5 Categories of Patience Explained by Al-Imām Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullāh)

Patience falls into five categories as Al-Imām Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullāh) explained in his tremendous book, ‘Iddatu as-Ṣābirīn

Patience is categorised into five: Wājib (Obligatory), Mandūb (Recommended), Maḥḍhūr (Prohibited), Makrūh (Disliked) and Mubāḥ (permissible).

Obligatory Patience is of three types:

  1. Restraining oneself from the prohibited affairs. (Muḥaramāt)
  2. Perseverance upon the performance of the obligatons. (Wājibāt)
  3. Patience upon afflictions, such as illnesses, poverty etc.

Recommended Patience:

  1. Restraining oneself from the disliked actions. (Makrūhāt)
  2. Perseverance upon the recommended actions. (Mustaḥabāt)

Prohibited Patience is of types from them:

  • Restraining oneself from food and drink, to the extent that a person dies,
  • Likewise restraining oneself from carrion, blood and meat of swine at the time of starvation is prohibited if he fears death.

As for Disliked Patience, then it is of types:

  1. Restricting oneself from food and drink, clothing and intimate relations to the extent that it harms the body
  2. Restricting oneself from intimate relations with his wife, if he has the need for that and he isn’t harmed by it.
  3. Persisting upon the performance of the disliked actions. (Makrūhāt)
  4. Restricting oneself from performance of the recommended actions. (Mustaḥabāt)

Permissible Patience:

As for the Mubāḥ Ṣabr [i.e. the patience which is permissible to act upon, but one is not blameworthy for abandoning it], it is the patience that is besides those [four types], so one can either choose to act upon it or abandon it or persevere.

In summary

  • Patience upon an obligation is an obligation and refraining from an obligation is prohibited.
  • Abstaining from the impermissible is an obligation and persisting upon the impermissible is prohibited.
  • Patience upon the recommended deeds is recommended and refraining from them is disliked.
  • Abstaining from the disliked affairs is recommended and persisting upon them is disliked.
  • And Patience on the permissible affairs is permissible.

‘Iddatu as-Ṣābirīn pgs. 36-38 Dār al-Fīḥā

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