Introduction to Patience
The literal meaning of sabr (patience) is to constrict, endure, to remain steadfast or to tie. The significance of patience can be judged from the fact that the Quran mentions it in this way:
And seek (Allah’s) help through patience and prayer. But this is no doubt hard except for the humble (whose hearts have been softened with the love of Allah and gripped with His Fear). (2:45)
Patience Brings Purity in Character
Undoubtedly, for any seeker of Allah, patience and salat are the greatest weapons. Through salat, the true believer maintains a connection with Allah through which he receives the graciousness and love of Allah. On the other hand, through patience, one’s character gains purity and consistency in religion. In times of distress and difficulty, one should shield oneself with patience and salat. This is because as one increases the remembrance of Allah, one’s difficulties start decreasing.
O believers! Always seek help (from Me) through patience and prayer. Certainly, Allah is (always) with those who observe patience. (2:153)
Allah Tests Patience of Believer
At another place, Allah says:
Meaning: And We will most certainly test you somewhat by means of fear and hunger and certain loss of wealth and lives and fruits. And, (O Beloved,) give glad tidings to those who observe patience. (2:155)
With regard to this verse, Imam Shafi says that fear means the fear of Allah, hunger means the fasts of Ramadan, loss of wealth refers to zakat and sadaqah, loss of lives means the death resulted by illnesses whereas loss of fruits means the death of children because children are the fruits of love.
Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) says in a Hadith:
“When someone’s child dies, then Allah addresses the angels that you took the soul of the child of my slave, they reply in affirmation. Allah asks again that you took the result of their love and they reply yes again. Then Allah inquires that what did My slave say as a result of it? The angels reply, that he praised you and read:
(They are the ones) who, when afflicted with some distress, say: ‘Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.’ (2:156)“
Hearing this, Allah commands, “Make a house for him in paradise and name it the House of Praise.”
At another place, Allah says:
Except for those who remain steadfast and continue doing pious deeds. For them is forgiveness and great reward. (11:11)
Allah Swears by Time to Reward the Patient Believers
Time refers to the rotation and alternation of day and night. When night falls, darkness prevails and when day arises, everything lights up except sometimes the night becomes long and day shortens whereas at other times, the day extends and the night shrinks. This is revolution of time that proves the craftsmanship of Allah’s created nature. This is why Allah has sworn by it. The loss and destruction of man is evident because as long as he is alive, his day and night passes while struggling till he meets death and even then he does not get any peace and becomes the fuel to the fire of hell. Only those are safe from this loss who are faithful and do good deeds because no matter how their lives maybe, but after death, they are granted eternal bounties and heavenly life.
Abu Bakr’s Incident Regarding Patience
Regarding patience, a Hadith states:
Abu Huraira relates the tradition that once Holy Prophet (pbuh) was sitting and somebody started badmouthing about Abu Bakr. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) kept listening to the curses that man threw at Abu Bakr and kept watching the patience and silence of Abu Bakr. However, when Abu Bakr answered a few of his objections, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) left in disapproval. Abu Bakr immediately ran after the Prophet (pbuh) and appealed, “O Messneger of Allah! You remained seated till that man insulted me but when I answered him back, you left disapprovingly, so why is that?” Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) replied, “When you observed silence and patience, there was an angel beside you who was advocating on your behalf. However, when you chose to reply to some of that man’s objections, the angel left and Satan came. I do not stay wherever there is Satan.”
(Ahmad bin Hanbal, Musnad 2436, reference 9622)
In this hadith, one learns that when someone insults you, one must remain patient by being silent so that the person realises his mistake himself and Satan does not get a chance to come in between. This way, things would not go out of hand and simultaneously, Allah would reward the one who observes patience.
Ali ibn Abi Talib’s View on Patience
The importance of patience can also be gauged from the fact that Allah mentions patience 70 times in the Quran.
