Aspects Of Islamic Faith - 75: Patience In Adversity - The Prophet's Way
Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals
& Information - By Adil Salahi
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was kind to all
people, particularly those who were in obvious
distress, even though they may not be Muslims. He
never hesitated to console anyone who has suffered a
calamity. He overlooked the reaction of such people
and tried to help them by reminding them that patience
and resignation in times of distress would be of great
Anas ibn Malik reports: "The Prophet saw a woman
crying by the side of a grave. He said to her: ‘Be
mindful of God and be patient'. She said to him:
‘Leave me alone. You have not experienced my calamity;
and you do not know him.' She did not recognize the
Prophet. She was then told that he was the Prophet.
She came to see him, but she did not find guards at
his home. She said to him: ‘I did not realize who you
were'. He said: ‘True patience is that shown at the
first blow'." (Related by Al-Bukhari).
Al-Bukhari lists this Hadith under the subheading of
‘visiting graves'. His reason for such entry is to
show that visiting graves was permissible for both men
and women, because the Prophet did not tell the woman
that she could not visit the grave of her relative.
The Hadith is reported in a very concise way. It is
apparent that the woman did not only cry by the side
of the grave; she was lamenting her loss, crying aloud
and wailing. Had she been only tearful, the Prophet
would not have taken issue with her, because weeping
for the loss of a loved one is permissible. The
Prophet told the woman only to show patience and to
accept God's will, as death was the lot of all people.
Unaware of the identity of her interlocutor, the woman
spoke to him rather rudely, telling him to leave her
alone. Her reaction is characteristic of those who
panic when calamity strikes. The Prophet left her
without disturbing her further. There appears to be a
time gap between her conversation with the Prophet and
her being informed of his status.
She was worried when she learnt that he was the
Prophet, because she might have thought that he was
like other heads of states and kings. Hence, she went
to see him in Madinah to apologize for her behavior,
fearing that he might punish her for her behavior.
When she was guided to his home, she was again
surprised as there were no guards or doormen. She
could simply knock and enter. This gave her some
reassurance, as she realized that he was not like
rulers. He was not followed by a number of men
attending to his wishes when he talked to her the
first time, and now she found his home unattended by
guards. She went in to apologize, saying that she did
not know the Prophet when he talked to her.
Once more, the Prophet did not dwell on the personal
aspect. He did not tell her that she should have
behaved differently even though she did not know him.
He simply alerted her, and those who were present, to
the fact that patience in adversity was always the
proper attitude of a believer. He now elaborated that
true patience is that shown as the calamity strikes.
It is then that a true believer should say in total
resignation and acceptance of God's will: "We all
belong to God, and to Him we shall all return".