In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
إِنَّ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ لَفِى خُسۡرٍ
إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلصَّبۡرِ
By Al-‘Asr (the time). Verily! The human is in loss; except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, enjoin one another to the truth and enjoin one another to patience. [Surah Al-Asr]
[وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلصَّبۡرِ – and do righteous good deeds, enjoin one another to the truth and enjoin one another to patience]. This leads to the station of upright leadership and strength in the religion, just as Allaah said: [وَجَعَلۡنَا مِنۡہُمۡ أَٮِٕمَّةً۬ يَہۡدُونَ بِأَمۡرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُواْۖ وَڪَانُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ – And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)]. [Surah As-Sajdah. Verse 24] So, through patience and certainty upright leadership in religion is attained.
Patience is two types:
(1) Patience when facing what has decreed, such as calamities. (2) Patience when fulfilling the divine legislated acts of worship and has two aspects- commands and prohibitions. The fulfilment of commands is related to patience in intent and action (i.e. persevere whilst fulfilling commands) and the second is related patience in keeping away from what one intends and wants to do (i.e. persevere whilst keeping away from evil).
As for the first type of patience (i.e. patience when facing the calamities decreed by Allaah), it is shared by both a believer and a disbeliever, a righteous person and a wicked sinner, and one is not rewarded if it is not connected to Eemaan [i.e sound belief] and Ikhtiyaar [i.e. the person willingly chooses to exercise patience as an act of worship devoted to Allaah]. The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said about his daughter (whose son was on his death bed), “She should be patient and hope for Allah’s reward.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree. Number 1284]
Allaah [The Exalted] said: [ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ لَهُم مَّغۡفِرَةٌ۬ وَأَجۡرٌ۬ ڪَبِيرٌ۬ – Except those who show patience and do righteous good deeds, those: theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward (Paradise)]. [Surah Hud. Verse 11]
Allaah [The Exalted] said: [بَلَىٰٓۚ إِن تَصۡبِرُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ – Yes, if you hold on to patience and piety]. [Surah Aal Imran. Verse 125] [a] Allaah said: [وَإِن تَصۡبِرُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ – But if you remain patient and hold on piety]. [Surah Aal Imran. Verse 120] [b]
Patience without sound belief and piety is like a bodily strength that is devoid of sound belief and piety. So the level of one’s certainty in what has been divinely legislated determines the level of patience when facing calamities decreed by Allaah (i.e. a person will return to what Allaah has legislated in the divine revelation regarding how to deal with calamities). [c]
Abdullah: Allaah [The Exalted] said: [فَٱصۡبِرۡ إِنَّ وَعۡدَ ٱللَّهِ حَقٌّ۬ۖ وَلَا يَسۡتَخِفَّنَّكَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُوقِنُونَ – So be patient (O Muhammad). Verily, the Promise of Allah is true, and let not those who have no certainty of faith, discourage you from conveying Allah’s Message (which you are obliged to convey)]. [Surah Ar-Rum. Verse 60]
Allaah commanded the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] to exercise patience and not to be like those who do not have certainty due to lack of patience, because indeed their lack of certainty is due to their lack of patience, and they fear and frighten their people. Had they attained certainty and truth, they would have exercised patience – neither fear nor frighten others. So, the one whose certainty is little, his patience will be little, and the whose patience is little will fear and frighten others. The person who has certainty and patient is self-possessed because he has intelligence and common sense, and the one who neither has certainty nor patience is lightheaded, so desires and lust flings him here and there just as the wind does with something light. And Allaah’s Aid is sought! [d] [At-Tibyaan Fee Aqsaamil Qur’aan 83-88. Slightly paraphrased]
Footnote a: The full verse: [بَلَىٰٓۚ إِن تَصۡبِرُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ وَيَأۡتُوكُم مِّن فَوۡرِهِمۡ هَـٰذَا يُمۡدِدۡكُمۡ رَبُّكُم بِخَمۡسَةِ ءَالَـٰفٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةِ مُسَوِّمِينَ -Yes, if you hold on to patience and piety, and the enemy comes rushing at you; your Lord will help you with five thousand angels having marks (of distinction). [Surah Aal Imran Verse 125]
Footnote b: The full verse:
إِن تَمۡسَسۡكُمۡ حَسَنَةٌ۬ تَسُؤۡهُمۡ وَإِن تُصِبۡكُمۡ سَيِّئَةٌ۬ يَفۡرَحُواْ بِهَاۖ وَإِن تَصۡبِرُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ لَا يَضُرُّڪُمۡ كَيۡدُهُمۡ شَيۡـًٔاۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِمَا يَعۡمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ۬
If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if you remain patient and become pious, not the least harm will their cunning do to you. Surely, Allah surrounds all that they do. [Surah Aal Imran. Verse 120]
Footnote c: Sa’eed Bin Jubayr [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Patience is the person’s acknowledgment that what has afflicted him is from Allaah, seeking for reward from Allaah and hoping for Allaah’s good recompense. Indeed, a man maybe in a state of distress whilst he is being whipped, but you see nothing from him except patience”. [As-Sabr Wath-Thawaab Alayhi. By Ibn Abee Dunya page 113]
Regarding the statement “Patience is the person’s acknowledgement that what has afflicted him is from Allaah”, Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “It is as if this statement is an explanation of the statement “Innaa lil laah – to Allaah we belong”. So, the person acknowledges that he belongs to Allaah and his owner does whatever He wants with him.
