Relief Accompanies Distress

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said

“and that relief comes with distress”

This is proven by the sayings of Allah, Most High,

“It is He who sends down abundant rain, after they have lost all hope, and unfolds His mercy. He is the Protector, the Praiseworthy.” (al-Shura 42:28)

“It is Allah who send the winds which stir up clouds which He spreads about the sky however He wills. He forms them into dark clumps and you see the rain come pouring out from the middle of them. When He makes it fall on those of His servants he wills, they rejoice, even though before He sent it down on them they were in despair.” (al-Rum 30:48-49)


While the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was standing, delivering the Friday sermon, a man came to him complaining of drought and the straitened circumstances everyone was in. The Prophet raised his hands and supplicated for rain whereupon rain clouds gathered and it rained continuously till the following Friday when they asked him to supplicate for the rain to stop. He did so and the skies cleared. (Bukhari)

In His Book, Allah has narrated numerous stories that deal with relief coming after distress and hardship. He told us of His rescuing Nuh and those with him on the ark from the “terrible plight” (al-Anbiya 21:76) wherein the earth’s population were all drowned. He informed us of His saving Ibrahim, may Allah’s peace be upon him, from the fire kindled by polytheists and how He made it “coolness and peace” (al-Anbiya 21:69) for him. He also narrated to us how He ordered Ibrahim to slaughter his son and, at the last moment, how He ransomed him with a “mighty sacrifice.” (al-Saffat 37:107) He told us of the story of Musa and how his mother placed him in the river and his subsequently being found by Pharaoh’s family. He informed us of the story of Musa and Pharaoh: how He saved Musa and drowned his enemy. He narrated the story of Ayyub, Yunus, Yaqub, Yusuf and the story of Yunus’s people when they believed. He also told us about numerous incidents in the life of Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, where He came to his aid and saved him such as when he was in the cave, at the Battle of Badr, the Battle of Uhud and the Battle of Hunayn.

He told us the story of Aishah when she was falsely accused and how He absolved her of that accusation. (Recorded in Bukhari) He narrated to us the story of the three

“who were left behind, so that when the earth became narrow for them, for all its great breadth, and their own selves became constricted for them and they realised that there was no refuge from Allah except in Him, He turned to them so that they might turn to Him.” (al-Tawbah 9:118)

The Sunnah mentions many such incidents such as the story of the three who were trapped in the cave by a falling boulder and they supplicated to Allah, making mention of their righteous deeds, and he relieved them. (Bukhari) And such as they story of Ibrahim and Sarah with the Tyrant who coveted for for his own ends and how Allah defeated the evil plot. (Bukhari)

One of the scholars – I think he was from Morocco – mentioned in a book of his that he heard Abu Dharr al-Harawi, the Hafiz, narrate that, while he was in Baghdad reading to Abu Hafs ibn Shahin in a perfume sellers shop, he saw a man coming to the perfume seller and giving him ten dirhams in return for whatever he needed, he placed the items in a bowl and put the bowl on his head. He slipped and his bowl fell, breaking all the items and he began crying profusely saying, ‘In a caravan I lost a camel carrying four hundred – or he said four thousand – dinars and with them stones for rings which were worth even more. However I do not despair at their loss but I have just had a son born to me and we need the items that a woman needs after having given birth and all I had were these ten dirhams! Then, when what was decreed just happened, I fell into despair. I have nothing to give them tonight and no work tomorrow that I may bring something home, the only thing I can think of is to run away and let them die in peace.’ Abu Dharr said, ‘An elder from al-Jund, sitting at the threshold of his house, heard the story and he sought Abu Hafs’s permission to enter his house along with his colleagues while the afflicted person was yet with him. He granted them permission and the elder asked the man to repeat his story and asked him who was in the caravan he spoke of and where he lost the camel. He told him and was asked, “If you saw it, would you recognise it?’ He replied, ‘Yes.’ The man brought out the camel and when he saw it he said, ‘That’s it,’ and he described the stones it carried. When its baggage was opened, they saw those stones in it, so the elder returned it to him and he became wealthy gain. When the man left, the Jundi man wept and when asked why, he said, ‘The only wish I had left in this world was that Allah bring the owner of this wealth to me to retrieve it. Now that Allah had fulfilled that wish by His grace, I have no further wish left to meet and so I know the time of death is near.’ Abu Dharr said, ‘He passed away less than a month later and we prayed over him, may Allah have mercy on him.’

