Exercising Patience and Expressing Gratitude - IDP Research Division - ebook
Opis

This work deals with the closely-related topics of patience and gratitude. As is shown in the book, patience and gratitude are two sides of the same coin, closely-related attitudes which the Muslim should seek to foster in every aspect of his or her life. This kind of spiritual advice is something that today's Muslims so desperately need. Far from being a set of empty rituals and nit-picking legal technicalities, or a set of words to be repeated or chanted ad nauseam, Islam is a holistic way of life: if it is applied only partially, imbalance will result. A most important aspect of Islam, which must always accompany the formal "rituals" and the recitation of du'as and dhikr, is constant remembrance of Allah and constant contact with the Divine. Developing a truly Islamic attitude of patience will enable us to do this. We believe that Islam has the answer to many of the psychological problems that trouble mankind today, such as anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, addictions, etc. This book will, Insha'Allah, bring the spiritual and psychological benefits of our Islamic heritage to Muslims who do not have access to the works of the scholars in the original Arabic. This book has been written to highlight the urgent need for patience, and to explain that our happiness in this life and our salvation in the Hereafter depends on patience. This book is filled with benefits and readers will benefit from its advice and teachings. What is good and correct in this book is by the help of Allah, and what is mistaken in it is from the Shaytan. May Allah forgive us. Allah is the Greatest Helper, and we put our trust in Him. Contents of the Book: Introduction Prologue The Definition of Patience Different Perspectives on Patience Five Categories of Patience Good Patience and Bad Patience The Patience of Noble and Ignoble People Ways of Strengthening Patience Man Cannot Do Without Patience The Most Difficult Type of Patience Patience in the Qur'an Patience in the Ahadith Sahabah on the Virtues of Patience Patience at the Time of Bereavement Patience is Half of Eman Patience and Loving Allah Gratitude in the Qur'an Gratitude in the Ahadith The Sahabah and Tabi'in on Gratitude

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Exercising Patience and Expressing Gratitude

BY: IDP Research Division

PUBLISHER: Islamic Digital Publishing

islamicdigitalpublishing@gmail.com

Copyright © - 2018 All rights reserved.

No part of this e-book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior consent from the Publisher.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Prologue

The Definition of Patience

Different Perspectives on Patience

Five Categories of Patience

Good Patience and Bad Patience

The Patience of Noble and Ignoble People

Ways of Strengthening Patience

Man Cannot Do Without Patience

The Most Difficult Type of Patience

Patience in the Qur'an

Patience in the Ahadith

Sahabah on the Virtues of Patience

Patience at the Time of Bereavement

Patience is Half of Eman

Patience and Loving Allah

Gratitude in the Qur'an

Gratitude in the Ahadith

The Sahabah and Tabi'in on Gratitude

Introduction

This work deals with the closely-related topics of patience and gratitude. Although often translated as "patience", the Arabic word sabr has a broader and deeper meaning than the English. Depending on the context, it may mean fortitude, patience, equanimity, forbearance, patient endurance, etc. Shukr may be translated as "gratitude" or "thankfulness". As is shown in the book, patience and gratitude are two sides of the same coin, closely-related attitudes which the Muslim should seek to foster in every aspect of his or her life.

This kind of spiritual advice is something that today's Muslims so desperately need. Far from being a set of empty rituals and nit-picking legal technicalities, or a set of words to be repeated or chanted ad nauseam, Islām is a holistic way of life: if it is applied only partially, imbalance will result. A most important aspect of Islām, which must always accompany the formal "rituals" and the recitation of du'ās and dhikr, is constant remembrance of Allâh and constant contact with the Divine. Developing a truly Islāmic attitude of patience will enable us to do this.

We believe that Islām has the answer to many of the psychological problems that trouble mankind today, such as anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, addictions, etc. This book will, Insha'Allâh, bring the spiritual and psychological benefits of our Islāmic heritage to Muslims who do not have access to the works of the scholars in the original Arabic.

