A Pillar of Patience

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‘Urwah bin Zubair (rahimahullah) was the brother of ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) and among the leading Taabi‘een and ‘Ulama of Madeenah Munawwarah. He would recite one quarter of the Quraan Majeed every day while looking into the mushaf. He would then repeat that same quarter by reciting it in tahajjud salaah during the night.

‘Urwah bin Zubair (rahimahullah) was once on a journey to meet Waleed bin ‘Abdil Malik when a sore developed on his leg. After some time, the sore spread, leading to his leg becoming infected. When ‘Urwah (rahimahullah) eventually reached Waleed, he asked him to have his infected leg amputated. Waleed thus summoned the doctor who instructed ‘Urwah (rahimahullah) to take a sedative so that he would be able to amputate the leg while ‘Urwah (rahimahullah) was asleep. ‘Urwah (rahimahullah), however, refused to take the sedative saying, “Go ahead and amputate. I cannot imagine how a person can ever consume something which will cause him to be negligent and unaware of Allah Ta‘ala.” The doctor therefore placed the blade on his left knee and began to amputate. Such was the patience and tolerance of ‘Urwah (rahimahullah) that those who were around him at the time later mentioned that he did not utter even one remark of complaint! Rather, the most they heard from him was an occasional hiss of pain. During the course of the same journey, the son of ‘Urwah (rahimahullah), Muhammad, fell from the roof of a home and was trampled to death by animals.

After undergoing all this difficulty, ‘Urwah (rahimahullah) addressed Allah Ta‘ala and thanked Him saying, “O Allah! I had seven sons. You took only one and left me with six! O Allah! I had four limbs. You took only one and left me with three! I take an oath in Your name! If You take something away from a person, You also leave with him (that which will suffice him), and if You test a person, You also grant him comfort.”  

Furthermore, some narrations have mentioned that ‘Urwah (rahimahullah), despite undergoing the amputation, did not leave out his recitation of one quarter of the Quraan Majeed in tahajjud salaah that night! However, other narrations have mentioned that on account of the pain, this was the first night in which he ever left out his recitation of the Quraan Majeed. Nevertheless, he ensured that he compensated for missing it by reciting that portion the following night.

(Reference: Tahzeebul Kamaal vol. 20 pg. 19-21 and Taareekhul Islam pg. 427)

Lessons:

1. Every test, in reality, is a means of progressing closer to Allah Ta‘ala. However, in order to progress and gain the special proximity of Allah Ta‘ala, we have to first pass the test. To pass the test, we have to ensure that we have no complaint – neither in our hearts nor on our tongues – against the decision of Allah Ta‘ala, and that we are completely happy with His divine decree. This can be easily achieved by constantly reflecting over the countless favours with which Allah Ta‘ala has blessed us. If Allah Ta‘ala tests us by taking one favour away, He has still left us with innumerable other favours which we continue to enjoy.

2. A sign of a person’s commitment to Allah Ta‘ala and deen is that he is punctual and consistent in fulfilling his ma’moolaat (daily ‘ibaadah practices). Missing the ma’moolaat on any particular day should make him feel as restless as if he had missed a meal. If the ma’moolaat are missed for some reason, one should ensure that he makes up for it the following day. 

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