Many say that patience is a virtue, and indeed it is. As a virtue, it holds high moral standards that are derived from integrity, honor, and purity, and for us Muslims these teachings come from the Quran. There are numerous Ayahs and Surahs in the Quran where patience (Sabr) is mentioned as a virtue that all Muslims must possess.

How important is patience in the life of a Muslim? This article attempts to answer this very question. 

Seeking Patience: The Virtues of Sabr

Throughout our lives in this world, Allah will test us with numerous trials. From the day we are born to the day we pass away, we are faced with many tribulations that bring difficulty to our lives. At a young age, we sometimes don’t succeed in school, or we lose a grandparent, or our parents get divorced. When we mature, we face financial hardships, sometimes marital issues, or difficulties in our career. Our faith itself can fluctuate during such trying times. But Allah Himself promises that all the difficulties that we face with patience will not go unrewarded.

Seeking Sabr From The Quran

As Allah says in the Quran: [1]

Have patience. Allah does not deny the rewards of the righteous.

And further: [2]

So verily, with hardship, there is relief. Verily, with hardship, there is relief.

Sabr in The Quran 11:115

Background Image: The Great Masjid of Djenne (Mali)

Sometimes, maintaining Sabr is difficult, but we should always be mindful of Allah and the rewards that await us if we remain patient through the tests and trials that Allah gives us.

Learning Sabr From The Prophets

The prophets (may peace be upon all of them) were also tried by Allah during their lives on earth. Hz Adam (AS) was tempted by Shaytan to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree, and following that, he and Hz Eve (RA) were expelled from Paradise to live here on earth.

Hz Noah (AS)’s people were idolaters with whom he tried to reason without respite. Eventually, as per the orders of Allah, he had to build the ark and watch his wife and sons drown in the terrible flood. Hz Abraham (AS)’s people tried to burn him when he explained to them that the planets and the stars cannot benefit or harm anyone, and are not worthy of worship. Hz Yousuf (AS)’s own brothers plotted to kill him; he was even sold in the Egyptian slave market! And of course, Hz Yunus (AS) was even swallowed by a fish, stranded at sea!

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Furthermore, our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) too had to face numerous hardships and trials — he was forced to leave his city of Mecca, his companions and friends were often tortured, he received innumerable death threats, people misbehaved with him, and so on. Yet, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) faced all the problems with patience, and never once did he give up.

Throughout all these trials, the prophets (not all of whom are listed) remained patient. In fact, they gained patience from such trials, because their Iman was unquestionably strong, and they knew that Allah is with them.

The Virtues of Patience (Sabr)

As we can see, Sabr needs to be an integral part of our lives. Even when times get difficult, we must be patient and accept the tests that Allah gives us. Everyone is tested in some way or the other, and we must always be mindful of Allah, and of the fact that Allah is always with those who are patient, and this can be witnessed in this Hadith: [3]

Mus’ab ibn Sa’d reported that his father, Sa’d bin Abu Waqas, asked, “O Messenger of Allah, which people are most severely tested?” He (PBUH) said: “The Prophets, then the next best and the next best. A person is tested according to his religious commitment. If he is steadfast in his religious commitment, he will be tested more severely, and if he is frail in his religious commitment, his test will be according to his commitment. Trials will continue to afflict a person until they leave him walking on the earth with no sin on him.”

Our Lord! Pour out on us patience and constancy, and make us die as those who have surrendered themselves unto You!

References

  1. The Quran 11:115 (Surah Hud)
  2. The Quran 94:05-06 (Surah al-Inshirah)
  3. Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 36 Hadith 98