Session Seven pt 2: The Most Noble of Tasks
Allah ta’ala mentions this statement many times in the Qur’an:
إِنَّ ذَلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ
Certainly that is from the noble tasks.
When this statement occurs, it is always in reference to sabr (patience).
However, when this statement appears in Surah Shoora (42), something different occurs that does not in all the other ayaat….Allah azza wa jal states:
إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ لَمِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ
Truly that is certainly from the noble tasks. (42:43)
This ayah is a special case because there is an extra letter, a laam. This laam is for emphasis: certainly. But why does this ayah have more emphasis, but the rest of the similar ayaat do not? It is because there are two different types of patience (sabr) being referenced for these two ayaat.
There are many types of sabr in this deen, but they all fall into two basic categories:
- When something happens to you and you have the power to respond and take action (ie, revenge/retaliate).
- When something happens to you and you do not have the power to respond.
Here are some examples that display these two types of patience:
- Someone stealing your car (power to take action) vs. your car getting damaged in a storm.
- Getting food poisoning from a restaurant vs getting a cold on your own.
- Someone pushing you vs someone with a weapon pushing you.
In situations when you cannot take take action, it is still a great thing to have patience. For example the sahaba in Makkah, they did not have the power to retaliate but Allah ta’ala still commanded them to have patience and He praised those who were patient. Also with the Battle of Uhud or Ahzaab, they did not have the power to retaliate but still had patience in their situation.
Then the Conquest of Makkah occured, and those who overpowered the Sahaba before, those who kicked them out of their homes, those who tortured them and their families were right there–easily able to take revenge. Does THAT not require sabr? Which sabr is more difficult? It is the sabr that one practices when they have the ABILITY to take revenge and retaliate, but they do not!
Allah ta’ala mentioned in the same ayah before that statement: وَلَمَنْ صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ “and for the one who has patience and forgives” This person could have had sabr, and retaliated BUT they had sabr and chose to forgive…so this ayah, the only time it occurs in the Qur’an, gets an extra laam.
وَلَمَنْ صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ لَمِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ
“And surely, whosoever shows patience and forgives that would truly be from the noble tasks” (42:43)
If you have the upper hand and you are in a position to retaliate and respond, but you chose to forgive–that is the harder sabr, and truly from the noble tasks.