Patience brings guidance 

The Concept of Patience in Islam

Patience is the exercise of restraint in trying situations. It is a virtue, which enables the individual to proceed towards worthy goals, undeflected by adverse circumstances or repeated provocations. If he allows himself to become upset by opposition, taunts or other kinds of unpleasantness, he will never reach his goals. He will simply become enmeshed in irrelevancies. Allah says:

فَاصْبِرْ إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنبِكَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ بِالْعَشِيِّ وَالْإِبْكَارِ

“So be patient; indeed, (the) Promise of Allah (is) true. And ask forgiveness for your sin and glorify (the) praise (of) your Lord in the evening and the morning.” (Surah Ghafir 40:55)

Patience, as well as being a practical solution to the problems faced in the outside world, is also a means of positive character building. One who fails to exercise patience gives free rein to negative thoughts and feelings, develops a personality that is likewise negative while one who remains patient is so morally bolstered by his positive thoughts and feelings that he develops a positive personality. Allah says:

فَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ وَلَا تَكُن كَصَاحِبِ الْحُوتِ إِذْ نَادَىٰ وَهُوَ مَكْظُومٌ

“So be patient for (the) decision (of) your Lord, and (do) not be like (the) companion (of) the fish, when he called out, while he (was) distressed.” (Surah Al-Qalam 68:48)

Patience makes a person capable of finding a positive and successful solution to any problem. When someone explodes with anger while facing his adversary, he loses the faculty to respond effectively or to think of well-planned action. But when he applies patience and tolerance, he finds himself competent to make a rational move instead of an impulsive reaction. Allah says:

وَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ فَإِنَّكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ

“So be patient, for (the) Command (of) your Lord, for indeed, you (are) in Our Eyes. And glorify (the) praise (of) your Lord when you arise.” (Surah At-Tur 52:48)

Patience is of best from deeds and has a great reward with no limit. Life is full of trials that an individual must face with patience. History testifies that one who acts on impulses and emotional reactions, invariably fails; and one who responds rationally always succeeds.

Patience is something that is recommended by Almighty Allah which means it requires determination:

  1. Patience is the way to earn the companionship of Allah
  2. Patience brings obeying Allah and worshipping Him
  3. Patience and taqwa are conditions for Allah’s help
  4. Patience be aware of the power of Allah SWT
  5. Patience is the first weapon for the believer
  6. Patience “Woe to you! The reward of Allah
  7. Patience is made a condition of success
  8. Patience is a condition of prosperity
  9. Patience is one of the best qualities
  10. Patience keeping oneself from sins
  11. Patience has great moral values
  12. Patience brings guidance 
  13. Patience be firm in doing good
  14. Patience is enjoined upon believers
  15. Patience brings power and strength
  16. Patience and taqwa are great protection
  17. Patience befriend the people of Allah SWT
  18. Patience is a means of seeking Allah’s help
  19. Patience also brings an amazing source of support
  20. Patience and Eemaan are prerequisites for leadership

Tests, trials, tribulations, and calamities are all a part of life, but it is our status as believers and our relationship with the divine reality that will determine how we deal with them. Different calamities bring about different reactions from different people. For some, it causes them to detach themselves from Islām and they turn away from Allāh, but a select few with humility and īmān find a sense of comfort. Allah says:

وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا وَكَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ

“And We made from them leaders guiding by Our Command when they were patient and they were of Our Verses certain.” (Surah As-Sajdah 32:24)

Allaah has made the patience as a horse that never tires, an army that never will be defeated and a fortress that never will be transferred. Patience and victory are twin sisters since victory comes with patience, relief comes with difficulty and ease arrives with the vicissitudes.

Types of Patience (Sabr)

  • Patience (Sabr) when facing difficulties
  • Patience (Sabr) refraining from sins
  • Patience (Sabr) in doing good deeds
  • Showing patience while obeying Allah
  • Showing patience on the trials and tribulations that Allah
  • Showing patience by not committing the sins and evil deeds

وَإِنْ عَاقَبْتُمْ فَعَاقِبُوا بِمِثْلِ مَا عُوقِبْتُم بِهِ وَلَئِن صَبَرْتُمْ لَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لِّلصَّابِرِينَ

“And if you retaliate, then retaliate with the like of what you were afflicted with [it]. But if you are patient, surely (it) is better for those who are patient.” (Surah An-Nahl 16:126)

Being patient doesn’t always entail some unfortunate event occurring; simply being a believer requires a great amount of patience. But when the wind becomes quiet, it becomes straight again. With patience, you will get all the good things. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اصْبِرُوا وَصَابِرُوا وَرَابِطُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

“O you who believe[d]! Be steadfast and [be] patient and [be] constant and consciously revere Allah so that you may (be) successful. ” (Surah Al-Imran 3:200)

This calm and collected reaction should be celebrated amidst the roar of complaining many people dish out about their tasks and endeavours, for the affliction of calamities is a certainty of life. Those People who have patience are the rightful people to lead so we can say leadership comes with patience.