Thesame author narrated from someone in Mawsul that there was a trader there who would travel to different lands to ply his trade. One time he traveled to Kufah with all of his trade goods and everything he owned. During his journey he met a person who served him well, they became fast friends and he came to trust him completely. Then, while they had stopped at a rest station, he took advantage of him and stole all his property and provisions, leaving him with nothing. He searched and searched but was unable to find out where the servant had gone so, on foot and starving, he returned to his land. He entered his city by night and knocked on his door. When his family learned it was him they rejoiced and praised Allah for his return saying, ‘Your wife has just given birth to a son and we have no money to buy the things a women needs post-delivery. Tonight, we are very hungry so buy some flour and oil for the lamps.’ When he heard this, his misery and distress increased. Unwilling to tell them what had happened, he left to a nearby shop and extended the salam to the shopkeeper and gathered oil and everything else he needed. Then, while talking to him, he saw his saddlebag lying unguarded on the ground in the shop and asked how it got there. The shopkeeper said, ‘A man bought food from me and asked me to host it for him. I put his saddlebag in my shop and tied his beast in my neighbours house. The man is sleeping in the Masjid.’ Taking the saddlebag with him, he went to the Masjid to find the man sleeping. He kicked him and he woke up alarmed. ‘Thief! Betrayer! Where is my wealth?’ he cried. He replied, ‘It is in the bag around your neck,’ when he looked he found that nothing was missing at all. He then retrieved his beast, spent lavishly on his family and them told them all that had happened.

Ibn Abi al-Dunya, al-Faraj ba’d al-Shiddah, records with his isnad toWaddah ibn Khaythama  who said, Umar ibn Abdul Aziz, may Allah have mercy on him, ordered me to release all the prisoners in a prison, so I released them all save Yazid ibn Abi Muslim who vowed to have my blood in revenge. I was in Africa when I was told that Yazid ibn Abu Muslim, recently appointed Amir of the African provinces, had arrived. I fled. He sent people after me who caught me and took me to him. He said, ‘By Allah, I have been asking Him repeatedly to allow me to find a way to you!’ He said, ‘By Allah, I have been asking Him repeatedly to save me from your evil!’ He said, ‘By Allah, He has not granted you safety and I will kill you! Were the Angel of Death itself to race me in taking away your soul, I would beat it! Bring a sword and the executioners mat!’ I was made to kneel on it and shackled, the executioner stood over me, sword ready. Then the call to prayer was given and he went to pray, when he went into prostration, an army attacked him, killing him. A man came and cut me free and told me to go on my way.’

He also records, with his isnad to Umar al-Saraya who was, one time, fighting in the Roman provinces by himself. Once, while sleeping, one of them came to him and prodded him with his foot awaking him. ‘O Arab,’ he said, ‘You have a choice: I can kill you with a spear, a sword or we can wrestle!’ He said, ‘Then, let us wrestle.’ He beat me and, sitting on my chest, asked, ‘How should I kill you?’ I cried out, ‘I bear witness that everything that is worshipped beneath your Throne is false save Your noble face. You see my circumstances so save me!’ I then feel in a swoon and when I came to, I found the Roman lying dead beside me.

Abu-Hasan ibn al-Jahdam records with his isnad to Hatim al-Asamm who said, ‘We encountered the Turks and had a jousting match. A Turk threw me off my horse and then dismounted and sat on my chest. Grabbing my beard, he took a knife out of his sock and moved to slaughter me. My heart however, was not with him or his knife, it was with my Master. I thought, ‘My Master, if You have decreed my slaughter here, I fully submit to Your ordinance. I belong to You.’ While in that situation, one of the Muslims shot him with an arrow and he fell off me, I stood up, and taking his knife from his hand, slaughtered him with it.’

Let your hearts reside with your Master and you will see such wonders of His providence unfurl that were never seen by your predecessors!

The Legacy of the Prophet Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali p 140-149