What is the patience in islam? What does patience means in islam?

Patience is to remain composed, poised and brave in the face of pain, keep calm during hardship and remain resilient as required by both reason and religion.

Patience contains every moral quality; and therefore, enjoys a special place in Islam. Patience itself is a sacred quality that attracts the pleasure of the Lord.

Patience is to remain tranquil and submit to Allah when confronted with situations that cause grief.

Imam Nawawi says:

“Patience is the force to do things with which one has been commanded. This is done through enduring the hardships of worship as well as the tribulations of life.”

Patience comes to the fore when we are forgiving, gentle, humble, content, compassionate, polite and tolerant. All these are spiritual qualities.

Patience is right at the center of beautiful conduct. It is one half of faith and the key to happiness, as well as the gateway to paradise. Because the road to all spiritual gains runs through it, all prophets, saints and scholars have taken up patience as their profession.

The Qur’an mentions patience over seventy times. Many verses encourage the Prophet (saw) and his followers to be patient. Some of them are:

“And be patient…and your patience is not but through Allah. And do not grieve over them and do not be in distress over what they conspire.” (Al-Nahl, 16: 127)

“And be patient, for the decision of your Lord, for indeed, you are in Our eyes. And exalt Your Lord with praise when you arise.” (Al-Tur, 52:  48)

“And follow what is revealed to you, and be patient until Allah will judge. And He is the best of judges.” (Yunus, 12: 109)

“And they will be presented before your Lord in rows, and He will say, ‘You have certainly come to Us just as We created you the first time. But you claimed that We would never make for you an appointment.” (Al-Kahf, 18: 48)

Prophets offer excellent examples of patience in forbearing the troubles they faced in their call to the truth. Noah (as) endured great torment for 950 years, which included being mocked and beaten. Moses (as) advised the children of Israel to:

“Seek help from Allah and be patient.” (Al-Araf, 7: 128)

Similarly, Job (as) received the compliments of the Almighty after suffering long years of illness:

“We indeed found him patient, an excellent servant…and one who constantly repented.” (Sad, 38: 44)

Luqman’s (as) famous advices to his son include:

“O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, all that is of the matters requiring determination.” (Luqman, 31: 17)

The Prophet (saw) also remained steadfast and patient, especially against the hateful conducts of the people of both Mecca and Taif. A few years down the line, both communities ended up embracing Islam.

Both prophets and saints reached that level of patience through the help of Allah. It is exclusively them we should follow. While patience is a hard pill to swallow in this life, it brings the sweetest of pleasures in the hereafter. Those who endure the bitter taste of patience will receive rewards sweeter than they can ever imagine.

We are responsible with keeping away from the forbidden, no matter how enticing; and remaining patient in the face of troubles, no matter how difficult. We are responsible with patiently carrying out Allah’s commands, no matter how hard.

The Prophet (saw) says:

“Patience comes in three types: patience in the face of troubles, patience in servanthood and patience in not sinning. Whoever remains patient against troubles until they go away, Allah (jj) will grant him 300 ranks. The distance between each rank is as great as the distance between the skies and the earth. Whoever keeps patient in servanthood, Allah (jj) will grant him 600 ranks. The distance between each is as great as the distance between the earth and the seven layers beneath it. Whoever is patient against sinning, Allah (jj) will grant him 900 ranks. The distance between each is as great as the distance between the earth and the Throne”. (Suyuti, al-Jamiu’s-Saghir, II, 42; Daylami, II, 416)

Patience is made easier by thinking about the wisdoms behind and rewards for complying with Allah’s commands. We have no other choice than to carry the burden of hardship on our shoulders. Allah is the best and only healer. It is a waste of time moan, groan and complain. The wisest thing to do is to be patient and seek refuge in Allah, knowing that everything comes from Him and we are undergoing a trial with potentially enormous rewards in the end.

The world is a place of trial and it is impossible for man to get his hands on everything he wants. It is best to look upon things we cannot get, as well as distasteful experiences, as ‘blessings in disguise’. This approach is most suited to our role as servants of Allah and one that will take us to greater spiritual heights.

Patience does not work when one forces it upon himself. It works when one submits to Allah willingly. Patience is the greatest virtue, when one has the power to take revenge but holds back from doing so.

So, the first condition is to show patience at the very first moment that trouble comes. There is little reward in showing patience when all is said and done.

In that respect, it is important for a person who has lost a child or a loved one to keep a brave face as soon as hearing the news.

Anas ibn Malik (ra) narrates how the Prophet (saw) once came across a woman wailing by her son’s grave.

Fear Allah and be patient”, the Prophet (saw) said.

“Go away”, said the woman. “You do not know what it’s like!”

