Al-Baqarah · Juz 2 · Qur'an Tafseer

The Virtue of Patience and Prayer


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 153 – 154


After Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commanded that He be appreciated and His favors remembered, He ordained patience and prayer on His slaves. It is a fact that the servant is either enjoying a bounty that he should be thankful for, or suffering a calamity that he should meet with patience.

[Believers Attitude towards Calamity]

A hadeeth states:

عَجَبًا لِلْمُؤْمِنِ لَا يَقْضِي اللهُ لَهُ قَضَاءً إلَّا كَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ: إِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ فَشَكَرَ كَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ وإنْ أَصَابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ فَصَبَرَ كَانَ خَيْرًا لَه

“Amazing is the believer, for whatever Allah decrees for him, it is better for him! If he is tested with a bounty, he is grateful for it and this is better for him; and if he is afflicted with a hardship, he is patient with it and this is better for him.”

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has stated that the best tools to help ease the effects of the afflictions are patience and prayer.


Whenever you are tested remember that this test is from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Through this test He is wiping off your sins, raising your scales or teaching you something. Our responsibility is to seek help from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and think good about Him. We should keep ourselves calm thinking the calamity could have been greater than what we are experiencing right now. One way of training ourselves to be patient is by beginning with the smallest things. For example, the dinner is not ready when you reach home instead of creating a racket, be patient. Get busy in something else to take your mind off this delay. When someone is late or there is a power breakdown do not lose your temper. Change your thoughts. Try to find something good in it.    

There are several types of Sabr [patience]: One for avoiding the prohibitions and sins, One for acts of worship and obedience. The second type carries more rewards than the first type. There is a third type of patience required in the face of the afflictions and hardships, which is mandatory, like repentance.

‘Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, “Sabr has two parts: patience for the sake of Allah concerning what He(Allah) is pleased with (i.e., acts of worship and obedience), even if it is hard on the heart and the body, and patience when avoiding what He(Allah) dislikes, even if it is desired. Those who acquire these qualities will be among the patient one’s whom Allah shall greet (when they meet Him in the Hereafter; see Surah Al-Ahzab 33:44), Allah willing.”

Sabr means to control oneself especially on things that displease us. It also means remaining steadfast such as in worship. The patient ones are those who control their emotions, do not complain to people and restrain from bad deeds. Two things have been mentioned here: Sabr and Salat.

  • Sabr is an internal struggle while Salat is an external struggle
  • Sabr is the striving of the nafs while Salat is the striving of the limbs

Sabr is the most difficult act of the nafs while Salat is the most difficult act for the limbs (as mentioned in ayah 45 of Al-Baqarah. It says, Salat is not burdensome for those who have khashiah [fear of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. If one wants to check how much khashiah they have or how much they love Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, then they should look at their attitudes toward prayer].

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala did not say that He is with those who offer prayers, rather He said that it is the patient ones who have His support. It indicates that being patient in an affliction and being patient in worship is more valuable and a mean to attain Allah’s help.

The Life enjoyed by the Martyrs

The word yuqtallu [يُقْتَلُ] is from the root qaf-ta-laam and it means to kill. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us to not call the martyrs dead. They are alive and receiving their sustenance.

Muslim reported in his Saheeh:

أَنَّ أَرْوَاحَ الشُّهَدَاءِ فِي حَوَاصِلَ طَيْرٍ خُضْرٍ، تَسْرَحُ فِي الْجَنَّة حَيْثُ شَاءَتْ، ثُمَّ تَأْوِي إلَى قَنَادِيلَ مُعَلَّقَةٍ تَحْتَ الْعَرْشِ، فَاطَّلَعَ عَلَيْهِمْ رَبُّكَ اطِّلَاعَةً، فقَالَ: مَاذَا تَبْغُونَ؟ فَقَالُوا: يَا رَبَّنَا وَأَيَّ شَيْءٍ نَبْغِي، وَقَدْ أَعْطَيْتنَا مَا لَمْ تُعْطِ أَحَدًا مِنْ خَلْقِكَ؟ ثُمَّ عَادَ إِلَيْهِمْ بِمِثْلِ هذَا، فَلَمَّا رَأَوْا أَنَّهُم لَا يُتْرَكُون مِنْ أَنْ يُسْأَلُوا، قَالُوا: نُرِيدُ أَنْ تَرُدَّنَا إِلَى الدَّارِ الدُّنْيَا فَنُقَاتِلَ فِي سَبِيلِكَ حَتَّى نُقْتَلَ فِيكَ مَرَّةً أُخْرَى لِمَا يَرَوْنَ مِنْ ثَوابِ الشَّهادَةِ فَيَقُولُ الرَّبُّ جَلَّ جَلَالُهُ: إِنِّي كَتَبْتُ أَنَّهُمْ إلَيْهَا لَا يَرْجِعُون

“The souls of the martyrs are inside green birds and move about in Paradise wherever they wish. Then, they take refuge in lamps that are hanging under the Throne (of Allah). Your Lord looked at them and asked them, ‘What do you wish for?’ They said, ‘What more could we wish for while You have favored us with what You have not favored any other of your creation?’

He repeated the question again. When they realize that they will be asked (until they answer), they said, ‘We wish that You send us back to the earthly life, so that we fight in Your cause until we are killed in Your cause again,’ (because of what they enjoy of the rewards of martyrdom).

The Lord then said, ‘I have written that they will not be returned to it (earthly life) again.’”

Imam Ahmad reported that ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Ka’b bin Malik narrated from his father that Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

نَسَمَةُ الْمُؤْمِنِ طَائِرٌ تَعْلَقُ فِي شَجَرِ الْجَنَّةِ حَتَّى يَرْجِعَهُ اللهُ إِلَى جَسَدهِ يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُه

“The believer’s soul is a bird that feeds on the trees of Paradise until Allah sends it back to its body when the person is resurrected.”

This hadeeth includes all the believers in its general meaning. Thus, the fact that the Qur’an mentions the martyrs in particular in the above ayah serves to honor, glorify and favor them (although the other believers share the rewards they enjoy).

DOWNLOAD PDF: Al-Baqarah Ayaat 153 – 154

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” [Al-Baqarah 2: 127]

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