This book has been written to highlight the urgent need for patience, and to explain that our happiness in this life and our salvation in the Hereafter depends on patience. This book is filled with benefits and readers will benefit from its advice and teachings. What is good and correct in this book is by the help of Allâh, and what is mistaken in it is from the Shaytân. May Allâh forgive us. Allâh is the Greatest Helper, and we put our trust in Him.

Prologue

Praise be to Allâh, the Patient (as-Sabūr), the Thankful (ash-Shakûr), the Most High (al- 'Aliyy), the Greatest (al-Kabīr), the All-Hearing (as-Samî'), the All-Seeing (al-Basīr), the All-Knowing (al-'Alīm), the All-Powerful (al-Qâdir), Whose power controls every single creature and Whose Will dominates every single event. His Call to people to prepare for the Hereafter has been so strongly that even the dead could hear it. I bear witness that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger, the best of His creation who did not spare any effort to advise this Ummah, the most patient in accepting the decree of Allâh and the most grateful for His blessings. Truly he conveyed the Message of Allâh and proclaimed the Truth, and endured in the way of Allâh that which no human being had ever endured. He followed Allâh's commands patiently and gratefully, until he gained the pleasure of Allâh and attained the highest degree of patience, such as had never before been reached.

Patience, or patient perseverance, is obligatory, according to the consensus of the scholars, and it is half of faith (ēmān), the other half of which is gratitude (shukr). Patience is mentioned in the Qur'ān around ninety times. The relation of patience to ēmān is like the relation of the head to the body, and the one who has no patience has no ēmān. Allâh has commanded patience for the Believers in the following āyah:

"O you who believe! seek help with patient perseverance (sabr) and prayer..." (al- Baqarah 2:153)

Patience has also been made a condition for a person's entering Paradise and being saved from the Hellfire; on the Day of Judgement Allâh will say:

"I have rewarded them this day for their patience and constancy (patience): they are indeed the ones that have achieved Bliss..." (al-Mu'minūn 23:111)

And Allâh commanded the patient (those who have patience) when He said:

"… (it is righteousness...) to be firm and patient, in pain or suffering and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing." (al-Baqarah 2:177)

"… Allâh loves those who are firm and steadfast." (Āl 'Imrân 3:146)

Allâh has told us that He is with those who have patience; this is a special "companionship" (ma'iyyah) which means that He is protecting and supporting them, which is over and above the ordinary "companionship" which applies to believers and disbelievers alike whereby Allâh has knowledge of them and is watching over them. Allâh has told us:

"...And be patient and persevering: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere." (al-Anfâl 8:47)

The Prophet (S) told us that patience is all good and full of goodness, and said that "There is no gift better than patience." 'Umar ibn al-Khattāb (R) said: "The best days of our lives were ours by virtue of patience."

The Definition of Patience

Sabr is an Arabic word which comes from a root meaning to detain, refrain and stop. There is an expression in Arabic, "so-and-so was killed sabran," which means that he was captured and detained until he died. In the spiritual sense, patience means to stop ourselves from despairing and panicking, to stop our tongues from complaining, and to stop our hands from striking our faces and tearing our clothes at times of grief and stress.

What scholars have said about patience

Some scholars have defined patience as a good human characteristic or a positive psychological attitude, by virtue of which we refrain from doing that which is not good. Human beings cannot live a proper, healthy life without patience.

Abū 'Uthmān said,

"The one who has patience is the one who trained himself to handle difficulties."

'Amr ibn 'Uthmān al-Makkî said,

"Patience means to keep close to Allâh and to accept calmly the trials He sends, without complaining or feeling sad."

Al-Khawwas said,

"Patience means to adhere to the rules of the Qur'ān and Sunnah."

'Alî ibn Abī Tâlib said,

"Patience means to seek Allâh's help."

Another scholar said,

"Patience means to refrain from complaining."

