Patience and Gratitude [Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah]


Rabbe Zidni Illma
Assalaamu `alaikum warahmatullaah.

uniqueskates , let me finish the book first, will you? : ) Inshaa'Allaah, I should be done with it before Ramadhaan and then I'll go back to edit the whole thing as I'd originally planned.
Btw, are you on your phone? Because I noticed it looks a lot different when viewing it from a mobile phone... the spacing especially - it appears even worse than it does when I read it from a computer. Dunno why that is to be honest.

Walaikumassalaam wa re wa barakatuhu.

Hehe :D I didn't know you were going to edit the whole thing at the last sister. Am sorry. My bad. :(

And nope, not on my phone. If am using the phone the UI is...pathetic, I have tried around 3-4 browsers but all in vain. So, most of the times I am online through desktop only sister.

Reason why it is that bad on phone? Well, maybe the pixels problem, wouldn't be compatible on the phone.
May Allah reward you for this beautiful thread.



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Chapter 7: Man cannot do without patience

At any given moment, a person is in a situation where he has to obey a command of
Allâh, or he has to stay away from something which Allâh has prohibited, or he has to
accept a decree of Allâh, or he has to give thanks (show gratitude) for a blessing which he
has received from Allâh. All of these situations demand patience, so up until the time of
death, no-one can do without patience. Whatever happens to us in life is either in
accordance with our wishes and desires, or against them. In both cases, patience is
If a person enjoys good health, security, power, wealth and fulfillment of his physical desires, he should not assume that this time of ease will last forever, and he should not let his good fortune make him arrogant, extravagant or careless in a way that Allâh does not like. He should not devote all his time, money and energy to the pursuit of physical
pleasure, because too much pleasure results pain. He should take care to pay what is due
to Allâh in the way of zakât and sadaqah, otherwise Allâh might take away His blessing.
He should also abstain from spending money in a harâm way, and be careful to avoid
spending it in a makrûh way. All of this takes patience, and nobody can exercise patience
at a time of ease except people of very strong faith (as-siddiqûn)


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Patience at the time of adversity is easier than at the time of ease

One of the salaf said: “Believers and unbelievers alike may have patience at a time of
adversity, but only people of strong faith can have patience at a time of ease.” Therefore
Allâh warned against the fitnah of wealth, wives and children: “O you who believe! Let
not your riches or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allâh. If any
act thus, the loss is their own.” (al-Munâfiqûn 63:9) “O you who believe! Truly,
among your wives and your children are (some that are) enemies to yourselves: so
beware of them!” (at-Taghâbûn 64:14) The enmity referred to in these âyât is not that
which results from hatred and conflict, but that which results from love and care, that
might prevent parents from religious duties such as hijrah, jihâd, seeking knowledge and
giving sadaqah.

At-Tirmidhî narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that a man asked him (Ibn ‘Abbas) about the ayah
quoted above (at-Taghâbûn 64:14). Ibn ‘Abbas told him that this ayah refers to some men
of Makkah who embraced Islâm, but when they wanted to migrate to join the Prophet
(SAAS) in Madînah, their wives and children prevented them from doing so. Later on,
when they eventually joined the Prophet (SAAS) and saw that others had already learned
a great deal about Islâm, they wanted to punish their wives and children. So Allâh
revealed this ayah: “O you who believe! Truly, among your wives and your children
are (some that are) enemies to yourselves: so beware of them!” (at-Taghâbûn 64:14).
At-Tirmidhî said that this report is hasan sahîh.

The hadîth, “Children are the cause of cowardliness and stinginess” reflects how much a
man may be held back in his pursuit of perfection and success by his wife and children.
Once, when the Prophet (SAAS) was delivering a khutbah, he saw Hasan and Husayn
walking and stumbling, so he interrupted his speech and went to pick them up, and said:
“Indeed, Allâh has spoken the truth when He said: ‘…among your wives and your
children are (some that are) enemies to yourselves.’ I saw these two little boys stumbling
and I did not have the patience to continue my khutbah, so I stopped and picked them
up.” The Prophet (SAAS) did so because of his love for children, and in this way he set
an example for his Ummah to show mercy and kindness towards children.
The reason why it is so difficult to exercise patience at a time of ease is because we have
a choice regarding how to behave. A hungry person has better patience when he has no access to food, and when food becomes available, his patience weakens. Similarly, it is
easier to control one’s sexual desire when no women are around.


