The Excellence of Patience

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

All praise is for Allāh the Almighty; we praise him and seek refuge in him from the evils within ourselves and from our actions.

To proceed:

Allāh ‘azza wa jal says in his book:

۞ لَتُبلَوُنَّ فِىٓ أَموَٲلِكُم وَأَنفُسِكُم وَلَتَسمَعُنَّ مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلكِتَـٰبَ مِن قَبلِكم وَمِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَشرَكُوٓاْ أَذً۬ى كَثِيرً۬ا‌ۚ وَإِن تَصبِرُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ فَإِنَّ ذَٲلِكَ مِن عَزمِ ٱلأُمُورِ (١٨٦)

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves, and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you and from those who ascribe partners to Allah, but if you persevere patiently, and become Al-Muttaqun then verily, that will be a determining factor in all affairs, and that is from the great matters.” [Aali-‘Imraan, 3:186]

Patience and Taqwa are mentioned together and named as ‘the great matters’. These two qualities are used synonymously in the Qur’an and the people of knowledge in the past mentioned the reason for this being that patience is required for everything that a Muslim does from goodness and everything he stays away from that is bad for him, as is mentioned by Imam Ibn Katheer in his Tafseer:

والصبر صبران ، فصبر على ترك المحارم والمآثم ، وصبر على فعل الطاعات والقربات . والثاني أكثر ثوابا لأنه المقصود . كما قال عبد الرحمن بن زيد بن أسلم : الصبر في بابين ، الصبر لله بما أحب ، وإن ثقل على الأنفس والأبدان ، والصبر لله عما كره وإن نازعت إليه الأهواء . فمن كان هكذا ، فهو من الصابرين الذين يسلم عليهم ، إن شاء الله .

“There are two types of Sabr ـ patience: one for avoiding the prohibitions and sins, one for acts of worship and obedience. The second type carries more rewards than the first type. As `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, ‘Sabr has two parts: patience for the sake of Allah concerning what He is pleased with (i.e., acts of worship and obedience), even if it is hard on the heart and the body, and patience when avoiding what He dislikes, even if it is desired. Those who acquire these qualities will be among the patient persons whom Allah shall greet (when they meet Him in the Hereafter; refer to Surat Al-Ahzab 33:44), Allah willing.'”

This is why Allāh jalla wa ‘alaa mentions Taqwa with respect to Ramadhan and the Prophet ‘alayhissalaatu wassalaam named Ramadhan the month of patience:

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيكمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبلِكم لَعَلَّكُم تَتَّقُونَ (١٨٣)

“O you who believe! Observing As-Saum is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun.” [al-Baqarah, 2:183]

صَومُ شَهرِ الصَّبرِ، وثَلاثةِ أيَّامٍ مِن كلِّ شهرٍ؛ صَومُ الدَّهرِ.

الراوي : أبو هريرة | المحدث : شعيب الأرناؤوط | المصدر : تخريج المسند | خلاصة حكم المحدث : إسناده صحيح | التخريج :أخرجه النسائي (2408)، وأحمد (7577) واللفظ له

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah say: ‘The month of patience (Ramadan) and three days of each month is fasting for a lifetime.'” [An-Nasai (2408), Ahmad (7577), and similar wordings from Tirmidhi (762) and ibn Maajah (1708).]

Another similarity is the reward attached to them:

كلُّ عَملِ ابنِ آدمَ لَهُ إلَّا الصِّيامَ هوَ لي ، وأَنا أَجزي بِهِ …

الراوي : أبو هريرة | المحدث : الألباني | المصدر : صحيح النسائي | خلاصة حكم المحدث : إسناده صحيح | التخريج :أخرجه البخاري (1904)، ومسلم (1151)، والترمذي (764)، وابن ماجه (1638)، وأحمد (7693) باختلاف يسير، والنسائي (2216) واللفظ له

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: “Allah, the Majestic and the Exalted, said: ‘Every act of the son of Adam is for him except fasting. It is done for My sake, and I will give a reward for it…'” [Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ahmad and an-Nasai.]

