الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين، أما بعد
Shaikh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said when speaking of the levels of people in relation to sicknesses:
“The first level: the level of annoyance/embitterment
In that one is annoyed with this which Allaah has decreed, and the sign of being annoyed is that he utters an abominable form of speech, or that he commits an abominable action.
An example of a form of speech; is that he says: O woe unto me! And calling out with ruin (to wail or burst into loud laments) and that which resembles that from the statements which announce annoyance/embitterment.
As for an abominable action, then it is in the like of striking the cheeks and tearing the garments/pockets and to pull out the hairs as well as to leap/jump – such that he falls to the earth – and that which resembles that. This is annoyance/embitterment in action, and it is due to this that the Prophet (‘alaihi salaatu was salaam) said:
((He is not from us; who strikes the cheeks, and tears the garments and calls out with the calls of Jaahiliyyah [the days of ignorance].))
– The first two are both actions and the third is a statement.
The second level: the level of patience:
In that the person spiritually feels the pain – however he is patient, so he does not tear a garment and does not strike the cheek and does not utter abominations.
This is a level which is obligatory; meaning: that it is obligatory upon the person that he is patient when he is struck with afflictions.
The third level: being pleased:
Meaning; that one is pleased with the pre-decree of Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic, and being pleased – its meaning is that one should be tranquil; delighted with that which Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic has pre-decreed, he does not spiritually feel the pain; despite his disliking this thing which has afflicted him – and there is no doubt. This is because he does not censure the souls, however he does not spiritually feel the pain, rather he says: this is the pre-decree of Allaah, and I am from amongst the possessions of Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic, it is for Him to do as He wishes with regard to me, and so he is at ease with that.
The scholars (rahimahumullaah) have differed with regard to this level upon two statements: from them are those that say: it is obligatory, and from them are those who say: it is highly recommended. What is correct is that it is highly recommended and not obligatory; because it is difficult upon many souls. The sign of pleasure is that if you were to ask him: ‘have you felt sensitivity/agitation with that which Allaah has ordained upon you?’ he will say: ‘no, because I know that Allaah does not ordain anything for me except that it is better for me, for I am a believer; and Allaah does not ordain for His believing servant an ordainment except that it is better for him.’
The fourth level: the level of thankfulness:
This level is higher than the one before it – because it is being pleased – and more.
So if one were to say: ‘how can one thank Allaah for the affliction?’ We say: He gives thanks to Allaah for the affliction because he knows that its reward and its recompense – if he is patient and anticipates the reward – is more than its affliction. So he is thankful to Allaah over this, because that which results from it by way of good is more than that which results from it by way of harm. So from this aspect he is thankful to Allaah, and some of the people of knowledge (rahimahumullaah) have said: ‘indeed this level is higher than the one before it’ – meaning than that of being pleased.
For this is (inclusive of) the verdict/valuation of being pleased – with that which has come about (been ordained).”
Words of encouragement for those afflicted with pain and sickness:
Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said:
“As for the benefit which the heart and soul attains through pains and sicknesses; then it is an affair which is not sensed except by the one that possesses life. The sound nature of the hearts and the souls are dependent upon the pains of the bodies and their hardships, and I have enumerated the benefits of sicknesses; and they amount to more than a hundred benefits.
Indeed, Allaah, The Glorified has veiled the greatest pleasures with an array of dislikable things (calamities), and He has made them as a bridge leading to them. Just as He has veiled the greatest pains with desires and pleasures, and He has made them as a bridge leading to them. It is due to this that the wise intellectuals stated – all without exception that: bliss is not attained by way of bliss, and that ease and comfort is not reached through ease and comfort, and that whoever gives preference to delights; then there are delights that shall escape him.
For these very pains and sicknesses and hardships are from the greatest of blessings – since they are the factors to blessings.”
Ibn Al-Qayyim said likewise:
“Some of the expertly acquainted ones have said:
Be pleased with Allaah in regard to everything He does with you, for indeed; He never prevented you from anything except to give you (something), and He never afflicted you except to pardon you, and He never caused you to become sick except to cure you, and He never caused you to die except to bring you back to life.
Thus; beware that you should part with being pleased with Him for as long as the blinking of an eye – and so as a consequence you fall from His Eye.”
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.1294) and Muslim (no.1030)
 Sharh Al-‘Aqeedah as-Safaariniyyah p.370-371
 Shifa ul ‘Aleel p.250
 Madaarij as-Saalikeen vol 2 p.216