Dear Believers, be patient (and tolerant of your duties) and patient (of the harm and affliction that comes your way) and be steadfast (and defend yourself against antagonism and machiavellianism) and be cognizant (aware and conscious) of Allah in all circumstances, so that you will be successful (in this world and the hereafter).
(Surah Ali Imran 3:200)~ Adapted from Tafsir Muyassar.
Sabar linguistically translated means to restrain, or to bind. Islamically, it is understood as endurance or perseverance. Allah ﷻ mentions the virtue Sabar 102 times in the Quran, the same amount of times He mentions Ash-Shiddah (pressure). Sabbar is also Arabic name given to Prickly Pear, which is highly nutritious and medicinal. However, the skin of this sweet refreshing fruit has fine prickly thorns, that can easily lodge itself into the skin, and cause irritation.
What we mean to say here is, patience is a process. It is sitting through difficulties. In the verse above, Allah ﷻ enjoins us to courage and sturdiness, in the face of challenges and offensive onslaught.
Definitely not to be defeatist, but to accept our states, sit with it, move through it, and make the best of our circumstances, in the most honourable & noble manner possible. This trait of persevering in honour and nobility is ingrained in human beings.
How do we do this?
Breathe. Nafasa is related to the word Nafs (Soul). It signifies how Allah ﷻ breathed the Ruh (spirit) into our father Nabi Adam عليه السلام, activating the temperaments of the Soul (a.k.a ego). Breathing has been proven to regulate dysregulated Nafs.
Notice your state. Notice attachments to dunya. Are you grasping at something fleeting? Are you craving for something you don’t have? Are you clinging on to a loss? Are you rejecting reality?
Check for Idealistic Perfectionism. Only Allah ﷻ is perfect. And He DOES NOT expect the creation to be perfect. In fact, Allah expects us to make honest mistakes, to test boundaries and return to him remorseful and mournful. Rasulullah ﷺ said “By the One in whose hand is my soul, if you did not sin, Allah would replace you with people who would sin, and they would seek forgiveness from Allah and He would forgive them.” Reference: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2749.
Acknowledge The Pain/Harm/Suffering. Recognise how our thoughts and ideals have an effect on our behaviour and state. Prepare for change.
Personify Rahmah. Our job is to be a servant of the Most Compassionate (‘ibadur-Rahman). This means we are to becompassionate, beginning with ourselves. Compassion also means not causing harm to our soul or to others. To not put on ourselves a burden that contributes to harm.
Accept Reality As It Is. Redha. To accept that there is pain; and that some things are not meant to be. So, Let Go & Let God take care of you. Know that life is worth living and striving for, even if there is pain.
Hope. Trust that Allah knows best, exactly what you need. Open your heart to be pleasantly surprised.
Hmmm… yes, we hear you… that’s quite a bit of work. Which is why Rasulullah ﷺ considered Sabar amongst the highest and most meritorious of virtues.
And don’t worry too much… Allah ﷻ who created us in the best of forms, equipped us with special features (the ‘aql /intellect) allowing us to create solutions, wield resources and make choices, while we face life’s challenges (whether we are aware of it or not… did you realise that you’ve been taking spiritual exams twice a year?).
Do they not see that they are tried every year once or twice but then they do not repent nor do they remember? Surah At-Tawbah 9:126
So, rest assured, Allah is Well-Aware of what we are going through, how we got into our messes, our thought processes, and the feelings it conjure. Allah knows our strengths and limitations too. And Allah is Most Compassionate, Graciously Merciful, who will recompense us for all the difficulties we, stout-heartedly, endure.
Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him, and if he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him. Sahih Muslim 2999*
We can do this. We can weather the storms and make it through. Coz even Bob Dylan said, “I will not carry myself down to die. When I go to my grave my head will be high.”
Surely, Allah does not change what is in a people until they change what is in themselves. (Surah Ar-Ra’d:11)
Awareness, insight and introspection is an important part of human development and growth. For without it, we’d function on an autopilot subconscious, oblivious to how we present ourselves and how we affect others and our environment.
A big part of our actions and behaviours are reflective of our core beliefs, automatic thoughts, feelings and intentions.