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Patience in worship

We human beings have a natural aversion to carrying out acts of worship, like salâh,
because of our inherent laziness. If a man is hardhearted and commits many wrong
actions, thinking too much of physical pleasure and mixing with people who do not
remember Allâh, then he can hardly perform his prayers, and if he does not pray he does
so absent-mindedly and hurriedly.

Every step of the way, man needs patience in carrying out an act of worship. Before he
starts to do it, he must make sure that his intentions are correct. He should check his
sincerity, and seek to avoid showing off in performing any act of worship. Whilst he is
performing any act of worship, he must try to perfect it, to keep his intentions pure and
his mind focused on the purpose of performing that act of worship, namely that it is to
please Allâh. After completing an act of worship, he must abstain from doing anything
that could corrupt his worship. Allâh has told us: “O you who believe! Cancel not your
charity by reminders of your generosity or injury” (al-Baqarah 2:264). He should
exercise patience in refraining from admitting and feeling proud of his performance, as
this is more damaging than committing many other, more visible, wrong actions.
Similarly, he should always be discreet and refrain from telling others about his acts of

Patience in abstaining from committing wrong actions

The best way to help oneself abstain from wrong action is to break all bad habits, and
forsake all those who encourage one to commit wrong actions. Habits have a strong hold
over man’s behaviour, and if habit is accompanied by desires, this means that there are
two soldiers of Shaytân fighting the motives of reason and religion, which cannot then
withstand them.


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Patience in adversity and in situations beyond man’s control

Trials such as the death of a beloved one, sickness, loss of wealth, etc., fall into two
types: adversity beyond one’s control, and adversity caused by the actions of another
human being, such as slander, beating, etc.
In facing situations that are beyond one’s control, people may have any of the following
reactions:1. feeling helpless and discontented, panicking and complaining.
2. responding with patience, either for the sake of Allâh or as a sign of human strength.
3. accepting and being contented with the situation. This is actually of a higher status
than patience.
4. accepting the situation with thanks and gratitude. This is even higher than acceptance,
because in this case a person see the adversity as a blessing and thanks Allâh for putting
him through it.

Problems and adversity that befall a person at the hands of others may be faced with any
of the following reactions:

1. he may choose to forgive and forget.
2. he may decide not to take revenge.
3. he may accept the decree (qadâ’ wa qadr), whilst recognizing that the person who
harmed him was a wrongdoer, yet the One Who decreed that this harm should reach him
at the hands of the wrongdoer is not a wrongdoer. The harm caused by people is like heat
and cold: there is no way to prevent it happening and the one who complains about heat
and cold betrays a lack of wisdom. Everything that happens, happens through the decree
(qadâ’ wa qadr), even though there are many different ways and means for it to happen.
4. he may treat well the person who mistreated him. This attitude has many advantages
and benefits, which nobody can know in their entirety except Allâh.

Patience in situations which are started by choice, but whose consequences get out of hand

For example, love, the start of which may be by choice but the final consequences of
which are beyond a person’s control. Similarly, one may expose oneself to the causes of
illness and pain (for example, by smoking or taking drugs), after which it is difficult to
stop the consequences, and after taking a large amount of intoxicants it is difficult to stop
drunkenness. Man should exercise patience and abstain in the first place.


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Chapter 8: What is the most difficult type of patience?

The degree of difficulty in abstaining from some things depends on the strength of one’s
motive and one’s ability to do the action in question. Whoever has no motive to kill, or
steal, or drink alcohol, or whatever, and at the same time in not able to do it, will find it
very easy to exercise patience in abstaining from those things. Whoever has a strong
motive to commit a wrong action and has the means to do so, will face great difficulty in
exercising enough patience to abstain. There it is very difficult for a ruler to refrain from
committing injustice and oppression (dhulm), and it is difficult for a young man to refrain
from fornication, and it is difficult for a rich man to refrain from pursuing physical
desires and pleasures.

