Patience is a trait that is highly encouraged in Islam. It is the ability to endure difficulties and be calm in the face of adversity. It is also considered a virtue which will reap great rewards, as Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran:
قُلۡ يَٰعِبَادِ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمۡ ۚ لِلَّذِينَ أَحۡسَنُواْ فِى هَٰذِهِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا حَسَنَةٌ ۗ وَأَرۡضُ ٱللَّهِ وَٰسِعَةٌ ۗ إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى ٱلصَّٰبِرُونَ أَجۡرَهُم بِغَيۡرِ حِسَابٍ
Say “O My servants who believe! Be mindful of your Lord. Those who do good in this world will have a good reward. And Allah’s earth is spacious. Only those who endure patiently will be given their reward without limit.”
(Surah Az-Zumar, 39:10)
Allah s.w.t. mentions the word ‘Sabr’ in its different forms in the Quran. Apart from patience, it can also be defined as endurance, fortitude, steadfastness, restraint and perseverance.
In Islam, we are taught three main types of patience:
Real patience is at the first stroke of calamity or grief, as mentioned in a hadith. The Prophet s.a.w. said:
إِنَّمَا الصَّبْرُ عِنْدَ الصَّدْمَةِ الْأُولَ
“Verily, patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.”
When faced with a sudden calamity, the initial reaction can be intense and overwhelming. At that crucial moment, exercising patience by turning to Allah s.w.t, seeking His support, and accepting the situation with fortitude is what the Prophet referred to as the essence of patience.
Crying is a natural human reaction to pain, sadness, or loss. In Islam, shedding tears isn't discouraged; in fact, the Prophet Muhammad himself cried on different occasions. At the same time, the essence of patience lies in how one responds immediately after the calamity strikes. It's about acknowledging, processing and managing one's emotions, turning to prayer, seeking strength in faith, and maintaining a sense of resilience.
Ultimately, patience in Islam is not passive resignation but an active and conscious effort to remain steadfast and virtuous in all circumstances, seeking nearness to Allah through unwavering faith and perseverance. Patience is a virtue and it definitely requires practice. Allah s.w.t. mentions it numerous times in the Quran, which shows us it’s great importance.
Here are some Quranic verses about patience:
When facing difficulties and going through tough times in life, it is vital that we believe Allah s.w.t is always ready to help us. Therefore, we need to be patient and seek His help through prayers.
وَاسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلَّا عَلَى الْخَاشِعِينَ
“And seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, it is a burden except for the humble”
(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:45)
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱسۡتَعِينُواْ بِٱلصَّبۡرِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ
“O believers! Seek comfort in patience and prayer. Allah is truly with those who are patient.”
(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:153)
As the reward for patience is great and without limit, it undoubtedly requires determination and lots of practice.
وَلَمَن صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ لَمِنۡ عَزۡمِ ٱلۡأُمُورِ
And whoever endures patiently and forgives—surely this is a resolve to aspire to.
(Surah Ash-Shuraa, 42:43)
أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ يُجۡزَوۡنَ ٱلۡغُرۡفَةَ بِمَا صَبَرُواْ وَيُلَقَّوۡنَ فِيهَا تَحِيَّةً وَسَلَٰمًا
"It is they who will be rewarded with (elevated) mansions (in Paradise) for their perseverance, and will be received with salutations and (greetings of) peace"
(Surah Al-Furqan, 25:75)
Facing hardships is inevitable when we are enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. Therefore, patience is required.
يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا أَصَابَكَ ۖ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ
“O my dear son! Establish prayer, encourage what is good and forbid what is evil, and endure patiently whatever befalls you. Surely this is a resolve to aspire to."
(Surah Luqman, 31:17)
Patience is considered as a virtuous good deed. At times, we may think that we are at a loss when our patience does not bear the result that we aspire to. Verily Allah reminds us that those who are patient are among the good-doers whose rewards are promised.
وَٱصۡبِرۡ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجۡرَ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِين
"And be patient; verily, Allah loses not the reward of the good-doers."
(Surah Hud, 11:115)
One of the most pleasured rewards in this world and the next is to receive the love of Allah s.w.t. Having patience entails love from The Most Loving.
وَكَأَيِّن مِّن نَّبِىٍّۢ قَـٰتَلَ مَعَهُۥ رِبِّيُّونَ كَثِيرٌۭ فَمَا وَهَنُوا۟ لِمَآ أَصَابَهُمْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا ضَعُفُوا۟ وَمَا ٱسْتَكَانُوا۟ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يُحِبُّ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
"˹Imagine˺ how many devotees fought along with their prophets and never faltered despite whatever ˹losses˺ they suffered in the cause of Allah, nor did they weaken or give in! Allah loves those who persevere."
(Surah Ali ‘Imran, 3:146)
Allah s.w.t is sufficient for us and He knows everything that we are going through. When we are faced with hardships and events that test our character, let us remind ourselves that we want Allah to be with us, and that is through beautiful patience.
وَأَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ وَلَا تَنَٰزَعُواْ فَتَفۡشَلُواْ وَتَذۡهَبَ رِيحُكُمۡ ۖ وَٱصۡبِرُوٓاْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ
"Obey Allah and His Messenger and do not dispute with one another, or you would be discouraged and weakened. Persevere! Surely Allah is with those who persevere."
(Surah Al-Anfal, 8:46)
"Be patient ˹O Prophet˺, for your patience is only with Allah’s help. Do not grieve over those ˹who disbelieve˺, nor be distressed by their schemes."
(Surah Al-Anfal, 16:127)
Patience is not merely enduring trials; it's persevering with a calm heart while relying on Allah's guidance and help. The verse encourages the Prophet to maintain unwavering patience, reminding him that this steadfastness is ultimately supported by Allah's grace and assistance.
The command not to grieve over the disbelievers or be distressed by their schemes holds profound wisdom. It advises the Prophet and, by extension, all believers, not to allow the actions or disbelief of others to shake their resolve or inner peace. It's a call to rise above negativity, focusing instead on fulfilling one's duty and maintaining faith regardless of the opposition or disbelief encountered.
This verse serves as a timeless lesson for all, teaching us to cultivate patience, trust in Allah's decree, and resilience in the face of adversity. It urges believers to respond to challenges with a composed heart, placing ultimate trust in Allah while carrying out their responsibilities without being deterred by the disbelief or opposition of others.