There are several verses in the Quran which urge man to exercise patience. The English translation of the Arabic word “sabr” does not do justice to its true meaning. The Arabic word has several shades of meaning. Most equate patience with steadfastness, constancy, endurance of pain and adversity with containment. These descriptive terms are correct but there are other important meanings in the Quran.
Lets us explore the principle of “sabr” as understood in the Quran. “Sabr” is considered by Allah to be the determination factor in all affairs (chapter 3 – verse 186) from winning a righteous war to conquering one’s own desires and guarding against evil. It is the key to a successful and fulfilling life in this world and in the hereafter.
۞ لَتُبْلَوُنَّ فِىٓ أَمْوَٰلِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ وَلَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا۟ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ وَمِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوٓا۟ أَذًۭى كَثِيرًۭا ۚ وَإِن تَصْبِرُوا۟ وَتَتَّقُوا۟ فَإِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ ٱلْأُمُورِ
“You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves. And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah much abuse. But if you are patient and fear Allah – indeed, that is of the matters [worthy] of resolve.” [Surah Ali Imran 3:186]
Patience is inseparably linked to truth, trust in Allah, success, reward, healing of body and mind, firmness of purpose, being systematic and organised, not being lazy, rebellious and ungrateful.
Our grand purpose in life is earning Allah’s pleasure. This is achieved by adhering to His commands as set out in the Quran. “Sabr” is a crucial component of His laws. Patience comes from Allah and must be prayed for. One must earn this blessing through striving.
Let us take a few examples of everyday life and learn how patience applies. If you are an employee and occasionally required to do an extra bit without being compensated, do not become unhappy and resentful, but do it with a smile. Allah will reward you amply as long as you have patience and trust Allah; never will Allah make your good deeds of no effect (chapter 11 – verse 115). If you are struck with an illness, do not despair.
Do not regard it as bad luck or a curse from Allah as disbelievers do. The true servants of Allah consider pain and adversity as a trial and test of one’s faith. Allah does not wish to punish you; it may be a wake-up call of one’s mortality, it may be to strengthen one’s faith or there may be good other reasons.
وَٱصْبِرْ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ
“And be patient, for indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.”
[Surah Hud 11:15]
Patience does not mean to be passive. In the case of illness for instance, one should be proactive and learn how to control or reverse the condition as well as pray to Allah to assist the healing process. While in the state of adversity always remember Allah’s promise in chapter 94: “Surely after each difficulty comes ease”.
PATIENCE IS ONE’S PASSPORT TO PARADISE
Author: Dr Yusuf Noor