قُل يَـٰعِبَادِ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُم‌ۚ لِلَّذِينَ أَحسَنُواْ فِى هَـٰذِهِ ٱلدُّنيَا حَسَنَةٌ۬‌ۗ وَأَرضُ ٱللَّهِ وَٲسِعَةٌ‌ۗ إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى ٱلصَّـٰبِرُونَ أَجرَهُم بِغَيرِ حِسَابٍ۬ (١٠)

“Say (O Muhammad SAW): ‘O My slaves who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism), be afraid of your Lord (Allah) and keep your duty to Him. Good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world, and Allah’s earth is spacious (so if you cannot worship Allah at a place, then go to another)! Only those who are patient shall receive their rewards in full, without account.'” [az-Zumar, 19:10]

To summarise, patience in all matters and obeying and staying away from what is prohibited as a result cannot, ever be trivialised. They are the greatest actions one can do and their reward is not set – our creator will decide how vast our reward will be.

Ibn Katheer mentions with respect to the ayaat of ar-Ra’d:

وَٱلَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ ٱبتِغَآءَ وَجهِ رَبِّهِم وَأَقَامُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَأَنفَقُواْ مِمَّا رَزَقنَـٰهُم سِرًّ۬ا وَعَلَانِيَةً۬ وَيَدرَءُونَ بِالحَسَنَةِ ٱلسَّيِّئَةَ أُوْلَـٰئكَ لَهُم عُقبَى ٱلدَّارِ (٢٢) جَنَّـٰتُ عَدنٍ۬ يَدخُلُونَهَا وَمَن صَلَحَ مِن ءَابَآئِهِم وَأَزوَٲجِهِم وَذُرِّيَّـٰتِهم‌ۖ وَٱلمَلَـٰئِكَةُ يَدخُلُونَ عَلَيهم مِّن كُلِّ بَابٍ۬ (٢٣) سَلَـٰمٌ عَلَيكُم بِمَا صَبَرتُم‌ۚ فَنِعمَ عُقبَى ٱلدَّارِ (٢٤)

“And those who remain patient, seeking their Lord’s Countenance, perform As-Salat and spend out of that which We have bestowed on them, secretly and openly, and defend evil with good, for such there is a good end; ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise, which they shall enter and (also) those who acted righteously from among their fathers, and their wives, and their offspring. And angels shall enter unto them from every gate (saying): ‘Salamun ‘Alaikum (peace be upon you) for that you persevered in patience! Excellent indeed is the final home!'” [ar-Ra’d. 13:22-24]

وقال الإمام أحمد ، رحمه الله : … عن عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص ، رضي الله عنهما عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال : ” هل تدرون أول من يدخل الجنة من خلق الله ؟ ” قالوا : الله ورسوله أعلم . قال : ” أول من يدخل الجنة من خلق الله الفقراء المهاجرون الذين تسد بهم الثغور ، وتتقى بهم المكاره ، ويموت أحدهم وحاجته في صدره لا يستطيع لها قضاء ، فيقول الله تعالى لمن يشاء من ملائكته : ائتوهم فحيوهم . فتقول الملائكة : نحن سكان سمائك ، وخيرتك من خلقك ، أفتأمرنا أن نأتي هؤلاء فنسلم عليهم ؟ قال : إنهم كانوا عبادا يعبدونني لا يشركون بي شيئا ، وتسد بهم الثغور ، وتتقى بهم المكاره ، ويموت أحدهم وحاجته في صدره فلا يستطيع لها قضاء ” . قال : ” فتأتيهم الملائكة عند ذلك ، فيدخلون عليهم من كل باب ، ( سلام عليكم بما صبرتم فنعم عقبى الدار )

