Now we begin a new chapter in our journey dear reader, with a study of ‘Patience and Gratitude’ an abridged translation of ‘Uddat as-sabirin wa dhakhirat ash-shakirin (The Equipment of the Patient and the Investment of the Grateful) by Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah.
First, a little about the author. He was born Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr ibn Ayyub ibn Sa’d az-Zar’i, in Damascus, Syria in 691 A.H. He was the son of the attendant (qayyim) of the school of al-Jawziyyah, which is where his kunya arises from. He lived during a period of great turmoil in the Muslim world, still reeling from the Mongol onslaughts, but also in a time of great scholarship. He studied under the great scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, and was a contemporary of Ibn Kathir amongst others, may Allah have mercy on them all.
This book deals with the closely related topics of patience and gratitude, in Arabic sabrand shukr. Although sabr is translated into English as patience, the Arabic term goes much deeper, to include fortitude, forbearance, endurance and equanimity etc. Shukr is translated as gratitude and also incorporates thankfulness.
Patience and gratitude are closely related, and as Muslims we should seek foster these characteristics in all aspects of our lives. Although ibn al-Qayyim’s work was written over six centuries ago, it has much to offer us living in these modern times.
May Allah make it of benefit to us. Ameen.
The author begins by praising Allah, who is known by the Beautiful Names As-Sabur the Patient, ash-Shakur the Thankful, al-‘Ali the Most High, al-Kabir the Great, as-Sami the All-Hearing, al-Basir the All-Seeing, al-Alim the All-Knowing and al-Qadir the All-Powerful, whose Power dominates every creature and Whose Will dominates every event. His Call to people to prepare for the Hereafter has been made so strongly, that even the dead could hear it. He then bears witness that there is no God except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, who did not spare any effort in advising his Ummah.
He goes on state that patience, or patient perseverance is considered obligatory by the majority of scholars, and that it is half of imaan (faith), whilst the other half is gratitude (shukr). Patience is mentioned in the Qur’an around 90 times, and the relationship of patience to imaan is like the head to the body, the one who has no patience has no imaan. Allah tells us the Qur’an:
“O you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance (sabr) and prayer…” (Surah al-Baqarah : 153)
Patience is so important, it has also been made a condition of our entry into Paradise and being saved from the Hellfire. On the Day of Judgement Allah will say:
“I have rewarded them this day for their patience and constancy: they are indeed the ones that have achieved bliss…” (Surah al-Mu’minun: 111)
Allah commanded us to be patient when He said:
“..(it is righteousness…) to be firm and patient, in pain or suffering and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing.” (Surah al-Baqarah: 177)
“…Allah loves those who are firm and steadfast.” (Surah Al ‘Imran: 146)
Those who are patient will have a special ‘companionship’ (ma’iyyah) which means that Allah is protecting and supporting them, as He tells us:
“…And be patient and persevering: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” (Surah al-Anfal: 47)
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, told us that, ‘There is no better gift than patience’. The author tells us that this book has been written to highlight the need for patience, and that our happiness in this life and the Hereafter depend on it. What is good in this book is from Allah and what is mistaken is from Shaytan. May Allah forgive the author and editor, and we put our trust in Allah.