Rasulullah (ﷺ) said:
إنما الأعمال بالنيات وإنما لكل امرئ ما نوى
“Actions are (judged) by motives (niyyah), so each man will have what he intended.
Fret not, though… the Seekers will be guided to what they seek. Allah promises that:
We are working women and we feel unhappy. Why is that?
are many factors that influence the level happiness of an individual. These
factors include security, sense of purpose, accomplishments, financial
stability, freedom, interpersonal relationships, outlook on life and this
differs from person to person. In addition, for muslims, our happiness depends
on how we look after our faith in everything that we do.
Founder and Professional Islamic and Psychiatric Counsellor, Ustazah Noraini
Abdul Wahab shares 3 simple steps to having a happy working life as a muslim
Step 1: Know that working is a form of ibadah.
Many women feel guilty about
leaving their homes for work. This guilt affects their self esteem and they
constantly struggle with their inner conflicts. If we feel this way, we might
fall into the danger of burning out and feeling exhausted after a few months or
years of working.
For both men and women, working
is a form of ibadah.
Allah s.w.t mentioned in
How is work worshipping
Allah you wonder?
Ustazah Noraini reminds us, “The main reason we are on this earth is to serve and participate in the harmony that is encompassing life in the universe.”
We have to know that when we go to work, we are playing a part in contributing to the world’s harmony – every drop has a ripple effect that affects the universe, way more than we can comprehend.
Let’s not forget that the female companions of Rasulullah ﷺ (sahabiyaat) used to work and played a part in contributing to their community’s harmony.
Take Al-Shifa bint Abdullah r.a. as an example. Sayyidina Umar r.a. appointed her as a policewoman of the entire marketplace in Madinah because of her knowledge in the syariah laws. Her job asked that she keeps the peace in the market and reprimands those who were violating the business transaction laws of the syariah.
Or Zainab bint Abu Muawiyah r.a., wife of Abdullah ibn Masud r.a. who was the main breadwinner of her family. She made handicrafts and sold them at the marketplace. She even gave sadaqah to her husband who was classified as poor after seeking advice from the Prophet ﷺ about it.
Thus knowing, understanding
and accepting that working is a form of servitude to Allah s.w.t. is the first
step to have a happy work life.
Step 2: Knowing our limitations and boundaries
Limitations and boundaries
are set by the syariah to protect one’s self, mind and soul.
Its rules and regulations
are not made to trouble an individual but to benefit and protect all members of
the society, preserving basic human rights regardless of race and religion in
order to maintain harmony in society. These rights, known as Daruriyaat al-Khomsah,
are classified as the protection of faith, life, dignity, property and
If an individual crosses
the limits and does not abide by these boundaries, it will cost them their
physical and spiritual health leaving them feeling uneasy and unhappy.
An example of crossing over
the limits would be slandering and backbiting a colleague.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:
“The believer does not defame, abuse, disparage, nor vilify.” (al – Tirmidhi)
and backbiting is not permissible in Islam. It is toxic; you either get
intoxicated or you become the toxic. This will create enmity amongst colleagues
resulting in a bad working environment.
need to learn more about these boundaries and abide by them in order for us to
have a happy work life.
Step 3: Safeguarding our work and ourselves
Ustazah Noraini also shared, “A positive occupation is one that we protect and one that protects us.”
Safeguarding our work means contributing to the company with our skill sets, maintaining a good performance record and developing a professional attitude.
Our work safeguards us when it:
provides opportunities for us to learn and develop new skills
instills good values & habits
provides us with a harmonious culture or environment,
strengthens our faith, belief and sense of purpose.
Having good relationship with colleagues, receiving positive
reinforcement and feeling a sense of accomplishment are also a few factors that
makes one happy at work.
Choosing a job which is aligned with our personality and skills, will
add to our sense of purpose and increase work satisfaction.
Actions to take:
Take a moment to evaluate ourselves.
Make changes if our situation calls for it.
Embrace change, for we may never know the goodness that is in store for
May Allah bless our journeys, grant us leniency & happiness in this
life and the next. May He make us servants who continuously strive to be
advocates of peace & harmony.