According to a tradition, Ali ibn abi Talib states patience as a pillar of faith and counts it along with struggle (jihad), justice and certainty. Hence, Islam stands above 4 pillars:
Undoubtedly, patience is one such worship that takes one high and respectful spiritual level. Hence, one must always observe patience because not only our religion commands it but also because this is the only way through which we can reach our true destination i.e. gnosis and closeness of Allah.
Patience Leads to Success in Both Worlds
Ibn Abbas relates the tradition that Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said that whoever gets these 4 things, he succeeded in the world and hereafter:
(Maujam Auvast edition V, Hadith 7212)
Every person faces a time when things are not in his favour. However, in such situations Allah commands to practice patience and gratitude and gives glad tidings of rewards for the patient ones.
The Believer Observes Patience
Abu Huraira relates that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said when one of you sees a person who has more wealth and beauty than you (and it causes you envy, greed and makes you complain) then you should turn your eyes towards the one who has less than you so that instead of envy and greed, you observe patience and gratitude. The believers have the quality that in times of difficulty and hardships, they observe patience and hand over their matters to Allah. They trust Him and only seek His help. Moreover, they accept the will and decision of Allah and never complain to Him.
Hence, it has been declared:
And, (O Beloved,) give glad tidings to those who observe patience.(2:155)
The life of the last Prophet (pbuh) is in fact a narrative of trials. He was born and raised as an orphan, lost all loved ones at a very young age and faced enmity at every step right after the declaration of prophethood. However, none of this changed the nature or behaviour of Prophet Mohammad. He maintained his mission through patience and perseverance for which Allah had chosen him. For the success of Islam and to end infidelity, the Holy Prophet endured the following difficulties with patience, perseverance and a smile.
When the Holy Prophet announced his prophethood, the infidels oppressed him through various methods. Some called him a magician whereas others called him a madman (God forbid). However, Prophet Mohammad handled the situation through patience and perseverance and kept spreading Islam.
Prophet’s Incident of Patience
Once the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was praying near Kaaba and there was a group of infidels present. On the insistence of Abu Jahl, Uqba bin abi Maaz placed the intestine of a camel on the back of Holy Prophet while he bowed in a state of sujood making the disbelievers burst into fits of laughter. Fortunately, somebody informed the Prophet’s daughter Fatima (ra) about it. Hurriedly, she came and removed the filth off her father’s back. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said, “Be patient. May Allah guide them as they are oblivious to what is right for them.”
Although Abu Lahab was the paternal uncle of Prophet Mohammad yet when the Holy Prophet started to preach Islam, his uncle and his uncle’s wife Umm-e-Jameel became his enemies. Abu Lahab used to say, “People, he is a madman. Do not listen to what he says.” (God forbid). His wife used to spread thorns in Holy Prophet’s way. Sometimes this made the Prophet’s feet bleed. However, he endured all pains with patience and forbearance. He never cursed them.
Patience During Boycott
When the enemies observed that none of their tricks were working and Islam kept spreading, they boycotted trade and socialising with Banu Hashim in the Moharram of the 7th year of Prophethood. Except Abu Lahab, the entire family of Banu Hashim stayed with Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) in Shuaib-e-abi Talib. During this period, they endured such hardships that are hard to imagine. Yet, even in such times, Prophet Mohammad faced everything with exceptional patience, forbearance and perseverance. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) and his devotees handled these times with exemplary patience and perseverance.
Quran States Regarding Patience
Quran states while revealing the realities of world and hereafter:
(The riches) that you possess will be no more and what is with Allah will last. And those who remain steadfast, We shall certainly pay their recompense for their righteous deeds which they used to do. (16:96)
Therefore, those who remain steadfast upon the promise of Allah and forbear all difficulties and hardships with patience, their reward would not go to waste. The return for such a virtuous act would surely be granted by Allah. As Allah says:
It is these people who will be given their reward twice because they remained steadfast and they repelled evil by means of good, and spent in Our way out of the bounty We bestowed upon them. (28:54)
It has been stated at another place:
(O Beloved,) say (on My behalf), ‘O My servants, you who have believed, adopt Godwariness; it is for the men of spiritual excellence in this world that there is excellent reward. And Allah’s earth is vast. So the steadfast will certainly be given their reward without measure.’ (39:10)
Reward of Patience is Paradise
Abu Huraira narrates a Qudsi hadith:
“Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said that Allah says that if I turn a person blind and he remains patient upon this trial by expecting for a great reward from Me then I will not grant a reward less than paradise.”
