Shaikh Muhyi’din ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani
The Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him, and grant him contentment) said:
How great is your resentment against your Lord, your suspicion of Him (Almighty and Glorious is He) and your resistance to Him. How often you attribute injustice to Him (Almighty and Glorious is He), and charge Him with delay in providing sustenance and sufficiency and in removing troubles and tribulation. Do you not know that every term has a prescribed duration, and that for every increase in trouble and woe there is an end, a termination and a conclusion, which can neither be brought forward nor deferred? [Until they have run their prescribed course, therefore] times of trials do not change and turn into conditions of well-being, the time of misfortune does not change into prosperity, and the state of poverty is not converted into affluence.
Be well-behaved, practice patience, contentment and harmony with your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and repent for your resentment against Him and your suspicion of Him where His action is concerned. In the Lord’s presence there is no room for demanding payment in full and exacting retaliation where there is no offence, nor for recourse to natural instinct, as is usual in mutual relations between His servants. He (Almighty and Glorious is He) is absolutely alone from all eternity, existing before all things. He created them, and He created their benefits and disadvantages. He knows their beginning, their end and their fulfillment. He (Almighty and Glorious is He) is wise in His working and sure in His craftsmanship. There is no inconsistency in what He does. He does nothing uselessly and creates nothing as a futile game. There can be no question of criticizing or reproaching Him for His deeds.
You should therefore wait for relief, if you are too weak to comply with Him and to submit to His action gladly, until the prescript of destiny expires. Then the situation will yield to its opposite with the passage of time and the consummation of the course of events, as winter runs its course and yields to summer, and as night comes to an end and yields to day. If you ask for the light of day between the first two watches of the night, it will not be given to you. Indeed, the night will get even darker, until the darkness reaches its climax, then dawn breaks and the day comes with its light, whether you ask for this and want it, or say nothing about it and even dislike it. Should you now ask for the night to be brought back, your request will go unanswered and you will not get what you want, because you have asked for something at the wrong moment and time. You will therefore be left sorry, deprived, resentful and disappointed. So give all this up and practice compliance, thinking well of your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and graceful patience. For what is yours will not be snatched from you, and what is not yours will not be given to you. By my life, you pray and make supplication to your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), offering humble entreaties as an act of worship and obedience in keeping with His commandment (Exalted is He): “Call upon Me and I will answer you” (40:60), and His words (Exalted is He): “Ask Allah of His bounty” (4:32), as well as other verses and traditions. You pray, and He will answer you at the appropriate moment and appointed time, when He wills, when it is to your advantage in this world and the hereafter, and when it coincides with His decree and the end of the term set by Him.
Do not become suspicious of Him when He delays the response, and do not weary of making supplication to Him, for while you may not be gaining, neither are you losing. If He does not respond to you immediately, He will reward you later on. According to an authentic tradition, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “On the Day of Resurrection the servant will see in his records some good deeds which he does not recognize. He will then be told that these are compensation for requests he made in this world, but which were not destined to be fulfilled therein,” or something to that effect. Well then, the least of your spiritual states is that you should be remembering your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), affirming His Oneness, inasmuch as you address your requests to Him and not to any other than Him, and do not submit your need to anyone but Him (Exalted is He). You are in one or the other of two conditions at all times, by night and by day, in health and in sickness, in adversity and in prosperity, in hardship and in ease:
1. You refrain from asking, gladly accept the decree of destiny, reconcile yourself and go along with His action (Almighty and Glorious is He) in a relaxed fashion, like a corpse in front of the ritual washer of the dead, like a suckling babe in its nurse’s arms, or like a ball waiting for the polo-player to knock it around with his mallet. Destiny will then turn you about as it wishes. If it happens to be a blessing, thanks and praise are forthcoming from you, and from Him (Almighty and Glorious is He) comes increase in the gift. As He has said (Exalted is He): “If you are thankful, I will give you more” (14:7). If it is an adversity, however, you respond with patience and compliance, through His help, while from His side (Almighty and Glorious is He) come reassurance, support, blessing and mercy, through His favor and generosity. As He says (Almighty and Glorious is He): “Allah is with those who patiently persevere” (2:153). That is to say, through His support and reassurance, since He is supportive of His servant against his lower self, his passion and his devil. He says (Exalted is He):
If you help Allah, He will help you and make your foothold firm. (47:7)
When you help Allah by opposing your own self and your passion by giving up resistance to Him and resentment of His action within you, when you become an enemy and an executioner to your lower self for Allah’s sake, so that whenever it moves with its unbelief and polytheism you behead it with your patience, your compliance with your Lord and your satisfaction with His working and His promise, and your contentment with them both, then Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) will be a helper to you. As for blessing and mercy, consider His words (Almighty and Glorious is He):
And give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, who say, when a misfortune strikes them: “To Allah we belong, and to Him we are returning.” Such are they on whom are blessings from their Lord, and mercy. Such are the rightly guided. (2:155-157)
2. The other condition is that in which you make supplication to your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) with prayer and humble entreaty, honoring His majesty and obeying His commandment. Now things are where they truly belong, for He has urged you to put your requests to Him and to resort to Him, and has made that a comfort for you, a messenger from you to Him, a contact and means of access to Him, provided that you give up suspicion and resentment toward Him in the event of postponement of the answer to your prayer until the time appropriate.
Take note of the difference between the two conditions, and do not be one of those who overstep the bounds of both, because there is no other condition besides these two. Beware of being among the wrong-doing transgressors, for He will then destroy you (Almighty and Glorious is He) without caring, as He has destroyed former peoples in times past, by intensifying His affliction in this world and by His painful torment in the hereafter.