In this journey of life, we often encounter trying times that test our strength, patience, and faith. When faced with adversity, finding strength and solace is something that many of us seek, and for us Muslims, the Quran and Sunnah serve as sources of comfort and guidance.
Islam presents us with a perspective that views this world as a temporal abode, where Allah tests His servants only to raise one’s level of faith when it wavers, to expiate their sins and to bring out the best version of themselves. It is important that Muslims draw on these resources within the rich tapestry of Islamic teachings in the face of adversity.
Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 286:
لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا ٱكْتَسَبَتْ ۗ
“Allah does not require of any soul more than what it can afford. All good will be for its own benefit, and all evil will be to its own loss.”
This verse highlights the belief that Allah does not inflict nor impose a burden on a soul beyond its capacity and serves as a poignant reminder that His wisdom surpasses our comprehension and that the trials and obstacles we encounter are indefinitely tailored to our capabilities.
There is another profound Quranic verse that encapsulates and captures the essence of faith, dependence, and submission to God’s divine will. Muslims facing the trials and tribulations of life can turn to this potent verse nestled in Surah Ali-’Imran as a source of comfort and wise counsel.
Allah s.w.t. mentions in the Quran:
ٱلَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمُ ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّ ٱلنَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُوا۟ لَكُمْ فَٱخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيمَـٰنًا وَقَالُوا۟ حَسْبُنَا ٱللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ ٱلْوَكِيلُ
“Those who were warned, “Your enemies have mobilised their forces against you, so fear them: the warning only made them grow stronger in faith, and they replied, “Allah (alone) is sufficient (as an aid) for us and (He) is the best Protector.”
(Surah Ali-’Imran, 3:173)
It was recorded in Sahih Al-Bukhari that Ibn ‘Abbas explains that the verse refers to the early Muslims who faced immense opposition from their opponent. Despite being warned that a massive army had gathered against them, their faith and trust in Allah s.w.t. only grew stronger. This rooted faith stemmed from their deep understanding of Allah’s power and omniscience.
Ibn Kathir also emphasised this concept of reliance on Allah s.w.t. and explained that the verse highlights the inherent strength and resilience that faith can bestow upon individuals. When faced with intimidation and threats, the true believers’ faith remains unshakable, and their trust in Allah s.w.t. is unwavering. Our Prophet Ibrahim a.s. also uttered the same words, “Allah (alone) is sufficient (as an aid) for us and (He) is the best Protector” and placed complete reliance on Allah s.w.t. when he was about to be thrown into a fire pit. As a result, he found coolness and tranquillity amidst the blazing fire.
Thus, these faith-inspiring words signify a deep acknowledgement that placing trust in Allah s.w.t. is the key to enduring and overcoming challenges and uncertainties, and it serves as a reminder to the believers that no matter the circumstances one is in, Allah’s care and provision are boundless. He is The Bestower and The Withholder of Mercy, and He, alone, is The Remover of harm and affliction.
The recurring utterance of “حَسْبُنَا ٱللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ ٱلْوَكِيلُ” reflects not only a verbal expression of trust in Allah but also serves as a profound embodiment of Islamic teachings. The phrase adds a layer of spiritual resilience as it invites one to maintain a positive outlook, trusting that Allah’s plan is ultimately for the best, even if the immediate circumstances may seem otherwise.
Palestinians search a house after an Israeli air strike, in the city of Rafah, southern of the Gaza Strip, on October 15 2023.
This is evident in various media coverage of our Palestinian brothers and sisters, where their reliance on Allah s.w.t. (Tawakkal) and admirable patience (Sabr) serve as noteworthy and compelling examples for Muslims around the world. From those who had to pull their own family members out of the rubbles themselves, to the grandfather who forcefully opened the eyes of his granddaughter to take one final look at her face and to the thousands of innocent children whose childhoods are being robbed from them – all of them echoed with a little to no hesitation: Hasbunallah Wa Ni’mal-Wakil.
Their resilience becomes a source of inspiration, urging us to introspect and embody similar outlooks and coping mechanisms in our own lives.
Read: Navigating The Crisis In Gaza: A Guide by the Asatizah Youth Network
Another virtue within the teachings of Islam is the virtue of patience (Sabr), and it is held in high regard, constituting an integral element of faith. To be patient is not merely about tolerating adversity and equating it to complacency and resignation but rather about embracing it as an opportunity for advancement and strengthening one’s connection with Allah s.w.t. Patience in Islam is a dynamic and active principle that involves having to endure challenges in life with resilience and complete reliance on Allah s.w.t. while simultaneously engaging in constructive efforts to overcome them.
Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran:
وَاسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلَّا عَلَى الْخَاشِعِينَ
"O believers! Seek comfort in patience and prayer. Allah is truly with those who are patient."
(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:153)
The Prophet s.a.w. also said in a hadith:
مَا يُصِيبُ الْمُسْلِمَ مِنْ نَصَبٍ وَلاَ وَصَبٍ وَلاَ هَمٍّ وَلاَ حُزْنٍ وَلاَ أَذًى وَلاَ غَمٍّ حَتَّى الشَّوْكَةِ يُشَاكُهَا، إِلاَّ كَفَّرَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِنْ خَطَايَاهُ
"No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness nor hurt nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that."
Every event in a believer’s life, even if it seems unfavourable, is ultimately considered good. Thus, as a true believer in times of prosperity, gratitude should blossom, and during periods of hardship, patience should take root. Such steadfast resilience, akin to ‘beautiful patience,’ was exemplified by our Prophets, who faced numerous challenges throughout their lives.
The Treaty Of Hudaybiyah is a key example; when faced with resistance to perform pilgrimage in Makkah, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. chose patience and proceeded to engage in negotiations. The resulting treaty may have seemed unfavourable at the time. However, it exemplified patience and trust in Allah’s will and decree, which eventually led to long-term peace and success for the Muslims.
That said, it is almost impossible to trust and rely entirely on Allah s.w.t. without knowledge of who He is. To truly know Allah is to delve into an understanding and acknowledgement of His Divine names and attributes, such as Al-Hafiz (The Guardian), Al-’Azim (The Most Great) and Al-Qadir (The All-Powerful). Comprehending these attributes fosters a more rooted sense of trust in Allah s.w.t. and His plans and distinguishes anxiety and worries about the unknown.
Therefore, the deeper our awareness of The Almighty, the stronger our certainty in Him, our love towards Him and consequently, the greater our reliance on Him – this is the essence of Tawakkul. In return, it will help us put everything, whether good or bad, into the proper perspective.
Al-Quran Ibn Kathir Tafsir| Alim.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.alim.org/quran/tafsir/ibn-kathir/surah/3/169/
Bonab, B. G., & Koohsar, A. A. H. (2011, January 1). Reliance on God as a Core Construct of Islamic Psychology. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. Retrieved December 3, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.10.043
Parrott, J. (2020, March 23). When Our Worlds Are Shaken: Finding Strength in ‘Beautiful Patience.’ Retrieved December 3, 2023, from https://nyuscholars.nyu.edu/en/publications/when-our-worlds-are-shaken-finding-strength-in-beautiful-patience
Riyad as-Salihin 76 - The Book of Miscellany - كتاب المقدمات - Sunnah.com - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://sunnah.com/riyadussalihin:76
Tahir. (2020, April 2). In Hardship and in Ease: How to Rely on God | Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research. Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research. Retrieved December 3, 2023, from https://yaqeeninstitute.org/read/paper/in-hardship-and-in-ease-how-to-rely-on-god
What Does Tawakkul Mean? (2020, June 3). Retrieved from https://muslim.sg/articles/tawakkul-meaning