On Patience

salamu `alaykum

Interesting fact: One of the definitions given for “patience” by Abu `Ali al Daqqaq was that “it is like its name.” We all know the general definition of sabr to mean restraint (which in turn indicates patience), such as one saying “sabartu nafsi” or “I restrained my self”. Yet, sabr also means “aloe”, which is a bitter type of medicine derived from a tree. I just thought this was an interesting definition provided by Shaykh Abu `Ali, especially when the meaning of “aloe” is applied to it.

In addition, as Sidi Yaser – someone known for his linguistic and medical knowledge – pointed out in the comments section, “aloe” is used for treating burns, which is a highly insightful indication – since salvation from the fire is one of the goals of the believer. Imam Ghazali, not surprisingly, includes the chapter on patience under the section of “The Ways to Salvation” in his magnamous Ihya `Ulum al Din, which is a must for every seeker to acquire and read.

Imam Qushayri also states in his risala:

Dhul Nun said, “Patience is to keep away from acts of disobedience to God, to be calm while swallowing pangs of distress, and to show independence even when poverty afflicts you in your daily life.”

Ibn `Ata said, “Patience is to dwell in tribulation with the best of conduct.”

Yahya ibn Mu`adh said, “The patience of lovers is harder than that of ascetics. I am amazed at how they keep patient!”

Ruwaym said, “Patience is to cease complaning.”

Abu `Ali al Daqqaq said, “The definition of patience is that one not resist what destiny has ordained.”

Our Master, the Qutb, Ashraf `Ali Thanawi (Allah be well-pleased with him) stated regarding the people of tasawwuf:

“The people of tasawwuf are defamed in every age due to the fact that they remain silent and are patient. Yet, the reason for their patience is known in that through it they seek Allah’s assistance and support. It is stated in the prophetic narrations that he who takes the matter of retaliation and reprisal into his own hands, Allah hands over the matter to him. However, Allah Himself repays and reprises the one who remains patient…”

(Malfuzat, Vol: 23 #28)

In the science of tasawwuf, patience is actually a “station” (maqam) – station being defined as “every attribute that becomes deeply rooted and cannot be left behind.” When one acquires the station of patience he never ceases to abide by it at the appropriate times and circumstances. This acquisition of the station of patience is from Allah, and is a manifestation of His name “The Patient” (al sabur), since creation is the loci of manifestation of the Divine Attributes.

Wasalam

Salman

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3 Comments

Filed under Tasawwuf

3 responses to “On Patience

  1. Insightful. Jazakallah Khairan as always. As aloe is often used to treat burns, so does sabr keep us from being burned in this life and the next. I love ‘Arabic.

  2. Subhan’Allah, really an interesting view on Sabr. I just posted an entry on Sabr, too.

  3. Pingback: Al’ ilmun Nafi’ » Blog Archive » On Patience

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