Walamma barazoo lijalootawajunoodihi qaloo rabbana afrigh AAalayna sabranwathabbit aqdamana wansurnaAAala alqawmi alkafireen
And when they went forth to [face] Goliath and his soldiers, they said, “Our Lord, pour upon us patience and plant firmly our feet and give us victory over the disbelieving people.”
(Surat Al Baqarah 2: Verse 250)
Audio – Reciter (Maher al-Muaiqly)
This dua is verse number 250 of Surat Baqarah. A brief introduction for Surat Baqarah has been included with the first Rabbana Dua.
‘Sabr’ is an Arabic word which comes from a root meaning to detain, refrain and stop. Imâm Ahmad said, “Allâh has mentioned patience in the Qur’ân in ninety places.” Ibn Qayyim mentions in his book a scholar who defined patience as, “To have patience means that one’s common sense and religious motives are stronger than one’s whims and desires.”
Patience is required in the following areas of life:
- In worshipping Allâh and following His commands,
- In abstaining from wrong actions,
- In accepting Allâh’s decree and ruling (qadâ’ wa qadr).
Luqmân told his son:
“O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination.”
(Surat Luqman 31: Verse 17)
This particular supplication was made by the soldiers of Talut’s army when they were confronted with the enemy on the battlefield. Let’s pick up the narrative from a few verses earlier
1. Stage One – The Request of the Irresolute
The Bani Israil asked their Prophet, “Appoint for us a king, and we shall fight for the cause of God.” Their resolve is suspect from the start and the Prophet responds, “Would you perhaps refrain from fighting if fighting was prescribed for you?” They swear that they will be true to their words “But when fighting was prescribed for them, they turned away, except for a few of them.”
Allah appointed Talut as their leader but they were displeased with the selection and they arrogantly complained about it. It took the miracle of the Tabut to convince them to set out with the leader that they themselves had requested.
2. Stage Two – The Test
In addition to physical strength, Allah subhanawatala had blessed Talut with foresight and wisdom. As a leader he had to make sure the army that was to meet Jalut was sincere and determined to struggle for the cause of Allah. When they reached the banks of a river, thirsty and exhausted, he said to them:
“Indeed, Allah will be testing you with a river. So whoever drinks from it is not of me, and whoever does not taste it is indeed of me, excepting one who takes [from it] in the hollow of his hand.” But they drank from it, except a [very] few of them.
Those that had restraint were allowed to move forward with Talut.
3. Stage three – Fear
The army of few determined souls under the command of the resolute Talut crossed over the river. Some from this group wavered in their hearts even as they kept their feet firm:
“There is no power for us today against Goliath and his soldiers.” But those who were certain that they would meet Allah said, “How many a small company has overcome a large company by permission of Allah. And Allah is with the patient.”
4. Stage four – The Dua of the Patient
Upon reaching the battlefield, those of the army that had patiently persevered, and had placed their trust in Allah, made the dua:
“Our Lord, pour upon us patience and plant firmly our feet and give us victory over the disbelieving people.”
Just as the most obedient Prophets prayed for obedience , those who had displayed patience prayed for more sabr. The Prophet salallahu alihiwasullum said, “…whoever wants to be patient, Allah will help him to be patient. None is ever given anything better and more far-reaching than patience.” (Sahih)
Recognizing their own plight they asked that patience be poured upon them. They wished to be drenched in sabr so that their eyes, ears, heart and soul would remain firm and their feet obediently planted in the cause of Allah. They prayed for a sabr that would saturate their soul and fill it with tranquility and conviction. In their words there is also recognition of their own weakness. And they prayed for victory when all they could see around them was defeat.
5. Stage five – Victory
Allah subhanawatala granted them victory and Dawud alaihissallam who belonged to the army of Talut was eventually elevated to the status of a prophet and king.
1. There are many points in our lives when we ask Allah subhanawatala for success or we pray for a specific goal. We pray for success in an exam, for a spouse, or for a job. But when we are given the opportunity to enroll in class to pass the exam we whine. When we get married we complain continuously and when we receive the halal rizq we remain ungrateful. We question the decree of Allah forgetting that we have received what we had prayed for earlier. We forget that all of life is a test of our love for Allah and our desire to meet Him. When a gift is withheld it is a test and when it is granted it is a test as well.
“And We tested them with good [times] and bad that perhaps they would return [to obedience].”
(Surat Al Araf 7:168)
2. From the ‘rivers’ of this dunya that tempt us we are allowed to take only a handful. If we become satiated with the pleasures of this world we will not be able to strive in the path of Allah and will be deprived from relishing the sweetness of the rivers of Paradise. Sleep less, eat less and you will have the energy to move forward in your eman.
3. Sabr is not the absence of fear and uncertainty. It is rather a recognition of the apparently insurmountable obstacles before you and the firm conviction that Allah will take care of it. It is to place your trust completely in Allah and never to pride yourself upon your own strength.
4. Anyone who sets out on the path of obedience will be tested. Each day of our lives we are waging a struggle to be obedient. At the critical forefront of this struggle is the choice to be patient: should I respond sarcastically to a snide comment or should I hold my tongue? Should I throw things and slam doors or should I be dignified and polite even when I am angry? Should I patiently persevere to improve the quality of my ibadh or should I peck the floor like a chicken? Should I question ‘why’ or should I accept the decree of Allah and be patient?
The most beloved slaves of Allah, the Prophets and the scholars, were severely tested in their lives but they remained patient. They complained but only to their Rubb and in the most beautiful manner, because they firmly believed in Allah’s promise,
“And will reward them for what they patiently endured [with] a garden [in Paradise] and silk [garments].”
(Surat Al Insan 76:12)
Ali radi allahu anhu said, “Verily Sabr is to Eeman what the head is to the body. When the head is cut off, the body falls. (He then raised his voice) Verily there is no Eeman for he who has no Sabr (patience).”
5. The greater the test, the more sabr is required and the greater the opportunity to win the pleasure of Allah. The tests propel those with real talent and sincerity to the front and those lacking conviction are left behind. This Rabbana dua will inshallah, help you tap your inner potential of sabr.
I have only touched a drop of the vast ocean of knowledge there is on sabr. Inshallah we will discuss some other aspects of sabr in Rabbana Dua #23.
Please share this series with your family and friends and incorporate the duas into your daily Dhikr.