Chapter 9. Patience In The Quran
Imâm Ahmad said: “Allâh has mentioned patience in the Qur’ân in ninety places.” Here, we will list the different contexts in which patience appears.
- Instruction. Patience in enjoined upon believers: “And be patient for your patience is but by Allâh…” (an-Nahl 16:127). “Now await in patience the command of your Lord…” (at-tûr 54:48).
- That which is opposite to patience is forbidden: “…and be in no haste about the (unbelievers)…” (al-Ahqâf 46:35). “So lose not heart nor fall in despair…” (Al ‘Imrân 3:139). “…and be not like the Companion of the Fish (i.e. Yûnus [AS]) – when he cried out in agony” (al-Qalâm 68:48).
- Patience is made a condition of success and prosperity: “O you who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear Allâh; that you may prosper” (Al ‘Imrân 3:200).
- The rewards of those who exercise patience will be doubled: “Twice will they be given their reward, for that they have persevered…” (al-Qasas 28:54). “…Those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!” (az-Zumar 39:10). Sulaymân ibn Qâsim said that the reward of every deed is known, except for the reward of patience, which will be like heavy rain.
- Patience and îmân are prerequisites for leadership in religion: “And We appointed, from among them, leaders, giving guidance under Our commands, so long as they persevered with patience and continued to have faith in Our Signs” (as-Sajdah 32:24).
- Patience is the way to earn the companionship of Allâh: “…and be patient and persevering: for Allâh is with those who patiently persevere” (al-Anfâl 8:46). Abû Alî ad-Daqqaq said: “People who have patience are the true winners in this world and the next, because they have the companionship of Allâh.”
- Allâh will reward those who have patience with a threefold reward: blessings, mercy and guidance: “…but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere – who say, when afflicted with calamity: ‘To Allâh 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 that receive guidance” (al-Baqarah 2:155-7). When people came to offer their condolences to one of the salaf, for some calamity that had befallen him, he said: “Why should I not practice patience, when Allâh has promised those who have patience three rewards, each of which is better than this world and everything in it?”
- Patience is a means of seeking Allâh’s help: “…seek (Allâh’s) help with patient perseverance and prayer…” (al-Baqarah 2:45). So whoever has no patience has no help.
- Patience and taqwâ are conditions for Allâh’s help and support: “Yea – if you remain firm, and act aright, even if the enemy should rush here on you in hot haste, your Lord would help you with five thousand angels making a terrific onslaught” (Al ‘Imrân 3:125).
- Patience and taqwâ are a great protection against the cunning of enemies: “…But if you are constant and do right, not the least harm will their cunning do to you…” (Al ‘Imrân 3:120).
- The angels will salute the people of patience in Jannah: “…and angels shall enter unto them from every gate (with the salutation of): ‘Peace unto you for that you persevered in patience! Now how excellent is the final Home!’ ” (ar-Ra‘d 13:24).
- Allâh made it permissible to treat our enemies no worse than they treat us, but He has made it clear that practising patience is better: “And if you do catch them out, catch them out no worse than they catch you out: but if you show patience, that is indeed the best (course) for those who are patient” (an-Nahl 16:126).
- Allâh made patience and right actions a condition for forgiveness and great reward: “Not so those who show patience and constancy, and work righteousness; for them is forgiveness (of wrong actions) and a great reward!” (Hûd 11:11).
- Allâh has made patience a standard of courage and determination in the conduct of one’s affairs: “But indeed if any show patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs” (ash-Shûra 42:43) “(Luqmân said:) ‘O my son! …enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong: and bear with patient constancy whate’er betide you, for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs” (Luqmân 31:17).
- Allâh has promised the believers His support and victory, and has said that they deserve this because of their patience: “…The fair promise of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, because they had patience and constancy…” (al-A‘raf 7:137).
- Allâh has made patience a condition of His love: “How many of the Prophets fought (in Allâh’s way), and with them (fought) large bands of godly men? But they never lost heart if they met with disaster in Allâh’s way, nor did they weaken (in will) nor give in. And Allâh loves those who are firm and steadfast (as-sâbirîn)” (Al ‘Imrân 3:146).
- Allâh has made patience a condition of receiving many blessings: “But those who had been granted (true) knowledge said: ‘Alas for you! The reward of Allâh (in the Hereafter) is best for those who believe and work righteousness: but this none shall attain, save those who steadfastly persevere (in good)” (al-Qasas 28:80). “And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint – none but persons of the greatest good fortune” (Fussilât 41:35).
- Allâh has mentioned that only those who practise patience and gratitude will benefit from the Signs of Allâh: “Do you not see that the ships sail through the Ocean by the grace of Allâh? – that He may show you of His Signs? Verily in this are Signs for all who constantly persevere and give thanks” (Luqmân 31:31). “And among His Signs are the ships, smooth-running through the ocean, (tall) as mountains. If it be His Will, He can still the Wind: then they would become motionless on the back of the (ocean). Verily in this are Signs for everyone who patiently perseveres and is grateful” (ash-Shûra 42:32-33).
- Allâh praised Ayyûb (AS) for his patience: “…Truly We found him full of patience and constancy, how excellent in Our service! Ever did he turn (to Us)!” (Sâd 38:44). Allâh described Ayyûb (AS) as excellent because of his patience, so the person who fails to exercise patience when it is necessary will be regarded as a failure and a sinner.
- Allâh has given a general ruling that whoever does not have faith and does not belong to the people of truth and patience, is in state of loss. This means that the only true winners are people of patience: “By (the Token of) Time (through the Ages), verily Man is in loss, except such as have Faith, and do right actions, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of the Truth, and of Patience and Constancy” (al-‘Asr 103:1-3) Commenting on this sûrah, Imâm ash-Shâfi‘î said: “If people thought deeply on this sûrah, 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.”
- Allâh has mentioned that the main characteristic of those who attain salvation is patience and compassion: “Then will he be of those who believe and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion. Such are the companions of the right had” (al-Balad 90:18).
- Allâh has mentioned patience alongside the pillars of Islâm and îmân, as He has mentioned it alongside sâlah: “Nay, seek (Allâh’s) help with patient perseverance and prayer…” (al-Baqarah 2:45); alongside right actions: “Not so those who show patience and constancy, and do right actions; for them is forgiveness (of wrong actions) and a great reward” (Hûd 11:11); alongside gratitude (shukr): “…Verily in this are Signs for everyone who patiently perseveres and is grateful” (ash-Shûra 42:32-33); alongside truth: “…and (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience and constancy” (al-‘Asr 103:1-3); alongside compassion: “…those who believe and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion…” (al-Balad 90:17); alongside faith: “…so long as they persevered with patience and continued to have faith in Our Signs” (as-Sajdah 32:24); alongside truth: “…for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant…” (al-Ahzâb 33:35).
Allâh has made patience the means for attaining His love, His companionship, His help and support, and His good rewards. This is sufficient honour and blessings.