What is Patience?

Sabr wa Shukr, Patience and Gratitude- The two wings of Iman. The first wing being patience. With great patience comes great reward. The Prophet (SAW) said:

The greatest quality a believer can be given is patience (Muslim)

Allah (aza wajalhas made patience like a horse that never gets tired, an army that can never be defeated and a strong fortress that can never be breached. Patience and victory are twin brothers, for victory comes with patience, relief comes with distress and ease comes with hardship. Patience is of more help to the one who has it than men, as it helps without any need for equipment or numbers and its relationship to victory is like that of the head to the body. 


Patience is something we all require in life. We will all be tested in various ways, be it through the death of a loved one or even a loss of wealth or good health, however the key to passing these tests is through patience. 

Allah (aza wajalhas told us we will be tested and He (aza wajal) has told us how to overcome the test. 

We will certainly test you with a touch of fear and famine and loss of property, life, and crops. Give good news to those who patiently endure (2:155)

If we know that whatever befalls us was never meant to miss us and we are patient throughout, then this will allow us to deal with the test. It is important during these times not to lose hope, but rather to exercise sabr or patience. Not only will it help us to overcome the matter but with great patience, comes great reward. 

In the verses following the previous ayah, Allah (aza wajal) has given three glad tidings to those who are patient; they are blessed, they receive His mercy and they are the guided ones. 

They are the ones who will receive Allah’s blessings and mercy. And it is they who are ˹rightly˺ guided. (2:157)

The greatest encouragement for us to be patient, on top of the many rewards mentioned by Allah and on top of the other great virtues is the fact that Allah (subhanahu wa taala) loves those who are patient. 

Allah (aza wajal) says in Surah ale Imraan, ayah 146:  

“...And Allah loves the patient”

The other wing of Imaan is shukr, giving thanks to Allah. Whenever someone performs a kind act of kindness towards you or gives you something, we show them thanks. Even when we ourselves, do an act of goodness to someone it gives contentment to know it is appreciated by them.  

Then remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject Me. (2:152)

There is no human or creature in this land who has nothing to thank Allah for. Even if we feel our life has been nothing but calamities upon calamities, we should be thankful that Allah (aza wajal) has given us eyesight to see and hearing to hear with. Furthermore, even if we have no eyesight or hearing, we should thank Allah for our limbs and other senses and for giving us life, for giving us Islam, giving us a chance to chance to worship the One that deserves to be worshipped alone.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’la) says repeatedly in surah Rahman:

Then which of your Lord’s favours will you deny?” (55:13)

The reward for gratitude to Allah (aza wajal) is unlimited. The mercy of Allah (subhanahu wa taa’la) is so incredible that by being thankful for the favours he bestowed upon, Allah (aza wajal) will give us even more favours. How cool is that? Allah (aza wajal) says in Surah Ibrahim, ayah 7: 

“ …If you are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you…”

Now the question that arises is, how can we be thankful to Him? Worshipping Allah alone the way He should be worshipped according to the sunnah of the messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) is being thankful to Allah. Praising Allah night and day is also being thankful to Him . We are thankful to Allah in both actions and words. Our prayer five times a day, our journey of Hajj, our limbs moving for His sake alone is our gratitude to Him. Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullah) said in his book, Madaarij al-Saalikeen (2/246)

His gratitude should full all the necessary conditions, which are gratitude of the heart, gratitude of the tongue and gratitude of the physical faculties. Gratitude may be in the heart, in submission and humility; on the tongue, in praise and acknowledgement; and in the physical faculties, by means of obedience and submission

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says in Surah Baqarah, ayah  172:

“… and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him you worship” (2:172)

The importance of shukr to Allah is highlighted in the word with the opposite meaning: kufr. Kufr is to be ungrateful and kufr is also disbelief. Allah (aza wajal) does not require for us to be grateful to him neither is he in need for us to worship him. By worshipping Allah (aza wajaland being grateful to him, we are only doing ourselves favour. Having shukr only increases our blessings and having kufr only makes us at loss. And Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says in Surah Zumar, ayah 7:

“If you reject (Allah), truly Allah has no need of you; but He likes not ingratitude from His slaves: if you are grateful, He is pleased with you…” (39:7)

In order to be grateful to your Lord for the blessings that He has bestowed upon you, you must acknowledge in your heart that the giver of these blessings and the Bestower is Allah, may He be exalted, so you venerate Him, attribute it to Him, and you acknowledge that with your tongue, so you give thanks to Him after waking from sleep for having given new life, and after eating and drinking for having provided you with them and bestowed them upon you, and so on with every blessing that you see in your life. 

You give thanks with your physical faculties by not letting them see or hear any sin or evil, such as singing or gossip; you do not walk with your feet to haram places; you do not use your hands to commit evil, such as haram writing in a relationship with non-mahram women (one whom you can marry according to Islamic law), or writing haram contracts, or making or doing anything haram. Giving thanks with the physical faculties for blessings also includes using them to obey Allah, by reading Quran and books of knowledge, listening to beneficial and useful things, and so on with all the faculties which you should use in various kinds of obedience and worship. 

Remember that gratitude for blessings is a blessing which needs to be given thanks for, so that one will continue to enjoy the blessings of his Lord, thanking his Lord for those blessings and praising Him for helping him to be among those who give thanks.”

The best life is attained by the blessed through patience, and they rise to the highest degrees through their gratitude. So they fly on the wings of patience and gratitude to gardens of delight (i.e., Paradise). That is the bounty of Allah that He bestows upon whomsoever He will, and Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty. Allah (subhanahu wa taala) says in Surah Nahl, ayah 18: 

“And if you would count the Favours of Allah, never could you be able to count Them (16:18)

May Allah swt make us from amongst those who are grateful when in blessing, and patient when in hardship. 

Abu Muslim

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The Prophet (Pbuh) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small.