Chapter 11: Sahbah on the virtues of patience


As-Safar said: Ab Bakr fell ill, so some people visited him and asked whether they should call a doctor for him. He said, The Doctor has already seen me.  They asked, What did he say? Ab Bakr said, He said, I do what I  want. (Meaning, that Allh is his Doctor and can make him sick or healthy as He wills) (Ahmad).

Umar ibn al-Khattb (RA) said: The best days we ever lived were by virtue of patience, and if patience were to take the shape of a man, he would be a noble and generous man.

Al ibn Ab Tlib (RA) said: The relation of patience to mn is like the relation of the head to the body. If the head is chopped off, the body becomes useless. Then he raised his voice and said: Certainly, the one who has no patience has no mn, and patience is like a riding-beast that nevers gets tired.

Umar ibn Abdul-Azz said: Allh never bestows a blessing on His slave then takes it away and compensates him by giving him patience, but that with which he has been compensated is better than that which has been taken away from him.


The story of Urwah ibn al-Zubayr

Urwah ibn al-Zubayr came to visit the Khalfah al-Wald ibn Abdul-Malik. With him was his son Muhammad, who was one of the most handsome of men. The young man had dressed up for the occasion in fine clothes, and had his hair in two plaits or braids. When al-Wald saw him, he said, This is how the young people of Quraysh look! and by so saying, put the evil eye on him. Before he left, the young man fell ill. When he was in the stable (preparing for the journey) he fell down, and the horses trampled him to death.

Then Urwah got gangrene in his leg, and al-Wald sent doctors to him, who suggested that the leg should be amputated, otherwise the gangrene would spread to the rest of the body and kill him. Urwah agreed, and the doctors began to remove his leg, using a saw. When the saw reached the bone, Urwah fainted, and when he came around, sweat was pouring down his face, and he was repeating, L ilh ill-Allh, Allhu akbar. When the operation was over, he picked up his leg and kissed it, then said, I swear by the One Who mounted me on you, I never used to walk to any place of wrong action or to any place where Allh would not like me to be. Then he gave instructions that the leg should be washed, perfumed, wrapped in a cloth and buried in the Muslim graveyard.

When Urwah left al-Wald and returned to Madnah, his family and friends went to meet him at the outskirts of the city and to offer condolences. The only reply he made was to quote from the Qurn: truly we have suffered much fatigue at our journey (al-Kahf 18:62). He did not say any more than that. Then he said, I will not enter Madnah, for people there either rejoice over the afflictions of others, or else feel envy for their blessings. So he went to stay in a place at al-Aqq. s ibn Talhah came to visit him there and said, May your enemies fathers perish! and asked him, Show me the affliction for which I have come to console you. Urwah uncovered his stump, and s said, By Allh, we were not preparing you to wrestle! Allh has saved most of you: your sanity, your tongue, your eyesight, your two hands, and one of your two legs. Urwah told him, Nobody has consoled me as you have.

When the doctors came to perform the amputation, they had asked Urwah whether he would drink intoxicants to ease the pain. He said, Allh is testing me to see the extent of my patience. How could I go against His commands?


Beautiful patience (sabr jaml Ysuf 12:83) and panic

Mujhid said: Beautiful patience is patience without any panic. Amr ibn Qays said: Beautiful patience means to be content with  adversity and to surrender to the will of Allh.

Ynus ibn Yazd said: I asked Rabah ibn Abdul-Rahmn: What is the ultimate of patience? He said: To be outwardly the same at the time of affliction as one was the day before it struck. (This does not mean that a person does not or should not feel pain or anguish; patience in this instance means that one refrains from panicking and complaining.)

Commenting on the meaning of beautiful patience, Qiyas ibn al-Hajjj said: The person who is suffering from some affliction should behave in such a way that nobody is able to distinguish him from others.

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