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The Islamic Personality - 6: Sabr (1-2) - In The Personal Life

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  • DDN
    B i s m i l l a a h i r R a h m a a n i r R a h e e m Alhamdulillaahi wa kafaa, wa salaamu alaa ibaadihilladzeen-astafaa Assalaamu `Alaykum wa
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 5, 2006
      B i s m i l l a a h i r   R a h m a a n i r   R a h e e m

      The Islamic Personality series continues on the subject of Sabr which will posted in two (2) installments, in shaa`Allaah:


      Part 1:    Sabr in the personal life

      Part 2:    Sabr in the Islamic work


      Each describing the different dimensions of Sabr. Here is part one.

      It implies patience, forbearance, perseverance, determination, fortitude, constancy and steadfastness. Sabr assumes different dimensions depending upon which aspect of life is the point of reference:
      Sabr in personal life

      1. The first kind of Sabr is 'patience' as it is ordinarily understood.

      It is the ability to hold back, remain calm, maintain one's cool, restrain oneself and wait and see despite the urge to jump on, barge in, respond, and do something in the situations of heat, pressure, anxiety, curiosity, anger, confrontation, etc.

      It also represents the patience exercised during the hardships people face in their lives such as illnesses and diseases, death of loved ones, natural calamities and disasters, and problems or setbacks emanating from the situations and circumstances beyond one's control. Knowing that all these things are part of our test for which we have been put on the earth and knowing that our success lies in how well we react to and handle such situations helps a believer endure these hardships without panicking, complaining or being frustrated.

      "A person who faces a physical or financial setback, keeps quiet about it and does not complain to people, has a right on Allaah to be forgiven."  (Attributed by Ibn 'Abbaas to the Prophet Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam as reported in At-Tabaraani's Al-Owsat).

      "A Muslim does not suffer any mental or physical anguish, or any distress, grief, pain or sorrow - even from the prick of a thorn - except that Allaah expiates his mistakes and sins." (Bukhaaree and Muslim[1])

      This Sabr is an extremely important virtue for a believer. The Prophet, Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam, talking to some poor Muslims from Ansaar whom he had given whatever he had, said:

      "Whoever practices Sabr, Allaah gives him Sabr. And no one can be given anything better or more far-reaching (comprehensive) than Sabr."  (Aboo S'eed Khudri in Bukhaaree and Muslim)

      In a letter of condolence dictated for Mu'aadz Ibn Jabal on the death of his son, the Prophet, Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam said, "May Allaah increase your reward and bestow you patience, and enable us and you to be thankful to Him. Our lives, our wealth and our families are blissful gifts that are trusts temporarily entrusted. Allaah gave you the opportunity to enjoy (your son gifted to you in trust) with happiness and pleasure, and then he took it from you in return for a big reward. May He bestow upon you blessings, mercy and guidance, if you restrain yourself in expectation for His reward. So, be patient and do not let wailing destroy your reward, to be sorry afterwards. Remember wailing neither brings back the dead, nor removes the grief. What had to happen has happened." (At-Tabaraani)

      However, tears or sadness is not against the spirit of the patience. When the son of the Prophet's daughter, Zainab, was taking his last breath in the Prophet's lap, tears came down from Prophet 's eyes. When Sa'd wondered, the Prophet explained, "This is an expression of mercy that Allaah has put in the hearts of people." (Reported from Usamah Ibn Zaid in Bukhaaree and Muslim)

      This kind of patience is the lowest level of Sabr expected of the believers and is one of the qualities emanating from the Taqwaa  in the heart. The test of the patience is at the initial shock. With time, everyone cools down. The patient person controls his/her reactions at the very outset. Reacting emotionally in the beginning and then cooling off is indicative of lack of patience. 

      The Messenger of Allaah, Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam told a women crying over the grave of her husband, "Maintain Taqwa and be patient." Later on he explained to her, "The real Sabr (patience) is that which is demonstrated at the initial shock." (Reported from Anas in Bukhaaree and Muslim)

      The Messenger of Allaah, Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam said, "Allaah Tabaaraka wa Ta`aala says: O son of Adam! If you remained patient restraining yourself and expecting my reward at the initial shock, I will not be happy without rewarding you with Jannah." (From Abee Umaamah in Ibn Maajah)

      The complementary quality for this Sabr is Shukr (gratitude) which means thanking Allaah for any good things, happy occasions, successes, health, profitability, good harvest and prosperity we enjoy in our life. Because all of these things depend, in addition to our hard work, on many favourable circumstances and conditions that are beyond our control, a believer thanks Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala for providing the ability to work hard and making our efforts fruitful through all those favourable circumstances and conditions.

      This is what is alluded to in the following Ahaadeeth:

      The Messenger of Allaah, Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam said, "Wondrous are the believer's affairs. For him there is good in all his affairs, and this is true only for a believer. If he encounters something troubling, he remains steadfast with patience, and that is good for him. If he experiences something pleasing, he thanks Allaah, and that is good for him." (Reported from Suhaib in the Muslim)

      The Messenger of Allaah, Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam said, "Allaah told Eesa (Jesus), `alayhissalaam: I will bring up an Ummah after you who will thank Allaah when they encounter what they like; and they will restrain themselves expecting reward from Allaah and will remain patient when they suffer something they dislike." (Reported from Aboo-Ad-Dardaa by Baihiqi in Shu'abul-Eemaan)

      Here is a brief review of the second dimension of Sabr in one's personal life:

      2. The second kind of Sabr is the forbearance exercised in the face of the ignorant behaviour shown by people around oneself. It is to endure verbal abuse, accusations, disrespect, slander, backbiting, false assumptions, name-calling, ridicule, maligning comments, etc. from people around us because of their jealousy, misgivings, maliciousness, difference of opinion or dislike for whatever reason.

