Patience is required in the following areas of life:
1. In worshipping Allâh and following His commands,
2. In abstaining from wrong actions,
3. In accepting Allâh’s decree and ruling (qadâ’ wa qadr).
This is the advice given to Luqmân when he told his son:
“O my son! establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just and forbid what is wrong;
and bear with patient constancy whatever betide you; for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs.” (Luqmân 31:17)
Enjoining what is just includes doing good oneself, and forbidding what is wrong includes abstaining from wrong action oneself.
To acquire Patience in worshiping Allah:
Patience in worshiping Allâh and carrying out His instructions means that you perform the prescribed acts of worship regularly and do so sincerely and with knowledge. Worship that is not performed regularly is of no value.
Even if worship is performed regularly, there are two dangers:
-Firstly, we risk losing our sincerity, if the motive for performing prayers is not to please Allâh and draw closer to Him. So to protect our worship we must make sure that we are sincere.
-Secondly, we must be sure never to deviate from the way of the Prophet (Peace be up on him), so we have to ensure that our worship is done according to the Sunnah.
To acquire Patience in abstaining from wrong actions:
This type of patience can be achieved through the fear of the punishment which follows the wrong action, or through a feeling of hayâ’ (shyness or shame) before Allâh for using His blessings in committing wrong actions.
That feeling of hayâ’ before Allâh can be strengthened through learning more about Allâh and knowing more about His names and attributes. Hayâ’ is a characteristic of people who are noble and possess good qualities, so the person who refrains from wrong action because of hayâ’ is better than the one who abstains because of fear. Hayâ’ indicates that a person is mindful of Allâh and His might.
The person whose deterrent is the fear of Allâh has his thoughts focused on the punishment. The fearful person’s main concern is himself and how to save himself from the punishment, whereas the “shy” person’s main concern is Allâh and His Glory.
Both have attained the status of îmân, but the “shy” person has attained ihsân, a higher status of îmân, in which he conducts himself as if he can see Allâh, and so his heart is filled with hayâ’.
The reason why it is so important for a believer to abstain from wrong action is because he must protect his îmân, as wrong action decreases îmân or extinguishes it.
The believer should abstain from many permitted actions in case they may lead to that which is forbidden.
To acquire Patience at times of trial and adversity:
Patience during difficult times may be achieved by:
1. thinking of the good reward that lies ahead. The more you believe in the rewards that are waiting for you, the easier it becomes to have patience. If it were not for the anticipation of the rewards, no goals or objectives pertaining to this life or the hereafter would have been achieved. Human nature loves instant gratification, but reason and maturity make us think of the long term outcome, which helps to strengthen our patience in enduring whatever faces us, whether there is no choice or otherwise;
2. expecting and hoping for a time of ease. This hope in itself offers a measure of immediate relief;
3. thinking of Allâh’s countless blessings. When we realize that we cannot enumerate the blessings of Allâh, it becomes easier for us to exercise patience in facing the current adversity, because the present troubles are like a raindrop compared to vast ocean of Allâh’s blessings and favours;
4. thinking of previous blessings of Allâh. This will remind us of Allâh’s care, and strengthen our hopes ad expectations of a time of ease to come.
-Extracts from: 'Patience and Gratitude' By Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah
An abridgement of his original work entitled, “Uddat as-Sâbireen wa Dhâkirat ash-Shâkireen”