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-As, may Allah be pleased with them both, narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “Do you know who among Allah’s creation will enter Paradise first?” They said: “Allah and His Messenger have more knowledge.” He said: “The first among Allah’s creation to enter Paradise are the poor emigrants (in Allah’s cause) with whom the outposts (of the land) are secured and the various afflictions are warded off. One of them would die while his need is still in his chest, because he was unable to satisfy it himself. Allah will say to whom He will among His angels, ‘Go to them and welcome them with the Salam.” The angels will say, ‘We are the residence of Your heaven and the best of Your creation, do You command us to go to them and welcome them with the Salam?’ Allah will say, ‘They are My servants who worshipped Me and did not associate anyone or anything with Me in worship. With them, the outposts were secured and the afflictions were warded off. One of them would die while his need is in his chest, unable to satisfy it.’ So the angels will go to them from every gate (of Paradise), saying, ‘Salamun ‘Alaykum (peace be upon you) for you persevered in patience! Excellent indeed is the final home!)'”.

Imam al-Qurtubi also mentions in his Tafseer:

وعن عبد الله بن سلام وعلي بن الحسين – رضي الله عنهم – أنهما قالا : إذا كان يوم القيامة ينادي مناد ليقم أهل الصبر ; فيقوم ناس من الناس فيقال لهم : انطلقوا إلى الجنة فتتلقاهم الملائكة فيقولون : إلى أين ؟ فيقولون : إلى الجنة ; قالوا : قبل الحساب ؟ قالوا نعم ! فيقولون : من أنتم ؟ فيقولون : نحن أهل الصبر ، قالوا : وما كان صبركم ؟ قالوا : صبرنا أنفسنا على طاعة الله ، وصبرناها عن معاصي الله وصبرناها على البلاء والمحن في الدنيا . قال علي بن الحسين : فتقول لهم الملائكة : ادخلوا الجنة فنعم أجر العاملين . وقال ابن سلام : فتقول لهم الملائكة : سلام عليكم بما صبرتم .

‘Abdullaah ibn as-Salaam and ‘Ali ibn al-Hussayn both said “On the day of Judgement a caller with call for the people of patience to stand and some people will stand. It will be said to them ‘Depart to paradise!’. The angels will receive them and they will say ‘Where are you going?’ to which they (the people) will say ‘to paradise’. The angels will ask ‘without judgement?’, the people will say ‘Yes!’. They (the angels) will say ‘who are you?’ to which they (the people) will say ‘we are the people of patience’. The angels will ask ‘what was your patience?’ and they (the people) will reply ‘our patience was upon the obedience of Allāh and being patient on our mistakes, and being patient upon trials (that afflicted us) and ordeals in the Dunya.’” ‘Ali ibn al-Hussayn said: “The angels will say to them ‘Enter paradise, then how excellent is the reward of those who do good!’”. ‘Abdullah ibn Salaam said: “The angels will say to them ‘Salamun ‘Alaikum (peace be upon you) for that you persevered in patience!’”.

To end, the Messenger of Allāh said:

احْفَظْ اللَّهَ تَجِدْهُ أمامك، تَعَرَّفْ إلَى اللَّهِ فِي الرَّخَاءِ يَعْرِفُك فِي الشِّدَّةِ، وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ مَا أَخْطَأَك لَمْ يَكُنْ لِيُصِيبَك، وَمَا أَصَابَك لَمْ يَكُنْ لِيُخْطِئَك، وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ النَّصْرَ مَعَ الصَّبْرِ، وَأَنْ الْفَرَجَ مَعَ الْكَرْبِ، وَأَنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا”.

الراوي : عبدالله بن عباس | المحدث : شعيب الأرناؤوط | المصدر : تخريج رياض الصالحين | خلاصة حكم المحدث : إسناده صحيح | التخريج :أخرجه الترمذي (2516) بنحوه، وأحمد (2803) باختلاف يسير

“Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. Recognize and acknowledge Allah in times of ease and prosperity, and He will remember you in times of adversity. And know that what has passed you by [and you have failed to attain] was not going to befall you, and what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and hardship with ease.” [Tirmidhi and Ahmad.]

So glad tidings to those who are patient, and truly successful they will be.