Sabr means patience. It means exercising patience during trials, little or big, and it means remaining calm during anxiety.
Many times in the Quran, Allah (ta’ala) speaks of the patient and the reward that they will receive for being patient. The Quran talks about beautiful patience as a mark of a true believer.
“So be patient with gracious patience.” (Quran 70:5)
Unfortunately, many times, people equate sabr with complacency. They take it that since the Quran and Hadith of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) preach patience, that whenever anything happens to them, they should just sit, watch, wallow in misery and hope for better days.
This is not what Sabr is. Sabr is patience, but it does not mean that you cannot do anything.
Why Sabr is Not Complacency
Let’s look at the story of Prophet Nuh. He lived for over 900 years and spent a large part of his life calling his people to the path of Allah (ta’ala). All those centuries he spent propagating Islam, people derided him and did not listen.
Prophet Nuh (as) could have thrown his hands up and left them alone, after all, he had tried calling them several times. But no, he called them to the point where Allah (ta’ala)’s storm was about to hit.
Similarly with Prophet Muhammad (SAW), born and bred in Makkah but couldn’t get many of his people to accept the message of Islam. He left for Madinah and came back years later after the conquest of Makkah. He didn’t just leave Makkah and forget about them, he prayed for them and actively tried to bring them to the light till he was successful.
Many of the lives of the Prophets are a true demonstration of sabr in the face of trials to their own selves, their families, their tribe, etc. But during all these trials, one thing remains constant- the Prophets and Messengers continued to work. They never folded their hands and resigned to fate.
If Sabr is not you folding your hands and accepting defeat, what then is Sabr?
- Sabr is reliance upon, and trust in Allah (ta’ala). It is a firm belief that only He can remove your trials, and only he can bring you relief
- Sabr is having hope for a greater reward. When a lady complained of her epilepsy condition to the Prophet (SAW), he advised her to be patient, in the hopes of a greater reward from her Lord
- Sabr is obedience. It is Prophet Musa (AS) leading his people away from Pharaoh even when he did not yet understand how their escape will happen
- Sabr is accepting the decree of Allah (ta’ala) when he chooses to take your spouse, child or parents early. It is understanding that only Him has the knowledge of the unseen and knows what is best for us.
All of these do not mean complacency. When we are complacent with our sabr, that’s when we do the following:
Face trials without seeking the help of Allah (ta’ala).
No one can overcome their trials on their own, so not asking our Rabb for help is a sign that we have thrown up our hands.
When you are at the lowest, when you feel the saddest, that is when you should pray more. We become complacent when we stop praying because we are going through difficulties.
Fail to Seek Help
To Allah (ta’ala) belongs all the help that we need, but there are certain things that we can do to help ourselves. For example, when you fall sick, it is a trial for you, but you can’t wait for Allah (ta’ala) to take this trial away without seeking medical attention. You have to find a cure for your ailment, while at the same time pray to your Creator for good health.
How to Practice Sabr
“Never a believer is stricken with a discomfort, an illness, an anxiety, a grief or mental worry or even the pricking of a thorn but Allah will expiate his sins on account of his patience”. (Riyad us-Saliheen)
Sabr is a characteristic of a good believer. It is a sign that a person understands their Deen and it shows their belief in Allah (ta’ala). There are infinite ways for us to practice sabr in our everyday lives, but if you want to understand how to practice sabr, take a look at the following:
Gratitude is a form of sabr, and it is one of the best things we can do especially at the first strike of calamity. If someone just died in your arms, put your head on the ground and make a Sajdah of gratitude to show Allah (ta’ala) that even though this hurts, you are grateful to be tested.
When Prophet Muhammad (SAW) lost his son, Ibraaheem, he said: “The eye weeps and the heart grieves, but we say only what our Lord is pleased with, and we are grieved for you, Ibrahim.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
Sometimes, our trials can be overcome by seeking forgiveness, even if they were not as a result of any sins that we have committed. Don’t throw your hands up in despair, make tawbah and seek forgiveness.
Sabr is patience, and there is no other way to practice it wholly than to be patient. It may seem like a trial is unending, but only patience can bring us through to a successful end.
“Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (Quran 8:46)
Remember Allah (ta’ala) When It Hurts
When you feel like nothing’s going right, when you miss your loved ones who have passed away, when you feel anguish over the sadness in your heart, remember Allah. Make Dua, recite some Adhkar, read the Quran and keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah (ta’ala).
Sabr in Islam is not about waiting for miracles to happen in our lives, and it is not about feeling hopeless and powerless with our situation. It is about being patient with reliance on Allah (ta’ala).
“Whosoever would be patient, Allah will give him patience, and no one is granted a gift better and more comprehensive than patience”. (Riyad us-Saliheen)
Get Through Hard Times With Patience :