The Patience of Noble and Ignoble People

Every person has to exercise patience in order to face difficulties, whether they do it willingly or unwillingly. The noble person exercises patience willingly, because they relish the benefit of patience, and know the reward that it will bring. Whatever is decreed is qada’ wa qadr and cannot be prevented from happening, and whatever is decreed not to happen cannot be made to happen. An attitude of impatience therefore does not change one’s situation, and in fact actually causes harm.

A wise man said, “A man with wisdom as soon as adversity appears does that which a foolish man does after a month (i.e. he resorts to patience)”.

The ignoble person exercises patience only when they realise they have no choice. After wasting a lot of time and energy panicking and becoming frustrated, they realise that impatience won’t help them. At this point they exercise the same type of patience as the person who is tied up and whipped, in that they have no choice.

The ignoble person has great patience in obeying their whims and desires, but little patience in obeying their Lord. They will avoid enjoining the good and forbidding the evil for fear of what people will say about them, but they will expose their honour to slander and bear it patiently for the sake of their own desires. Such people will never be noble in the sight of Allah, and on the Day of Resurrection, they will not be raised with the people of nobility and decency.

Extracted from Patience and Gratitude by Ibn al-Qayyim Pages 30-31

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