Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah explains in his book titled The Way to Patience and Gratitude that there are two kinds of complaint:
1. Complaining to Allah. This does not contradict patience.
2. Complaining to people by either speech or behavior. And this type of complaining is contrary to patience.
Ibn Qayyim put forth the example of Y’aqub (Jacob) who said, “Patience is most fitting to me” and, “I only complain of my distraction and anguish to Allah” (Surah Yusuf 83 and 86).
How many of us can be like Y’aqub? Or even Yusuf (Joseph)? Do we complain to Allah at all? Or do we routinely blurt out or even act out discontent?
My Dears, pay close attention to yourselves. What are you saying? To whom are you saying it? Do you appear sad or irritable, not smiling nearly enough?
Do you state your condition to others because they are in a position to offer relief or help; a reprieve? But rather, do you know that the person cannot help you, which is the essence of complaining?
What do you think are the solutions to the things you quibble about?
Over the next week, spend some time alone in the evenings reviewing the day’s conversations. Journal them. Write down only one or two of the complaint-type statements you’ve made. For each criticism, list five favors that your Creator Allah has given you. How many good things can you list? What are you grateful for?
As you become more mindful of fretting, promise to change. Ponder daily the bounties Allah has bestowed on you. Replace annoyance with more appreciative and uplifting speech by sharing your reflections with others.
My journal entries for today would read something like this–
December 11, 2011
I complained that I felt tired after cooking dinner; my feet hurt.
Favors from Allah:
I have a (nice) place to live that has heat, electricity, running water, and modern up-to-date appliances. And maybe I need insoles for my house shoes.
What would your journal entry say?
With all Sincerity,