February 5, 2009
by Shariffa Al Andalusia
One thing which is seriously lacking among the Muslims is patience. We are so harsh with each other at times that it is hard to believe we are supposed to be brothers and sisters. We often times give greater excuses to the non-Muslims than we do to ourselves. We are supposed to advise each other to do good and to be patient. In Surat Al Asr, Allah says,
Verily, man is in loss, except those who believe and do good deeds and encourage one another towards truth and encourge one another towards
Patience is a sign of the the Muslim character. I know a lady who taught me a great deal. She probably does not even know how much she affected me, for it was not anything she said. It was purely her actions. This lady had a daughter who was about 11 or 12 years old. She had been sick for a few years. The young girl had been taken to the hospital because her heart and lungs were giving out on her. This had become a routine for them. She went to the hospital, they treated her, and she went home. This time, however, it was different. This time, the doctor took us all into a small room – the consultation room. He
told this woman that this time there was nothing that could be done. The damage had become too extensive. Essentially all that they could do was keep her comfortable. This lady started to cry, to get really upset. Then, unexpectedly, she was extremely calm. This lady lived up to her name, Sakeenah, for she showed the utmost in tranquility. She said, “No! I will not do this. Allah does not expect this of me. Doctor, tell me what I have to do.” Wallahi, the doctor, who was used to the grief expressions of the Kufar, was astonished. He had to pull himself together before he could continue. I know he had never seen
anything like this. What a beautiful dawaa this woman gave, May Allah increase her reward.
She avoided the easy route, the one no one would have blamed her for taking. After all, she was a mother about to lose her beloved daughter, but the thought that came to her was, “What would Allah want?”. Subhana Allah. Allah reward her. This woman, in her love to Allah, in her show of patience, taught me better than a thousand books or a hundred lectures. She showed me what true Muslim patience is. As expected, the young girl died soon after. Sakeenah cried a mother’s tears, but she was never excessive in her grief, and she was a marvolous example to her other children. They too showed honor and deen in their mourning of the young girl. This is Islam, and this is patience. They taught all of us in the community how to deal with hardship in its hardest form. They
helped others to know the right way, and Inshallah they gained the reward from Allah for teaching us as well as for their simple obedience.
All this is a preface to the subject at hand. I wanted to provide a small outline on patience in Islam, so I took much of the following section from: Uddat As Sabiriin wa Dhakhirat Ash Shakiriin (Patience and Gratitude) by Ibin Qayim Al Jawziyyah becuase it is one of the best books I have found on the subject, may Allah reward him. He explains:
“Sabr comes from an Arabic root which means to detain, refrain and stop. There is an expression in Arabic which means “so and so was killed,” “sabaran” which means he was captured and detained until he died. He further explains that in the spiritual sense, sabr means to stop ourselves from dispairing and panicing, to stop our tongues from complaining and to stop our hands from striking our faces & tearing our clothes at times of grief and stress.”
Ibin Qayim divides patience into the following five categories; I will outline them and provide examples of each:
1. Patience in doing the fard,
2. Patience in avoiding the haram, and
3. Patience in times of fitnah.
1. Patience in abstaining abstaining from Makruh (disliked),
2. Patience in performing mustahab (encouraged acts), and
3. Patience in restraining from revenge.
1. Patience in abstaining from food and drink til death,
2. Patience from eatting haram meat when it is a necessity for sustaining life (only so much as is necessary to sustain the life)
3. Patience in refraining from begging (For this one: Ahmad said it is haram and Shafaii said in life and death instances, it is a must).
4. Patience in enduring things which lead to death (example: snakes, fire), and
5. Patience in the time of fitnah — when Muslims are fighting.
1. Patience in abstaining from physical appetites to the extent one is hurt by it, and
2. Patience in doing makruh deeds.
Mubah (Permissible) Sabr:
1. Patience in abstaining from mubah deeds.
In his book, Ibin Qayim narrates a story about Shibili which astounded me when I read it. It hit me in a way that little else has. t was so simple and so true, that I could not believe I had never considered it before or never heard it before. Someone asked him, “What type of patience is most difficult?” Shibili said, “Patience in seeeking the help of Allah.” The man answered, “No.” Shibili said, “Then, patience for the sake of Allah.” The man said , “No.” Shibili said, “Patience for the pleasure of Allah.” The man said, “No.” So, Shibili asked, “What is it then?” The man answered, “Patience in keeping away from Allah.”