Is it better to have patience at the time of difficulty, or to be in a situation which does not require patience?

Abū Muhammad al-Harirî said,

"Patience means not seeing any difference between times of ease and times of hardship, and being content at all times."

This is too difficult, and we are not instructed to be like this. Allâh has created us in such a way that we feel the difference between times of ease and times of hardship, and all that we can do is refrain from panicking at times of stress. Patience does not mean feeling the same at both easy and difficult times. That is beyond us, and is not part of our nature.

Having an easy time is better for us than having a difficult time. As the Prophet (S) said in his well known du'ā: "If You are not angry with me, then I do not care what happens to me, but still I would rather have your blessings and your favour." This does not contradict the Hadīth which says, "No-one has ever been given a better gift than patience," because that refers to after a test or trial has befallen a person. But ease is still better.

Patience and Shakwah (complaint)

Shakwah (complaint) falls into two categories:

The first type means to complain to Allâh, and this does not contradict patience. It is demonstrated by several of the Prophets, for example, when Ya'qûb (AS) said:

"I only complain of my distraction and anguish to Allâh." (Yûsuf 12:86)

Earlier, Ya'qûb (AS) had said "sabrun jamîl," which means "patience is most fitting for me." The Qur'ān also tells us about Ayyūb (AS):

"And (remember) Ayyūb, when he cried to his Lord, 'Truly distress has seized me...' " (Al-Anbiyâ' 21:83)

The epitome of patience, the Prophet (S), prayed to his Lord: "O Allâh, I complain to You of my weakness and helplessness." Mūsā (AS) prayed to Allâh saying: "O Allâh, all praise is due to You, and complaint is made only to You, and You are the only One from Whom we seek help and in Whom we put our trust, and there is no power except by Your help."

The second type of complaint involves complaining to people, either directly, through our words, or indirectly, through the way we look and behave. This is contradictory to patience.

Opposing Forces

Psychologically speaking, every person has two forces at work within him or her. One is the "driving force", which pushes him towards some actions, and the other is the "restraining force", which holds him back from others. Patience essentially harnesses the driving force to push us towards good things, and the restraining force to hold us back from actions that may be harmful to ourselves or others.

Some people have strong patience when it comes to doing what is good for them, but their patience is weak with regard to restraint from harmful actions, so we may find that a person has enough patience to perform acts of worship (Salāh, Sawm, Hajj) but has no patience in controlling himself and refraining from following his whims and desires, and in this way he may commit harâm deeds. Conversely, some people may have strong patience in abstaining from forbidden deeds, but their patience in obeying commandments and performing 'ibādah is too weak. Some people have no patience in either case! And, needless to say, the best people are those who possess both types of patience.

So, a man may have plenty of patience when it comes to standing all night in prayer, and enduring whatever conditions of heat or cold may be prevalent, but have no patience at all when it comes to lowering his gaze and refraining from looking at women. Another may have no problem controlling his gaze, but he lacks the patience which would make him enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and he is so weak and helpless that he cannot strive against the kuffār and mushrikūn. Most people will be lacking in patience in any one case, and a few lack it in all cases.

Further definition of patience

A scholar said,

"To have patience means that one's common sense and religious motives are stronger than one's whims and desires."

It is natural for people to have an inclination towards their desires, but common sense and the religious motive should limit that inclination. The two forces are at war: sometimes reason and religion win, and sometimes whims and desires prevail. The battlefield is the heart of man.

Patience has many other names, according to the situation

a) If patience consists of restraining sexual desire, it is called honour, the opposite of which is adultery and promiscuity.

b) If it consists of controlling one's stomach, it is called self-control, the opposite of which is greed.

c) It if consists of keeping quiet about that which is not fit to disclose, it is called discretion, the opposite of which is disclosing secrets, lying, slander or libel.

d) If it consists of being content with what is sufficient for one's needs, it is called abstemiousness, the opposite of which is covetousness.