The Prophet (SAAS) is reported to have said: “Allâh will commend a young man who never behaved in an ignorant way” (Ahmad). In another hadîth, he referred to those who will be shaded in the shade of Allâh’s throne for their perfect patience – such as the patience of an absolute ruler in being just in all situations, regardless of his own feelings, and the patience of a young man in worshipping and obeying Allâh and suppressing his own whims and desires, and the patience of the man who gives sadaqah in keeping his sadaqah secret, and the patience of a man who resists the temptation of a woman of beauty and high status, and the patience of two men who meet for the sake of Allâh and part for the sake of Allâh, in keeping their relationship for the sake of Allâh, and the patience of one who weeps out of fear of Allâh, in keeping that secret and not telling others about it. All of these are among the most difficult types of patience. Therefore the punishment of an old man who commits adultery, a king who tells lies and a poor man who is arrogant is more severe, because it is easy for them to keep away from such wrong actions, and does not require much in the way of patience. Their attitude indicates that they are willfully rebelling against Allâh.

Patience in abstaining from wrong actions of speech and sexual wrong actions

Amongst the most difficult types of patience is patience in refraining from committing
wrong actions of speech and sexual wrong actions. Wrong actions of speech – such as
backbiting and slander, telling lies to create trouble between people, and praising oneself
explicitly or implicitly, and insulting people one does not like and praising those whom
one does like – are all entertaining and enjoyable. There is a strong motive to commit
these wrong actions, and it is so easy to move one’s tongue and speak, so the patience
required to abstain from them is particularly difficult. Therefore the Prophet (SAAS) told
Mu‘âdh, “Control your tongue.” Mu‘âdh asked, “Are we accountable for what we say?”
The Prophet (SAAS) answered, “Is there anything other than the wrong actions of
speech that cause people to be thrown in Hell on their faces?”

Once the wrong actions of speech have become a habit, patience becomes even more
difficult. So you might see a man who stays up all night praying, fasts all day, and would
refrain from touching a pillow if it were made of silk, yet he gives his tongue free rein in
backbiting, slandering and causing trouble between people.


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Chapter 9: Patience in the Qur’ân

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.

1. 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).

2. 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).

3. 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).

4. 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.

5. 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

6. 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.”

7. 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?”

8. 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

9. 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).

10. 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).


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11. 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).

12. 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).

13. 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).

14. 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).

15. 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

16. 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).

17. 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).

18. 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).

19. 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, sot he person who fails
to exercise patience when it is necessary will be regarded as a failure and a sinner.

20. 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.”

21. 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).

22. 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.


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Chapter 10: Ahâdîth about patience

Umm Salamah said: I heard the Prophet (SAAS) saying, “There is no Muslim afflicted
with calamity who says ‘To Allâh we belong and to Him is our return; O Allâh reward
me for this calamity and compensate me with what is better for me,’ but Allâh will
compensate him with what is better for him.” She said: “When Abû Salamah died, I said:
‘Who among Muslims is better than Abû Salamah? His household was the first to migrate
to the Messenger of Allâh!’ Anyhow, I said what what the Prophet (SAAS) taught us to
say, and Allâh compensated me with the Messenger of Allâh. The Prophet (SAAS) sent
Hâtib ibn Abî Balta‘ah to ask for my hand in marriage on his behalf, but I told him that I
had a daughter, and that I was a very jealous woman. The Prophet (SAAS) responded:
‘As far as her daughter is concerned, I shall pray to Allâh to make her independent, and I
shall pray to Allâh to take away her jealousy.’ So I married the Messenger (SAAS).” (Muslim)

Abû Mûsâ al-Ash‘arî said: The Prophet (SAAS) said: “When a child of a man dies, Allâh
asks the angels, ‘Did you take the soul of My slave’s child?’ They reply, ‘Yes.’ He asks
them, ‘Did you take away the apple of his eye?’, and they reply, ‘Yes.’ The He asks:
‘What did My slave say?’ They tell Him: ‘He praised You and said: “To Allâh we belong
and to Him is our return.” ’ Allâh says: ‘Build a house for him in Paradise and call it
Bait al-hamd (the house of praise)’.” (At-Tirmidhî, Ahmad and Ibn Hibbân)

Anas (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “Allâh said: ‘If I test My slave by
depriving him of his two precious ones (meaning the eyes or eyesight), and he faces
that with patient perseverance, I shall compensate him with Paradise.’ ” (al-Bukhârî)

From Â’ishah (RA) via ‘Urwah and az-Zuhri: “The Prophet (SAAS) said: ‘No affliction
befalls a Muslim but Allâh forgives his wrong actions because of it, even if it be no more
than a thorn’.” (al-Bukhârî and Muslim)

