Imagine yourself in this position. Your beloved husband with whom you have grown in Islam, who has supported you through the difficulties of life, who has helped you raise your dear children and who has provided for you by Allah's permission passes away. How would you react? Would you be overcome with despair and grief? Would you fret over who will provide for you and your children? This is what happened to Umm Salamah, one of the great companions of the Prophet (saws) when her husband passed away. How did she react to this trial that befell her? We shall learn later.
Allah has promised each and every one of us that we will face difficulties and hardship in life, whether it be with the loss of a loved one, poverty or fear of something: "And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sâbirin (the patient ones, etc.)" Suarh Baqarah 2:155] [. The real test for us is how we deal with these trials. As Allah said in the above verse, glad tidings are for the ones that are patient with the trials that he tests us with.
Patience is a means to Allah and His love, His help, His victory, His fortification, His reward, and His company. Patience is a Command from Allah. Allah said:"And seek help in patience and As-Salah and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for humbly submissive [to Allah ]" [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:45]. Patience is the way to gaining the love of Allah. Allah said:"And Allah loves As-Sabirun (the patient ones)" [Surah Aal Imran 3:146] And the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said: "How wonderful is the case of the believer; there is good in everything and this is not the case with anyone except a believer. If good attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him he endures it patiently and that is better for him" [ Narrated by Abu Yahya Suhaib ibn Sinan and recorded in Sahih Muslim]
How should one be patient? Patience takes on importance for the Muslim at the first moment of a trial. The Prophet said: "The real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity" [Narrated by Anas and recorded in Sahih Al Bukhari vol 2 # 389]
This is the time of the true test, when the initial reaction is either patience or impatience, and this is the time when patience is needed most. Allah said in the Qur'an: "No calamity occurs, but by the permission of Allah, and whosover believes in Allah, He guides his heart. And Allah is the All-Knower of everything" [Surat at-Taghabun 64:11]
Ibn Kathir said about this Verse: Whoever suffered an affliction and he knew that it occurred by Allah's Judgement and Decree, and he patiently abides, awaiting Allah's reward, then Allah guides his heart, and will compensate him for his loss in this life by granting guidance to his heart and certainty in faith. Allah will replace whatever he lost for Him with the same or what is better. Ali ibn Abi Talhah reported from Ibn Abbas: '… and whosever believes in Allah, He guides his heart.' Allah will guide his heart to certainty. Therefore, he will know that what reached him would not have missed him and what missed him would not have reached him" [Al Mubarakpuri, Sheikh Saifur-Rahman, tafsir ibn Kathir (Abridges) vol 10 (Riyadh, Darussalam, 2000), pp 24-25]
So the one who is patient does not wail, complain or feel despair about their loss but rather they know that they are the slave of Allah, that He knows what is best for his creation and if they are patient they will eventually be recompensed for their trial. Indeed we see this in the example of Umm Salamah dealing with the loss of her husband. She patiently bore his loss and she remembered the supplication that the Prophet (saws) taught us: "Inna-lillahi wa'inna ilayhi raji'un. Allahumma a-juri fi museebati wa akhluf ni khairan minha -To Allah we belong, and to Him is our Return. O Allah! Take me out of my plight and replace it with something which is better" [Muslim; 2:632]
She was initially reluctant to bring herself to say "and replace it with something which is better" because she thought to herself, "What could be better than Abu Salamah?" Allah soon answered her supplication by marrying her to the Prophet (p.b.u.h), the best of creation and made her from one of the Mothers of the Believers
Sometimes when we're experiencing hardships in our lives we fail to see Allah's wisdom and mercy in the hardships. We become consumed with the hardship itself. However difficult the hardships may be, Allah always helps the believers and intends good for them. Indeed, Allah has His plans.
Allah, The Most Wise says, "For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease." [Surah ash-Sharh 94: 5-6]