Shibili then screamed in such a way that he nearly died. Uddat As Sabiriin wa Dhakhirat Ash Shakiriin (Patience and Gratitude) by Ibin Qayim Al Jawziyyah.
Subhana Allah. Think about this. When I read this, my amazement was, like Shabili’s, without bounds. Wallahi, it is true. The patience in avoiding the natural fitrah, the patience in avoiding worshipping and loving, and fearing Allah, the patience in being kafir – or even in being a sinful Muslim, is an extreme patience, a difficulty beyond measure. Allahu Akbar! We have to be patient in obeying Allah. We have to be patient in avoiding wrong deeds. We have to be patient in accepting Allah’s Qadr, but to be patient in avoiding Allah. This is indeed the most difficult.
When I started researching this topic, I found so many references to it in the Quraan, that I was tempted to simply compile all the verses, all the hadiths, and simply let it be with that. But then, I thought, I should preface tham with a small introduction on the concept of patience which I hope I have done. Then, I decided, the number was too great to write it all. I would need a book for all of it. So, instead, I have chosen a few verses and a few hadiths to share with you today as a reminder to you and me.
Seek help in patience and prayer; and truly it is hard save for the humble-minded. (2:45)
O you who believe! seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient. (2:153)
Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. (2:155)
It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or
suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing. ( 2:177)
If good befalls you, it grieves them, and if an evil afflicts you, they rejoice at it; and if you are patient and guard yourselves, their scheme will not injure you in any way; surely Allah comprehends what they do. (3:120)
Do you think that you will enter the garden while Allah has not yet known those who strive hard from among you, and (He has not) known the patient. (3:142)
And how many a prophet has fought with whom were many worshippers of the Lord; so they did not become weak-hearted on account of what befell them in Allah’s way, nor did they weaken, nor did they abase themselves; and Allah loves the patient. (3:146)
O you who believe! be patient and excel in patience and remain steadfast, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, that you may be successful. (3:200)
What is with you passes away and what is with Allah is enduring; and We will most certainly give to those who are patient their reward for the
best of what they did. (16:96)
And if We make man taste mercy from Us, then take it off from him, most surely he is despairing, ungrateful.But if We give him a taste of (Our) favours after adversity hath touched him, he is sure to say, “All evil has departed from me:” Behold! he falls into exultation and pride. Except those who are patient and do good, they shall have forgiveness and a great reward. (11:9-11)
And those who were given the knowledge said: Woe to you! Allah’s reward is better for him who believes and does good, and none is made to
receive this except the patient. (28:80)
Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women and the humble men and the humble women, and the almsgiving men and the almsgiving women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember– Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward. (33:35)
Say: O my servants who believe! be careful of (your duty to) your Lord; for those who do good in this world is good, and Allah’s earth is spacious; only the patient will be paid back their reward in full without measure. (39:10)
In Sahih Bukhari we have from the following hadith:
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
The Prophet passed by a woman who was weeping beside a grave. He told her to fear Allah and be patient. She said to him, “Go away, for you have not been afflicted with a calamity like mine.” And she did not recognize him. Then she was informed that he was the Prophet . So she went to the house of the Prophet and there she did not find any guard. Then she said to him, “I did not recognize you.” He said, “Verily, the patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.”
Volume 2, Book 23, Number 372:
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
Some Ansari persons asked for (something) from Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) and he gave them. They again asked him for (something) and he again gave them. And then they asked him and he gave them again till all that was with him finished. And then he said “If I had anything. I would not keep it away from you. (Remember) Whoever abstains from asking others, Allah will make him contented, and whoever tries to make himself self-sufficient, Allah will make him self-sufficient. And whoever remains patient, Allah will make him patient. Nobody can be given a blessing better and greater than patience.”
