Friday 27 May 2022

Allah is with those who seek help in Patience and Prayer

Lie of a believer is nothing but a test in their worldly life. While many live in comfort and peace, a lot many others live a life of poverty, ill health, difficulties and many tests that sometimes literally wear them out. Yet those who remain steadfast and continue to be patient with their sufferings, hoping and praying that one day their life will improve and they will be blessed with happiness and comfort.

Here it would not be out of place to mention the examples of some of the revered prophets who had undergone severe hardships, yet they remained steadfast and Allah blessed them with His unlimited blessings and happiness. Prophet  Zakariya (Zechariah, peace be upon him) remained childless till his very old age. Yet he prayed for a child and remained steadfast till he was blessed with a son Prophet Yahya or John (in Christianity) at the fag end of his life. Likewise Prophet Ya'qub lost his dearest son Yūsuf (Joseph) due to machinations of his other sons. He cried on the loss of his son and even lost his eye sight. But then Allah reunited the two and even his eyesight was restored. 

And what could be said more of the patience of Prophet ﷺ, who lost both his sons in the very early stages of their life. Yet he was extremely patient and did not complain o his loss. Such are the true believers who do not leave prayers and remain patient, while submitting to the will of Allah.
Patience is mentioned frequently in the Qur’ān. Allah is aware that patience is an essential element in maintaining a steady and balanced pace in the face of the inevitable hardships and adversities of life. It is a prime requirement for the Muslim community in its universal responsibility for establishing Allah’s order on earth.
Today we share the 153rd ayat / verse of Surah 2. Al Baqarah (The Cow) which emphasizes the need to seek help of Allah in patience and prayer. But so not skip to read the verses 155-156 which also add how Allah tests His servants and how do they respond. Also refer to our earlier post on verse 45 of Surah 2. Al Baqarah which too has the similar theme.

يٰٓاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اسۡتَعِيۡنُوۡا بِالصَّبۡرِ وَالصَّلٰوةِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَ الصّٰبِرِيۡنَ‏ 
(2:153) Believers! Seek help in patience and in Prayer; Allah is with those that are patient.
The Believers from hereon are given such instructions and directions as are essential for training and enabling them to discharge the duties of that position of responsibility. They are first of all warned that leadership is not a bed of roses but a bed of thorns. They will be confronted with difficulties, hardships, and trials at the very outset and will have to undergo untold sufferings and losses. But if they went through all those ordeals with fortitude and proceeded on in the way of Allah, they would be blessed with countless blessings and rewards by Him.  

" Allah is with those that are patient " That is, "Fortitude and Prayer will generate in you the power which is required to bear that burden of responsibility with which you have been entrusted. Fortitude will give you that patience and courage under the afflictions, privations and temptations which you are bound to encounter and that moral strength and endurance which will be sorely needed in Allah's way, which is full of dangers. The Prayer will train you in discipline and other moral qualities which are essential for the right type of leadership.

Here are the following two verses that connect with the verse cited above and must be read so that entire context is understood:
(2:155) We shall certainly test you by afflicting you with fear, hunger, loss of properties and lives and fruits. Give glad tidings, then, to those who remain patient;
(2:156) those who when any affliction smites them, they say: “Verily, we belong to Allah, and it is to Him that we are destined to return.”
Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: The Virtue of Patience and Prayer:
After Allah commanded that He be appreciated, He ordained patience and prayer. It is a fact that the servant is either enjoying a bounty that he should be thankful for, or suffering a calamity that he should meet with patience. 

A Hadith states: (Amazing is the believer, for whatever Allah decrees for him, it is better for him! If he is tested with a bounty, he is grateful for it and this is better for him; and if he is afflicted with a hardship, he is patient with it and this is better for him.)

Allah has stated that the best tools to help ease the effects of the afflictions are patience and prayer. Earlier we mentioned Allah's statement:
(And seek help in patience and As-Salah (the prayer) and truly, it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashi`in ﴿i.e., the true believers in Allah﴾) (2:45)
There are several types of Sabr ـ patience: one for avoiding the prohibitions and sins, one for acts of worship and obedience. The second type carries more rewards than the first type. There is a third type of patience required in the face of the afflictions and hardships, which is mandatory, like repentance.

`Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, "Sabr has two parts: patience for the sake of Allah concerning what He is pleased with (i.e., acts of worship and obedience), even if it is hard on the heart and the body, and patience when avoiding what He dislikes, even if it is desired. Those who acquire these qualities will be among the patient persons whom Allah shall greet (when they meet Him in the Hereafter; refer to Surat Al-Ahzab 33:44), Allah willing.'' 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation:
Sabr is self-restraint. Haqqani defines it in his Tafsir as following Reason and restraining Fear, Anger, and Desire. What can be a higher reward for patience, perseverance, self-restraint and constancy than that God should be with us? For this promise opens the door to every kind of spiritual well-being. 

