In Islam, having patience (sabr in Arabic) comes with many benefits and rewards. Patience is an admirable quality which helps us connect with Allah (SWT), speak and act upon the truth, and to endure with strength through hardships.
Sabr translates literally as endurance, although it is more accurately likened to perseverance and/or persistence. It makes up one of two parts of faith (the other being shukr, which means thankfulness and gratitude). The importance of patience is a recurring theme in the Holy Qu’ran with the word ‘sabr’, alongside eraaz (which translates from Arabic to avoidance), appearing more than 100 times in the scriptures.
The Teaching of Patience/Sabr
Patience in Islam is not about adopting a passive attitude. The Qur'an does not teach us to remain silent, but neither does it encourage confrontation. Life is a mix of challenges, with everyone having the freedom to do as they wish and live the life that they see fit. This, of course, means that there will be times when another person’s freedom is not compatible with our own.
However, only Allah (SWT) has the power to take that freedom away – this is not something that any human has and this must be respected. Instead, this means showing patience/sabr to any challenges faced and managing patience to face them successfully. Doing so brings reward in the eyes of Allah (SWT).
“Indeed, he who fears Allah and is patient, then indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.” [Yusuf: 90]
There is no Altering the Creation of God
All prophets adopted this same attitude, because “there is no altering the creation of God” [al-Rum 30:30]. Allah (SWT) is the original creator of the heavens, the earth and all those who live in it; it is not for any human to attempt to change the creation.
To adopt the same values of the prophets means adopting the culture of patience and avoiding confrontation where possible. There is beauty in all of Allah’s (SWT) creations and we must see the positive more than the negative.
“And how many a prophet [fought and] with him fought many religious scholars. But they never lost assurance due to what afflicted them in the cause of Allah, nor did they weaken or submit. And Allah loves the patient ones.” [Surah Aali Imran 3:146]
Finding a Way Through Patience in Islam
We can adopt the teachings of the Holy Qur’an into our way of life in many ways, guiding us now and into the hereafter. A physical journey, whether you are walking, driving or otherwise, is rarely a straight line from point A to B, with many twists and turns required for one reason or another.
Think about this in terms of personal and professional development. There will always be hardships along the way and it is how we deal with these setbacks, displaying patience, which ensures we can see a difficult situation from all angles and gain experience for the future. Confrontation rarely gets you anywhere and conflict, more often than not, closes one door without necessarily opening another – this helps no one.
The Holy Qur’an teaches us to control our anger as otherwise, it will become a distraction. We should adopt a positive mentality and, in the event of disagreement or provocation, we should remember the power of forgiveness and reconciliation.
The Discovery of Truth
Part of sabr is the discovery of truth, which is why patience in Islam is not simply sitting away in the corner and allowing the world to pass you by. Life presents many challenges and, unfortunately, there remains those who face many more challenges than the average person. Those that suffer from poverty and war face the biggest challenges of all and the discovery of this truth, as well as taking action to help, purifies the soul.
With our charity appeals, UK Islamic Mission works tirelessly to ensure that the people most in need are safe and well in the most desperate of times. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) teaches us that it is not enough to recite the words of the Holy Qur’an but to not act upon them. Without the discovery of truth, there is no awakening and without your continued kind donations, there is no support for innocent lives.
“For those who do good in this world is good and the earth of Allah is vast. Only those who are patient will be paid back their reward without measure.” [az-Zumar 39: 10]
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