Volume 2, Book 24, Number 548:
The Prophet decided to grant a portion of (the uncultivated land of) Bahrain to the Ansar. The Ansar said, “(We will not accept it) till you give a similar portion to our emigrant brothers (from Quraish).” He said, “(O Ansar!) You will soon see people giving preference to others, so remain patient till you meet me (on the Day of Resurrection).
Volume 3, Book 40, Number 564
Narrated Salim Abu An-Nadr:
The freed slave of ‘Umar bin ‘Ubaidullah who was ‘Umar’s clerk: ‘Abdullah bin Abi Aufa wrote him (i.e. ‘Umar) a letter that contained the following:–
“Once Allah’s Apostle (during a holy battle), waited till the sun had declined and then he got up among the people and said, “O people! Do not wish to face the enemy (in a battle) and ask Allah to save you (from calamities) but if you should face the enemy, then be patient and let it be known to you that Paradise is under the shades of swords.” He then said,, “O Allah! The Revealer of the (Holy) Book, the Mover of the clouds, and Defeater of Al-Ahzab (i.e. the clans of infidels), defeat them infidels and bestow victory upon us.”
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 210:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Apostle said, “The example of a believer is that of a fresh tender plant; from whatever direction the wind comes, it bends it, but when the wind becomes quiet, it becomes straight again. Similarly, a believer is afflicted with calamities (but he remains patient till Allah removes his difficulties.) And an impious wicked person is like a pine tree which keeps hard and straight till Allah cuts (breaks) it down when He wishes.”
(See Hadith No. 558, Vol. 9.) Volume 7, Book 70, Number 547:
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Allah’s Apostle sent for the Ansar and gathered them in a tent and said to them, “Be patient till you meet Allah and His Apostle, and I will be on the lake-Tank (Al-Kauthar).”
Volume 9, Book 93, Number 533:
We have these from Sahih Muslim:
The Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) stood up among them (his companions) to deliver his sermon, in which he told them that Jihad in the cause of Allah and belief in Allah (with all His Attributes) were the most meritorious of acts. A man stood up and said: Messenger of Allah, do you think that if I am killed in the cause of Allah, my sins will be blotted out from me? The Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Yes, in the case where you are killed in the way of Allah, you were patient and sincere and you always fought facing the enemy, never turning your back upon him.
Then he added: What have you said (now)? (Wishing to have further assurance from him for his satisfaction), he asked (again): Do you think if I am killed in the say of Allah, all my sins will be obliterated from me? The Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) Said: Yes, if you were patient and sincere, and always fought facing the enemy, never turning your back upon him, (all your lapses shall be forgiven) except debt. Gabriel has told me this.
Book 19, Number 4646:
Narrated Mustawrid al-Qurashi:
I heard Allah’s Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: The Last Hour would come (when) the Romans would form a majority amongst people. Amr said to him (Mustawrid al-Qurashi): See what you are saying? He said: I say what I heard from Allah’s Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) Thereupon he said: If you say that, it is a fact for they have four qualities. They have the patience to undergo a trial and immediately restore themselves to sanity after trouble and attack again after flight. They (have the quality) of being good to the destitute and the orphans, to the weak and, fifthly, the good quality in them is that they put resistance against the oppression of kings.
Book 40, Number 6925:
In these verses and hadiths, we find that the reward for sabr is great. We can also clearly see that patience has been commanded upon the Muslim. It is a sign of the Muslim that in adversity he is patient. To me, I see patience ad when a muslim has nothing, he says, “Alhamdulillah.”, and when he is given something, he says, “Alhamdulillah.”, and he shares whatever Allah has provided him. Also, the Muslim is the one who does not dispair when he is without, or when a seemingly bad event happens to him because he knows that: “Verily, along with every hardship comes ease. Verily, along with every hardship comes ease” (94:5). And he knows that there is only one hardship and two eases. The Muslim recognises the good in the hardship, so he is able to endure patiently, waiting for Allah’s reward, and the promised relief.
(the wife of the Prophet) Allah’s Apostle said, “No calamity befalls a Muslim but that Allah expiates some of his sins because of it, even though it were the prick he receives from a thorn.”
Sahih Bukhari: Volume 7, Book 70, Number 544.