Allah Almighty says the benefits of patience in the Holy Quran:

  1. Those who have patience are the rightful people to lead because Allah (SWT) conditioned the leadership with patience. He says:And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs. (As-Sajdah 32:24).
  2. Patience is the source of all goods. Allah (SWT) informed us with certainty in the following verse:But if you endure patiently, verily, it is better for As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc). (An-Nahl 16:126).
  3. Moreover, it is due to patients that the patient will receive an abundance of rewards for their good deeds. Almighty Allah says:Only those who are patient shall receive their rewards in full, without reckoning. (Az-Zumar 39:10).
  4. Allah, the Exalted loves the patient ones among his slaves. He says:And Allah loves As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.). (Al-Imran 3:146).
  5. Allah is with those who endure patiently. He says:And be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.). (Al-Anfal 8:46).
  6. Those who endure patiently will be successful both in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah (SWT) says:O you who believe! Endure and be more patient (than your enemy), and guard your territory by stationing army units permanently at the places from where the enemy can attack you, and fear Allah, so that you may be successful.(Al-Imran 3:200).
  7. Allah (SWT) gave three major and great glad tidings to those who endure patiently while they are afflicted with calamities and trials. They will receive blessings of Allah, His Mercy and they are the ones who are righty-guided. He says: “They are those on whom are the Salawat (i.e. blessings, etc.) (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones.” (Al-Baqarah 2:157).
  8. If someone is pious and endures patiently, the plots of the enemies will never harm him at least and they will never overcome him. Almighty Allah says:But if you remain patient and become Al-Muttaqun (the pious – see V.2:2), not the least harm will their cunning do to you. Surely, Allah surrounds all that they do. (Al-Imran 3:120).
  9. The patient ones deserve to enter Paradise and the angels will present them the greetings of peace and blessing. Allah the Exalted says:Those will be rewarded with the highest place (in Paradise) because of their patients. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect. (Al-Furqan 25:75).
  10. It is from the things recommended by our Lord and of the matters requiring determination. Allah, the Glorious says:And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah. (Ash-Shura 42:43).

Patience is of more help to the person who has it than men since aid without the need for any kind of additional equipment and its relationship with the victory is like the head with the body. Patience is one of the best qualities a man can possess; if we take a close look at everything happening around us, we can surely conclude that patience is the solution for them all.  Allah says:

اصْلَوْهَا فَاصْبِرُوا أَوْ لَا تَصْبِرُوا سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْكُمْ إِنَّمَا تُجْزَوْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

“Burn-in it then be patient or (do) not be patient, (it is) same for you. Only you are being recompensed (for) what you used to do.” (Surah At-Tur 52:16)

Patience provides us resistance against weakness and endows us with a steadfastness in obeying Allah (SWT). It is the best tool for firmness against tribulations and temptations. Moreover, it is the weapon of a Muslim through which he will be successful both in this world and in the Hereafter.

Patience can be divided into five categories:

  • Obligatory: Patience in resisting what is prohibited, patience in carrying out obligatory deeds, patience in tribulation over which a person is helpless, such as illness, poverty, etc.
  • Desirable: To restrain one’s self from worrying over unpleasant matters, to remain constant in doing desirable deeds, and to restrain from retaliating when one faces an aggressor or other acts of aggression.
  • Forbidden: Consists of refraining from food and drink until death. It also applies to refuse to eat dead meat, blood or meat of swine when there is a danger of starvation.
  • Reprehensible: To resist oneself from food, drink, dress and sexual intercourse to the extent of causing harm to the body. To restrain the self from doing what is recommended.
  • Permissible: To restrain from anything that has indifferent consequences of both; doing and avoiding.

Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting. Every single person in this world is facing some sort of trial or test. There may be some facing trials in education, others in their jobs, still others in their businesses, and still more facing problems with family or friends.  Allah says:

فَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ الْغُرُوبِ

“So be patient over what they say and glorify (the) praise (of) your Lord, before (the) rising (of) the sun and before the setting.” (Surah Qaf 50:39)

Many people do not know the true meaning of patience, how truly patient people are required to behave, or how important this is in Allah’s sight. A believer is that of a fresh tender plant. From whatever direction the wind comes, it bends it. A person who loves Allah finds it much easier to be patient and to persevere. May Allah gives us the strength to face difficulties with Patience! Ameen.