Patience is one of the most important qualities demanded of those who claim to love Allâh, as the degree of patience determines those who are sincere in their claim and those who are not. The degree of patience needed to endure hardship and difficulties in order to please the Beloved proves the sincerity of ones love. Many claim to love Allâh, but when Allâh tests them with hardship, they forget the true essence of love. No-one can adhere to the love of Allâh except those who are patient and persevering (as-sâbirûn). If it were not for the test of hardship and sincerity, there would be no proof of the sincerity of a persons love of Allâh. The one whose love of Allâh is greater, has a greater degree of patience.
Therefore, Allâh has attributed the quality of patience to His close friends (awliyâ) and most beloved. He said about His beloved slave Ayyûb (AS):
| Truly We found him full of patience and constancy. How excellent in Our service! Ever did he turn (to Us)! (Sâd 38:44)
Allâh instructed the most beloved to Him of everything He created to have patience in accepting His decree and told him that patience comes only by the help of Allâh. He praised those who have patience and promised them the best of rewards: the rewards of others are defined and limited, but the reward of as-sâbirûn is without measure. Patience is vital at all levels of Islâm, îmân and ihsân, as well as being a major element in îmân (faith) and tawakkul (putting ones trust in Allâh).
Patience for the sake of Allâh, by the help of Allâh and in accepting the decree of Allâh
1. Patience for the sake of Allâh, hoping for His rewards and fearing His punishment.
2. Patience by the help of Allâh, as man realizes that he has no patience himself, and has no power to acquire patience. Rather, he knows: there is no power and no strength except by (the help of) Allâh.
3. Patience in accepting the decree of Allâh, as man realizes that Allâh is the only one Who is controlling the affairs of the universe, so he will patiently accept the ruling and decree of Allâh, regardless of what it may mean for him in the way of ease or hardship.
Patience for the sake of Allâh is of a higher degree than patience by the help of Allâh, as patience for the sake of Allâh is related to His being ilâh (god, object of worship), whilst patience by His help is related to His being rabb (lord, cherisher and sustainer). Whatever is connected to His being ilâh, such as patience for His sake, is worship, and as such is greater than whatever is connected to His being rabb, such as seeking His help in having patience. Worship is the ultimate goal, whereas seeking help is a means to an end. The goal is sought for its own sake, but means are sought for the sake of other things. Patience by His help is common to believers and unbelievers, good and bad, alike, while patience for His sake is the way of Messengers, Prophets and true believers. Patience for His sake is patience in matters that please Allâh, while patience by His help may apply to matters that please Him or displease Him.
Different degrees of patience
1.Patience both for the sake of Allâh and by the help of Allâh. A person will have patience by help of Allâh for the sake of Allâh, realizing that he has no power of his own whatsoever. This is the highest degree of patience.
2.Patience for the sake of Allâh but not by the help of Allâh. Such people may want to have patience for the sake of Allâh, but they are not actively seeking His help, and their trust and reliance ( tawakkul) is weak. Such people will have a good ending, but they are weak and cannot achieve most of what they want to achieve. This is the situation of a sincere but weak believer.
3.Patience by the help of Allâh. Such a person seeks Allâhs help and puts his trust in Him, admitting that he has no power or strength whatsoever, but his patience is not for the sake of Allâh, as his patience is not for reasons of faith. This will achieve his aims, but his ending may be worst. An example of such people are the leaders of the kuffâr and the followers of the Shaytân, as their patience is by the help of Allâh, but is not for the sake of Allâh.
4.No kind of patience whatsoever. This is the lowest degree, and a person of this type deserves all sorts of failures.
Those who have patience for the sake of Allâh and by the help of Allâh are those who are strong and achieve much. Those who have patience for the sake of Allâh, but not for the sake of Allâh, are capable, but evil. Those who have neither patience for the sake of Allâh not by the help of Allâh, are good people, but weak and helpless. Those who have patience by the help of Allâh, but not for the sake of Allâh, are capable, but evil. Those who have neither patience for the sake of Allâh nor by the help of Allâh are doomed to failure.