by Dr. Jamillah Karim
If God’s servants bear [difficulties and trials sent by God] with patience, they are favored, but if they do so with rida (contentment), they are singled out as His chosen ones.” Imam al-Ghazali
When Prophet Ibrahim brought Hajar (peace be on them) to the desert and began to depart, she called out to him asking about the dire hardship that his actions would place upon her and their nursing child: “Where are you going leaving us alone in this valley where there are no inhabitants, food, or drink?” She asked this question several times with no response from her husband. Finally, she asked, “Did Allah command you to do this?” When he answered yes, she responded, “Allah will not neglect us.” The way in which Hajar’s distress in the face of an extremely difficult situation changed once she realized that the source of the difficulty was from Allah, not her husband, indicates her rida, or contentment with Allah.
Rida can be translated as contentment, satisfaction, consent or pleasure. It comes from the same Arabic root as ridwan, or pleasure, as in verse 9:72 of the Qur’an: “God has promised the believers, men and women, Gardens graced with flowing streams where they will remain; magnificent mansions in the eternal Gardens; and—greatest of all—God’s good pleasure.”