Out of the many wonderful characteristics that a believer possesses, there is one that is exceptionally priceless-it is patience. Patience is a trait that brings out our best qualities and enables us to be true servants of Allah in all stages of our lives. Allah (SWT) has informed us of the wonderful virtues of being a patient believer and the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) has presented the most perfect examples of patience for us to follow and implement in our lives. There are three main categories that patience falls into, each unique in its own way.
Patience in the Qur’an
“And surely, We shall try you till We test those who strive hard (for the Cause of Allah) and As-Sabirun (the patient)” (47:31)
“O you who believe! Endure and be more patient…” (3:200)
وَالْعَصْرِ ﴿١﴾ By (the Token of) Time (through the ages), (103:1)
إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ ﴿٢﴾ Verily Man is in loss, (103:2)
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ ﴿٣﴾ Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy. (103:3)
Patience in the Sunnah
Abu Yahya Suhaib bin Sinan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him”.
Commentary: A Muslim is required to behave in poverty and prosperity, affluence and hardship, in the manner stated in this Hadith. It means that to forget Allah in prosperity, rather than being thankful to Him for His Favour is defiance of His Orders. Similarly, it is unbecoming of a Muslim that in troubles and turmoil, rather being patient, he tends to weeping and crying, grousing and grieving against the Will of Allah.
3 Types of Patience
1-Patience in Obeying Allah:
Allah (SWT) commanded us to obey Him at all times, in every matter. Fulfilling Allah’s commandments can be sometimes easy and sometimes very hard. In the times when it is hard for us to obey Allah, we must be patient. This means that we do not complain or get angry or doing what we have to do. For example, it may be hard for some people to get up for Fajr salah. Now, if we do not complain and get up quietly while asking Allah (SWT) to help us, then we get reward for being patient. In order to make it easy on us to obey Him, Allah (SWT) commands us the following in the Qur’an:
“Train yourself to persevere with the company of those who live in sincere servitude to their Lord throughout the day… “(Quran 16:28)
2-Patience in Abstaining from the Disobedience of Allah:
There are quite a number of things that Allah (SWT) told us to refrain from in this world. Whether it is disobedience to parents, cursing, drinking, or associating with the opposite gender to a certain extent, it all requires patience on our part to stay away from the disobedience of Allah (SWT). Suppose you are about to listen to some mainstream music. You know it is wrong for you to do so and pressing the ‘On’ button just seems so easy but you remember Allah and you fear Him, so you decide to stop yourself. In this case, you were being patient while not disobeying Allah (SWT).
3-Patience during Hardships:
Allah (SWT) sent us in this world to worship Him but as he says in Surah (something), we have to be tested. The more Allah (SWT) loves us, the more He tests us so that he may erase our sins and raise our levels in the Hereafter. Our duty is to be patient through the duration of whatever test Allah (SWT) gives us. We have to accept His decree and thank Him for not making it worse. This is the true patience which reaps many rewards for the person who endured difficulties without objection.
Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, “We believe”, and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false. (29:2-3)
“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirun (the patient)”. (2:155)
“When Allah wills good for a person, He subjects him to hardships.” (Bukhari and others)
Benefits of Patience
Now that we have learned about the commandment of patience, and the different types, we may wonder what benefits we get out of being patient. Allah (SWT) has not left us uninformed. In the Qur’an and in the Sunnah, we are told of the numerous rewards of being patient, of which I have provided three.
1) Allah (SWT) gives the patient ones full rewards for the hardships they went through:
“Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning.” (39:10)
2) Allah (SWT) gives us his companionship:
“Seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer). Truly, Allah is with As-Sabirun (the patient).” (2:153)
3) Allah (SWT) replaces that which you have lost with something better:
Umm Salamah narrates: I heard the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say, “Any Muslim that says when a calamity befalls him that which Allah commanded him: To Allah we belong and to him we return. O Allah reward me in this calamity and give me better then it – (any Muslim that says this) Allah will grant him better than (that which he lost).” (Muslim)