Discontentment is a trait of an impatient individual whose very own intolerant disposition prevents them from receiving rewards from Allah. Moreover, their sinful behavior leads them to being overwhelmed by their difficulties. Consequently, they are besieged by two afflictions: problems in their religion caused by their unhappiness and the weight of the hardship that befell them in the first place.
To the contrary, the truly patient believer controls him or herself at the onset of their difficulty. Yes, they do not like that this calamity has happened to them, but they patiently control themselves. He or she refrains from uttering anything or doing anything that would anger Allah. Nor does this believer harbor ill-feelings in their heart towards the Most Wise. In spite of their trials and mishaps, this person is patient. The contented one is at ease and totally calm during their adversity as though nothing has occurred.
Patient and grateful believers express their gratitude to Allah for whatever befalls them. This was they way of the Messenger of Allah. Whenever he saw something that displeased him, he would say, “Praise belongs to Allah.”
Hence, displaying gratitude to Allah results in Allah giving this person a reward greater than the misery they suffered. Case in point, once there was a devout believing woman who possessed a serious ailment in her fingers. Despite the pain, she constantly praised Allah. “How is it that you praise Allah and you’re suffering great pain in your fingers?” she was asked. She replied, “The sweetness of its reward causes me to disregard the bitterness of patience.” Allah is the One who grants success.
Next, the author, An-Nawawi, quotes an ayah in which Allah praises sabr and urges the believer to be patient:
“O you who believe, endure and be more patient and remain stationed and fear Allah, so that you may be successful.” Aali-Imran 3:200.
In this verse, Allah commands the believer to do four things that are both requirements and distinguishing features of their faith:
- Patience with disobedience
- Perseverance during obedience
- Al-Murabitāh 1
Patience with acts of disobedience only occurs when the soul incites a person to commit an evil act. If the notion to commit evil does not arise in the individual, it cannot be said that this person is patient with disobedience. However, if your soul does incite you to disobey Allah and His Messenger, resist! Remain patient, and control yourself.
As for endurance and perseverance, they are intricate elements in obedience to Allah, which entail two things:
- Consistency in performing obligatory duties.
- Demanding on the soul. Acts of obedience are similar to acts of disobedience in that they weigh heavily on the soul – in particular the human being’s baser self which incites the person to commit evil.
For this reason, patient perseverance while obeying Allah is superior to patiently abstaining from sin. Allah says, “…and be more patient.” This is comparable to someone fighting against you as a man fights against his enemy.
As for Al-Murabitāh, it involves frequent and continuous good deeds. The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “Performing wudu in adverse situations, taking a lot of steps to the masjid, and waiting for another prayer afterwards, that is what you should do. That is what you should do! [Muslim]
Taqwa encompasses all of these actions because as the believer adheres to the commandments of Allah and avoids His prohibitions, Taqwa serves as a protection from Allah’s punishment.
Allah concludes His speech in this verse by stating that compliance with these four commands is a prescription for success. He says, “Perhaps you will be successful.” The word successful is a comprehensive word centered around the obtainment of something desired and security from something dreadful. So whoever possesses Taqwa acquires what they want and is safe from whatever they fear.
1. Frequent and continuous good deeds
- Transcribed from: Sabr: Patience & Tolerance | From An-Nawawi’s Riyadus-Saliheen with explanation by Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-Uthaymeen