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Session Seven pt 2: The Most Noble of Tasks

October 24, 2008



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:

  1. When something happens to you and you have the power to respond and take action (ie, revenge/retaliate).
  2. 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.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2008 1:23 pm

    SubhanAllah, there is a brother (a father) from a country where they try to implement the Islamically prescribed punishment for killing. This father sent his son to college in the US, where the boy was murdered by several other boys who where also from the same country as the father and his son. The murderers were sent back to their home country for punishment and you know what the father did? He was heartbroken, but he forgave them and accepted the prescribed blood money instead. I’m not sure if this qualifies as sabr in one of the ways that you explained it above, but this father had the opportunity to retaliate or to forgive, and he chose to forgive…may Allah reward him, forgive him, and have mercy upon him and his son (and their whole family) Ameen.

    In situations like the one for this father (or like the ones you described with, “When something happens to you and you have the power to respond and take action (ie, revenge/retaliate). “), where the victim exercises sabr, I feel that the whole situation demonstrates that there is an ecouragement to exercise mercy inherint in Islam (waAllahu a’alem)–it kinda makes you feel really blessed and fortunate to be Muslim, may Allah make us of those who submit and practice Islam in a way that pleases Him. Ameen.

    Jazaaki Allah khayr Amatullah. May Allah make us all of the saabireen. Ameen.

  2. October 25, 2008 6:25 pm

    Ameen! wa iyyaki sis.

    SubhanAllah Em, that is an amazing example. May Allah ta’ala forgive the son and bless the father with success, Ameen.
    Alhamdulillah I totally see what you’re saying about mercy, the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam himself was sent as a rahmah. Rahmah is apart of his sunnah.
    Jazaki Allahu khayran for sharing.

  3. the middle road permalink
    January 15, 2009 4:32 am

    Assalamu alaikum

    Jazakallahu khair for this.

    Just to add that if you look at the other ayat where this phrase appears without the ‘laam’, then they are referring to being patient against things over which one has no control.

    لَتُبْلَوُنَّ فِي أَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنْفُسِكُمْ وَلَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَذًى كَثِيرًا وَإِنْ تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ ذَلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الأمُورِ

    You shall be tried in your wealth and yourselves, and you shall hear much hurt from those who were given the Book before you, and from those who are idolaters. But if you are patient and cautious, surely, that is of the firm affairs.

    (‘Aal ‘Imran: 186)

    يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَى مَا أَصَابَكَ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الأمُورِ

    My son, establish the prayer, order with honor but forbid dishonor, and bear patiently with whatever may fall upon you, indeed that is true

    (Luqman: 17)

  4. DR.NAZIRUDDIN permalink
    February 23, 2011 7:34 am



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