Patience and Victory

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said,

“and that victory comes with patience.”

This statement is in full accord with the sayings of Allah, Most High,

“You who have faith! When you meet a troop, stand firm and remember Allah repeatedly so that hopefully you will be successful.” (al-Anfal 8:45)

“If there are twenty of you who are patient, they will overcome two hundred; and if there are a hundred of you, they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve.” (al-Anfal 8:65)

He said, concerning the story of Talut,

“Then when he and those who had faith with him had crossed it, they said, ‘We do not have the strength to face Goliath and his troops today.’ But those who were sure that they were going to meet Allah said, ‘How many a small force has triumphed over a much greater one by Allah’s permission! Allah is with the patient.” (al-Baqarah 2:249)

Allah, Most High, says,

“Yes indeed! Bit if you are patient and have taqwa and they come upon you suddenly, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels clearly identified.” (Ali-Imran 3:125)

There are many verses and ahadith concerning being patient when meeting the enemy.

Umar asked the elders of Banu Abasa, ‘What tool do you fight people with?’ They replied, ‘With patience for an hour.’

All this pertains to fighting the external enemy: fighting the disbelievers, but the same applies to fighting the internal enemy: fighting the lower self and base desires. Indeed, fighting these is one of the greatest forms of Jihad. The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him, said,

“The Mujahid is one who strives against his soul for the sake of Allah.” (Ahmad)

Abdullah ibn Amr replied to a person who asked about Jihad by saying, ‘Start with your self and strive against it. Start with your self and start a campaign against it!’

This Jihad also requires patience, whoever steadfastly strives against his self, his desires and his shaytan will achieve victory. Whoever, on the other hand, despairs and gives up patience will be overcome, deflated and imprisoned. He will become subjugated and mean, imprisoned by his shaytan and his desires.

Ibn al-Mubarak said, ‘Whoever is patient will end up finding little requiring patience. Whoever despairs will find little to take pleasure in.’

Bukhari and Muslim record that the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“The strong person is not a person who wrestles, but a strong person is that person who can control himself when angry.” 

A person described Ahnaf ibn Qays with the words, ‘He had a complete mastery over his self when angry.’

Know that your self is like an animal, if it knows that you are firm and resolute, it will not waver, but if it knows that you are lazy and irresolute, it will take advantage and hanker after its wants and pursue its lusts.

Abu Sulayman al-Darani would say, ‘While in Iraq, I was in charge of [up keeping] the palaces, the vessels, cloths and food for the princes and my soul did not want any of them. Then I was put in charge of dates and my soul almost fell upon them.’ This was mentioned to one of the Gnostics who said, ‘He had no hope of attaining the first so his lusts did not hanker after them, but he did want the second, so he did hanker after them’.

Therefore, his saying,

”and that victory comes with patience”

subsumes patience and steadfastness against both the external and internal enemy. The Salaf would view this latter patience: patiently striving against the self and desires to be better than patience in the face of tribulation.

Maymum ibn Mihran said, ‘Patience is of two categories: patience when encountering calamity which is good, and patience in avoiding sins, which is better.’ Said ibn Jubayr said, ‘Patience is of two types: the best form is patience in avoiding what Allah has proscribed and doing those acts of worship that He has made obligatory, and patience when facing calamity.’

The Legacy of the Prophet Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali p133-139