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What Are the Virtues of Patience in Islam?

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Publication : 21-01-2006

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Question

Could you tell me some of the verses and ahadeeth that speak of the virtues of patience?

Summary of answer

Patience is the foundation of the believer’s faith which has no other foundation. The one who has no patience has no faith. For more about the Quranic verses and Prophetic hadiths that speak about the virtues of patience in Islam, see the detailed answer.

Praise be to Allah.

“Allah has 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. 

Quranic verses on the virtues of patience

In the Quran, Allaah has guaranteed those who are patient that He will give them reward without measure.  

He tells them that He is with them by guiding and supporting them and granting them a clear victory. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):                                                                    

“Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Sabirun (the patient).” [al-Anfal 8:46] 

Allah has made leadership in terms of religion conditional upon patience and certain faith, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):   

“And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)” [al-Sajdah 32:24] 

Allah tells us that patience is better for those who are patient, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“But if you endure patiently, verily, it is better for As-Sabirun (the patient).” [al-Nahl 16:126] 

Allah tells us if we are patient and pious, the plot of the enemy cannot do any harm, even if he is powerful, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“But if you remain patient and become Al-Muttaqun (the pious), not the least harm will their cunning do to you. Surely, Allah surrounds all that they do.” [Al ‘Imran 3:120]  

Allah tells us that the patience and piety of his Prophet Yusuf brought him to a position of power and strength, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Verily, he who fears Allah with obedience to Him (by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and by performing righteous good deeds), and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of the Muhsinun (good-doers) to be lost.” [Yusuf 12:90] 

Allah has connected success to patience and piety, and the believers understand that. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“O you who believe! Endure and be more patient (than your enemy), and guard your territory by stationing army units permanently at the places from where the enemy can attack you, and fear Allah, so that you may be successful.” [Al ‘Imran 3:200] 

Allah tells us that He loves those who are patient, and that is the greatest encouragement. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And Allah loves As-Saabirun (the patient).” [Al ‘Imran 3:146] 

Allah has given glad tidings of three things to those who are patient, each of which is better than that for which the people of this world envy one another. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“but give glad tidings to As- Sabirun (the patient). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’ They are those on whom are the Salawat (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.” [al-Baqarah 2:155-157] 

Allah exhorts His slaves to seek help with patience and prayer when facing calamities that may befall a person. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And seek help in patience and As-Salah (the prayer) and truly, it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashi‘un [i.e. the true believers in Allah — those who obey Allah with full submission, fear much from His punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise) and in His Warnings (Hell)].” [al-Baqarah 2:45] 

Allah states that the victory of attaining Paradise and being saved from Hell will be won only by those who are patient, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Verily, I have rewarded them this Day for their patience; they are indeed the ones that are successful.” [al-Mu'minun 23:111]  

Allah tells us that the desire to earn His reward and to turn away from this world and its adornments is attained only by those who are patient and are believers. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“But those who had been given (religious) knowledge said: “Woe to you! The reward of Allah (in the Hereafter) is better for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and this none shall attain except those who are As-Sabirun (the patient in following the truth).” [al-Qasas 28:80] 

Allah tells us that repelling evil with that which is better makes the evildoer become like a close friend. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah orders the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly) then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.” [Fussilat 41:34] 

“But this is something that “none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient — and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter, i.e., Paradise and of a high moral character) in this world.” [Fussilat 41:35] 

Allah tells us, and reinforces it with an oath, (interpretation of the meaning): 

“By Al-‘Asr (the time). Verily, man is in loss, Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth [i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma‘ruf) which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allah has forbidden], and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad).” [al-‘Asr 103] 

Allah will divide His creation into two categories: those who are on the right hand and those who are on the left hand (cf. al-Waqi’ah 56:8ff); those who are on the right hand are those who recommend one another to patience and mercy. 

Allah has chosen the people of patience and gratitude to benefit from His signs and be distinguished by this great good fortune. He says in four places in His Book (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Truly, therein are Ayat (evidences, proofs and signs) for every patient, thankful (person).” [Ibrahim 14:5; Luqman 31:31; Saba 24:19; al-Shura 42:33]  

Allah has made forgiveness and reward conditional upon doing righteous deeds and being patient, and that is easy for the one for whom He makes it easy. Allah says:  

“Except those who show patience and do righteous good deeds: those, theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward (Paradise).” [Hud 11:11] 

Allah tells us that patience and forgiveness are among the things recommended by Allah and those who pay heed to this will never lose, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives, that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah.” [al-Shura 42:43] 

Allah commanded His Messenger to wait patiently for His Decision, and told him that his patience is not but from Him, and by virtue of patience all calamities become easy, as He said (interpretation of the meaning): 

“So wait patiently (O Muhammad) for the Decision of your Lord, for verily, you are under Our Eyes.” [al-Tur 52:48] 

And He said (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And endure you patiently (O Muhammad), your patience is not but from Allah. And grieve not over them (polytheists and pagans), and be not distressed because of what they plot. Truly, Allah is with those who fear Him (keep their duty unto Him), and those who are Muhsinun (good-doers).” [al-Nahl 16:127] 

Patience is the foundation of the believer’s faith which has no other foundation. The one who has no patience has no faith, and if he has any, then it is only a little faith and it is very weak, and such a person worships Allah as it were upon the 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 to disbelief after embracing Islam). He loses both this world and the Hereafter (cf. al-Hajj 22:11). All he gets from them is a losing deal. 

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.”  (‘Uddat al-Sabireen by Ibn al-Qayyim, pp. 3-5) 

Hadiths on the virtues of patience

With regard to the ahadeeth which speak of the virtue of patience, they include the following: 

Al-Bukhari (1496) and Muslim (1053) narrated that Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “…whoever is patient Allah will bestow patience upon him, and no one is ever given anything better and more generous than patience.” 

Muslim (918) narrated that Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “There is no Muslim who is stricken with a calamity and says what Allah has enjoined – ‘Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return. O Allah, reward me for my affliction and compensate me with something better’ – but Allah will compensate him with something better.”  

Muslim (2999) narrated that Suhayb (may Allah be pleased with him)said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” 

For more ahadeeth about the virtues of patience and exhortation to be patient, please see al-Targhib wa’l-Tarhib by al-Mundhiri (4/274-302). 

‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him) said: Allah has not bestowed any blessing upon His slaves then taken it away and replaced it with patience, but what He has compensated them with is better than what He has taken away.  

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A