      A person will be within one's right to defend himself from any misbehaviour. That is justice and everyone is entitled to it without being blamed for it. However, Ihsaan is that the believer takes all that in stride graciously and magnanimously without responding, fighting back, paying much attention or complaining. Ihsaan is the standard good Muslims are expected to strive for. The Holy Qur-aan states:

      "The fair settlement for a wrong is equal retribution. However, whoever forgives and reconciles, his reward is due on Allaah, and Allaah does not like the unjust. And whoever avenges himself after being wronged, they are not to be blamed. The blame is on those who oppress people and wrongfully rebel in the land. For them, there will be a painful punishment. And indeed whoever practices Sabr and forgives, that is a highly resolute, top-notch behaviour." (Ash-Shoora 42:40)

      It is also indicated by the following episode:

      Once, a person was verbally abusing Aboo Bakr, radhiallahu `anhu while the Prophet, Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam was curiously watching with a smile. After taking much abuse quietly, Aboo Bakr responded to a few of his comments. At this, the Prophet exhibited his disapproval, got up and left. Aboo Bakr caught up with the Prophet, Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam and wondered, "O Messenger of Allaah, he was abusing me and you remained sitting. When I responded to him, you disapproved and got up." The Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam responded,

      "There was an angel with you responding to him. When you responded to him, Shaytaan took his place."

      He then said,

      "O Aboo Bakr, there are three solid truths: If a person is wronged and he forbears  (without seeking revenge) just for the sake of Allaah Subhanahu wa Ta'alaa , Allaah will honour him and give him upper hand with His help; if a person opens a door of giving gifts for cementing relationships with relatives, Allaah will give him abundance; and, if a person opens a door of seeking charity for himself to increase his wealth, Allaah will further reduce his wealth."  (Reported from Aboo Hurayrah in Mishkaah and Musnad Ahmad)

      The prime example for practising Sabr, forbearing and then forgiving is the behaviour of prophet Yousuf (Joseph) `alayhissalaam in response to his brothers' wrongs. The Holy Qur-aan observes:

      "Indeed, whoever maintains Taqwa and practices Sabr, Allaah does not let the reward of the Muhsineen be lost." (Yousuf 12:90)
      [1] Read the translations of the Saheeh Hadeeth narrations by:
      Hadeeth (also spelt as Hadith) 
      The Arabic word hadeeth (pl. ahadeeth) is very similar to Sunnah, but not identical. The word hadeeth literally means communication or narration. In the Islamic context it has come to denote the sahih (also spelt as saheeh) record of what the Prophet Muhammad, Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam said, did, or tacitly approved - as opposed to his life itself, which is the Sunnah. In addition to the Prophet, Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam, himself, the word hadeeth also covers reports about the sayings and deeds, etc. of the Sahabahs (Companions of the Prophet). The whole body of Traditions is termed hadeeth and its science 'Ilm al-Hadeeth.
      The Sunnah
      Linguistically, Sunnah is an Arabic word which means a path or a way. However, Islamically, it denotes the way the Messenger of Allaah, Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam, lived his life taken from his sayings, actions and approvals. Muslims believe that the law Prophet Muhammad Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam came with, is a divine Revelation from Allaah Almighty. The Sunnah is the secondary source of Islamic jurisprudence, the first being the Holy Qur`aan. Both sources are indispensable; one cannot practice Islam without consulting both of them.
      Next - Part 6:  Sabr (2-2) - In the Islamic Work

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      Please note: The quotations of the Qur-aan in this series, is not a literal translation.

      Instead of  literal translation, it gives interpretive meanings of the verses, along with their

      contextual details. Please remember that any translation of the Holy Qur-aan is in fact

      only an expression of the translator's understanding of  the

      Word of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala,

      and hence cannot be equated with the Qur-aan itself.

      Only the original Arabic text can be called the Holy Qur-aan. 


      If you did not receive the following article(s) of  'The Islamic Personality' series by Ustaadz Ayub A. Hamid,  please send an email to: dominedirigenos@... .
      Note: please indicate on the subject line: Request for __________. 
      Part 1:    Trustworthiness   
      Part 2:    Truthfulness   
      Part 3:    'Adl   
      Part 4:    Ihsaan (1)
                       Ihsaan (2)  - Parents
                       Ihsaan (3) - Forgiveness
      Part 5:    Guiding Values: Giving to close relatives - Fahshaa - Munkar - Bahgy

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      Alhamdulillaahi wa kafaa, wa salaamu 'alaa 'ibaadihilladzeen-astafaa

      Assalaamu `Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuhu

      The Islamic Personality

      Part 6

      1 - 2
      In The Personal Life
      by Ayub A. Hamid