Patience without grief or complaining to people
Fatwa No: 346909

  • Fatwa Date:20-8-2017 - Thul-Qi'dah 28, 1438
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum. We understand that in the Quran, Sabr means patience. What is the clear and deep explanation of the pious predecessors for the verse that says (what means): {So be patient with gracious patience}? [Quran 70:5] May Allaah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger. 

The linguistic meaning of Sabr is confinement, while its meaning in the Shariah is to confine the soul to obedience to Allah and avoidance of disobeying Him and not getting angry at the Decree of Allah and His Predestination.

As for the saying of Allah (which means): {So be patient with gracious patience.} [Quran 70:5], then Imaam At-Tabari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his Tafseer (interpretation of the Quran), “Allah Almighty says: {So be patient with gracious patience}; this means a patience without grief; Allah says to him: Be patient over the harm of those polytheists to you, and the harm that you find from them should not prevent you from conveying the message which Allah ordered you to convey.

Then At-Tabari refuted what Ibn Zayd said about this verse; that it was abrogated when Allah ordered His Messenger with jihaad, and he said:

There is nothing in Allah’s Commandment to his Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) {with gracious patience} that implies that it is an order from Allah to him in some circumstances only; rather, this was the Commandment of Allah to him in all circumstances, because since the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was sent as a Prophet until he died, he faced harm from them, and he was patient in the face of all the harm that he faced from them before Allah gave him permission to fight them and after His permission to him to do so [i.e. to perform jihaad].

Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy on him, clarified the meaning of {So be patient with gracious patience}, saying:

Gracious patience is patience without complaints; Ya’qoob (Jacob) may Allah exalt his mention, said, {I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah...} [Quran 12:86], and he [Jacob] also said {So patience is most fitting. And Allah is the One sought for help against that which you describe.} [Quran 12:18] Complaining to Allah does not negate gracious patience, unlike complaining to people… the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) supplicated, 'Oh Allah, I complain to You of my weakness, my lack of resources, and the humiliation that I receive from people…' Moreover, ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, used to recite in the Fajr prayer (what means): {I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah} and he would weep until his murmuring was heard from the last rows. When Imaam Ahmad was in his death sickness, people reported to him that Taawoos disliked the moaning of the sick person and said that it was a complaint, so Imaam Ahmad did not moan again until he died. That is because a person complains either to remove what harms him or to get what benefits him, and the slave is commanded to ask his Lord alone and not ask those whom His Lord created; Allah says (what means): {So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship]. And to your Lord direct [your] longing.} [Quran 94:7-8] Besides, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said to Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, 'If you ask, then ask Allah alone; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah alone.'” [Abridged]

Allah knows best.

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