Regarding the statement “Seeking for reward from Allaah”, Imaam Ibnul Qayyim said, “It is as if this statement is an explanation of the statement “Wa Innaa Ilayhi Raaji’oon – and to Him (i.e. Allaah) we shall return”, meaning we shall return to You, so that you reward us due to our patience and the reward for being patient during calamity will not be lost”.
Regarding the statement “Indeed, a man maybe in a state of distress whilst he is being whipped, but you do not see from him except patience”, Imaam Ibnul Qayyim said, “Patience is not that one bears the whip, rather it is to restrain the heart from getting angry with Allaah’s decree and to restrain the tongue from complaining about Allaah. Whoever is whipped and his heart is displeased with Allaah, then he is not one who is patient”. [Iddat As-Saabireen pages 183-184]
Footnote d: Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: A man asked Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] and said, “What would be better – that one is granted strength and the authority to establish the path of Allaah and His Messengers without any hindrance from those who belie or oppose Allaah and His Messengers, or face trials [at first]?’’ So, Ash- Shaafi’ee said to him, “One will not be given strength and the authority to follow the path of Allaah without any hindrance from those who belie or oppose Allaah and His Messengers until after facing trials; for indeed Allaah tried Nooh, Ibraaheem, Moosaa, Eesaa and Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon them] and after they exercised patience, they were granted authority and strength to establish the path of Allaah without hindrance’’. Therefore, one should never think that he will escape pain. [Al-Fawaa’id’ pages 293-300]
He also said, “The person who has no certainty in faith [or lacks certainty] does not remain firm, rather he acts carelessly, whereas certainty is that firm Eemaan in the heart based on [sound] knowledge and action. And it maybe that a person has sound knowledge but does not exercise patience during calamities; rather he is swayed by emotion. Al-Hasan Al-Basri [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: If you wish to see someone with insight but has no patience, you will see him; and if you wish to see someone who has patience but not insight, you will see him; but if you see a person who had insight as well as patience, then he is the one mentioned by Allaah in the Aayah: [وَجَعَلۡنَا مِنۡہُمۡ أَٮِٕمَّةً۬ يَہۡدُونَ بِأَمۡرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُواْۖ وَڪَانُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ – And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)]. [Surah As-Sajdah’ Aayah 24] [Al-Fawaa’id’ pages 293-300]
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said regarding the statement of Allaah:
[فَٱصۡبِرۡ إِنَّ وَعۡدَ ٱللَّهِ حَقٌّ۬ۖ وَلَا يَسۡتَخِفَّنَّكَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُوقِنُونَ – So be patient. Indeed, the promise of Allaah is true. And let not those who have no certainty of faith, discourage you from conveying Allah’s Message (which you are obliged to convey)]. [Surah Rum’ Aayah 60]
[فَٱصۡبِرۡ – So be patient]- Meaning, upon that which you have been commanded and in calling them to the [path of] Allaah; even if you see them turning away that should not turn you away from the call. [إِنَّ وَعۡدَ ٱللَّهِ حَقٌّ۬ۖ – Indeed, the promise of Allaah is true]- Meaning, there is no doubt about that. And this is from that which aids a person to exercise patience, because when a servant know that his deeds will not be in vain and will find a full reward for it [in the afterlife], then what he faces of hardship will become minor, and it will become much easy for him to bear every difficulty.
[وَلَا يَسۡتَخِفَّنَّكَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُوقِنُونَ – And let not those who have no certainty of faith, discourage you]- Meaning, their Imaan is weak and their certainty is little, so their forbearance becomes lacking as result of that and their patience is little. So, beware out of fear of being discouraged by these people, because unless you are not careful about their affair, they will discourage you and lead you to not being firm in holding fast to the commands and prohibitions, and the soul may assist them in this affair and seek to be similar and to be in agreement with them. [An Excerpt from Tafseer as-Sadi]