Islamic Studies

What is Museebah?


Allah ta’ala says in Suratul Baqarah ayat 155-156:

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الأَمْوَالِ وَالأنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُواْ إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ

“And we shall surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return'”

These ayaat are very beautiful, and we learn from them that we will all be tested in this life, each person in their own individual way.

Let’s look specifically at the word “museebah.” The root word is from saad-waw-ba, or “saub”. The Arabs used the word “saub” to refer to when the arrow hit its target. This alludes to the fact that the act was intentional, deliberate, and not by chance. How does this connect with a disaster striking us?

SubhanAllah, a museebah reaches its target; it was meant to happen. Allah’s Decree WILL come to pass. So instead of complaining and sulking, and asking questions like “WHY ME?!”, remember this ayah the next time a test comes your way … the arrow is merely hitting its target.

Then Allah ta’ala says, “wa bashir as-Sabireen,” which means “and give good tidings to the patient.” The word “bashir” is from ba-sheen-raa and it literally means skin or human; from this, we derive the meaning. “Bashir” means happiness, happiness that causes a reaction on the skin, like goosebumps or smiling.

So these patient ones (may Allah make us among them) will grin from ear to ear when they receive these glad tidings. What are the glad tidings? Al-Jannah. They get Jannah in return for their patience.

And what do the patient say when a museebah hits them? “inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon”, Indeed to Allah we belong and indeed to Him we shall return. Why specifically this statement? It shows that they are remembering Allah and accepting what has happened–because they know this life is a test. Saying the first part, “inna lillah” Indeed we belong to Allah’ shows that He is the One who has tested us and He owns us, and everything else. and “wa inna ilayhi raji’oon” and indeed to Him we will return’ shows that the one can expect reward for their patience–meaning it is to remind oneself that to Allah and to His reward or punishment is our final destination. And saying this statement protects the reward of being patient.

If someone says this duaa:

Supplication for one afflicted by a calamity

‘To Allah we belong and unto Him is our return. O Allah, recompense me for my affliction and replace it for me with something better.’

Allah ta’ala will grant you something better than what you lost if He wills. Remember the story of Umm Salamah radi Allahu anha, she said this duaa when her husband, Abu Salamah, died–thinking, “who could be better than him??” and Allah ta’ala blessed her to be our mother, a wife of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

So do not despair with what you are afflicted with, the arrow will hit its target, and the one who granted Umm Salamah this blessed position can grant you something better than what you are going through. Allah azza wa jal will reward you if you show patience (remember, at the first stroke of calamity). may Allah azza wa jal pour on us patience and make us among the muttaqeen. ameen

walhamdulillahi Rabbil alameen.

About the author



Amatullah is a student of the Qur’an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta’leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur’an, Tajweed (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has completed her undergraduate degree in Social Work and will be completing a Masters program in 2014. Her experiences include working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement, and accessibility for people with disabilities.

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  • Assalam wa alaikum,

    Thanks, sometimes it helps to understand the meaning.

    btw, Umm Salamah radi Allahu anha, is one of my favorite stories!
    it helps me from losing hope –

    Sister JW

  • Assalamu alykum wa rahmatu Allahi wa barakatuh…

    Excuse me for being so forward Sister, but can you post more of these tafseer lessons as often as is possible for you? They’re fantastic. I forward each post to my wife, children and my sister and her husband.

    Jazaahky Allahu kul khir and may he reward you based on your intentions.

  • wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Abu Omar,

    Alhamdulillah thumma Alhamdulillah. Jazakum Allahu khayran for your kind words and Jazakum Allahu khayran to the team for allowing me to contribute.

    With the tawfeeq and blessings from Allah, I plan to keep contributing inshaAllah. I have a few special ones i’m working on right now, I hope you all enjoy them. May Allah ta’ala grant us success in this life and the next. Ameen.

  • Great explanation, and it is so strange that just today I was pondering about this word being used at another place in quran relating to when the musseba of death striking and I was wondering why death has been desribed as museeba when it the fate of pious and the wretched alike. Now it makes more sense to understand as a calamity predetermined by the Decree of Allah Subanahu Ta’ala being executed to perfection just as the arrow hitting the target.
    Another lesson in this regard would be to give up on the wasteful, wishful, thinking of “if only this and that had happened, I could have escaped the calamity” . Though forward planning is a good thing but after a calamity strikes, this kind of thinking is from shaytan and denial of the power of qadr which is as accurate as an arrow hitting a target. Jazak Allah khairun

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