The Virtues of Patience 3

Patience is obligatory and must be present. Beyond patience there is displeasure and malcontent and whoever is displeased at the decree of Allah, his lot will be displeasure. Moreover, the pain he will face and the malice of enemies will be far greater than his despair.

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Whoever inculcates patience in himself, Allah will grant him patience. Allah has not granted anyone a gift better and more expansive than patience.” (Buhkari)

Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ‘The best of our lives have been those accompanied by patience.’ (Bukhari) Ali said, ‘Patience with respect to faith is like the head with respect to the body: a person who has no patience has no faith.’ (Ibn Abi Shaybah al-Iman)

Al-Hasan said, ‘Patience is one of the treasures of Paradise. Allah only confers it to those He enables.’ Maymun ibn Mihran said, ‘No Prophet or anyone else has ever attained good except through patience.’ Ibrahim al-Taymi said, ‘Allah does not gift a servant with patience at harm, patience at tribulation and patience at calamity except that He has conferred on him the best [gift] after faith in Allah, Mighty and Magnificent.’ He derived from this the saying of Allah, Most High,

“…rather, those with true devoutness are those who have faith in Allah and the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the Prophets, and who, despite their love for it, give away their wealth to their relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to travellers and beggars and to set slaves fee, and who establish prayer and pay zakat; those who honour their contracts when they make them, and are patient in poverty and illness and in battle. Those are the people who are true. They are the people who have taqwa.” (al-Baqarah 2:177)

Umar ibn Abdul Aziz said, ‘Allah does not grant a blessing to a person only to take it away, leaving patience in its place, except that the replacement was better than what was removed.’ Then he recited,

“The patient will be paid their wages in full without any reckoning.” (al-Zumar 39:10)

One of the righteous would have a piece of paper which he kept in his pocket. Every hour he would look at it and read it. Written therein were the words,

“So wait patiently for the judgement of your Lord – you are certainly before Our eyes.” (al-Tur 52:48)

Beautiful patience is a servant’s keeping his tribulation to himself and not telling anyone about it. Allah, Most High says,

“But beauty lies in patience.” (Yusuf 12:83)

In exegesis to this, a group of the Salaf said that it referred to patience that was not accompanied by any form of complaint. (Tabari)

Ahnaf ibn Qays had lost his sight for forty years, yet he told no one. Abdul Aziz ibn Abu Ruwwad became blind in one eye for twenty years, then, one day, his son looked at him carefully and said, ‘Father, one of your eyes is blind!’ He replied, ‘Yes my son, for the past twenty years have I been content with Allah.’ Imam Ahmad never complained of any illness that afflicted him to anyone. It was mentioned to him that Mujahid would dislike moaning while ill, so he stopped doing it and never did so till the day he died. He would exhort his self saying, ‘Be patient or you will regret!’

Yahya ibn Muadh said, ‘If you love your Lord and He decreed hunger and nakedness for you, it would be obligatory for you to bear it and withhold it from creation. The lover patiently bears harm from his beloved, so why would you present your complaints to it for something it has not done to you?’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him, and his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, would tie rocks to their bellies against the hunger they faced. (Bukhari)

Uwais  would collect broken pieces of bone from the rubbish heaps with dogs crowding around him trying to do the same. One day a dog barked at him and he said, ‘Dog, do not harm one who does not harm you, eat what is close to you and I will eat what is close to me. If I enter Paradise, I would be better than you, and if I enter the Fire, you would be better than me.’

Ibrahim ibn Adham would collect ears of grain along with the poor. Seeing that they disliked his competing with them in acquiring them, he thought, ‘I have abandoned property in Balkh to compete with the poor in collecting grain?’ After that he would only ever gather amongst the animals who would pasture in that land.

Imam Ahmad would collect grain with the poor. Sufyan al-Thawri was once employed to look after two camels while on the road to Mecca. He cooked food for some people and it tasted so bad that they beat him for it. Fath al-Mawsili would build fires for people for a wage. In their view, the tribulations of this world would be blessings. One of them said, ‘The true jurist is one who sees tribulation as a blessing and ease a misfortune.’ It is mentioned in a Judea-Christian narration, ‘If you see someone affluent approaching, say, “A sin whose punishment has been hastened on!” If you see someone poor approaching, say, “A sign of the righteous, welcome!” (Dhahabi)

One of the Salaf said, ‘When I am afflicted with calamity, I praise Allah four times: I praise Allah for it not being worse than it is, I praise Allah for nourishing me with the ability to bear it patiently, I praise Him for granting me the accord to say, “To All we belong and to him we return,” and I praise Him for not making the tribulation in my religion.’

Looking to relief through patience is an act of worship since tribulation never remains forever. If the most severely afflicted person were to be dipped but once in the bliss of Paradise and then asked, ‘Have you ever seen calamity? Have you ever encountered calamity?’ He will reply, ‘My Lord, no!’ (As mentioned in the hadith recorded in Muslim)

The Legacy of the Prophet Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali p125-131