Nabi Yunus (‘alaihis salaam) once met Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) and requested him, “O Jibreel, show me the greatest worshipper on earth.” Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) took him to a leper, who had even lost his arms and legs due to the disease. They found the man repeating these words: “You (O Allah) have allowed me to enjoy these two (limbs) as You wished, You have taken them away from me as You wished, and You have kept alive within me hope in You. O Creator, O the Most Benevolent!”
Nabi Yunus (‘alaihis salaam) addressed Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) saying, “O Jibreel, I asked you to show me someone who fasts abundantly and stands continuously in worship.” Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) replied, “This man used to be worshipping Allah Ta‘ala in that manner before the affliction.”
Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) then informed Nabi Yunus (‘alaihis salaam) that he had now been tasked with taking away the man’s eyesight. He thus indicated towards the leper’s eyes, and they began to melt away (causing him to immediately become blind).
The leper yet again began repeating his words, “You (O Allah) allowed me to enjoy these two (eyes) as You wished, You have taken them away from me as You wished, and You have kept alive within me hope in You. O Creator, O the Most Benevolent!”
Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) then addressed the sick man saying, “Why don’t you make du‘aa to Allah and we will (also) make du‘aa with you, that Allah returns your arms, your legs, and your eyesight to you, so you may return to the acts of worship which you used to do.” The man replied, “I do not want that (to happen).” “Why not?” asked Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam). The man responded, “If His (i.e. Allah Ta‘ala’s) pleasure lies in this (affliction), then his pleasure is more beloved to me than that (i.e. than my limbs being returned to me).”
Nabi Yunus (‘alaihis salaam) was amazed at the leper’s submission to the will of Allah Ta‘ala, and declared: “I have never seen a greater worshipper than this person!” Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) replied, “O Yunus, this (being pleased with the decision of Allah Ta‘ala) is the best path to reach Allah Ta‘ala.”
(As-Sabru wath Thawaabu ‘alaih – Ibnu Abid Dunya #174)
1. Sicknesses, difficulties and hardships are often a form of mercy from Allah Ta‘ala, whereby Allah Ta‘ala draws the attention of His servant towards Him and cleanses him from sins. These trials are in essence a shortcut to Allah Ta‘ala, provided they are borne patiently. Therefore, the leper reached the rank of being the greatest worshipper on earth during his era.
2. Just as a patient is pleased and satisfied with the decision of a doctor for him to undergo an operation, because he trusts the expertise of the doctor and understands that there will be benefit behind the pain, we must be totally happy with every decision of Allah Ta‘ala for we place our trust in Him completely. In the case of the doctor, it is possible that his diagnoses could be incorrect, but when it comes to the decisions of Allah Ta‘ala, then every decision is with absolute precision.
3. When a person is consumed with the love of someone, he will be happy and pleased with whatever his beloved decides for him. In fact, at times he may even change his likes and preferences to that of the beloved. Similarly, when a believer’s focus is the love and pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala, he will be totally pleased with the decisions which Allah Ta‘ala makes for him. Hence, although it was totally correct for the leper to make du‘aa for cure from his illness, he preferred not to do so, and rather be happy with the condition in which his Beloved has placed him.