By Ibn Abdullah
The sweetness of Sabr (Patience) outlives grief. Patience is a cup every person has to drink from. There are some types of grief that weigh on the heart, that if they were to be felt by a mountain, that mountain would crumble to the ground…
When The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him) lost his beloved son Ibrahim, he held his small body in his arms and said "The eyes send their tears and the heart is saddened, but we do not say anything except that which pleases our Lord. Indeed, O Ibrahim, we are bereaved by your departure from us." Then he turned his face towards the mountain before him and said, "O mountain! If you were as sorrowful as I am, you would certainly crumble into pieces! But we say what Allah has ordered us: (we are the servants of Allah and we will return to Him; we thank Allah, the Creator of the Universe)." (Ibn-i Sa'd, Tabaqat v.1, p.131-144)
The human heart is just a small, fragile piece of flesh - but with Sabr (patience), it is able to carry the kind of pain that would cause a mountain to disintegrate. Allah Ta’ala says;
"Oh you who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy. Vie in such perseverance, strengthen each other, and be pious, that you may prosper." (Qur’an 3:200)
Patience only comes with great struggle and difficulty. It is like trying to grasp and hold onto a strong and fast-swimming fish with your bare hands. You may succeed for a moment or two, but if you are not vigilant, it will escape from grip just as quickly as it came. Really how desperate is our need for patience?!
Patience doesn't mean to just ‘wait out’ the pain. It doesn't mean burying your head in the sand until the storm has ended and you can be sure safely re-emerge into life. And patience isn't peaceful…at least not at first.
True patience is like stepping onto shards of glass and muffling your screams. As you sit and remove the pieces from your skin, tears stinging at your eyes from the pain, you smile and do not say a word.
Patience is like being lit on fire from within, a fire that feels as though it will consume you. And yet you keep walking forward calmly, extending your hand to take cool water from those who offer them in order to quell the flame.
Patience is like treading water in violent seas after your boat has capsized – you are exhausted, but if you stop trying for a moment, you will drown.
Patience is indeed a pillar of great virtue. Allah Ta’ala says; "No one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune." (Qur’an 41:35)
"Verily man is in loss, except such as have faith, and do righteous deeds, and join together in the mutual enjoining of truth, and of patience and constancy." ( Qur’an 103:2-3)
Patience and success are like twin brothers, for victory comes with patience, relief comes with distress and ease comes with hardship. Its relationship to victory is like that of the head to the body.
In the Qur’aan, Allah Ta’ala 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 Ta’ala says;
“Surely, Allaah is with those who are As‑Saabiroon (the patient)” (Qur’an al-Anfaal 6:46)
During times of deep trial, despair and sadness, patience is a fort. Relief and comfort can be found in adhering to Deen. We will most definitely be tried and tested in life, and these trials should be borne with "patience, perseverance and prayer." Indeed, people before us have suffered and had their faith tested; so too will we be tried and tested in this life but we should not lose hope or feel despondent. Allah Ta’ala says;
“Verily, with every difficulty there is relief” (Qur'an 94:5-6)
When our focus ceases to be solely on ourselves, our pride and our ego, then patience is easier to manifest. No matter what types of adverse conditions prevail, a person who exercises patience will not be at loss. The Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace be upon him) said;
"How wonderful is the affairs 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." (Hadith-Muslim)
So next time you are struck with arrow of grief or caught-up in a storm of difficulties, remember to exercise patience, turn to Allah Ta’ala in repentance and pray to Him for relief…for at the end of every dark tunnel there are rays of light!