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Patience in Islam

Patience in Islam - Poppy Field

Some Quotes from the Scholars

Imām Sufyān ath-Thawrī رحمه الله said:

“The believer is in need of patience as he is in need of food and drink.”Ibn Abī ad-Dunyā in aṣ-Ṣabr no. 81

Imām Fudayl bin Iyāad رحمه الله: said: “I learned patience from a small boy. On my way to the Masjid one day, I came across a woman beating her son at home. As he was yelling and screaming, he managed to open the door and flee. So his mother locked the door on him. When I returned from the Masjid, I found the boy after having cried and wept sleeping at the door of his home longing for his mother. So his mother’s heart softened and she opened the door for him.” Upon witnessing that, Fudayl bin Iyād cried until his beard became wet with tears, and then he said “SubhānAllāh! If only the servant was to be patient at the door of Allāh, Allāh would surely open it!”

‎Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله said: “The path always starts with trials and tests, then comes the period of patience and reliance [upon Allāh], and the end is enlightenment, guidance and victory.”1

The Importance of Patience

إِنَّ مَعَ ٱلْعُسْرِ يُسْرًۭا

Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.Surah Ash-Sharh, Ayah 6

The Prophet ﷺ said:

وَحَدَّثَنِي عَنْ مَالِكٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، عَنْ عَطَاءِ بْنِ يَزِيدَ اللَّيْثِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ، ‏.‏ أَنَّ نَاسًا، مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ سَأَلُوا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَأَعْطَاهُمْ ثُمَّ سَأَلُوهُ فَأَعْطَاهُمْ حَتَّى نَفِدَ مَا عِنْدَهُ ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَا يَكُونُ عِنْدِي مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَلَنْ أَدَّخِرَهُ عَنْكُمْ وَمَنْ يَسْتَعْفِفْ يُعِفَّهُ اللَّهُ وَمَنْ يَسْتَغْنِ يُغْنِهِ اللَّهُ وَمَنْ يَتَصَبَّرْ يُصَبِّرْهُ اللَّهُ وَمَا أُعْطِيَ أَحَدٌ عَطَاءً هُوَ خَيْرٌ وَأَوْسَعُ مِنَ الصَّبْرِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Ata Bin Yazid al-Laythi from Abu Said al-Khudri that some people of the Ansar asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he gave to them. Then they asked him again, and he gave to them until he used up what he had. Then he said, “What wealth I have, I will not hoard from you. Whoever has forbearance, Allah will help him. Whoever tries to be independent, Allah will enrich him. Whoever tries to be patient, Allah will give him patience, and no one is given a better or vaster gift than patience.”Muwatta Malik, Book 58, Hadith 7

The different types of Patience

Patience has a tremendous status in the religion. For this reason Allāh has commanded the believers to be patient. Patience has been mentioned in the Qur’ān around ninety times.

Withholding the soul from becoming upset and agitated, withholding the tongue from complaining and bemoaning, and withholding the limbs from hitting the faces or ripping the clothes. These are practices done by some people when a calamity strikes, and it is not limited to these actions, rather any action done at times of calamities that are not legislated in Islām, such as pouring out liquor, listening to music, getting high, etc.3

The scholars have mentioned that there are three types of patience (click to expand):1. Patience in performing acts of obedience2. Patience in staying away from acts of disobedience3. Patience upon the decrees of Allāh ﷻ

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَىْءٍۢ مِّنَ ٱلْخَوْفِ وَٱلْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍۢ مِّنَ ٱلْأَمْوَٰلِ وَٱلْأَنفُسِ وَٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ

ٱلَّذِينَ إِذَآ أَصَـٰبَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌۭ قَالُوٓا۟ إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّآ إِلَيْهِ رَٰجِعُونَ

أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَٰتٌۭ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌۭ ۖ وَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُهْتَدُونَ

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,

Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allāh, and indeed to Him we will return.”

Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 155-157

It is a must upon a person afflicted with a calamity to know that this is how it had been decreed by Allāh ﷻ and to accept this decree. This acceptance leads to him being pleased with the situation because he submits to Allāh ﷻ.

Allāh’s ﷻ decree is inherently good, even when it may appear otherwise to you. For instance, losing a tire might seem like a negative event as it could make you late for work. However, in reality, it could be a means of protection, preventing you from being involved in a car crash that would have occurred a few minutes later.

مَآ أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَمَن يُؤْمِنۢ بِٱللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُۥ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌۭ

No disaster strikes except by permission of Allāh. And whoever believes in Allāh – He will guide his heart. And Allāh is Knowing of all things.Surah Al-Taghabun, Ayah 11

This shows us that patience is a part of Imān. A believer is in need of patience upon the commands and prohibitions of Allāh ﷻ, especially in performing the daily prayers. Likewise, when a calamity strikes, you must be patient and return to Allāh ﷻ. This is from the pillar of believing in the divine decree (Qadar).

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ

Indeed, Allāh is with the patient.Surah Al-Anfal, Ayah 46

Imām Ibn al-Jawzī رحمه الله said: “Glory is to Allāh Who subjects His slaves (to trials) in order to test their patience and expose their true nature in times of hardship!

Angels prostrated to Adam عليه السلام, while shortly thereafter he was expelled from Paradise (jannah).

Nūh عليه السلام was beaten until fainted, while shortly thereafter he was rescued in the ark, and his enemies were destroyed.

Ibrāhīm عليه السلام was thrown in the fire, and then came out to safety (salāma).

Isma’eel عليه السلام lied down in surrender to be slaughtered, then he came to safety, and his praise remained.

Ya’qūb عليه السلام lost his eyesight after losing his son, and then he regained it after reuniting with his son.

Mūsā عليه السلام was a shepherd, and then was elevated to a rank where he spoke to Allāh (taqlīm).

Prophet Muhammad  was an orphan and faced many hardships from his enemies, and from financial difficulties; yet he persevered and was firm as a mountain. After his objective was fulfilled and when he conquered Makkah, the Angel of death came to him and took his soul while going through the pangs of death. Whoever observes the sea of life, knows how its waves should be received and know how to be patient while dealing the changing days, will not panic when calamity (bilā’) strikes. And will not become overly happy when good times (rikhā’) arrive immediately.”2

  1. Shifā al-Alīl pg. 247
  2. Captured Thoughts by Imām Ibn al-Jawzī رحمه الله pg. 422-423
  3. The Comprehensive Guide for the New Muslim pg. 138

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