enjoyment of their share of [sinful] desires while the part “engaged [in vanities] like that in which engaged” refers to engaging in false and unlawful matters regarding the religion of Allāh – referring to vain and false topics of the people of doubts. The end of the ayah,
[It is] those whose deeds have become worthless in this world and in the Hereafter, and it is they who are losers. “
[al-Tawbah (9): 69]
Allāh mentioned that the result of such a state, namely becoming losers and their deeds becoming worthless, depends on their following of desires, which is enjoying their portion of worldly pleasures, and on following the doubts, which is engaging in false and in vain topics.