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Patience -Sabr

Patience is the first weapon for the believer to use when facing hardship. Patience has been mentioned in the Noble Qur'an more then 90 times. Also it was mentioned many times in authentic Ahadith of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). All of these verses and Ahadith talk about the importance of patience in the lives of the believers. All of the messengers of Allah (S.A.W.) suffered great hardships in their lives, yet all of them practiced patience. Therefore, Allah (S.W.T.) alleviated their hardship and promised them great rewards in the hereafter.

What is the Definition of Patience:

Patience is when a person restrains himself from being fearful during hard times. Also, a person who is patient restrains himself from doing prohibited acts and does what is obligated and righteous.

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “There are three types of patience: Firstly, practicing patience to fulfill the obligations and to do righteous. Secondly, abstaining from evil and prohibited acts. And thirdly, practicing patience during times of hardship without complaints.”

Importance of Patience:

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Allah mentions patience in His Book more than 90 times. Within one verse, Allah orders us to practice both patience and prayer. Allah (S.W.T.) says in the Noble Qur'an what could be translated as, “O you who believe! Seek help in patience and prayer. Truly! Allah is with the patient.” (Verse 153) Surat Al-Baqarah.

Allah chose the qualities of a leader in Islam to be one who has both patience and certainty in one's deen. Allah (S.W.T.) says in the Noble Qur'an what could be translated as, “And We made from among them, leaders, giving guidance under Our command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat.” (Verse 24) Surat As-Sajdah.

Ibn Taymiyya continues on to say that, all of Islam is built upon the knowledge of the truth and the implementation of that knowledge. Implementation of that knowledge requires patience. And seeking this knowledge also requires patience. With that Ali (R.A.) said, “ Patience's position to faith is similar to the position of the head to the body. If the head is cut off, the body dies.” Then he raised his voice saying, “There is no faith, for a person who doesn't have patience.”

We will go over The Three Types of Patience with more detail

The first type of patience is when a person works constantly to fulfill obligations and to do righteous deeds. With that said, Allah (S.W.T) commands His servants in the Noble Qur'an what could be translated as, “Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, so worship Him and be constant and patient in His worship.” (Verse 65) Surat Maryam. Similarly, Allah (S.W.T.) says in the Noble Qur'an what could be translated as, “And enjoin prayer on your family, and be patient in offering them.” (Verse 132) Surat Taha.
The messengers of Allah needed great patience in order to fulfill their obligations of conveying the message and fixing the conditions of individuals and society. Without this patience, they could not succeed in their tasks. Therefore, Allah (S.W.T.) commanded to the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) in the Noble Qur'an, what could be translated as, “Therefore be patient [O Muhammad] as did the Messengers of strong will.” (Verse 35) Surat Al-Ahqaf.

Likewise, patience is needed when dealing with Muslims and righteous people. Using patience, a person can fulfill his obligations toward people. Although they may harm you, you must use patience with them. Thus, Allah (S.W.T.) says in the Noble Qur'an what could be translated as, “And keep yourself [O Muhammad] patiently with those who call on their Lord [your companions].” (Verse 28) Surat Al-Kahf. The prophet (S.A.W) said, “It is better for you to mix yourself around people who may harm you, and to be patient with them, then it is to isolate yourself from them, and to not practice patience from their harm.”

Also, a Muslim who is fighting for the cause of Allah (S.W.T) needs much patience. Hence, Allah (S.W.T.) says in the Noble Qur'an what could be translated as, “But if you remain patient and be pious, not the least harm will their cunning do to you.” (Verse 120) Surat Al-Imran.

