The Key to Happiness: Sabr (Patience)!

A Moment with Our Prophet, Muhammad (S)

By Imam Zijad Delic

Day 266: The Key to Happiness: Sabr (Patience)!

It was narrated by Anas ibn Malik (r) that the Prophet said: “Verily, patience is at the first strike.”

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ََ إِنَّمَا الصَّبْرُ عِنْدَ الصَّدْمَةِ الْأُولَى

Source: Bukhari, Muslim

Transliteration: “Innamas Sabru ‘Indas Sadmatil Ula.”

Nearly everything that we do in our lives, Muslims require Sabr (patience)!

And that is why even Muslims with the strongest convictions could still find themselves unable to act upon their convictions if they lack sufficient Sabr.

To perform Fajr prayer, we need Sabr!

To perform 5 daily prayers, we need plenty of Sabr!

To perform Jumu’ah prayer, we need Sabr!

Yes, especially if an Imam prolongs the Khutbah and the prayer for a few extra minutes!

We need Sabr when coming to the masjid by avoiding speeding!

We need Sabr when trying to find a parking spot and when communicating with the volunteers in the parking area!

When volunteers guide us during the COVID-19 rules in the masjid such as proper use of masks or scanning before entering the masjid, we need to be patient for the sake of all!

To perform the act of Tawbah, we need Sabr to watch as an embarrassing list of our misdeeds is aired before the Creator!

To avoid sins, evil acts and to control our desires, we need Sabr!

The student of knowledge needs Sabr to endure the rigors of study!

The wronged person needs Sabr to avoid overreacting and committing sins of injustice!

To raise our children in 21st century, we need plenty of Sabr!

To maintain our marriages and keep them healthy, we need Sabr!

To attain the Rida (pleasure) of our parents, we need Sabr.

An Imam of the diverse Muslim community, to maintain the unity of all, needs Sabr.

The sick person requires Sabr and hope in Allah’s mercy!

Families who loose their dear ones, need Sabr!

We all, who live during the era of COVID-19, need Sabr!

Indeed, it is Sabr that keeps us safe from wandering here and there!

It is Sabr that keeps us safe from disappointment, frustration and anxiety!

It is Sabr in challenging moments and when difficulties confront us, that acts like the light in the dark, as the Prophet (S) told us: “Patience is illumination (light or brightness)!”

عَنْ أَبِي مَالِكٍ الْحَارِثِ بْنِ عَاصِمٍ الْأَشْعَرِيِّ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم وَالصَّبْرُ ضِيَاءٌ

Ask the people of success and they will tell you that tools that they use to achieve their success and face successfully all their challenges are patience, perseverance, discipline and determination!

If these tools are applied correctly, challenges of life take a new meaning and a new dimension and such people achieve harmony and balance in life.

If these tools are ignored, then life becomes challenging, stressful and depressing.

Certainly, Sabr is not an easy thing to achieve as God Almighty warned us: “And seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, it is a burden except for the humble ones.” (Al Baqarah 45)

وَاسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلاَةِ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلاَّ عَلَى الْخَاشِعِين

Imam Al Ghazali () stated that “The way to Paradise (success) is an uphill climb whereas Hell (failure) is downhill! Hence, there is a struggle to get to Paradise but not so to Hell.”

When we are going uphill, we are gaining potential energy!

So, when we are having Sabr, we are gaining potential spiritual energy!

That is why our Muslim scholars such as Imam ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyy (r) guided us and explained to us that there are three categories of Sabr:

  1. Sabr in fulfilling/performing the obligations and doing righteous deeds such as prayers, fasting, Hajj, dutifulness to parents, kindness to neighbors, etc.).
  2. Sabr in abstaining from the prohibited acts or remaining away from Haram.

This type of Sabr is the one that distinguishes the true muttaqi (God mindful person) from the rest!

Yes, many Muslims pray but how many of us will live the spirit of the prayer after the prayer?

How many of us will abstain from doubtful matters?

How many of us will abstain from fahsha and munkar (indecency and the evil acts) once when we are out of the Masjid?

How many of us will be reformed by the prayer and when we come to our home we are more merciful, kind and generous?

How many of us will be more kind to our neighbors after the prayer?

God Almighty commands: “O believers! Patiently endure, persevere (and be patient with others and outdo other in Sabr), stand on guard, and be mindful of Allah, so you may be successful.” (Ali ‘Imran 200)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اصْبِرُواْ وَصَابِرُواْ وَرَابِطُواْ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُون

  1. And yes, Sabr in times of adversity, chellenges and loss!

Allah created this world (Duniya) and there are times of joy and happiness but also the times of sadness and trials.

And different people react differently to their conditions.

There are those who show Sabr and those who do not exhibit Sabr when facing challenges.

The true patience (Sabr) is the patience at the first strike!

Anas ibn Malik (r) narrated that the Prophet (S) passed by a woman who was weeping next to a grave. The Prophet (S) said, “Be mindful of Allah and be patient.” She said, “Go away from me! You have not been afflicted by a calamity like mine,” and she did not recognize him. Then, she was told that it was the Prophet (S), so she went to the Prophet’s (S) house and she did not find any guards there. She said to him, “I did not recognize you.” The Prophet (S) said, “Verily, patience is at the first strike.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ مَرَّ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِامْرَأَةٍ تَبْكِي عِنْدَ قَبْرٍ فَقَالَ اتَّقِي اللَّهَ وَاصْبِرِي قَالَتْ إِلَيْكَ عَنِّي فَإِنَّكَ لَمْ تُصَبْ بِمُصِيبَتِي وَلَمْ تَعْرِفْهُ فَقِيلَ لَهَا إِنَّهُ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَأَتَتْ بَابَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَلَمْ تَجِدْ عِنْدَهُ بَوَّابِينَ فَقَالَتْ لَمْ أَعْرِفْكَ فَقَالَ إِنَّمَا الصَّبْرُ عِنْدَ الصَّدْمَةِ الْأُول

The true Sabr is the Sabr of Ayyub (pbuh)!

He endured patiently without complains: “And˹remember˺when Ayyub cried out to his Lord, “I have been touched with adversity, and You are the Most Merciful of the merciful.” (Al Anbiya 83)

وَأَيُّوبَ إِذْ نَادَى رَبَّهُ أَنِّي مَسَّنِيَ الضُّرُّ وَأَنتَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ

Ya Rabb! Guide us to be among those who are patient (Sabirin) with our obligation, those who will be patient in avoiding sins and evil deeds and those who will be patient, when afflicted with calamity!

Allahumma Amin!