Chapter 9: Patience in the Qur’ân
Ahmad said: “Allâh has mentioned patience in the Qur’ân in ninety
places.” Here, we will list the different contexts in which patience appears.
Instruction. Patience in enjoined upon believers: “And be patient for your
patience is but by Allâh…” (an-Nahl 16:127). “Now await in
patience the command of your Lord…” (at-tűr 54:48).
That which is opposite to patience is forbidden: “…and be in no haste
about the (unbelievers)…” (al-Ahqâf 46:35). “So lose not heart nor
fall in despair…” (Al ‘Imrân 3:139). “…and be not like the
Companion of the Fish (i.e. Yűnus [AS]) – when he cried out in agony”
Patience is made a condition of success and prosperity: “O you who believe!
Persevere in patience and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each
other; and fear Allâh; that you may prosper” (Al ‘Imrân 3:200).
The rewards of those who exercise patience will be doubled: “Twice will
they be given their reward, for that they have persevered…” (al-Qasas
28:54). “…Those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward
without measure!” (az-Zumar 39:10). Sulaymân ibn Qâsim said that the
reward of every deed is known, except for the reward of patience, which will be
like heavy rain.
Patience and îmân are prerequisites for leadership in religion: “And
We appointed, from among them, leaders, giving guidance under Our commands, so
long as they persevered with patience and continued to have faith in Our
Signs” (as-Sajdah 32:24).
Patience is the way to earn the companionship of Allâh: “…and be patient
and persevering: for Allâh is with those who patiently persevere” (al-Anfâl
8:46). Abű Alî ad-Daqqaq said: “People who have patience are the true
winners in this world and the next, because they have the companionship of Allâh.”
Allâh will reward those who have patience with a threefold reward: blessings,
mercy and guidance: “…but give glad tidings to those who patiently
persevere – who say, when afflicted with calamity: ‘To Allâh we belong, and
to Him is our return’ – they are those on whom (descend) blessings from
their Lord, and Mercy and they are the ones that receive guidance” (al-Baqarah
2:155-7). When people came to offer their condolences to one of the salaf,
for some calamity that had befallen him, he said: “Why should I not practice
patience, when Allâh has promised those who have patience three rewards, each
of which is better than this world and everything in it?”
Patience is a means of seeking Allâh’s help: “…seek (Allâh’s) help
with patient perseverance and prayer…” (al-Baqarah 2:45). So whoever has
no patience has no help.
9. Patience and taqwâ are conditions for Allâh’s
help and support: “Yea – if you remain firm, and act aright, even if the
enemy should rush here on you in hot haste, your Lord would help you with five
thousand angels making a terrific onslaught” (Al ‘Imrân 3:125).
Patience and taqwâ are a great protection against the cunning of
enemies: “…But if you are constant and do right, not the least harm will
their cunning do to you…” (Al ‘Imrân 3:120).
The angels will salute the people of patience in Jannah: “…and
angels shall enter unto them from every gate (with the salutation of): ‘Peace
unto you for that you persevered in patience! Now how excellent is the final
Home!’ ” (ar-Ra‘d 13:24).
12. Allâh made it permissible to treat our enemies no
worse than they treat us, but He has made it clear that practising patience is
better: “And if you do catch them out, catch them out no worse than they
catch you out: but if you show patience, that is indeed the best (course) for
those who are patient” (an-Nahl 16:126).
Allâh made patience and right actions a condition for forgiveness and great
reward: “Not so those who show patience and constancy, and work
righteousness; for them is forgiveness (of wrong actions) and a great reward!”
Allâh has made patience a standard of courage and determination in the conduct
of one’s affairs: “But indeed if any show patience and forgive, that
would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of
affairs” (ash-Shűra 42:43) “(Luqmân said:) ‘O my son! …enjoin
what is just, and forbid what is wrong: and bear with patient constancy
whate’er betide you, for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of)
affairs” (Luqmân 31:17).
Allâh has promised the believers His support and victory, and has said that
they deserve this because of their patience: “…The fair promise of your
Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, because they had patience and
constancy…” (al-A‘raf 7:137).
Allâh has made patience a condition of His love: “How many of the Prophets
fought (in Allâh’s way), and with them (fought) large bands of godly men? But
they never lost heart if they met with disaster in Allâh’s way, nor did they
weaken (in will) nor give in. And Allâh loves those who are firm and steadfast
(as-sâbirîn)” (Al ‘Imrân 3:146).
Allâh has made patience a condition of receiving many blessings: “But
those who had been granted (true) knowledge said: ‘Alas for you! The reward of
Allâh (in the Hereafter) is best for those who believe and work righteousness:
but this none shall attain, save those who steadfastly persevere (in good)”
(al-Qasas 28:80). “And no one will be granted such goodness except those
who exercise patience and self-restraint – none but persons of the greatest
good fortune” (Fussilât 41:35).
Allâh has mentioned that only those who practise patience and gratitude will
benefit from the Signs of Allâh: “Do you not see that the ships sail
through the Ocean by the grace of Allâh? – that He may show you of His Signs?
Verily in this are Signs for all who constantly persevere and give thanks”
(Luqmân 31:31). “And among His Signs are the ships, smooth-running through
the ocean, (tall) as mountains. If it be His Will, He can still the Wind: then
they would become motionless on the back of the (ocean). Verily in this are
Signs for everyone who patiently perseveres and is grateful” (ash-Shűra
Allâh praised Ayyűb (AS) for his patience: “…Truly We found him full of
patience and constancy, how excellent in Our service! Ever did he turn (to
Us)!” (Sâd 38:44). Allâh described Ayyűb (AS) as excellent because of
his patience, sot he person who fails to exercise patience when it is necessary
will be regarded as a failure and a sinner.
Allâh has given a general ruling that whoever does not have faith and does not
belong to the people of truth and patience, is in state of loss. This means that
the only true winners are people of patience: “By (the Token of) Time
(through the Ages), verily Man is in loss, except such as have Faith, and do
right actions, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of the Truth, and of
Patience and Constancy” (al-‘Asr 103:1-3) Commenting on this sűrah,
Imâm ash-Shâfi‘î said: “If people thought deeply on this sűrah,
it would provide enough guidance, as man cannot attain perfection without
perfecting these two things, his knowledge and his actions, i.e. his faith and
right actions. As he is required to perfect himself, so he is required to
perfect others, which is joining together in mutual teaching of the truth. The
foundation of all this is patience.”
Allâh has mentioned that the main characteristic of those who attain salvation
is patience and compassion: “Then will he be of those who believe and
enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness
and compassion. Such are the companions of the right had” (al-Balad
Allâh has mentioned patience alongside the pillars of Islâm and îmân,
as He has mentioned it alongside sâlah: “Nay, seek (Allâh’s)
help with patient perseverance and prayer…” (al-Baqarah 2:45); alongside
right actions: “Not so those who show patience and constancy, and do right
actions; for them is forgiveness (of wrong actions) and a great reward” (Hűd
11:11); alongside gratitude (shukr): “…Verily in this are Signs
for everyone who patiently perseveres and is grateful” (ash-Shűra
42:32-33); alongside truth: “…and (join together) in the mutual teaching
of truth, and of patience and constancy” (al-‘Asr 103:1-3); alongside
compassion: “…those who believe and enjoin patience, (constancy, and
self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion…” (al-Balad
90:17); alongside faith: “…so long as they persevered with patience and
continued to have faith in Our Signs” (as-Sajdah 32:24); alongside truth: “…for
true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant…”
has made patience the means for attaining His love, His companionship, His help
and support, and His good rewards. This is sufficient honour and blessings.
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