Sabr and the Meaning Of “Inna Lillaahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raaji’uun”

We say this statement when someone dies. Also some of us may say this sentence when we lose something, suffer a setback or harm. But, do you know what it means? Sure, everyone knows that it obviously translates to ‘To Allah we belong and to Him is our return.’ But, do you REALLY, TRULY understand these words and their implications in a Muslim’s life? It means …Whatever we have is not really ours. It belongs to Allah.

Take a look around you; everything you see, all that you have and all that there is….in you, on you, around you…. belongs to Allah, alone. It is Allah Who has given you all the property and goods you possess, and that He is the true Owner of them all. So the cars that you own, the houses that you live in, the businesses you possess all truly belong to Allah. The kids that He blessed you with, the health that He gave you, the time that He has allowed you are all Allah’s property. Even the bodies we live in and the life that we have, belongs to Allah alone.

Allah says;

“And to Allah belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth” (Surah Aal-Imraan:180)

“The kingdom of the heavens and the earth and everything in them belongs to Allah. He has power over all things.” (Surat al-Ma’ ida: 120).

Now, since everything belongs to Allah, then we have to include even our souls in that list. The very souls that we think of as our “self”, our “nafs”, our “being” — whatever you want to call it — that very thing that distinguishes you from the rest of the world, belongs to Allah. It’s not YOURS. In fact, YOU are not YOURS. You belong to Allah. And, this is the essence of the concept of slavery to Allah in Islam. He is the true Possessor of everything, and everything is His property, He gives what He wills to whomever He wills…And then He takes it away. After all, it was Allah’s to begin with. So, He may give you something and then take it back after a while.

He will bless you with a precious child that you love dearly…and then He may take it away.

He will grant you money, honour and status….and then He may take it away.

He will give you youth, vitality and health and then surely He will take it away.

In fact, everything you have will only be with you for a very short while.

And, then The Owner will claim His Right.

So, when Allah does reclaim what was rightfully His, WHY MOURN OUR LOSSES?

Just like a friend who lends you his book. And, then after a few days, he wants it back and you give it back to him…no regrets….no sorrow…. no questions asked. Similarly, if Allah takes back some of His blessings upon you for some reason….so be it. Say Alhamdulillaah. Don’t grieve too long (follow the Sunnah and ascribed days for grieving). Be patient. Submit to the will of Allah, being pleased with His decision for you. For surely He will only do what is best for you. Just think…. The Owner came and took it back. Remember…. man enters into this world empty handed…and leaves it empty handed. Anything you have is a trust from Allah…a loan to you…to see how you respond to these gifts from Allah and how you use them….in the obedience of the Almighty, thanking Him and worshipping Him……OR………to the disobedience to the One Who gave them to you in the first place.

‘Our eyes are filled with tears, our hearts with grief, but we say nothing with our lips except that which pleases Allah….Verily, to Allah we belong, and to Him we return.’ (Bukhaari)

And, we all know the famous incident about Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam’s companion, Abu Talha (Radiallahu Anhu) and His wife, when one of their sons died and Abu Talha (Radiallahu Anhu) was not at home. She washed and shrouded him and when Abu Talha came home and asked about his son, she said, ‘The child is quiet and I hope he is in peace….’ (Bukhaari).

Subhaan Allah…. such patience! And such Iman in the statement “Inna lillaahi wa inna ilayhi Raaji’oon”! She truly understood its meaning and the effect it has on her life as a Muslimah, submitting to Him and being pleased with whatever He has decreed for her. She knew that whatever she has, is not truly hers. Rather, it is Allah’s….and He took back whatever He owns at its appointed time. And, it is because their Iman was so strong and their understanding that the Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam made dua for them and that Allah blessed them immensely.

“‘They (i.e. Abu Talha and his Wife) had nine sons and all of them became reciters of the Qur’an (by heart).” (Bukhaari). Allahu Akbar! That’s the reward of their patience over loss of one child.

“Be sure we will test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives, but give glad tidings to those who are steadfast, who say when afflicted with calamity: ‘To Allah we belong and to Him is our return.’ They are those upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy and it is those who are (rightly) guided.” (al-Baqarah: 155 -157)