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Aqeedah and Fiqh

Gems from Sh. Salah al-Sawwy | The Affair of The Believer-Between Gratefulness and Patience


Translated by Ammar Alshukry

From the Seerah

The seerah of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) gives us consolation in these turbulent times.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was an orphan, and so it was ordained that orphans be respected after him in every land, and under every sky.

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When the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) experienced Mecca, and experienced the weakness there, and fear, and when the people of Makkah plotted against him such that they would kill him while he slept.  And that the responsibility of his blood would be shared amongst the Arab tribes. When he left that night, leaving the land that was most beloved to him, he did not think that he would return in eight years, victorious, at the head of 10,000 companions.

From the Story of Yousuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)


“That has ever been in the book inscribed.” (Al-Israa: 58)

Recognize that the hand of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) works in Its own way.  When Yousuf [alays] was imprisoned, reflect on that, Yousuf is imprisoned! When The Prophet  ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was asked who is the most noble of the people, he responded that Yousuf, the son of Ishaq is the most noble as he is the noble, the son of the noble, the son of the noble, the son of the Khalil of Allah.  Yet no earthquake came to shake open the doors of the prison, rather a dream was sent to the king…

“And [subsequently] the king said, “Indeed, I have seen [in a dream] seven fat cows being eaten by seven [that were] lean, and seven green spikes [of grain] and others [that were] dry. O eminent ones, explain to me my vision, if you should interpret visions.” (Yousuf: 43) 

So reflect on how the hand of God was working. That no one would be able to interpret the dream of the king except the one whom He had taught the interpretation of dreams.

They said, “[It is but] a mixture of false dreams, and we are not learned in the interpretation of dreams.” But the one who was freed and remembered after a time said, “I will inform you of its interpretation, so send me forth. [He said], “Yousuf, O man of truth…” (Yousuf: 43-45)

From the Story of the Sacrifice of Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)

When Ibraheem was laying Isma’eel on his forehead, so that their eyes would not meet.  For, if Ibrahim were to lay him on his back and the eyes of his son were to meet his that might cause him an internal earthquake.  And so that son, recognizing the love of his father, told his father to lay him down on his front, and said, “Oh my father due what you wish, you will find me in sha Allah from the patient”.  Did it occur to Ibrahim in his wildest imagination that as he was placing his son to be slaughtered, that in that moment, a ram was being prepared in Jannah for him to slaughter instead?

“…and we called out to him Oh Ibraheem…” (Saafaat: 104)

When he removed from himself all ego, all personal want and desire, all love of everything else..

 “Indeed, I will make you a leader for the people.”  (Baqarah: 124)

But what was the introduction, before him achieving that status?

“And [mention, O Muhammad], when Abraham was tried by his Lord with commands and he fulfilled them.” (Baqarah: 124)


“And [of] Abraham, who fulfilled [his obligations]” (Al-Najm: 37)

You will find in the book of your Lord, that which will give you much consolation for these times.

From the Battle of Uhud

After the battle of Uhud verses were revealed that gave the believers much consolation.

“So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers.” 

(Al-Imran: 139)

They are coming back from a battle in which 70 of them were killed, many of them were injured yet Allah is saying they are superior.  Superiority is not just in material means alone, but superiority is also that you be firm upon your iman and steadfast upon the truth.

“If a wound should touch you – there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it.” (Al-Imran: 140) 

They are wounded as well, but your wounds are not like their wounds.

“If you should be suffering – so are they suffering as you are suffering, but you expect from Allah that which they expect not. And Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.” (Al-Nisaa: 104)

If you are equal in the wounds, if you are equal in the suffering, you are not equal in your expectations from Allah.  You are expecting and hoping for reward, and they are not expecting anything.  We are between two best things.

Say, “Do you await for us except one of the two best things while we await for you that Allah will afflict you with punishment from Himself or at our hands? So wait; indeed we, along with you, are waiting.” (At-Tawbah 53)

The believer is always in a state of goodness…

When Ibn Taymiyyah was jailed, and the guard shut the door, he recited,

“And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is torment.” (Al-Hadeed: 13)

And then he said, “What can my enemies do to me, my paradise is in my iman, and my iman is in my chest, my imprisonment is solitude with my Lord, my expulsion is tourism and my execution is martyrdom. So what can they do to me?”

On Servitude & Hardships

[Ibn Taymiyyah] experienc[ed] the beauty of servitude in all of his conditions.  The believer transforms from one manifestation of servitude to another.  The station of servitude is never altered but its manifestations do.

Some of those who lived in Egypt in the 1970’s lived in constant oppression and persecution.  And when that environment changed they began to belittle their worship, so much so that they deemed insignificant their actions and their salah.

