“Allah surely loves those who are the Sabireen (patient).” (Q. 3:146)
It is mentioned so many times in the Qur’an, and in the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), that its importance cannot be overemphasised.
It is one of the attributes a person who wishes to be successful should have, as Qur’an 3:200 says, “O you who believe, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful.”
Those who are patient will be rewarded for their patience. “Truly those who persevere patiently will be requited without measure.” (Qur’an 39:10)
Life is not a smooth ride; it is made up of good and bad moments. It is so easy to be content and happy when things go the way you want. Yet when things go south, you become a different person- discontent, angry and impatient. Even though logically, you know that the situation is unlikely to last forever.
It will run its course. If you truly believe that an affliction is a test, then you would want to pass that test. What is being tested is your faith and patience. If you patiently overcome the trial, then you will be rewarded.
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Qur’an 11:9-11 says, “When We bestow upon a man a measure of Our grace and then take it away from him, he yields to despair and becomes ungrateful. And if, after adversity, We let him taste good fortune he says, ‘All my ills are gone.’ He becomes exultant and boastful. Except for those who are patient and do righteous deeds; those will have forgiveness and great reward.”
In another verse, Allah talks about the rewards for patience again. Qur’an 2:155-157 states, “But give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere- who say, when afflicted with calamity: ‘to Allah we belong and to Him is our return’- they are those on whom [descend] blessings from their Lord, and Mercy and they are the ones who receive guidance.”
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “the real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.” The beginning of a problem is the most difficult time. If you can patiently endure that period, then you can endure the rest.
A baby wants all his needs to be fulfilled immediately. He wants to be fed as soon as he is hungry, and he eases himself when he is pressed. At the beginning of life, patience is a non-existent concept. But as you grow older, you realise that not every need can be immediately fulfilled.
When you are pressed, you look for an appropriate place to ease yourself. When you are hungry, you either make your food or buy it. In fact, you understand that certain things are better enjoyed when gratification is delayed. Hence, patience is a sign of maturity.
It is also a sign of true faith. Qur’an 2:45 adds, “And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive (to Allah).”
Those who are patient will be under Allah’s protection. “And if you are patient and fear Allah, their plot will not harm you at all. Indeed, Allah is encompassing of what they do.” (Qur’an 3:120)
When you are wronged by someone else and want revenge. Allah says in Qur’an 16:126 that “if you punish (an enemy, O believers), punish with an equivalent of that with which you were harmed. But if you are patient- it is better for those who are patient.” Be patient, your enemies will get their due.
Allah also adds, “good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with that which is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend, but no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint-no one is granted it save those who are truly fortunate.” (41:34-35)
Those who are patient have other good qualities too. “Whoever is patient and forgiving, acts with courage and resolution.” (Q. 42:43)
In Suratul ‘Asr (Qur’an 103:1-3), Allah said “By time. Indeed, mankind is in loss, except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience."
Reacting to these verses, Imam ash-Shafi’ee said, “if people thought deeply on this Surah, it would provide enough guidance, as man cannot attain perfection without perfecting these two things, his knowledge and his actions, i.e., his faith and right actions. As he is required to perfect himself, so he is required to perfect others, which is joining together in mutual teaching of the truth. The foundation of all this is patience.”
If you want to become patient, make an effort to not become agitated every time you are delayed, or facing a problem. Calm yourself. Your agitation and frustration will not change your situation. You would only succeed in adding to your stress. So you might as well be calm, and get a solution. And pray.
P.S: Did you know patience is mentioned a lot in the Qu'ran? Imam Ahmad rahimahullah said, “Allah has mentioned patience in the Qur’an in 90 places.”
This article was written by Muhammad-Salisu Safiyyah, a 5th year medical student at the Lagos State University College of Medicine, Ikeja, Lagos.