Al-Baqara (The Cow) – Chapter 2 : Verse 216
There are four possible states in which the human being can live. A person is either receiving blessings (nima) or tribulations (bala) from God; or is either living in obedience (taa) or in disobedience (masiya). Each condition invites a response. What comes to a person in his or her life may help a person move closer to God when the response is right:
1. When God gives a person blessings, the response is gratitude in all of its manifestations. Gratitude is expressed first by performing what is obligatory then going beyond that by performing virtuous, recommended acts.
2. The response to tribulation is patience, as well as steadfastness and resolve. This is what God demands from people in times of trial – a beautiful patience.
3. As for obedience, one must recognize that obedience is a blessing from God. If a religious person starts to believe that he is better than other people – even if these “other” people are in the state of disobedience – he invites haughtiness.
4. When it comes to disobedience, the response is repentance to God (tawba), seeking His forgiveness, pardon, and mercy, feeling remorse for the past, and having the resolve never to sink into disobedience again.
Compiled From: “Purification of The Heart” – Hamza Yusuf, pp. 69-71