“Patience is at the first stroke”

In the name of Allah, all praise is due to He, The One. I send peace and blessings upon his final messenger (Al-Mustafa), and upon his family, companions, and those that followed him in righteousness until The Day of Resurrection (Youm Al-Qiyaamah). To proceed:

Anas (radiAllahu ‘anhu — may Allah be please with him) reported: The Prophet ﷺ passed by a woman who was crying over a grave and said, “Fear Allah and be patient.” She said, “Away from me! My calamity has not befallen you and you are not aware of it.” The woman was later told that it was the Prophet ﷺ [who had advised her]. She came to his door where she found no doorkeeper. She said, “[I am sorry] I did not know you.” Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Patience is at the first stroke”. [Bukhari and Muslim]

The author [of Riyadh As-Saliheen — Imam An-Nowawi] (rahimahullah — may Allah be pleased with him) said in what is attributed to Anas bin Malik (radiAllahu ‘anhu) that The Prophet ﷺ passed by a woman at the grave of her young son that had passed; she used to love him greatly. She couldn’t restrain herself from going to his grave and cry, so when The Prophet ﷺ saw her he ordered her to fear Allah and be patient.

He said to her, “Fear Allah and be patient.” She said, “Away from me! My calamity has not befallen you and you are not aware of it.” Away from me (i.e., get away from me), for surely nothing has befallen you like my calamity. This proves that the calamity had reached a great height, so The Prophet ﷺ left her.

Then it was said to her, that this is The Messenger of Allah ﷺ she felt bad and went to him. At his door, she found that he didn’t have a doorkeeper, i.e., he didn’t have anyone to prohibit anyone from entering upon him. So, she informed him of that and told him, “I didn’t know you.” The Prophet ﷺ replied, “Patience is at the first stroke.”

The patience that a person is rewarded for is being patient at the first stoke, when the first calamity befalls you. As for patience after that, it could cause you to forget about it just as it does for wild animals. Therefore true patience is, if stricken with something, at the first strike he is patient and restrains. In addition, it is good to says, “From Allah we come and to him we shall return. Oh Allah reward me in my calamity and replace it with that which is better than it.”

In this Hadith there are numerous benefits: 

1.) The good character of The Prophet ﷺ and his call to the truth and goodness. For, when he saw this woman crying at the grave he commanded her to fear Allah and be patient. And when she said, “Away from me,” he didn’t seek revenge for himself, didn’t hit her, nor did he strongly reprimand her. Because, he knew she was like this due to sadness and she was not able to control herself; for this reason she left her house — in order to cry at this grave.

If someone were to say, “Isn’t visiting the graves impermissible for woman?” I would reply: It is impermissible for women. Rather, it is from the major sins! Because The Prophet ﷺ said, “The curse of Allah is upon the women who visit the graves and those who take them as a place of worship and resting place.” But this woman didn’t go for visitation; rather, she went to because she was in agony due to her child not being there and a deep sadness that she couldn’t control herself not going. For this reason, The Prophet ﷺ gave her an excuse and did not strongly reprimand her nor obligate her to return to her home. [1]

2.) People are excused by ignorance, whether it be a legislative excuse or a situational excuse. So this woman said to The Prophet ﷺ, “Away from me”, (i.e., get away from me) even though he ordered her with good and Taqwa [fear of Allah]. But, she didn’t know The Messenger of Allah and this is why He ﷺ excused her.

3.) It is not necessary for the one who is responsible for the needs of the Muslims to have a doorkeeper, prohibiting the people if they are in need of him. Except, if this person is scared of an abundance people, their burdens, and they will busy themselves with something that it is possible for them to fulfill at a different time; then this is no problem.

Furthermore, seeking permission [to enter] was not made [or legislated] except because of looking [in] and so one can control his house; what enters and what doesn’t.

4.) Patience is the thing that makes its doer noble. It is the patience that is at the first stoke; the person is patient and restrains. He knows that it is for Allah what is taken and what is given, and everything has its determined time.

5.) Crying at a grave negates patience, and this is why The Prophet ﷺ said to her, “Fear Allah and be patient.”

There are people that are tried, so if someone dies he will be at the grave pacing and crying; this negates patience. Rather, we say: If you wanted to benefit the deceased then call upon Allah when you are in your home. There is no need to pace at the grave because it causes a person to leave the deceased always in his mind and never leave, and this is when he won’t ever forget the calamity. Rather, it is better for the person to become distracted and forget the calamity as much as he is possible. And Allah is the provider of success.

Taken From: Shaykh Muhammad Salih Al-Uthaymeens explanation of Riyad Al-Saliheen — Chapter 3

[1] TN: This is a Fiqh (jurisprudence) issue that is differed upon.

And all praise due to Allah the lord of the worlds, and the peace and blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and his companions.


Translated by:

Abdul-Malik Merchant

Umm al-Qura University

Makkah Al-Mukarramah, KSA

Rabi’ Al-Awal 3, 1432 — February 6, 2011


About Abdul-Malik Merchant
Muslim. Husband. Father. Associate Imam @ISBCC. UQU grad. Boston resident. DC native. Biker. Goofy. Straight up.

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