Are you stressing? Is somebody troubling you? A nasty neighbour, a jealous sibling, a rebellious son, a spiteful daughter-in-law . . .? The list is lengthy. However, the question is: why stress? Ponder over the following pointers and, Insha Allah, you will experience some relief.
The First Point
Who do you blame when the temperature soars, when it is bitterly cold, when it rains too much or the hail damages your car or your crops (if you are a farmer)? Nobody! ‘It is all qadr (preordained by Allah)’ is what you would say. Muslims firmly believe that nothing happens contrary to the qadr of Allah. The same applies to peoples’ behaviour and attitudes towards us. Therefore, the next time somebody ill-treats you, remember that as much as we can never condone his behaviour, it is Allah’s qadr that caused him to behave in this manner. Hence, just as you do not brood over the weather, do not brood over people who are unfair to you.
The Second Point
Radaa (to be happy with the qadr of Allah) is a salient feature of a true Muslim. The difference between this point and the previous one is that while this point entails happiness over the qadr of Allah, the previous one merely entails acceptance; irrespective of whether it makes one happy or not. This approach is of additional importance for those who are ill-treated in the path of Allah. Ibn-ul-Qayyim writes: This is the approach of a true lover; he rejoices at the difficulties that he experiences in order to please his beloved. If he gets angry and complains, it would prove that he is false in his claim of love.
The Third Point
Think about the importance, reward and good consequences of exercising sabr (patience). Remember that:
• Revenge for personal gain always results in regret.
• Failure to willingly exercise sabr eventually leads to unwilling exercising of sabr over something worse.
• The former (willingly exercising sabr) is praiseworthy but not the second.
The Fourth Point
There is peace, contentment and honour in tolerance and forgiveness. None of these are found in intolerance and revenge. In fact, experience proves that those who take revenge are eventually disgraced. Remember the hadith:
By forgiveness the servant increases in nothing but honour.
The Fifth Point
Part of the punishment of a person who ill-treats others is that all his good deeds are transferred to them in lieu of his abuse of their rights. The person who ill-treats you is therefore doing you a favour. Should you therefore not be grateful to him and repay him for his favour? So, instead of getting angry, fretting and cursing, why do you not consider sending him a gift or showing him some other form of kindness? Ibn-ul-Qayyim writes: This poor fellow has just offered all his good deeds to you as a gift. If you are a man of dignity, repay him and ensure that this gift will remain yours for ever. By doing so, you will not have to fear the possibility of him retaking his gift from you.
Worthy of consideration in this regard is the rule: Jazaa (reward and punishment) is always in accordance with the nature of the original action. Hence, if you forgive and act kindly to those who ill-treat you, there is great hope that in the Hereafter Allah will forgive you for your negligence in fulfilling His rights.
The Sixth Point
Why stress when you are ill-treated by people. The fact that you are the victim instead of the perpetrator is actually a ni’mah for which you should be grateful to Allah. If we were allowed to choose between being the victim or the perpetrator, which mentally sound person would choose the latter?
The Seventh Point
Every difficulty that a Muslim suffers is a form of atonement for his sins. The ill-treatment which one suffers at the hands of people is no different. It is actually a means of atonement for one’s sins. So why stress? Ibn-ul-Qayyim explains: The difficulty which people cause to you is like anextremely bitter medicine that was prescribed by a concerned doctor. You should not look at its bitterness and who is administering it. Rather look at the concern of the doctor who prescribed it even if the person with whom he sent it to you is hurting you in order to help you.
The Eighth Point
When people ill-treat you, be grateful to Allah that the situation is not worse. Remember that every difficulty man suffers can be worse. And if there cannot be a worse physical and financial difficulty, be grateful to Allah for the safety of your imaan. Do not forget that all worldly difficulties are trivial in comparison to difficulties related to one’s deen. Worldly difficulties are actually a ni’mah from Allah. The only true difficulty is that which threatens the safety of one’s imaan.
The Ninth Point
As previously alluded to, the ill-treatment that one suffers at the hands of people is a means for earning freereward.This is another reason for regarding such ill-treatment as a ni’mah for which you should be thankful to Allah instead of whining all the time.
The Tenth Point
Throughout history the people who suffered the worst ill-treatment at the hands of others were the Ambiyaa. The Qur’aanic narratives of the Ambiyaa and how they were treated by their people is sufficient food for thought. Among the Ambiyaa the Nabi who suffered the most abuse was our beloved Nabi, Muhammed sallallahu alaihi wasallam. In the very beginning (after the first revelation) Waraqah bin Nawfal told him that: You will be called a liar. You will be forced to leave. You will experience tremendous hardship. He also told him that: Nobody comes with a message like yours except that he is treated as an enemy. Ibn-ul-Qayyim adds that to this day the heirs of the Nabi sallallahu alaihi wasallam are treated in this manner. Those who are interested should read about the hardships of the ‘Ulamaa and how they suffered at the hands of the ignorant. On this topic Ibn Abdil-Barr wrote a book titled Mihan-ul-‘Ulamaa.
In this regard there are now two points:
1. Ponder over the above and console yourself. Think to yourself that people much greater than me also suffered in this manner.
2. Follow their example and exercise sabr instead of stressing, fretting and cursing.
The Eleventh Point
A higher level of tawheed demands constant focus on nothing but Allah. The heart should not be occupied with anything besides love for Him and sincerity in seeking His pleasure. This entails pleasure with all His decrees, hope in His mercy, fear of His punishment and complete reliance in His assistance. Attainment of these qualities causes oblivion to everything other than Allah.If you are a true believer in tawheed, could there be place in your heart for anything else? In the context of the topic of discussion, if your tawheed is of this level, the ill-treatment which you receive at the hands of others will be of absolutely no concern to you. In short, the next time somebody ill-treats you, do not stress. Focus on Allah and strive to improve your belief in tawheed.
The Twelfth Point
The contentment and light-heartedness enjoyed by those who ponder over issues like the ones discussed thus far are much more beneficial in comparison to the heartache and melancholy of those who refuse to forgive and forget. Is it not foolish to prefer the latter over the former?
The Thirteenth Point
Those who do not forgive and aver to take revenge should remember that revenge leads to enmity which in turn results in fear of the opposite party’s next step. What will he do now?What will he say . . .?
The conclusion is quite simple. The next time somebody troubles you, think of the points raised in this article and tell yourself: Why stress?
May Allah guide us to understand and practice!
Abu Hudhaifa Muhammed Karolia
28 March 2011