MENDING THE BROKEN HEART - Reflecting on Allah's Name Al-Jabbar

Sunday, May 29, 2011
By Jinan Bastaki

In our journey to gain tranquility of the heart, we explored what we need to know when faced with difficult situations.
We need to understand that God has told us we will be tested, that these tests are for a reason, and that there will be relief.
When we are worried thinking about the future, we need to work hard but have full trust in God that He will not leave us, and we must always think well of God because that is what we will find.
Yet in certain circumstances we just feel broken. Perhaps it is the death of someone close, perhaps a hurtful word, or perhaps a reason we cannot pinpoint. Yet this feeling of brokenness can be an invitation to be better acquainted with Al-Jabbar.
But isn’t Al-Jabbar one of God’s Names that indicates Majesty and Strength, not Mercy and Beauty?
The root of Al-Jabbar is “ja-ba-ra” and has a wide variety of meanings indicating God’s strength and majesty. One of the basic meanings of this name is the one who compels and restores, and demonstrates God’s majesty and strength over His servants. This is a name for the tyrants and oppressors to be aware of, because their misdeeds will not go unpunished.
Yet God’s name has another dimension: Al-Jabbar is the one who is able to restore and mend what is broken. Some of the great scholars would supplicate “Ya Jaabir kul kaseer” when they were faced with overwhelming difficulty, meaning “Oh You who mends everything that is broken.” The Arabic word for a splint that is used to help an arm heal when it is broken is “jibeera” from the same root “ja-ba-ra”. Thus, when we feel broken, we need to go to the only one who can mend our state–“Al-Jabbar”. Sometimes when we get this broken feeling, Satan tells us not to turn to God because we are being hypocritical by only going to God when we are down. Yet this is untrue– God has named Himself Al-Jabbar and given Himself this attribute; you cannot go to the one whose attribute is mending what is broken, and not be healed by Him.

Prophet Muhammad's Journey to Al-Ta'if
The example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a beautiful one. Imagine being 50 years old, having just lost both your wife of twenty-five years and your uncle who took care of you as a child. Imagine walking into a town in order to ask people for their protection, and instead have them throw stones at you until your feet bleed. How would you have felt? How exhausted, both spiritually and physically, would you have been? And yet, the Prophet calls out to God in one of the most beautiful and heartfelt du`a’ (supplication):
“O Allah! To you alone I complain my weakness, my scarcity of resources, and the humiliation I have been subjected to by people. O Most Merciful of those who have mercy! You are the Lord of the weak, and You are My Lord too.
To whom have you entrusted me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affair?
But as long as You are not angry with me, I do no care, except that Your favor is a more expansive relief to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or Your displeasure descend upon me.
Yours is the right to reproach until You are pleased. There is no power and no might except by You.”
God healed the broken heart of the Prophet  in another way...
Read these words carefully. The du`a’ of the Prophet was not “O Allah, please give me x and y.” It was literally the call of someone broken– complaining to God of his situation and expressing to God how he felt.

What did God give him?
A young boy by the name of Addaas saw the Prophet, came to him with some grapes and kissed his bleeding feet. That is Al-Jabbar. Imagine how the Prophet must have felt after that, the relief he must have felt after the cruelty he was subjected to. And God healed the broken heart of the Prophet in another way – He bestowed upon him the miraculous Night Journey (when the Prophet traveled from Makkah to Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem to the Heavens in one night).
If we think about the journey, it did not accomplish a great victory nor did it help to convince the Quraysh that he was a Prophet. Rather, God honored him after all the hardship he had gone through. Think of the resolve the Prophet must have had in his heart and the tranquility he must have felt after such an experience.
Therefore, we have to always remind ourselves of this blessed name Al-Jabbar; God will mend your broken heart. It may be through a kind word from someone that brightens your day or it may be a talk that you attend. It may even be something greater. But call on God like the Prophet did, recognizing this attribute, and know that He will manifest this name in your life.

Tests for the Believers: Fluctuations of Life

Saturday, May 28, 2011
By Salim Al-Hilali
A Scholar of Hadith

A person’s life in this world is not stable. One passes through alternating periods of happiness and dismay, strength and weakness, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, etc. A true believer is one who maintains a clear level of faith throughout the worldly fluctuations. He continues to remember Allah and ascribe the bounties to Him, and he turns to Him in submission, asking for relief from his affliction. This is described by the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), who said:
“Indeed amazing are the affairs of a believer! They are all for his benefit. If he is granted ease of living he is thankful; and this is best for him. And if he is afflicted with a hardship, he perseveres; and this is best or him.” (Muslim)
And Allah said:
(Certainly, We shall test you with fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits; but give glad tidings to the patient—those who, when afflicted with calamity say, “Truly to Allah we belong, and truly to Him shall we return.” It is those who will be awarded blessings and mercy from their Lord; and it is those who are the guided ones.) (Al-Baqarah 2:155–157)
Thus, a believer shows gratitude and thankfulness for all the wonderful blessings that Allah grants him. And he displays patience and submission during sickness and hardships, hunger, or other afflictions.