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
These verses direct the Muslims to seek help from the prayer and by exercising patience on the reaction that would ensue as a result from the Quraysh of Makkah and from the Jews of Madīnah. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, while commenting on certain aspects of the directive of change of qiblah, writes:
Firstly, the prayers from which help should be sought in times of hardship are not merely the five obligatory ones; also included in them are the tahajjud prayer and other optional prayers. For it is these prayers which create in a person the spirit and strength to successfully combat hardships encountered in the cause of truth. It is through them that a strong relationship is established between a person and His Creator which helps a person in the toughest of trials and it is from them that a person achieves the nearness of God as promised in this verse. The Makkan sūrahs will fully elaborate this reality and for this reason we are just making a passing reference here.
Secondly, among all the rituals of worship, the prayer is the greatest manifestation of remembrance of and gratitude to the Almighty. The Qur’ān has made it clear in various ways that the real objective of the prayer is to remember the Almighty and to express gratitude to Him. Viewed thus, the prayer is the best means through which the covenant mentioned in the preceding verses in the words فَاذۡكُرُوۡنِيْ اَذۡكُرۡكُمۡ وَ اشۡكُرُوۡا لِيۡ can be sought to be fulfilled.
Thirdly, the prayer is needed to attain perseverance and strong resolve in calling people towards God and in establishing His supremacy. For this very reason, the real blessings of the prayer manifest themselves when a person adheres to it while struggling against evil. A person who has no intention of fighting evil can have little use of this weapon.
Fourthly, after the Qur’ān says that one should seek help from the prayer and from perseverance, it goes on to say: “God is with those who persevere.” It does not say: “God is with those who pray and those who persevere.” The reason for this, in the opinion of Imām Ḥamīd al-Dīn Farāhī, is that the fact that God is with those who pray is so obvious that there was no need to mention it and what needed explanation was the fact that God is with those who persevere in the cause of truth and to achieve perseverance use the prayer as a means.
Fifthly, the promise of the nearness of God for those who persevere in the cause of truth is no ordinary a promise; the instance and manner in which this promise is mentioned bears evidence that these few words convey a whole world of glad tidings: When it is the Almighty who is the real sovereign of this world and with Him rests its control, then who would be able to defeat a person behind whom stands the Almighty. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 1, 379)
Qur'an Wiki:
A few words about prayer:
Prayer is also a workout for the soul. Just like one release pent up aggression during a physical workout, the prayer – du’a in particular – is a chance to let out your inner feelings to the Hearer and Responder. Every complaint, every desire, every worry, every hope, every anguish, every emotion – this is the time to let it all out. Let those tears flow. Let it come from the heart. Stand up in qunut in Witr prayer in the depths of night and converse with your Lord – your own personal Lord, Who will listen and respond to you personally and specifically – and simply express to Him what you feel.
When you stand with your head pointed to the ground, or you are bowing or prostrating, you are physically reminding yourself that you are the controlled praying to the Controller. This makes is so much easier to live comfortably with whatever befalls you of your status, putting you in your place as a subject to a Master. The same Master for Whom you touch your noble face to the ground is the Master that put you where you are, or gave you that disease, or deprived you of wealth, or struck you with that crisis. When your face is glued to the ground and you are obediently repeating ‘Subhan Rabi al-A’la’ [glory be to my Lord the most high], you are making that connection. You are reminding yourself that just as you surrender your face to the ground before Him, you are to surrender yourself to the reality that He has chosen for you. Controller and Controlled.
“Believers, seek strength in patience and prayer. God is with those who are patient.” Patience is mentioned frequently in the Qur’ān. God is aware that patience is an essential element in maintaining a steady and balanced pace in the face of the inevitable hardships and adversities of life. It is a prime requirement for the Muslim community in its universal responsibility for establishing God’s order on earth.

Patience is required on the personal level for observing one’s religious duties, for resisting temptation, misfortune, poverty, oppression and injustice, and for carrying out one’s responsibilities towards the establishment of the Islamic way of life in society. Patience and perseverance are required to remain always on the alert, ready to give whatever sacrifice may be needed. When those who are hostile to God’s cause seem to wield power, when falsehood seems too strong, when help seems to be endlessly delayed and the destination too far away patience and perseverance are the most important qualities to have. They are also needed to face those who are deviant, erring, harsh and persistent in their opposition to the truth.

