Quranic Reflections #1:
“We will definitely test you with some kind of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth, lives and fruits so give glad tidings to those who have Sabr,” (Surah Baqarah 2:155)
We’ll begin this weekly series by looking at one of my favorite verses in the Qur’an, a verse that comes to my mind every time something goes wrong in my life.
I want to focus on one grammatical point that is lost in translation. The Arabic verb for test in this verse begins with the Laam of emphasis and ends with the Noon of emphasis, so the verb has a double emphasis, which isn’t noticeable in any English translation and English doesn’t have a way of conveying double emphasis like this.
This double emphasis creates in our minds certainty that at different points in our lives, we will face these tests and as a result we must prepare ourselves psychologically to deal with them. This gives us an edge when a test comes our way, as it isn’t something that suddenly happens to us, its something we were expecting and prepared to deal with.
The verse then balances this warning about tests with good news, as is the constant pattern of the Qur’an. The good news is that if we prepare for the tests of life and face them with Sabr, then that can be a means of forgiveness for our sins and entry into Paradise.
Another point to note is the usage of the word Sabr. Again lost in translation as patience, Sabr is more than that. It refers to patience but also firmness, consistency, resilience, endurance and self-control. All of which are necessary qualities for passing the tests of life.
About the author:
Head Tutorial Assistant of IOU, Author for Muslim Matters and IIPH.Born on 1 September 1986 in Durban, South Africa, Abu Muawiyah began his study of Islam at the age of thirteen. After seven years in a Deobandi Darul Uloom, Abu Muawiyah graduated at the age of twenty and continued his study of Islam under scholars from a variety of groups and math’habs.In 2007, Abu Muawiyah joined the Islamic Online University as one of its first students. In 2008, Abu Muawiyah has served as a Da’ee for IIFRI, and as an Islamic Studies, Arabic and Economics teacher at Ihsaan Boys College in 2008. In 2009, he taught Social Studies, English and Economics with an Islamized curriculum at the Al-Fajr International School in Chennai, India.In 2010, he became one of the first Tutorial Assistants of the Islamic Online University’s BAIS program. He is currently the TA for Fiqh, Arabic and Tafseer at IOU, as well as the Head Tutorial Assistant of IOU’s BAIS and Higher Diploma Programs.Abu Muawiyah is the author of “Having Fun the Halal Way: Entertainment in Islam” and hosted two weekly Radio Programs on Radio Al-Ansaar “The Divine Connection: Understanding the Quran” and “Dawah Dynamics” from 2012 until 2013.Abu Muawiyah has lectured at various workshops, conferences and youth camps around South Africa and other countries, and is currently in his final year of his BA studies.Abu Muawiyah is married and has four children, and currently resides in Durban, South Africa.