Student Essay Submission: Patience (Sabr)

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In Islam, one of the most important characteristics is patience or sabr. Sabr stems from the Arabic root meaning to stop, refrain, or detain. Patience based on numerous studies from Islamic scholars can mean refrain from complaining, seeking help from Almight Allah (SWT), following the Qur’an and Sunnah, and keeping close to Allah (SWT). Patience gives us the ability to do good, such as prayer and fasting, while refraining from evil, such as yelling at someone. Patience is a quality that enables a Muslim to respond correctly to every aspect of life, especially when there is a challenge. Patience makes us turn our faces to Allah (SWT) especially in times of need and not giving up hope that Allah (SWT) is with us.

Patience allows us to persevere, keep trying, and never give up no matter that consequences because we know that we are doing the right thing, even though it may be tolling.

Life, as we know, is a test. Not everything is handed to us on a silver platter. So it is the quality of patience that makes us attain that golden success when success may not be visible in the immediate future. In surah Al-Asr, Allah (SWT) educates Muslims that, in order to obtain success in this life and the hereafter, we must “And (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience and constancy” (Surah Al-Asr).

In surah Al-’Imran, ayat 200, Allah (SWT) says, “O those who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other, and fear Allah (SWT); that you may prosper.” Again mentioned in the Glorious Quran, patience is mandatory for even our prayers- “Nay, seek Allah’s (SWT) help with patience, perseverance, and prayer” (Al-Baqarah, 2:45). In fact, the Quran mentions patience at least 90 times.

In surah Yunus, Ayat 109, Allah (SWT) says, “And (Oh Muhammad (ﷺ)), follow the inspiration sent unto you, and be patient till Allah gives judgement.” Thus, one of the foundations of our religion is patience, and this applies to our daily lives and was evident in the lives of every Messenger. For instance, Prophet Nuh (A) spent decades trying to convince his people to worship Allah (SWT). Another examples is Prophet Yusuf when he was patient for those years he spent in jail for a crime he did not commit. Another instance is Prophet Musa as he was patient in his dealing with the evil pharaoh. Finally, in the life of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), patience was evident with his life including the tragic deaths that occurred in his life. Some of this heart wrenching moments were with the death of this father, his mother, the death of his wife, Khadijah ®, his uncle (Abu Talib), the death of three of his four blessed daughters, his own sons, and even his uncle Hamza (R) .

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Death takes a heavy toll on any human being, yet, what the Prophet (ﷺ) experienced will always be more patience than what any other human being could experience. Another example of his patience is when the Prophet (ﷺ) was made fun of and sent out of his hometown by the kufar. The amount of suffering and persection he experienced took much patience. Clearly, the Prophet (ﷺ) was patient to stay with Islam and its teachings despite that hardships that tried stopping him in preaching the Truth.

Patience is an important virtue that we Muslims innately learn about because our life is full of waves of trials and tribulations so when we are either happy or sad, we must remember Allah (SWT) and strive for patience. We must never give up on Allah (SWT).

How do we attain this patience? In a famous hadith, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) says, “Whoever tries to be patient, then Allah will help him be patient.” This means that patience is something we have to work for, it is not a quality we are born with. For instance, for children, fasting an entire day becomes easier after fasting for 1/2 day then 2/3 then the entire day and then the entire month of Ramadan Shareef. If we are sincere in our actions and do things correctly, Allah (SWT) will bless us with the quality of patience. Consequently, next time we have a stressor in our life, our response will be more positive because of the patience that we have learned from past experiences. Also, we must learn the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah in order to practice patience correctly. For example, patience including asking help from Allah (SWT) during calamity can only be done correctly if we know how to pray correctly– i.e. wudu, Salat, Du’a. We also need to study the lives of the Prophets to lean about how they were patient so we can learn from their experiences– most importantly, Seerhat-un-Nabi because the Prophet (ﷺ) had to practice such a high degree of patience in his life that there is every example possible of an extreme case of being patient that is evident in his life. So when we feel like we are being patient, it is nothing in caliber compared to Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). Yes, we as Muslims should achieve the noble characteristic of patience, but we should realize that it is a lifelong learning process that starts from birth, and with this quality, we can handle life only with success, inshALLAH.

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– Written by Hasan Munshi