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Chapter 2: Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow): Verses 153-160


O believers! Seek (God’s) assistance with patience and constant devotion and (know that) God is with those who are patient. Do not consider those who die in God’s service as dead. No, they are alive, but you cannot perceive. God will try (each of ) you with the likes of fear, hunger, and loss of property, lives, and harvest. But good news is for the patient ones who, in the face of adversity, respond by saying, “We belong to God, and to Him we will return.” On these people God showers His blessings and mercy. They are on the right path.

The Safa and Marwah (the two mountains in the compound of the Ka’bah) are among the symbols of God, and for whoever makes the pilgrimage (Hajj) or pays a visit (Umrah) to the House of God, there is no blame if he goes back and forth between the two. (For) whoever performs good (things) beyond what is required, then God is ever Responsive to gratitude, and He is All-Knowing.

Those who suppress and hide the truth and guidance that We (God) have revealed and explained to mankind using the divine revelations, they will be rejected by God and by those who are capable of sound judgment. But those who repent, correct themselves, and accept the truth, to them I (God) will turn in forgiveness, since I am the Acceptor of Repentance and I am the God of Mercy.


For many of us during times of crisis and difficulty, we have neither the patience nor the inclination to turn to God for guidance and assistance. This lack of patience is the leading cause of many of our vices. Similarly, lacking God consciousness also leads to moral degradation, hurting of the innocent, and mindless anarchy. Various health studies have also shown the healing power of prayer and patient attitude in times of little and great adversity, both of which early Muslims faced and today’s Muslims continue to face.

Trial is an essential part of mankind’s growth on this earth and is God’s way to achieve clarity about our commitment to better ourselves as people. God has given us knowledge, a conscience, and freedom of choice, the three most precious gifts that make us human and also require that we be tested so that we as well as God can know if we are truly grateful for his blessings and whether these gifts are put to the right use, i.e., for the benefit of society. The current trials and difficulties faced by Muslims and Muslim communities and countries are very pervasive and are the result of internal conflict, disunity, and external aggression. It is time for Muslims to educate themselves on how to serve God and their fellow men in their own countries and around the world.


These verses begin with advice from God calling for patience and constancy in worship while reminding us that we will be tried in many different ways so that God knows who is the best in conduct and truest in belief. A trial itself should not cause us to despair but to see it as a challenge and opportunity for us to prove our faith in God and our resolve to overcome such trials.


Trials come in different forms, and we should preserve our mental stability and moral balance so that thoughtfulness, godliness, compassion, and moral clarity continue to define our behaviors rather than misguided acts such as suicide bombings, revenge on the innocent, and mass hype based on falsehood. As God says in the Qur’an, “ . . . And let not the hatred of a people—because they barred you from reaching the Sacred Mosque—incite you to acts of transgression. And help one another in righteous deeds and responsible acts . . . ” (5:2). This is a good reminder for Muslims and people of all faiths and reasons in these turbulent times. It is really important to understand the true meanings of patience and devotion, and Muslim communities and countries all over the globe need to understand and practice them at the individual, familial, communal, national, and global levels.