They did not feel that their worship was worth anything in such ease.  However, the changing of environment allows the believer to transform from one manifestation of servitude to another, servitude is not only manifested in being persecuted and besieged for your belief.

Allah requires servitude from His slaves in their times of ease just as He requires servitude from His slaves in their times of difficulty.

So when Allah places a slave in ease, that allows for them to experience other colors of servitude; seeking knowledge, teaching others, recitation of the Quran, learning a new language that when your life’s journey takes you to interact with a people they find you able to speak their tongue and articulate to them the message that you carry!

When Bad Times Come

Sometimes when times are bad, people begin to direct blame at each other.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Prepare food for Jafar’s family for today they are beside themselves with grief.”

This is not the time for blame, not at all.  It is not the time, when a father has lost his daughter, a mother is grieving her son, that blame be cast.  The companions used to find in the words of The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) that which would bring them ease, comfort and consolation.  The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) left the family of Ja’far to mourn for three days and then came to them saying, “Do not mourn my brother after today.”  The mother of Ja’far’s children complained to The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) of their being orphans.  Look at what The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) responded to her, look at the beauty of his consoling when he said,

“Do you fear them being orphans when I am their custodian (wali) in this world and the next?”

The first generation used to live these beautiful values.

On Personalities

It’s not about personalities. Don’t tie yourself to them.

Of the lessons is also that it’s not about any particular person, no matter how great.  The sahabah learned that lesson at the battle of Uhud as well.

“Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful.” (Al-Imran: 144)

On the Wisdom behind the Rumors of the Rasul’s Death

During the battle of Uhud a rumor began to spread that Rasul Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was killed. That rumor was a divine remedy to cure souls that were exhausted and defeated.

“So Allah repaid you with distress upon distress so you would not grieve for that which had escaped you [of victory and spoils of war] or [for] that which had befallen you [of injury and death]. And Allah is [fully] acquainted with what you do.” (Al-Imran: 153)

The first distress: The loss of life, wounds, loss of spoils of war and loss of victory.

The second distress: The rumor that The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was killed.  How is this a divine remedy?

The first distress was an overwhelming distress, the distress of 70 companions martyred and so many injured, as well as the loss of victory and spoils of war, however Allah sent them a rumored distress, not an actual one, that totally eclipses the first distress.  The sahabah could not imagine living in a world that was not beautified by the breath of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) amongst them.  Hence, when Allah lifted the second (and greater) distress from them, the first distress no longer seemed overwhelming.

“Then after distress, He sent down upon you security [in the form of] drowsiness, overcoming a faction of you, while another faction worried about themselves, thinking of Allah other than the truth – the thought of ignorance, saying, “Is there anything for us [to have done] in this matter?” Say, “Indeed, the matter belongs completely to Allah.”  (Al-Imran: 154)

Then after that distress, He gave them security in the form of drowsiness.  Drowsiness in the environment of a battlefield is from Allah, and drowsiness in salaah and gatherings of dhikr are from shaytaan.  And then some of the munafiqoun, as if criticizing the leadership of The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), criticizing the outcome of the battle, criticizing the loss of life and injuries, saying:

They say, “If there was anything we could have done in the matter, some of us would not have been killed right here.” (Al-Imran: 154)

Maybe some of them were of those who had advised The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) that he should not have met the mushrikeen at Uhud in open battle.  But Allah belies them saying,

“Say, “even if you had been inside your houses, those decreed to be killed would have come out to their death beds.” [It was] so that Allah might test what is in your breasts and purify what is in your hearts. And Allah is Knowing of that within the breasts.” (Al-Imran: 154)

The affair of the believer is always good.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“How amazing is the affair of the believer. There is good for him in everything and that is for no one but the believer. If good times come his way, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him, and if hardship comes his way, he endures it patiently and that is better for him.” (Muslim)

And so the believer always journeys between the two manifestations of servitude; patience and thankfulness.

On Leadership

“So be not in doubt about it.” (Hud: 17)

Do not doubt for a moment that you are upon the truth.  And know that Allah says,

“And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs.” (As-Sajadah 24) 

So leadership, imamah, in the religion is acquired with the two ingredients of patience and certainty.