Sa‘d ibn Abî Waqqâs (RA) said: “I asked the Prophet (SAAS) who among the people are
most severely tried? He said, ‘The Prophets, then the right acting people, and so on down
through various categories of people. Man will be tested according to the strength of his
faith. The stronger his faith, the more severe his trial, and the weaker his faith, the lighter
his trial. The believer will be continually tested until he walks on earth with all his wrong
actions forgiven’.” (al-Bukhârî)

Anas (RA) narrated that a son of Abû Talhah (RA) fell ill and died one day when Abû
Talhah was away from home. When Abû Talhah’s wife realized that her son had died,
she covered him with a blanket, and left him lying by the wall. Abû Talhah came home
and asked how the boy was, and his wife told him: “He has calmed down and I hope he is
resting,” so Abû Talhah thought that the child was getting better. That night he slept with
his wife, and in the morning he got up and performed ghusl. When he was about to go
out, he wife told him that his son had died. So Abû Talhah went and prayed with the Prophet (SAAS), then told him what had happened. The Prophet (SAAS) responded by
saying, “May Allâh bless this last night of yours.” A man from Ansâr said, “I have seen
nine children of the man who was born as result of that night, and all of them have read
the Qur’ân.” (al-Bukhârî)

Abû Sa’îd al-Khudrî (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “No-one can be given
a better an more abundant gift than patience.” (al-Bukhârî and Muslim)


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Patience at the time of sickness

Abû Sa‘îd al-Khudrî (RA) said: “I entered upon the Prophet (SAAS) when he was sick
and had a high temperature. I put my hand on the cover with which he was covering
himself and I could feel the heat of his fever. I said, ‘How strong is your fever, O
Messenger of Allâh!’ He said, ‘We Prophets are like that: our pain is multiplied so our
rewards will be multiplied’.” (Ahmad)

Jâbir ibn Abdullâh (RA) said that the Messenger of Allâh (SAAS) enterer upon a woman
and asked her, “Why are you shivering like that?” She said, “It is because of fever,” and
cursed the fever. The Prophet (SAAS) said, “Do not slander fever, because it takes away
many wrong actions, just as the blacksmith’s bellows remove dross and impurities from
iron.” (Muslim)

Ziyâd ibn Ziyâd, the mawlâ (freed slave) of Ibn ‘Abbâs (RA), narrated from one of the
Sahâbah, who said: “We entered upon the Prophet (SAAS) when he was ill with fever.
We expressed our sorrow for his pain, and said, ‘May our mothers and fathers be
sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allâh! How severe is your pain!’ He replied, ‘We
Prophets are af licted many times more strongly.’ We said, ‘Subhân’allâh!’ He asked,
‘Do you find this strange? There were some Prophets who were killed by ringworm.’ We
said, ‘Subhân’allâh!’ He asked, ‘Do you find this strange? The most severely tried of
people are the Prophets, then the right acting people, the those who are less right acting,
and so on.’ We said, ‘Subhân’allâh!’ He said, ‘Do you find this strange? They used to
enjoy their times of trials and afflictions as you enjoy your times of ease.’ ”

Masrûq narrated from ‘Â’ishah (RA) who said: “I have never seen anyone endure more
severe pain than the Prophet (SAAS). When he fell ill, his pain became so severe, to the
extent that he could not sleep for nineteen nights.”

‘Â’ishah (RA) narrated that the Messenger of Allâh (SAAS) said: “Truly fever makes
wrong actions fall away from a man like leaves fall from a tree.” And it was narrated that
the Prophet (SAAS) said: “The likeness of the believer when he suf ers from illness is like
iron when it enters the fire; the dross is removed, and the good elements stay.”

It was narrated that Abû Ayyûb al-Ansârî (RA) said: “The Prophet (SAAS) visited a sick
man of the Ansâr, and when the Prophet (SAAS) asked how he was, he said, ‘O Messenger of Allâh, I have not closed my eyes for seven days.’ The Prophet (S) told him,
‘Have patience, my brother, for if you do, you will be rid of your wrong actions as easily
as you acquired them.’ The Prophet (SAAS) also said: ‘The time of illness cancels out the
time of wrong actions.’ ”

Anas (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “When a slave of Allâh becomes ill for
three days, he will come out having shed all his wrong actions, and will become as
sinless as the day he was born.” And it was narrated that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “The
prayer of the sick person will never be rejected, until he recovers.”