The second type of patience is when a person abstains from prohibited acts and from evil. Abstaining from prohibited acts requires a great struggle against one's desires, and takes much patience in refraining from the evil influences of Satan among man and Satan among Jinn. Therefore, Allah (S.W.T.) will give great rewards on the Day of Judgment to those who patiently abstained from evil. The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) told us about the people who will receive a special reward: “Seven are (the persons) whom Allah would give protection with His shade on the day when there would be no shade but His shade (i.e., on the Day of Judgment) and among them: a youth who grew up with the worship of Allah, …a man whom an extremely beautiful woman seduces (for illicit relation), but he rejected this offer by saying: I fear Allah….” {Imams Bukhari and Muslim} Prophet Yusuf (S.A.W.) is another example of a person who abstained patiently from the evil lure of the wife of the King of Egypt. Prophet Yusuf chose incarceration for several years rather than committing an evil act.

The third type of patience is when a person practices patience during times of hardship without complaints. One must not complain because Allah (S.W.T.) predestines their hardship. This is the fruit of believing in predestination. Predestination is one of the pillars of faith. Allah (S.W.T.) said in the Noble Qur'an what could be translated as, “No calamity befalls, but with the leave (decision and Qadar (Divine Preordainment) of Allah.” (Verse 11) Surat At-Taghabun.

People who are trying to be patient during hardship should not just sit around and do nothing to help out their bad conditions. Instead, a Muslim must be patient, yet ease his hardship by all lawful means. There are some tools that Allah has made lawful for us to use to fight against hardship. Therefore, we should make use of these means to relieve ourselves from these hardships.
The believer knows that Allah (S.W.T.) predestined hardship for man by His Greater Wisdom. And Allah (S.W.T.) will reward the believer for his patience during hardship, by wiping out sins and lifting him up to higher levels of Paradise. Allah (S.W.T.) says in the Noble Qur'an, what could be translated as, “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Saabireen (the patient). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return. And they are those who are blessed and they are those who receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones.” (Verses 155 to 157) surat Al-Baqarah.

Also, the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: “How wonderful is the situation of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this is not the case with any one except a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him.”{Imam Muslim}

In another hadith, the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: “Never a believer is
stricken with a discomfort, an illness, an anxiety, a grief or mental worry or even the pricking of a thorn that his sins are removed for him.” {Imams Bukhari and Muslim}

Some of the Benefits of Patience:

We should recognize that there are many benefits of patience. A person will benefit from patience in this life and/or the hereafter. Allah (S.W.T.) says in the Noble Qur'an, what could be translated as, “Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning.” (Verse 10) surat Az-Zumar.

Here are some of the benefits of patience:

  • Patience keeps you from getting bored during serious activities that require continuous energy and time.
  • Patience keeps you from rushing on tasks that require much time.
  • Patience controls you during times of anger and prevents you from committing wrong verbal or physical acts.
  • Patience controls you during conditions of fear and prevents you from committing wrong verbal or physical acts.
  • Patience controls you from greediness and prevents you from committing wrong verbal or physical acts.

  • Patience controls you from following your own desires.
  • Patience prepares you to withstand physical or psychological hardship when it is required.
  • Practicing patience is proof of the completion of faith and it is a good practice of Islam.
  • Practicing patience gives you guidance in your heart.
  • Practicing patience will lead you to being loved by Allah (S.W.T.) and the people.

  • Practicing patience is required in positions of power and authority.
  • Practicing patience will make a person enter Paradise and it will save him from the hellfire.
  • Practicing patience will always keep you under the protection and care of Allah (S.W.T.).
  • Practicing patience will protect you from the fear on the Day of Judgment.
  • Practicing patience will lead you to die as a good Muslim.
  • Finally, Practicing patience will give you the blessings and mercy of Allah (S.W.T.).

Overall, we have learned that patience is the key to success in this life and in the hereafter. Therefore, we should try hard to practice patience in our lives, and we should know that we could all gain patience with practice and struggle. We can also learn patience by being with those who are patient and being away from those without it. We should know that there are different levels of patience. We can all start at the first level, and ascend to the top with the help of Allah (S.W.T.). We ask Allah (S.W.T.) to make us among those who are patient, and to gather us with them on the Day of Judgment

(Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, NC, delivered this Friday speech on April 18, 2003)

reference Islamic Center of Raleigh, NC