Hardships Benefit the Believer
Allah has decreed that, in this life, hardships and disasters strike both believers and non-believers. For a non-believer, they are inconveniences that hinder him from proceeding with his normal involvement in the worldly life. For a believer, on the other hand, they are instances of rest and remembrance, tests that promise great rewards, and indications of atonement and expiation of sins. Regardless of how little is the harm that strikes a believer, it carries with it good news of forgiveness and elevated rank in Paradise. The Righteous Predecessors used to be pleased when a hardship afflicted them, seeing it as a token of Allah’s forgiveness and benevolence.

Expiations of Sins
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet said,”Hardships continue to befall a believing man and woman in their body, family, and property, until they meet Allah burdened with no sins” (At-Tirmidhi).

Sign of Allah’s Love
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whenever Allah wills good for a person, He subjects him to adversity” (Al-Bukhari and others).

Sign of Faith
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) and Ka`b ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“The parable of a believer is that of a fresh and moist plant; the wind tilts it this way and that way; and so is the believer; he continues to be subject to affliction. And the parable of a hypocrite is that of a firm cedar tree; it does not shake—until it is uprooted all at once.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Sign of Righteousness
The prophets and righteous people are afflicted the most, and their rewards are the highest. Sa`d (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“The most in their suffering among the people are the prophets, then the best, then the (next) best. One is afflicted in accordance with his faith. If his faith is firm, his affliction is hard, and if his faith is weak, his affliction is light. Indeed, one would be so much subjected to adversity until he walks among the people without any sins.” (Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi)

Early Punishment
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“When Allah wills good for a servant of His, He expedites his punishment in this life; and when He wills retribution for a servant of His, He holds his sins for Him to judge him by them on the Day of Resurrection.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Multiplication of Rewards
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“The amount of reward is in accordance with the amount of suffering. When Allah loves some people, He tries them (with affliction). He who then is content (with Allah’s decree) has achieved the acceptance (of Allah), and he who is dissatisfied (with Allah’s decree) will attain the anger (of Allah).” (At-Tirmidhi)

Rewards for Sickness
One should not look to sickness as a gloomy episode, but should remember the great good in it. It is one form of affliction with which Allah tests His servants, giving them a chance to acquire rewards, as was explained above, as is further emphasized below.

Removal of Sins and Elevation in Ranks
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whenever a Muslim is afflicted by harm from sickness or other matters, Allah will drop his sins because of that, like a tree drops its leaves” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “A Muslim is not afflicted by hardship, sickness, sadness, worry, harm, or depression—even if pricked by a thorn—but Allah expiates his sins because of that” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Sa`id said, “I was with Salman (may Allah be pleased with him) when he visited a sick man in Kindah (in Persia), and he said to him, “Expect good because Allah makes a believer’s sickness an expiation (for his sins) and a period of rest. However, when a disbeliever falls sick, he is like a camel whose owner ties it then lets it loose—it does not understand why it was tied nor why it was freed.” (Al-Bukhari)
`A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that once some pain afflicted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) causing him to suffer and turn about in his bed. She said, “Had one of us done this, you would have blamed him.” He (peace and blessings be upon him) replied:
“An ailment is intensified for the righteous. Whenever a believer is afflicted by a hardship, whether it is a thorn or more, a sin is taken off from him because of it, and he is elevated by one rank (in Paradise).” (Ahmad)

Retaining Rewards for Deeds Before Sickness
Usually, when a believer falls sick, he would not be able to do the same amount of good (prayer, fasting, helping Muslims, etc.) that he used to do when he was well. But Allah, out of His great mercy, continues to record for him the good deeds that he was forced to stop because of his sickness. Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “For a traveling or sick person, his deeds will be recorded in accordance with what he used to do when he was resident or well.” (Al-Bukhari)
`Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that the Prophet said, “No (believing) person gets sick, but (his deeds) will be recorded for him in accordance with what he used to do when he was well.” (Al-Bukhari)
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“No Muslim body is afflicted by Allah, but He will record (his deeds) for him in accordance with what he used to do when he was well—as long as he is sick. Thus, if He takes his life, He forgives him; and if He cures him, He washes him (from sins).” (Al-Bukhari)

Reason for the Reward
`Atta ibn Rabaah reported that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) told him, “Do you want to see a woman from the people of Paradise?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “It is this black woman. She came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, ‘I have (epileptic) seizures, and I get exposed, so supplicate to Allah for me.’ He (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘If you wish, be patient and you will attain Paradise; or if you wish, I will ask Allah to cure you.’ She replied, ‘I will be patient! But my body gets exposed (because of the fall), so supplicate to Allah for me that I do not become exposed.’ And he (peace and blessings be upon him) did.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The scholars have differed in opinion as to whether a sick person will be rewarded for the sickness itself or for being patient during it. The correct opinion is that if he is patient and submits to Allah’s will, as in the above hadith, he would be rewarded for both the submission and the sickness; otherwise, he would not be rewarded at all because he resented Allah’s decree. This is what should be understood from Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani’s words: “The authentic hadiths are clear in that the rewards are recorded once affliction strikes a Muslim. As for patience and acceptance, they are virtues for which a person may get additional rewards over those for the affliction.”
`Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,“If a Muslim is pricked by (as little as) a thorn in the worldly life, and he seeks its reward from Allah, some of his sins will be removed, because of it, on the Day of Judgment.” (Al-Bukhari)