The Concept of Sabr (patience) in Islam
|Allah surely loves those who are the Sabireen (patient). (3:146)|
Hardships and ease are a trial for you. Everything Allah chooses for you; from good or evil, is for your benefit. Whatever occurred to you could not have missed you and what missed you could never have reached you. Rewards are only for those who are patient with the Decree of Allah.
Panic and impatience cannot prevent Allahs Decree. Complaining is contradictory to Sabr (patience). Allah alone can protect you from harm and ease your difficulties. Sabr is obligatory.
If the affliction results from acts of obedience to Allah, such as injury on the battlefield, losing money during Hijrah (migrating for the sake of Allah), losing a job because of accepting Islam or because one attempts to follow the Sunnah of Allahs Messenger ﷺ like growing the beard, wearing the lower garment above the ankles, etc, then the affliction is a trial. Whoever bears it with patience will be rewarded and whoever exhibits annoyance may invoke the wrath of Allah upon himself.
If the affliction befalls due to sinful actions, such as illnesses caused by drinking alcohol and using drugs etc, then the affliction is a punishment from Allah. Hasten to avoid all sinful acts and turn towards Allah in repentance and ask his forgiveness. Otherwise, know that the punishments of the Hereafter are far more severe and unbearable.
If the affliction is neither connected to neither a good deed nor a sin, such as other kinds of disease and sickness, losing a child, or failing in business, then you should evaluate your actions. If you are involved in some kind of disobedience to Allah then the affliction is a punishment for you and a reminder to leave your evil deeds. Otherwise, Allah has caused this affliction to test your patience.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
| One amongst the inhabitants of Hell, who had lived a life of ease and pleasure in the world, would be made to dip in the Hell Fire only once on the Day of Resurrection. Then he would be asked: O son of Adam, Did you find any comfort. Did you get any blessing? He would say: By Allah, no, my Lord! Then a person, from the inhabitants of Paradise, who had led the most miserable life (in the world), would be made to dip once in Paradise and it would be said to him: O son of Adam, did you face any hardship or experience any distress? he would say: By Allah! No never have I experienced any hardship or distress. (Saheeh Muslim, No. 6738)|
|And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to as-Saabireen (the patient ones). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: Inna lillaahi wa Inna Ilaihi Raajiun (Verily to Allah we belong and verily, to Him we shall return). They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones. (2:155-157)|
THE 4 LEVELS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE AFFLICTED:
The First Level:
Being angry, and this is in various ways: and anger is of two types. The first type of anger is that which is directed toward his Lord. So he becomes angry at what Allah has decreed for him, and this is Haraam (forbidden). And it is possible that this could lead to kufr.
|And among mankind is he who worships Allah upon the very edge (i.e. in doubt); if good befalls him, he is content therewith; but if a trial befalls him, he turns back on his face (i.e. Reverts back to disbelief after embracing Islam). He loses both this world and the Hereafter. That is the evident loss. (22:11)|
The second type of anger is expressed by the tongue like making duaa for destruction or ruin and what is similar to that, and this is Haraam. The third type of anger is expressed by the limbs like slapping the cheeks, ripping clothing, pulling out hair, and similar to that, and all of this is Haraam and in contradiction to patience which is Waajib.
The Second Level:
Being patient, just as in the saying: Patience is like its name bitter in taste, yet its outcomes are sweeter than honey. The person at this level feels the affliction to weighs very heavy upon him, yet he bears it although he dislikes that it happened. Rather, his Iman bears it and restrains him from being angry. So the time of affliction and the time of no affliction is not the same to him, and this (level) is Waajib, because Allah commanded the people to be patient, saying:
|And be patient, indeed Allah is with the patient ones. (8:46)|
The Third Level:
Being pleased with the affliction in that the person is pleased with the affliction and whether it happened or not, it is the same to him so he it is not difficult upon him. He does not bear it as if it is something weighing heavy on him, and this (level) is Mustahabb (preferred) and it is not Waajib according to the most correct opinion. The difference between this level and the one before it is apparent because the affliction happening or not happening is the same due to the pleasure of the one on this level. As for the level before it, the affliction is hard upon him, yet he remains patient over it.
The Fourth Level:
Thankfulness and being grateful and this is the highest level. This is that the person thanks Allah for the affliction which has struck him in that he knows that this affliction is expiation for his sins and perhaps a cause for an increase in his good deeds.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
| There is no affliction which strikes the Muslim except that Allah expiates with it (sins), even with a thorn that may poke him. (Bukhari & Muslim)|
Supplication (Dua): O Allah, make us from those who have patience upon hardships and those who are thankful upon Your blessings.