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True Patience Is When Calamity Strikes

Imām Ibn al-Jawzī

A discussion on the value of exhibiting patience with Allāh through hardship. The knowledge that Allāh rewards such acts of righteousness lifts the burden of patience from the believers.

Narrated by Maḥmūd ibn Labīd [may Allāh be pleased with him] that the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said:

‘Indeed, if Allāh the Exalted in Might loves a people, He tests them. Whomsoever is patient, he [will have the reward] of the patience he has shown. Whomsoever shows despair, he will have nought but the despair he has shown.’

It is most appropriate that this patience is displayed [by the Muslim] at the very first strike [of calamity]. In al-Ṣaḥīḥayn [al-Bukhārī and Muslim] from the ḥadīth of Anas [may Allāh be pleased with him] that the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said:

‘[True] patience is at the first strike [of calamity].’

It is [then] most appropriate for [the Muslim] to anticipate from Allāh the return for that which was taken from him, being assured of His reward and thus quelling [the burden] of being patient.

From among the attributes of the patient is that they refrain from tearing their clothes, or beating their cheeks [in exasperation], and that their tongues are held from opposition [to the catastrophe that has befallen them] or that they show anger [concerning it]. Moreover, they prevent themselves from the expression of anything that shows them as being as overtly and unduly affected, as they are being tested. Let the truly intellectual one know that catastrophe is but a guest, so let him prepare the hospitality of patience for it.

The rulers used to say: ‘The actions of the truly intellectual man in the very first days of calamity are similar to what an ignorant man does after five days [of the catastrophe].’

Alī [ibn Abī Ṭālib, may Allāh be pleased with him] said to Ashʿath ibn Qays:

‘Indeed, either you are patient [when a calamity befalls you], maintaining īmān in Allāh and anticipating [His reward], or you engage in meaningless distractions in the way the wild animals do.’


Al-Thabāt: 32-33

Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: December 19, 2022
Edited: December 20, 2022


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