Fasting Combines the Greatest Forms of Patience

Imām Ibn Rajab

The Prophet (ﷺ) used to refer to Ramaḍān as the month of patience.
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There are several types of praiseworthy patience,

  1. Patience when carrying out acts of obedience to Allāh, the Exalted in Might,
  2. Patience in staying away from His disobedience,
  3. Patience regarding the Divine Preordainments of Allāh, the Exalted in Might.

Possessing patience when carrying out acts in His obedience and refraining from His disobedience is superior to having patience regarding the predestined, traumatic, painful occurrences. This sentiment was expressed by several of the pious predecessors including Saʿīd ibn Jubayr, Maymūn ibn Mahrān (رحمهما الله) and others.

However, the best of all types of patience is the act of fasting. This is because this one action combines all three types of patience [aforementioned]. For the fasting person must exhibit patience upon the act of obedience he is carrying out, while being patient in refraining from disobedient acts. As the servant of Allāh has left that which is desirable to him (i.e. eating, drinking, intimacy) while his very soul wrestles and pulls him towards it. It is for this reason that Allāh, the Exalted in Might, says in the authentic ḥadīth: “All of the actions of the children of Ādam are for them except for fasting. Indeed, it was done for Me and I shall reward it. For, verily, he has left his food, his drink, and desires for My sake.”

Al-Hafīẓ Ibn Rajab al-Hanbalī

  Furthermore, fasting also encompasses possessing patience regarding the traumatic, painful predestined occurrences. Personified here in the form of hunger and thirst. Due to this, the Prophet (ﷺ) used to refer to the month of fasting as the month of patience. It is also narrated from the ḥadīth of the man from Banī Sulaym that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Fasting is half of patience.”

Source: Jāmiʿ al-ʿUlūm 2: 649
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: March 23, 2023
Edited: March 23, 2023

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