Abu Osama relates the tradition that the Holy Prophet stated that Allah says if at the beginning, the sons of Adam would have kept patience in hope of reward then Allah would not have given anything in return except paradise.
Similarly, there is another qudsi hadith. Ans bin Maalik related that he heard the Holy Prophet (pbuh) say that Allah says, “When I put my slave in a trial due to his dearest assets i.e. his eyes, but he shows patience then I reward him with paradise.” (Sahih Bukhari, 3rd edition, hadith 631)
Suhaib related Prophet Mohammad to have said, “The matters of a true believer are unique. All his conditions and matters are full of positivity. However, if someone tries to afflict him with sorrow or grief, then he observes patience taking it to be Allah’s decision. This news is positive for him and rewards in beneficence.”
Supremacy of Believers with Patience
Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) says:
“On the day of judgment, Allah would gather all his Creation. Someone would be appointed to announce that where are the supreme ones. Some people would be standing and they would move towards paradise. The angels would meet them and say, “We can see you rushing towards paradise but who are you?” And they would reply that they are the supreme ones. The angels would ask that what is it that makes them supreme. They would reply that when they were oppressed, they would observe patience and when they were persecuted, they would let it go.
The angels would then allow them to enter paradise by saying the reward of the patient is good. Then the announcer would call, “Where are the patient ones?” Some people would start rushing towards paradise. The angels would meet them and ask the same question that they can be seen rushing towards paradise but who are they. They would reply, “We are the patient ones.” The angels would ask what was their patience. They would answer that they used to obsevre patience upon the obeying and disobeying of Allah. The angels would allow them to enter paradise by saying the reward of the patient is good.”
Patience is Praised by Saints
Patience is virtue. Hence, the Sufi saints have rightfully said that patience is one among a thousand worships from where a person spiritually elevates to great heights.
Among patience quotes, there is one of Ali ibn abi Talib. He says, “This life of 2 days. 1 day is in your favour and the other 1 is against you. When the day is in your favour, do not become arrogant and when the day is against you then be patient.”
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s Views on Patience
Patience does not mean that a person does not make any effort and keeps enduring helplessly. On the other hand, patience means that a person becomes so far-sighted and wise that he keeps track of the consequence of things while having faith in Allah. What is patience? Patience means that when one looks at the thorn, one also sees the flower and also that when one sees the darkness of the night, one senses the arrival of its enlightened morning. The Divine lovers never become hopeless because they know that it takes time for the moon to become full.
Allah Rewards Patience of Believers
The attributes of the Prophets and Saints, of patience and gratitude, are only granted by the company of the Fakirs. The sacred and beneficent company of the present Shaikh of Sarwari Qadri Order, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman has changed the nature of so many disciples that it amazes others.
Those entangled in worldly desires have become the owners of such enlightened qualities that they are surprised themselves. Moreover, they are grateful to Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen who converted them from seeker of the world to become the seeker of Allah gifting them with Faqr.
The Best Way to Observe Patience
Those who seek the path of Truth and wish to become the owner of a pious personality are openly invited to benefit from the sacred company of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen. Enrich yourself with the great treasure of invocation (dhikr) and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and unlock your spirituality. Guide your inner self and improve your outer aspects so that you may spend your life according to the will of Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) to become victorious.
I pray to Allah that He makes us such a dignified seeker who keeps patience in times of difficulty and hardships. Also, to become grateful to Allah at all times and be reflective of the attributes of Prophets and Fakirs. Ameen