الصَّبْرِ 278

Allah, the Almighty, said:

{And be patient, [O Muhammad], and your patience is not but through Allah…} [an-Naḥl 16:127]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ {وَاصْبِرْ وَمَا صَبْرُكَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ}.

Ṣabr is forcing oneself to endure hardship and keeping the tongue from complaining. It is one of the hardest stations for the common people, the most alien to the path of love, and the most reprehensible on the path of tawḥeed.288 It is of three levels:

الصَّبْرُ: حَبْسُ النَّفْسِ عَلَى الْمَكْرُوهِ وَعَقْلُ اللِّسَانِ عَنِ الشَّكْوَى، وَهُوَ مِنْ أَصْعَبُ الْمَنَازِلِ عَلَى الْعَامَّةِ، وَأَوْحَشِهَا فِي طَرِيقِ الْمَحَبَّةِ، وَأَنْكَرِهَا فِي طَرِيقِ التَّوْحِيدِ.وَهُوَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ.

The first level: to restrain oneself from sin by beholding the warnings, and to preserve one’s eemân and avoid the consequences of falling into that which is ḥarâm; but better yet, it is to refrain from sin out of shyness.289

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى: الصَّبْرُ عَنِ الْمَعْصِيَةِ، بِمُطَالَعَةِ الْوَعِيدِ، إِبْقَاءً عَلَى الْإِيمَانِ، وَحَذَرًا مِنَ الْحَرَامِ؛ وَأَحْسَنُ مِنْهَا الصَّبْرُ عَنِ الْمَعْصِيَةِ حَيَاءً.

The second level: persevering in obedience by worshiping Allah with consistency, guarding one’s worship with devotion, and enhancing it with knowledge.290

الدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَة: الصَّبْرُ عَلَى الطَّاعَةِ بِالْمُحَافَظَةِ عَلَيْهَا دَوَامًا، وَبِرِعَايَتِهَا إِخْلَاصًا، وَبِتَحْسِينِهَا عِلْمًا.

The third level: endurance through trials, by noticing the great reward, and awaiting the relief and belittling (putting in perspective) the calamity by counting the favors and remembering the previous bounties.
And the weakest patience is the patience for Allah, and that is the patience of the masses. Above this is the patience by Allah, and that is the patience of the seekers. Above this is the patience with Allah, and that is the patience of the wayfarers.291

الدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ: الصَّبْرُ فِي الْبَلَاءِ، بِمُلَاحَظَةِ حُسْنِ الْجَزَاءِ، وَانْتِظَارِ رَوْحِ الْفَرَجِ وَتَهْوَيْنِ الْبَلِيَّةِ بِعَدِّ أَيَادِي الْمِنَنِ وَبِذِكْرِ سَوَالِفِ النِّعَم.
وَأَضْعَفُ الصَّبْرِ الصَّبْرُ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ صَبْرُ الْعَامَّةِ. وَفَوْقَهُ الصَّبْرُ بِاللَّهِ وَهُوَ صَبْرُ الْمُرِيدِينَ. وَفَوْقَهُ الصَّبْرُ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَهُوَ صَبْرُ السَّالِكِينَ.

288Imam al-Harawi is trying to point out a valid concept, which is that riḍâ (contentment) will prevail on the path of love and complete disregard of the self will prevail on the path of tawḥeed. However, it may be contended that concepts like patience, contentment, and grief are not mutually exclusive. As humans, feeling the pain of loss is only natural. When his son died, the best of mankind ﷺ said, “…and we are saddened by your departure, O Ibrâheem.” He ﷺ was commanded by Allah to show ṣabr:

{وَاصْبِرْ وَمَا صَبْرُكَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ}

{And be patient, [O Muhammad], and your patience is not but through Allah.}(an-Naḥl 16:127)
Allah praised another one of the elite of mankind, Prophet Ayoob, because of his patience. He said:
{إِنَّا وَجَدْنَاهُ صَابِرًا نِّعْمَ الْعَبْدُ إِنَّهُ أَوَّابٌ}

{…Indeed, We found him patient, an excellent servant. Indeed, he was one repeatedly turning back [to Allah].} (Şâd 38:44)
Finally, ṣabr is not only about enduring hardship gracefully, but it is also about persevering on the path of righteousness, which requires great resolve.
Being too shy to commit sin knowing that your Lord sees you and being fully aware that you are exposing yourself to His displeasure. This is certainly higher than the station of fear, but it does not negate it and they are not mutually exclusive. Allah praised his prophets for fearing him:
{إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَيَدْعُونَنَا رَغَبًا وَرَهَبًا وَكَانُوا لَنَا خَاشِعِينَ}

{…they used to hasten to good deeds and supplicate Us in hope and fear, and they were to Us humbly submissive.} (al-Anbiyâ’ 21:90)
290 For the good deeds to be accepted, they must be for the sake of Allah alone and they must follow the knowledge (of the Sunnah).
291 Being patient for Allah is patience in anticipation of His reward. Being patient by Allah is considered higher by Imam al-Harawi because it is about the state (ḥâl) of those who disavow any ḥawl (influence) or quwwah (power) of their own. Being patient with Allah is about enduring acceptingly His decrees. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim contends in Madârij that being patient for Allah by compliance with His commands and conforming to His will should be the highest of the stations. The complete believers will do this while disavowing any ḥawl (influence) and quwwah (power) of their own.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


Shaykhul-Islam Abu Isma‘il Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Ansari al-Harawi (396-481H)

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj