Allah Ta’ala says:
“O People of Imaan! Adopt sabr (patience).”
Rasulullah (saws) said: “A Believer is To be marvelled because every condition of his is good. This is exclusive to the Believer. If he attains happiness, he makes shukr (is thankful) and if calamity overtakes him, he adopts sabr.”
NATURE OF SABR
In man are two conflicting forces. The one force impels him towards Deen and righteousness while the other drives him towards base desires, Asserting the Deeni force and subduing the force of lust is called Sabr. In the state of Sabr, the Deeni force in man asserts its dominance over the lowly force of base desire. Its definition is given as follows:
“Maintaining control of the nafs in the face of such things which the nafs dislikes.”
THE TYPES OF SABR
There are three kinds of Sabr.
1. SABR ALAL AMAL
2. SABR FIL AMAL
3. SABR ANIL AMAL
SABR ALAL AMAL
This means to be firm and constant in practising righteous deeds.
SABR FIL AMAL
This means to have sabr while engaging in the righteous deed. The nafs is held in control and prevented from diversion while engaged in the act of virtue. Acts of Ibaadat have to be discharged adequately by the observance of the principles and rules pertaining to such acts. Full attention has to be directed towards the act.
SABR ANIIL AMAL
This means to have sabr in the non-commission of any act or to restrain the nafs from indulging in the prohibitions of Allah Ta’ala.
NI’MAT AND MUSEEBAT
Ni’mat (fortune, favour, blessing) produces delight and happiness which in turn result in muhabbat (love) tor Allah, The Benefactor. On the contrary museebat (difficulty, hardship, calamity) produces unpleasantness and grief. Thus the occasion of sabr is in the face of museebat. Museebat is the condition detested by the nafs. This condition is of two kinds: first, the form of hardship, and second true hardship.
Grief and frustration follow in the wake of true hardship which is the consequence of sin. Hardship which brings about the strengthening of one’s bond with Allah and elevates one’s spiritual condition is not true hardship. It is merely a resemblance or form of hardship. It increases one’s submission to Allah Ta’ala. The Arifeen do perceive hardship. In fact their sense of perception is sharper, but due to their gaze being on Allah Ta’ala their grief and sorrow do not exceed the limits.
Difficulties are a means for the expiation of many sins. At times Allah Ta’ala wishes to bestow a special rank of elevation to a servant, but the latter lacks the ability to attain that lofty rank solely by virtue of his righteous deeds. Allah Ta’ala then afflicts him with some hardship by virtue of which he attains the desired lofty rank. It appears in the Hadith Shareef that on the Day of Qiyaamat the people of ni’mat (fortune and happiness) will envy those who had undergone museebat (hardship and sorrow). They will envy them and wish:
“Would that our skins were cut to bits with scissors so that today we could have attained the ranks bestowed to the people of hard-ship.”
It is also narrated in the Hadith Shareef that he who takes his vengeance, Allah Ta’ala assigns his affair to him (the one who took his own course). But the one who adopts sabr, Allah Ta’ala extracts vengeance on his behalf. Allah then sometimes awards him in this world, or may in Qiyaamat waive punishment totally from him. Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan Shareef:
“When a hardship afflicts you. say: innalillahi wa inna ilayhi raji oon (Verily, we are for Allah and unto Him will we return).”
The purport of this aayat is that one should engage in the thikr of اِنَّ للهِ وَ اِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُووْ نَ at the time of difficulty and hardship. One should meditate the meaning of this statement, that we are the exclusive property of Allah; we belong to Him and He has the full right to utilize and dispose of His property as He deems fit; we are therefore, contented with the decree of Allah.
When hardship afflicts one, firstly remember one’s sins. Such remembrance of shortcomings and faults will fortify one against depression during the hardship. One will then realize the correctness of the affliction and accept it without complaint. One will regret and not complain. Secondly, meditate the reward which Allah has promised for hardship. Remembering this reward will lessen the grief and keep one resolute in the state of hardship. Never complain nor entertain the impression that Allah Ta’ala has become displeased with one. This impression is dangerous because it weakens the bond with Allah Ta’ala and by degrees one’s relationship with Allah Ta’ala becomes effaced.
Consider hardship as either a punishment or a trial and contemplate its reward. At the time of hardship, the Shariat instructs sabr and firmness. For every hardship, the compensation will be good. There is, most assuredly, benefit in hardship, in this world as well as in the Akhirat although one may not be able to understand the worldly benefit therein.
Sabr is inculcated by weakening the desires of lust and emotion.