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  1. Mahmud

    September 26, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    Refreshing and excellent. JazzakAllahu khair. May Allah accept it from you and Sh. Salah as-Sawy

  2. Fatima Ariadne

    September 27, 2013 at 6:48 AM

    Simple, yet powerful reminders and straightforward. may Allah reward you for sharing this. :)

  3. Parvez Khan

    December 21, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    scientific and rational arguments for the existance of God;

    “Or were they created by nothing? Or were they the creators (of themselves)? Or did they create heavens and earth? Rather, they are not certain.” Quran 52:35-36

    These questions can be addressed to the existence of everything temporal, in other words the entire universe. Therefore, the exegetical implications of these verses can be logically formulated in the following way:

    Things that began to exist were either:-

    1. Created or brought into being from nothing
    2. Self caused or self created
    3. Created or brought into being by something else that began to exist
    4. Created or brought into being by a non-created or un-caused entity

    Since something cannot come from nothing, and self creation is absurd, including the unreasonableness of the aforementioned explanation, then the universe being created or brought into existence by an uncaused entity is the best explanation. This concept is intuitive but also agrees with reality: whatever begins to exist has a cause or a creator.

    This cause or creator must be uncaused due to the absurdity of an infinite regress, in other words an indefinite chain of causes. To illustrate this better, if the cause of the universe had a cause and that cause had a cause ad infinitum, then there wouldn’t be a universe to talk about in the first place (something we have already discussed above). For example, imagine if a Stock Trader on a trading floor at the Stock Exchange was not able to buy or sell his stocks or bonds before asking permission from the investor, and then this investor had to check with his, and this went on forever, would the Stock Trader every buy or sell his stocks or bonds? The answer is no. In similar light if we apply this to the universe we would have to posit an uncaused cause due to this rational necessity. The Qur’an confirms the uncreatedness of the creator, God,

    “He neither begets nor is born.” Qur’an 112:3

    The cause or creator for the universe must be a single cause for several reasons. An attractive argument to substantiate this claim includes the use of the rational principle called Occam’s razor. In philosophical terms the principle enjoins that we do not multiply entities beyond necessity. What this basically means is that we should stick to explanations that do not create more questions than it answers. In the context of the cause for the universe we have no evidence to claim multiplicity, in other words more than one. The Qur’an affirms the Oneness of the creator,

    “Say: He is God, [who is] One.” Qur’an 112:1

    However some philosophers and scientists claim: why doesn’t the cause be the universe itself? Why can’t the cause stop at the universe? Well, the problem with these claims is that they would imply that the universe created itself, which we have already discussed, is absurd. Additionally, we have good reasons to postulate a cause for the universe because the universe began to exist, and what begins to exist has a cause.

    Our argument thus far allows us to conclude that this cause or creator must be non contingent meaning that its existence is dependent on nothing but itself. If it were contingent it would be one more effect in the chain of causes. The Qur’an verifies this,

    “God is Independent of (all) creatures.” Qur’an 3:97

    The cause or creator must also be transcendent, this means that the cause of the universe must exist outside of and apart from the universe. Since this being exists apart from the universe it must be non-physical or immaterial, if it was material then it would be part of the universe. This is confirmed in the Qur’an,

    “There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing” Qur’an 42:11

    This cause must have the power to create the universe, without this ability nothing could be created. The Qur’an testifies to God’s power,

    “Certainly, God has power over all things.” Qur’an 2:20

    This cause must have a will, because it wouldn’t be able to create the universe without one. What this means is that it must have a will so the power to create could be acted on. The Qur’an refers to God as having a will in many places, for instance,

    “And God guides whom He wills to a straight path.” Qur’an 2:213

    In summary, we have concluded what the Qur’an concluded over 1400 years ago, that a creator for the universe exists, that is one, has a will, is powerful, uncaused, immaterial and eternal.

    • Riz Khan

      December 22, 2013 at 1:15 AM

      Brother Parvez Khan! well written comment.indeed it has all the qualities of a separate post. I want to say that all the theroy and arguments used for proving the existence of God can equally be used for proving non existence of God. I would not put all the material available on net here, anyone can search under atheism and Agnosticism. I want to share with you my personal experience. I was once at the stage of choosing between being atheist, Agnostic or a muslim.All my research , reading and logic was pointing towards Agnostism. But there was a burden/gap/hole in my sole, mind or emotions-whatever you call. Here I would mention some of the written words of Mother can search on internet for yourself. She wrote “I call, I cling, I want — and there is no One to answer — no One on Whom I can cling — no, No One. — Alone … Where is my Faith — even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness — My God — how painful is this unknown pain — I have no Faith — I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart — & make me suffer untold agony.
      So many unanswered questions live within me afraid to uncover them — because of the blasphemy — If there be God — please forgive me — When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven — there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives & hurt my very soul. — I am told God loves me — and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.

