Patience (sabr)

Patience (sabr)

Mufti Taqi Usmani


Allah has created three worlds: one of complete bliss and comfort without any shadow of grief or pain which is Paradise; the second of pain and grief without any shadow of bliss or comfort; which is hell; and then there is the third world where bliss and grief and pain and comfort coexist, and this one is our present world. Consequently, there has never been nor can ever be, a man who has not at some time in his life tasted sorrow. Man, however rich or pious or powerful he may be, would experience pleasure as well as pain; even Allah’s chosen messengers have suffered in this world.

Hence, one who wants to be wholly and permanently free of sorrow and pain does not know the nature of this world and this desire of his can never be fulfilled. Of course, the measures of pleasure and pain may vary, but complete and permanent freedom from pain is impossible.

It is thus obvious that every one of us is visited by sorrow and pain in one form or the other. So if his lot impatient and frantic and laments his fate and bewails his lot it would not rid him of pain and sorrow. Such a behavior would, one the one hand,, exacerbate the feeling of pain and sorrow, and, on the other hand, his impatience would be of grave disadvantage to him in so far as the pain and sorrow which could earn him merit and reward would remain barren.

In contrast to this, there is a man who in times of pain and sorrow thinks of the brevity of mundane life and the inevitability of pain and then thinks that whatever Allah does has some Divine Design which man cannot unravel. This man then does not lament his lot nor does he complain; rather his faith in Allah and His doings is strengthened since whatever Allah does he believes Him to change his pain and sorrow into pleasure and comfort and to save him from such plights in future.

This way of thought is “patience”. Patience has the advent age that it brings solace and banishes dismay. Moreover the pain and sorrow thus become causes for boundless reward and merit since Allah says:


 اِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصّٰبِرُوۡنَ اَجۡرَهُمۡ بِغَيۡرِ حِسَابٍ

Verily those who persevere shall be granted their reward beyond all reckoning

Surah Az-Zumar 39 : v 10

Please note that sorrowing and worrying in times of trouble and trial are not sins, even weeping is sudden shock is not a sin, nor is it an act o impatience. Impatience is to criticize Allah and to lament and complain. Patience is to hold firm to one’s faith in Allah even when his whole world is crumbling into rains and heart is heavy with grief anti ewes are brimming with tears. It is this patience for which has been promised boundless reward.

One sign of patience is to repeatedly say:


إِنَّا لِلَّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ

Verily, we belong to Allah, and it is to Him that we are destined to return

Surah Bakarah 2 : v 156


For those who recite these words in times of trial and tribulation. Allah has said:


أُولَـئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَأُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ

Upon them will be the blessings and mercy of their Lord, and it is they who are rightly guided.
Surah Bakarah 2 : v 157
Consequently, our saints and learned men have rightly said that patience is equal to a thousand acts of worship and it leads to man’s spiritual elevation.

It does not require any major catastrophe for one o show patience and recite in everyday life there are many minor troubles and tests, which should be countered with the recitation of this ayah.

Umme Salmah has quoted our Holy Prophet (ﷺ) as saying that

“When a calamity strikes one of you, then let him say: ‘Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. O Allah, I seek reward with You for my affliction, so reward me for it, and replace it for me with something better (Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun Allahumma Indaka Ahtasibu Musibati Fa’jurni Fiha Wa Abdilni Minha Khair).’” When the time of death was near Abu Salamah, he said: ‘O Allah, replace me for my wife, with better than me.” So when he died, Umm Salamah said: “Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. I seek reward with Allah for my affliction, so reward me for it.”

حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ يَعْقُوبَ، حَدَّثَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ عَاصِمٍ، حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادُ بْنُ سَلَمَةَ، عَنْ ثَابِتٍ، عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ، عَنْ أُمِّهِ أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ إِذَا أَصَابَ أَحَدَكُمْ مُصِيبَةٌ فَلْيَقُلْ ‏:‏ ‏(‏ إنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ ‏)‏ اللَّهُمَّ عِنْدَكَ احْتَسَبْتُ مُصِيبَتِي فَأْجُرْنِي فِيهَا وَأَبْدِلْنِي مِنْهَا خَيْرًا ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَلَمَّا احْتُضِرَ أَبُو سَلَمَةَ قَالَ اللَّهُمَّ اخْلُفْ فِي أَهْلِي خَيْرًا مِنِّي فَلَمَّا قُبِضَ قَالَتْ أُمُّ سَلَمَةَ ‏:‏ ‏(‏ إنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ ‏)‏ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ احْتَسَبْتُ مُصِيبَتِي فَأْجُرْنِي فِيهَا ‏.‏
 Jami` at-Tirmidhi, Vol. 6, Book of Supplications, Hadith 3511
This clearly shows that إنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ must be recited when assailed by even minor troubles, and similarly patience should be exercised even in everyday problems and worries so that one gets merit of an act of worship. A sudden stumble, a prick of a thorn, failure of electric power, a bad news, a loss, all should be met with a recital of and it should be firmly believed that some Divine Purpose is at work behind every unpleasant event. This is true patience that ways earns immense amount of merit.

Another point to be remembered is that just as shedding tears over some grievous event is not contrary to patience, trying to ameliorate one’s lot and remove e the cause of pain and sorrow tone is not against the practice of patience. Seeking employment when unemployed obviously does not run counter to the practice of patience. One should try to better one’s condition ana also go on praying to Allah. Groaning due to pain is also not contrary to patience. The reality of patience is, as described above, not criticizing or bewailing any Divine decision, and reciting.
إنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
This recital is simple and brief but it earns immeasurable reward and merit.
Hide picture