The woman was in such frenzy that she did not recognize who she was speaking to, until someone later told her. She then rushed to the Prophet’s (saw) door and remorsefully apologized.

“I could not recognize you”, she lamented.

The Prophet (saw) then said:

“True patience is at the first moment of trouble”. (Al-Bukhari, Janaiz, 32)

One of the names of Allah is Sabur, the Patient. Allah gives people time on earth and keeps patient until the end, feeding even those who rebel against Him. What would have become of the cosmos if Allah wished to instantly take revenge on sinners? We should spare that a moment of thought.

The Qur’an states:

“And if Allah were to impose blame on the people for what they have earned, He would not leave upon the earth any creature. But He defers them for a specified term. And when their time comes, then indeed Allah has ever been, of His servants, Seeing.” (Fatir, 35: 45)

The divine name ‘the Patient’ transpires in moral conduct; and nowhere better than in prophets and saints. Patience in good times and bad is an integral part of their approach.

Patience when things are going well means not to yield to pride, conceit and the urge to take revenge; to defeat the desire to sin, to strike a balance between being wasteful and miserly and not to look down on the poor or hold back from helping them. The ego always wants to drag the person downhill. One needs patience to hold his ground.

One prime example here is Abraham (as). Despite being a man of means, he did not lean to anything worldly and conceived everything he had as a trust from Allah. He was given many riches but patiently reined his ego away from desire. In the end, Allah called him Khalil, the Friend.

Another example is Solomon (as). He was given a kingdom on earth but kept it out of his heart. He would frequently visit the poor and take great enjoyment out of spending time with them. He would say:

“No better place for a poor man than with the poor.” Beneath the wealth and power, Solomon (as) was the humblest of all men.

Patience when things are going tough involves abstaining from whining, jealousy, anger, holding grudges and taking all frustration out on family and friends. In times like this, it is important to keep bad thoughts out of the mind and evil out of action. To do so, it is essential to take stock from the manner in which prophets and saints conducted themselves in both good times and bad.

The Prophet (saw) advises believers to stay patient, keep away from despair and place complete trust in Allah when the going gets rough:

“If a Muslim going through a difficult time says these words:

‘We truly belong to Allah and to Him we will return. Allah…grant me rewards for what I am undergoing and give me something better in return’, then Allah (jj) will take his trouble away and give him something better”. (Muslim, Janaiz, 3)

We are compelled to be patient in good times and bad, if we want to rid our hearts from spiritual diseases and obtain the pleasure of Allah. The patience shown by Job (as) gives us a brilliant example to follow.

When his wife Rahimah told him to “…ask Allah to cure you from your illness. You are a prophet; your prayers are accepted…and you are struggling”, he replied:

“Allah gave me 80 years of good health. I have not yet been ill for that long…it has only been a few years. I would be embarrassed to ask Him!”

This great prophet eventually got back his health. However, it was only thanks to his patience.

The rich who remain patient are referred to as aghniya-i shakirin, the thankful wealthy. The poor who do the same are called fuqara-i sabirin, the patient poor. The rewards awaiting both are beyond anything imaginable.

Once, a feast was prepared for Abdurrahman ibn Awf (ra) for him to break his fast. For a moment, he stared at the meals and thought:

“Musab ibn Umayr was martyred in the Battle of Uhud. He was a better man than me. He was once wealthy but had nothing but an old coat at the time of his death. They used the coat as a shroud but it wasn’t even long enough to cover his body. After him, we were given all the riches of the world. What if we are being rewarded in this life instead of the next?”

He then began to weep, and left the table without eating. (Al-Bukhari, Janaiz, 27)

Another prominent companion Abu Dharr (ra) was poor. However, he was always grateful and would still give away plenty in charity. It was because the Prophet (saw) had advised him to:

“…add a little more water in your soup and share it with your neighbor.” (Muslim, Birr, 142)

Two companions…one rich, the other poor who had both filled their hearts with love for the Prophet (saw)! They shared the same state of mind and reflected a crystal clear patience in their lives in a genuine hope to attain the pleasure of Allah. We need to keep Allah in our minds, keep company with the righteous and sincerely pray for our hearts to be filled with similar emotions.

The Almighty says:

“O you who have believed, be patient and surpass your enemies in patience…” (Al Imran, 3:  200)

And elsewhere:

“By time…mankind is in loss; except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience” (Al-Asr, 103: 1-3)

However, to advise others with truth and patience, we must first apply them in our own lives.

May Allah (jj) grant each us the patience we need. May He give us a share of the patience of prophets and saints and also preserve us from trials too great for us to bear!


Source: The History of Prophets in Light of The Qur’an, THE CHAIN OF PROPHETS, Osman Nuri TOPBAŞ, Erkam Publications

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