Al-Baqarah · Juz 2 · Qur'an Tafseer

The Believer is Patient with Affliction


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

Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 155 – 157


The word wa-la-nabluwan-na-kum [وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم] is comprised of five words: wa, la, nabluwan, na and kum. The word nabluwa [نَبْلُوَ] is from the root word ba-laam-wau which means “try, prove or test by good or evil”. The “laam with the verb” and the “shad on noon” are used for emphasis.i.e surety of being tested by Allah subhaanahu wa’ ta’ala.

The word wal-ju-i [وَالْجُوعِ] is from the root word jeem-wau-ayn and it means hunger.  The word naqs [نَقْص] is from the root word noon-qaf-suad, it means decrease.

The word asbathum [أَصَابَتْهُم] is from the root word saad-wau-ba and it means striking the target. If we understand and contemplate on the meaning of this word,we realize the affliction that strikes one is not an error, it was meant to reach one. While being a neutral word in Arabic, it is  largely used in a negative context such as death or an accident is called museeba. This tells us about our belief in fate. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us that He is going to test us with fear, hunger, loss of wealth, loss of lives and fruits.

The word salawat [صَلَوَت] is the plural of Salah and it means to supplicate. If the salawat is from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then it means His mercy [Rahmah].

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala informs us that He tests and tries His servants. Sometimes the test is by giving bounties and sometimes by depriving one of some bounties and afflicting with a calamity. Mankind will experience a little of each calamity meaning some of his wealth will be destroyed, some of his friends, relatives and loved ones will die and his gardens and farms will not produce the usual or expected amounts. While there will be afflictions, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reminds us to be patient. He says, “…give glad tidings to As-Sabireen (the patient).”

Who are they?

They are those who when afflicted with a calamity say:

إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّـآ إِلَيْهِ رَجِعونَ

“Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.”

Those who recite this statement in their loss, know that they belong to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and that He does what He wills with His servants and that there is His Hikmah [divine wisdom] in everything. They also know that nothing and no deed, even if it was the weight of an atom, will be lost with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala on the Day of Resurrection. These facts thus compel them to admit that they are Allah’s servants and that their return will be to Him in the Hereafter.

[Turning to Allah after All Else has Failed Us]

People who have such an attitude, on them are the blessings from their Lord, and they receive His praise and mercy. Sa’eed ibn Jubayr added that this means being saved from torment.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “…and it is they who are the guided ones.”

‘Umar bin Al-Khattab radhiAllahu anhu commented: What righteous things, and what great heights. The two righteous things are Allah’s Salawaat and mercy. And, the great heights means more rewards that these people will be awarded in the afterlife. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make us of them, aameen.

The Virtue of asserting that We all belong to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala

There are several ahadeeth that mention the rewards of admitting that the return is to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala by saying:

إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّـآ إِلَيْهِ رَجِعونَ

“Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.”

Imam Ahmad reported that Umm Salamah radhiAllahu ‘anha narrated: Once, Abu Salamah came back after he was with Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and said: I heard Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam recite a statement that made me delighted. He said:

لَا يُصِيبُ أَحَدًا مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مُصِيبَةٌ فَيَسْتَرْجِعُ عِنْدَ مُصِيبَتِهِ ثُمَّ يقُولُ: اللَّهُمَّ أْجُرْنِي فِي مُصِيبَتِي وأَخْلِفْ لِي خَيْرًا مِنْهَا، إِلَّا فَعَلَ ذلِكَ بِه

“No Muslim is struck with an affliction and then says Istirja’ when the affliction strikes, and then says: ‘O Allah! Reward me for my loss and give me what is better than it,’ but Allah will do just that.”

Umm Salamah said: So I memorized these words. When Abu Salamah died I said Istirja’ and said: “O Allah! Compensate me for my loss and give me what is better than it.” I then thought about it and said, “Who is better than Abu Salamah?” When my ‘Iddah (the period of time before the widow or divorced woman can remarry) finished, Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked for permission to see me while I was dyeing a skin that I had. I washed my hands, gave him permission to enter and handed him a pillow, and he sat on it. He then asked me for marriage and when he finished his speech, I said, “O Messenger of Allah! It is not because I do not want you, but I am very jealous and I fear that you might experience some wrong mannerism from me for which Allah would punish me. I am old and have children.” He said:

أمَّا مَا ذَكَرْتِ مِنَ الْغَيْرَةِ فَسَوْفَ يُذْهِبُهَا اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ عَنْكِ، وَأَمَّا مَا ذَكَرْتِ مِنَ السِّنِّ فَقَدْ أَصَابَنِي مِثْلُ الَّذِي أَصَابَكِ، وَأَمَّا مَا ذَكَرْتِ مِنَ الْعِيَالِ فَإِنَّمَا عِيَالُكِ عِيَالِي

“As for the jealousy that you mentioned, Allah the Exalted will remove it from you. As for your being old as you mentioned, I have suffered what you have suffered. And for your having children, they are my children too.”

She said, “I have surrendered to Allah’s Messenger.” Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam married her and Umm Salamah said later, “Allah compensated me with who is better than Abu Salamah i.e Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.” [Muslim reported a shorter version of this hadeeth.]


We should get in the habit of reciting these words of remembrance when being tested. Instead of saying a curse word, utter istirja even when something as mundane as power breakdown occurs. Stop saying: Uff. Recite istighfar and remember Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. If He is testing you then certainly He will show you a way out if you are sincere to Him.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 155 – 157

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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