It was narrated that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul,
there is no qadâ’ that Allâh decrees for the believer but it is good for him. If Allâh
decrees that he will go through a time of ease, the believer will be grateful, and that is
good for him. If Allâh decrees that he will suf er some affliction, he will be patient, and
that is also good for him. This applies only to the believers.” (Ahmad)


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Chapter 11: Sahâbah on the virtues of patience

As-Safar said: “Abû Bakr fell ill, so some people visited him and asked whether they
should call a doctor for him. He said, ‘The Doctor has already seen me.’ They asked,
‘What did he say?’ Abû Bakr said, ‘He said, “I do what I want”.’ ” (Meaning, that Allâh
is his “Doctor” and can make him sick or healthy as He wills) (Ahmad).

‘Umar ibn al-Khattâb (RA) said: “The best days we ever lived were by virtue of patience,
and if patience were to take the shape of a man, he would be a noble and generous man.”

‘Alî ibn Abî Tâlib (RA) said: “The relation of patience to îmân is like the relation of the
head to the body. If the head is chopped off, the body becomes useless.” Then he raised
his voice and said: “Certainly, the one who has no patience has no îmân, and patience is
like a riding-beast that nevers gets tired.”

‘Umar ibn ‘Abdu’l-‘Azîz said: “Allâh never bestows a blessing on His slave then takes it
away and compensates him by giving him patience, but that with which he has been
compensated is better than that which has been taken away from him.”


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The story of ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr

‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr came to visit the Khalîfah al-Walîd ibn ‘Abdu’l-Malik. With him
was his son Muhammad, who was one of the most handsome of men. The young man had
dressed up for the occasion in fine clothes, and had his hair in two plaits or braids. When al-Walîd saw him, he said, “This is how the young people of Quraysh look!” and by so
saying, put the evil eye on him. Before he left, the young man fell ill. When he was in the
stable (preparing for the journey) he fell down, and the horses trampled him to death.

Then ‘Urwah got gangrene in his leg, and al-Walîd sent doctors to him, who suggested
that the leg should be amputated, otherwise the gangrene would spread to the rest of the
body and kill him. ‘Urwah agreed, and the doctors began to remove his leg, using a saw.
When the saw reached the bone, ‘Urwah fainted, and when he came around, sweat was
pouring down his face, and he was repeating, “Lâ ilâh ill-Allâh, Allâhu akbar.” When the
operation was over, he picked up his leg and kissed it, then said, “I swear by the One
Who mounted me on you, I never used to walk to any place of wrong action or to any
place where Allâh would not like me to be.” Then he gave instructions that the leg should
be washed, perfumed, wrapped in a cloth and buried in the Muslim graveyard.

When ‘Urwah left al-Walîd and returned to Madînah, his family and friends went to meet
him at the outskirts of the city and to offer condolences. The only reply he made was to
quote from the Qur’ân: “…truly we have suffered much fatigue at our journey” (alKahf 18:62). He did not say any more than that. Then he said, “I will not enter Madînah,
for people there either rejoice over the afflictions of others, or else feel envy for their
blessings.” So he went to stay in a place at al-‘Aqîq. ‘Îsâ ibn Talhah came to visit him
there and said, “May your enemies’ fathers perish!” and asked him, “Show me the
affliction for which I have come to console you.” ‘Urwah uncovered his stump, and ‘Îsâ
said, “By Allâh, we were not preparing you to wrestle! Allâh has saved most of you: your
sanity, your tongue, your eyesight, your two hands, and one of your two legs.” ‘Urwah
told him, “Nobody has consoled me as you have.”

When the doctors came to perform the amputation, they had asked ‘Urwah whether he
would drink intoxicants to ease the pain. He said, “Allâh is testing me to see the extent of
my patience. How could I go against His commands?”


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Beautiful patience (sabr jamîl – Yûsuf 12:83) and panic

Mujâhid said: “Beautiful patience is patience without any panic.” ‘Amr ibn Qays said:
“Beautiful patience means to be content with adversity and to surrender to the will of
Yûnus ibn Yazîd said: I asked Rabî‘ah ibn ‘Abdu’l-Rahmân: “What is the ultimate of
patience?” He said: “To be outwardly the same at the time of affliction as one was the
day before it struck.” (This does not mean that a person does not or should not feel pain
or anguish; patience in this instance means that one refrains from panicking and
Commenting on the meaning of beautiful patience, Qiyas ibn al-Hajjâj said: “The
person who is suffering from some affliction should behave in such a way that nobody is
able to distinguish him from others.”