Written By: Ali Asad Chandia
In part 3 of this Ramadan reflection series, Ali Asad Chandia reflects on those who have shown true patience and tells us to remember these brave men and women, who were patient for Allah’s sake, when we are faced with our own trials.
Her name was Sumaiyah. She was married to Yasir radiAllahu ‘anhu and had a son named ‘Ammar. They lived in Mecca as disbelievers until they heard the message of Allah’s Messenger sallaAllahu ‘alaihi wassallam and embraced it, forever to be remembered as ‘Ahl Yasir’ – the family of Yasir. Immediately after embracing Islam, the family of Yasir was punished through various forms of torture. One day, as Sumaiyah radiAllahu ‘anha was being tortured, Abu Jahl happened to pass by her and cursed her. She heard the enemy of Allah but responded with silence. Abu Jahl only increased in rage and stabbed her in her private part with a spear that penetrated through her back and killed her – forever to be remembered as the first martyr of Islam. It is due to this patience that Allah’s Messenger sallaAllahu ‘alaihi wassallam used to inform this family, ‘Patience O family of Yasir, verily your promised destination is paradise’.
Who amongst us today can claim that we have been tested with what Sumaiyah radiAllahu ‘anha was tested with and that the sacrifices that we have made for Islam are even close to the sacrifices that she made! One may wonder, what would be her reaction if she were to visit us today and see how we struggle with the trials that are extremely minor compared to the trials that her generation went through. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala granted them leadership as a result of their patience and the Ummah that lacks patience can never earn leadership until they earn patience. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
And We made from among them (Children of Israel) leaders, giving guidance under Our command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our ayaat. (The Qur’aan 32:34)
There was an elderly man who strived all his life to free his homeland from illegal occupation of the invaders. I had the honour of knowing him personally. He was a high ranking political activist whose efforts led to various trials and tribulations in his life. He was forced to leave his homeland and to find a refuge elsewhere. He didn’t give up and his persistence landed him in a prison in Europe as a political prisoner. He remained there for a few years and was later handed over to the Egyptian authorities where again he spent a significant amount of time as a political prisoner. One day, the prison staff called him and engaged him in a conversation with extreme respect due to his political reputation. The staff then offered him a drink. What happened after the drink remains a mystery because the man does not remember anything, except that when he opened his eyes, he was in the custody of the federal agents in Washington D.C. The man served the next 10 years in isolation at a supermax facility, where he was locked up in a small cell for 23 to 24 hours a day. I remember the day he was finally brought to a prison where the conditions were a little better than they were at the supermax facility. But the man had experienced patience and seclusion with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and did not want to exchange that experience for the better prison conditions. I heard him say it from his own mouth, ‘My transfer out of the supermax facility is due to some sin I must have committed.’ So I urge us all, in future if we are tested with a trial, let us try to remember these people who made huge sacrifices for no other reason but to please Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. As a result, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gifted them with a blessing of patience by which their severe trials seemed minor to them. None explained the virtue of this gift better than the Messenger of Allah sallaAllah ‘alaihi wassallam who said,
“…None is granted a grant better and vaster than patience.” (Bukhari)
(CC image courtesy of Samuel Auguste on Flickr)
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