Tuesday 22 February 2022

Patience (Sabr) is not surrendering to the circumstances - But to the Will of Allah

Patience (Arabic: صَّبْرِ ) is the ability of the man for the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like. However, there are many who when confronted with a loss or setback give in and surrender them to the circumstances, and generally go  into depression. In fact patience defines the level of endurance of sufferer based on his strength, belief in himself and faith in Allah.

Thus while people of with weak or no faith will surrender them to their setbacks, believers with strong faith in Allah will take their present position and situation as a test of Allah and will take solace from the fact that all good or bad things happen due to Will of Allah and that after every setback there is always hope and sunshine. In fact a true believer always accepts his circumstances and doesn't get disturbed even for a moment nor keeps a grudge in his heart against the one who wronged him nor pledges to take a revenge despite being able to do so. 

In Qur'an, there are many occasions when believers have been asked to be patient and have faith in Allah. For example in the 177th verse of Surah 2. Al Baqarah (The Cow), Allah asks believers to be patient on three occasions: 
 ... True righteousness are those who remain steadfast in adversity and affliction and at the time of battle (between Truth and falsehood).
It is in these three circumstances in which the determination and resolve of a person are tested. If a person remains steadfast in them, he would attain a high position in loyalty to God and in God-consciousness. This is precisely what the Qur’ān has said and in this manner has made it clear that those who want to fulfil the rights entailed by loyalty to God by merely offering some rituals and customs are neither God-conscious nor truthful in their commitment to His loyalty. 

And in the 44th verse of Surah 38. Al Qasas, Allah mentions a fine tribute to His servant Prophet Ayub (Job, peace be upon him) who had been inflicted with an incurable disease in which his entire body was plagued with virus. Yet the Prophet of Allah remained steadfast. And it is his extreme level of patience that Allah commends him and says:

وَخُذۡ بِيَدِكَ ضِغۡثًا فَاضۡرِبْ بِّهٖ وَلَا تَحۡنَثۡ​ؕ اِنَّا وَجَدۡنٰهُ صَابِرًا​ ؕ نِعۡمَ الۡعَبۡدُ​ ؕ اِنَّـهٗۤ اَوَّابٌ‏ 
(38:44) (and We said to him): “Take in your hand a bundle of rushes and strike with it, and do not break your oath.” Indeed We found him steadfast. How excellent a servant (of Ours) he was. Indeed he constantly turned (to his Lord).

In the 17th verse of Surah 31. Luqman, the wise man Luqman has been quoted advising his son on the observance of patience:

یٰبُنَیَّ اَقِمِ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اۡمُرۡ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ وَ انۡہَ عَنِ الۡمُنۡکَرِ وَ اصۡبِرۡ عَلٰی مَاۤ اَصَابَکَ ؕ اِنَّ ذٰلِکَ مِنۡ عَزۡمِ الۡاُمُوۡرِ 
Son! Be diligent in the prayer, urge what is good and forbid evil and whatever mishap strikes you [in this path], be steadfast on it. It is because these are the tasks which have been emphasized.

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi in his explanation of the verse notes that This is because this steadfastness is the fountainhead of resolve and determination and the splendour of all facets of character and conduct. It engenders the courage in a person to accept whole-heartedly the unpleasant experiences of life and to greet them regarding them to be from God instead of brooding and complaining. For this, it is required even more in urging others to the right path and stopping them from vice and in treading the path of virtue.

Readers are requested to read our earlier post " And resort to patience and prayer for Divine Help" inn which verse of Surah 2. Al Baqarah is explained.

Here I would like to draw the attention of my readers to Surah 103. Al Asr, wherein Allah lists down the four attributes of a true believer in the last verse:

In this Surah an oath has been sworn by the Time to impress the point that man is in sheer loss and only those people are an exception from the loss who are characterized by four qualities:

اِلَّا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ وَتَوَاصَوۡا بِالۡحَقِّ  ۙ وَتَوَاصَوۡا بِالصَّبۡرِ‏ 
( 3 )   Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.
  • (1) Faith.
  • (2) Righteous deeds.
  • (3) Exhorting one another to truth.
  • 4) Exhorting one another to patience.
Javed Ahmed Ghamidi explaining the verse notes that The words حَقّ (ḥaqq) and صَبْر (ṣabr) mentioned in the verse need deliberation. The Almighty did not say: “they urged others to righteous deeds.” On the contrary, His words are: “they urged one another to the truth and urged one another to remain steadfast on it.” What is the reason for this? Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:
… This style has not only included in it what is found in the first part, it has also made very important additions to it: i#mān is included to the utmost in al-ḥaqq because it is the right of God and in fact the greatest right of God. Similarly, righteous deeds either relate to the rights towards God or rights towards human beings; hence righteous deeds are also included in ḥaqq. It is evident from this discussion that believers do all these things as an obligation, urge others to adopt them and also counsel others that discharging these obligations is no easy a task; it requires patience and forbearance. Those who do not have this characteristic will find it very difficult to carry out these obligations. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 9, 536)
So my dear brothers and sisters, let built up a strong faith in Allah and must satisfy our hearts to the fact that whatever good or otherwise happen to us it is by Will of Allah and we must surrender to it and not lament by surrendering ourselves to the circumstances. If and when we attain this level of faith and patience, let me assure you we will be the most satisfied servants of Allah.

May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

You may read more posts on similar theme in our series of posts related to: Selected verses from Al-Qurʾān about Sabr   "صبر "   / Patience

For more Q&A about Understanding Islamplease refer to our reference page: Understanding Islam - Frequently asked Q&A You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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