When victory seems far away and the going gets really tough, people tend to lose heart and give up. To avoid that state of despair, God links patience with prayer, as an inexhaustible source of strength and energy. The two combine to infuse the heart with boundless confidence and fortitude and to impart to the believer total tranquility, happiness and inner peace.

When man, weak as he is, faces a task that seems beyond his limited resources, when he faces the powers of evil, when he finds temptations and allurements very hard to resist, when tyranny and corruption are too powerful, seeking support from God Almighty is the only way forward. As the goals of one’s endeavour seem to recede and life becomes shorter and shorter, despair starts to creep into one’s heart and mind. As the twilight of one’s life approaches and all achievements seem trivial and meaningless, one realises the value and significance of prayer. It is a spring that never ceases to flow with spiritual strength and tender compassion.

The value and role of prayer lie in its being the direct link between God and man. It is the means by which man, an insignificant mortal, draws strength, reassurance and help from God’s infinite power and everlasting mercy. It is the source from which man, a frail creature, replenishes his energy and renews his power and strength to face and resist his own inner temptations and prejudices, as well as the temptations and pressures of the world around him. It is the key to the treasures of God’s grace, and the fountain of light which illuminates man’s heart with inner peace and tranquillity and leads him through the darkness of doubt and confusion to the certainty of faith and trust in God Almighty. It is an occasion for rest, serenity and peace of mind. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Prophet Muĥammad (peace be upon him) used to resort to prayer whenever things became difficult to cope with. He used to ask Bilāl, his Companion, to make the call to prayer, saying: “Bring us its comfort.”

Worship is the essence of the Islamic way of life, which revolves around its mysteries and hidden qualities. It is a source of sustenance in the long journey of life; it purifies the heart and gives the human spirit its inner powers. It goes hand in hand with responsibility and obligation, because it is the key to our appreciation of our responsibilities and obligations in life and to the satisfaction and benefits we draw from fulfilling them.

When God Almighty commissioned Muhammad ﷺ for his great and historic task, He said to him: “Stand up in prayer at night, all except for a small portion of it; or half the night or a little less, or a little more, and recite the Qur’ān in a calm and distinct manner. We are about to address you with words of surpassing gravity” (73: 2-5)

Prayer during the night and recitation of the Qur’ān were the essential means of preparing Muhammad ﷺ for the stupendous task of conveying God’s message to mankind. Prayer opens the human heart to hope and enlightenment, reinvigorates one’s relationship with God, mitigates the struggle for life, and provides one with inspiration and confidence.

For the believers in that small fledgling Muslim community, poised to embark on their momentous task, the sūrah reinforces that reassurance by saying: “God is with those who are patient.” God is always there to provide the believers with help and comfort, to lend them His support and replenish their sapping morale and fading enthusiasm. It is noteworthy that the verse starts by making its address exclusively to the believers, and concludes by reassuring them that patience ensures God’s help.

Numerous reports have been handed down that tell us how highly the Prophet himself viewed the qualities of patience and perseverance, and how deeply he had thought about them. Some of them are quite relevant to our discussion.

The Prophet’s Companion, Khabbāb ibn al-Aratt, said: “A group of us once appealed to God’s Messenger while he was resting in the shade of the Ka`bah. We said, ‘Would you please appeal to God to help us? Would you kindly pray for us?’ He replied, ‘In days gone by, believers like yourselves used to be put in ditches and have their heads sawed in halves, and have their flesh scraped off the bone with iron combs. They withstood all that torture, held on to their faith, and never wavered. I swear that God Almighty will establish this religion so that a man can travel from San ‘ā’ [in western Yemen] to Ĥadramawt [in eastern Yemen] fearing none but God, and the wolf for his sheep. But you are impatient!” [Related by al-Bukhārī, Abū Dāwūd and al-Nasā’ī]

Another Companion of the Prophet, `Abdullāh ibn Mas`ūd says: “I can almost see God’s Messenger in the same position as an earlier prophet who was beaten by his people until he bled. But even while he was wiping the blood off his face he said: ‘Lord, forgive my people, for they do not know the truth.’” [Related by al-Bukhārī and Muslim]

The Prophet is also quoted as saying: “A Muslim who mixes with people and puts up with their maltreatment is better than one who neither mixes with people nor suffers their abuse.” [Related by al- Tirmidhī]

Please listen to explanation of the ayat and the following four ayat (154-157) which also point towards being patient and holding on to seek Allah's help through prayers by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. And bless us the strength to be patient under all odds and seek Allah's help with prayers. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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