      My heart weeps for her because I know what that emptiness is. I was suffering from the same emptiness. I knew being a agnostic or atheist would not help to fill that gap. I was at a crossroad. I had to choose. I look inside myself and tried to know what I want. The answer was “I believe in Allah and His Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).” May be that was my test. So I made a choice. Alhamd u lillah now I am a muslim by choice. I had received a hint from my sufi friend earlier. He had told me “you have to sacrifice your aql (mind/logic) for the love of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). I did not understand then but now I understand. I have sacrificed my aql (Mind/logic) for the love of Allah and the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). I don’t need any arguments now. If all people of the world tell me that there is no God; I won’t believe them. nothing in this world can deviate me from me faith ;no arguments, no theory no research nothing at all. I have simply sacrificed my aql (mind/logic). I would quote the famous poet of Islamic World Allama Muhammad Iqbal

      Bey khatar kood para aatish e Namrood mein ishq
      Aql khari hei mah’ve tamasha-i lab-e-baam abhi?

      Translation Love dives into the furnace of Nimrod without any hesitation
      Logic is still standing dumb-founded

      It refers to the episode when Nimrod cast Prophet Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) into the furnace. It talks about how Abraham was willing to to be thrown into the furnace of Nimrod just because of his love of God, transcending and dumb-founding any logic.

      • Parvez Khan

        January 20, 2014 at 10:41 PM

        Which scientific arguments and logical deductions will support athiesm?

        Also regarding the intellect then that is based upon our limited knowledge and experience.

        Ofcourse the Quran will have verses that will astonish us and we cannot fully understand how such as; miracles, the Attributes of Allah (swt) of being All Seeing, we can some what understand that Allah sees everything but we dont know how.

        Thus there are strong evidences from the Quran, science and reason (aql) that Allah (swt) exists and that He is One.

        Regarding the sacrifice then the Quran commands us to sacrifice our lowly desires and lusts and submit to Him and revere and fear Him. The Quran actually directs us to contemplate and use our intellect to reflect on creation to come to the conclusion that God exists and that by our fitra of morals come to acknowledgement that there will be Day of Judgment or else there will not be Justice.

  4. Arbab

    December 24, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Assalam O Alekum!
    I really enjoyed the comment of Parvez Khan. It is superb. I have difficulty understanding the comment of Riz Khan. Is Islam not based on logic? Do we have to lose our logic to become muslim ? I don’t understand it. How a non-muslim would be able to accept Islam if the first condition would be to lose his logic?

    • Riz Khan

      December 28, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      Walekum As salam! Brother! first I give you world major religion statistics which may not be exact/correct as I have taken them from the internet but suffice to prove my point of view.
      Christianity followers 2.1 Billiion
      Islam followers 1.5 Billion
      Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheis 1.1 Billion

      1.1 Billion people do not believe in God or are indifferent. Why they do so? Does their logic/mind/intellect told them that there is no God? We/I as a muslim believe our religion as the only true religion. Why our intellect/mind/logic did not deceive us?

      First of all it is the blessing of Almighty Allah! that we are muslims. I would give translation from the Holy Quran verses 1.6 and 1.7.
      1.6 Guide us to the Straight Path
      1.7 The path of those upon whom You have bestowed Your blessings, those whose (portion) is not wrath, nor of those who have gone astray.
      We pray to Almighty Allah to guide us and save us from the going astray.

      The belief in Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is the key to be a muslim. Imaan is the blessing of Almighty Allah.
      Islam means submission to Almighty Allah!. Body, Soul, Mind, logic, reason anything complete submission/surrender to Allah!. I used the term “sacrifice your logic/aql/reason for the love of Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet (Peace Be upon Him).”
      If you don’t like the term replace it with surrender your logic/aql/reason before Almighty Allah! (you may find it more orthodox). Almighty Allah may bless you with his blessings! Ameen!

      • Arban Shazan

        March 23, 2014 at 4:17 AM

        It is not clear. A Christian or Jew etc can say the same “my heart tell me” and stick to his religion. There should be something special in Islam which differentiate it from other so called religions. Quran is the word of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala and is guidance for the human kind and Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala invite us to use our reason and logic to understand His signs. But you are altogether rejecting the importance of logic and reason and have based your faith entirely on inner guidance. If that is the case then there is no need of Quran and the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). Such a faith as you profess may be called a “Blind Faith”. It can sometimes lead to extremism. It would be better if you read Quran with Tafsir from some reputable Scholar but please for God’s sake not Abu Eesa. There is enough reason and logic in Quran for guidance. For your consideration-all that we see is surely created. Who created it? Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala created it! There can be no other answer. If you have any other answer; enlighten me.

        والله أعلمُ بالـصـواب

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