The Importance of Sabr (or Patience) in Islam

The Importance of Sabr (or Patience) in Islam
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By Malik Aamir

Patience, according to the dictionary, means “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset”.
What is Patience or Sabr ?
Sabr is an Arabic word for patience which comes from a root meaning to detain, refrain and stop. In the spiritual sense, patience means to stop ourselves from despairing and panicking, to stop our tongues from complaining, and to stop our hands from striking our faces and tearing our clothes at times of grief and stress.
How important is Patience ?
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. Be it a severe downfall in business or certain unavoidable circumstances, we can handle them all with the divine tool of patience! It is said that patience is a virtue but, in today’s time, patience has taken an altogether a different outlook ; people mix patience with laziness. Being patient does not mean being lazy, but being calm in setting goals that would lead to success.
What the Holy Qur’an Says About Sabr?
The Glorious Qur’an has given a lot of emphasis on patience and has given glad tidings to those who are patient. One who is patient earns Allah’s mercy, blessings and guidance. “Allah surely loves those who are the Sabireen (patient).” (Qur’an: Surah Aa’le Imran 3:146)
“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad
tidings to as-Saabireen (the patient ones). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Inna lillaahi wa Inna Ilaihi Raaji’un (Verily to Allah we belong and verily, to Him we shall return).”They are those on whom are the Salawaat (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.” (Qur’an:Surah Baqarah 2:155-157). “And be patient, indeed Allah is with the patient ones.” (Qur’an:Surah Anfal 8:46)
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the best and ultimate human example of being patient. He personifies this ideal. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) went to a city not far away from Makkah, known as Ta’if. He went there to preach Islam to the locals and approached the leaders of Ta’if and called them towards Islam. Not only did the leaders reject the call to Islam but they reacted in such a way that they set young children upon the Prophet Muhammad (PBHU) to taunt him, stone him and chase him out of Ta’if. The Prophet (PBUH)) bled till his footwear was drenched in blood. Angel Jibreel (AS) came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said, “If you wish, then I will give the order for two angels to crush the residents of Ta’if between the two mountains in which it lies.” The Prophet (PBHU) replied in the negative and said, “I am hopeful that their descendants will accept Islam.” Allahu Akbar! This was the patience of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (Sahih Al Muslim 4425).
Patience and Shikwah (Complaint):
Shikwah (complaint) falls into two categories: The first type means to complain to Allah, and this does not contradict patience. It is demonstrated by several of the Prophets, for example, when Ya qub (AS) said:
“I only complain of my distraction and anguish to Allah.” (Yusuf , 12:86).
The Qur’an also tells us about Ayyub(AS):
“And (remember) Ayyub (AS)when he cried to his Lord, ‘Truly distress has seized me. (Al-Anbiya 21:83).
The epitome of patience, the Prophet (PBUH), prayed to his Lord: “ O Allah, I complain to You of my weakness and helplessness.” Musa (AS) prayed to Allah, saying: “O Allah, all praise is due to You, and complaint is made only to You, and You are the only One from Whom we seek help and in Whom we put our trust, and there is no power except by Your help.” The second type of complaint involves complaining to people, either directly, through our words, or indirectly, through the way we look and behave. This is contradictory to patience.
Patience is of three types:
(i) Patience upon obedience means to be patient when finding it hard obeying Allah’s commandments. Example: Allah wants us to wake up early for Fajr prayers and while establishing this as our daily routine we need to be extremely patient, we need not lose hope but we have to strive hard in following Allah’s command and being obedient to Him.
(ii) To be patient when trouble befalls you. For example:
When we suffer acute losses in business, wealth or property, we have to be very patient and have trust in Him alone. Nothing happens without His will. This life is a test and Allah is with those who are patient.
(iii) To be patient when finding it hard to abstain from sins. For example:
When a person has fallen a trap to bad habit of watching movies, listening to music and so on and strives hard to refrain from it and urges himself to abandon the bad habit, Allah would , Insha’Allah, help him in practicing patience and he would be rewarded.

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