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The Protocol for Patience

The Protocol for Patience

If pain and sorrow are all tests from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), then there surely must be a right way to face these trials with an honourable result.

By Fauzia Fareeda Syed

Houston, US

There is something about difficult times that leaves us so broken. Times when plans go haywire, life turns chaotic, heartbreaks happen, and we end up distraught, depressed and with no peace in our lives.

But if pain and sorrow are all tests from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), then there surely must be a right way to face these trials with an honourable result.

The correct protocol, therefore, should make us face these trials gracefully, so we don’t lose our mind in the process, and finally reap the hidden rewards. When a mu’mina (believing woman) faces a moment of calamity with sabr (patience), she saves herself from stress, anxiety, despair and depression, which ultimately lead her to being peaceful – with herself and others.

In fact, sabr with salaat (prayers) are the some of the preconditions for peace. This is the person who receives a double reward from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) – success in this world and the hereafter.

يَا أَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ٱصْبِرُواْ وَصَابِرُواْ وَرَابِطُواْ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

“O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful”

(Qur’an 3:200)

How do we train ourselves so every action and reaction of ours encompasses sabr? How do we incorporate sabr during calamities?

To answer this question let us try understanding calamities first. Calamities or trials can be minor or major, from a small cut in the hand to losing a loved one.

  1. “Nothing will befall us except what Allah has ordained for us. “[9:51]
  2. “And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned.” [42:30]
  3. “And surely, we shall test you through fear, hunger, loss of life, property, and crops, give glad news to the people who have patience.”[2:155]
  4. Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” *
  5. “Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…” [ 2:286]

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى ) has told us that He will test us with calamities and like every problem has a solution, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) also has a custom-made solution for our custom-made problems.

To find the solution, all we need to do is to seek His help in a way He has asked us to:

The Protocol for patience - flowchart


Let us walk through the logical flow of this chart.

The bewildering moment which compels us to react in the wildest of ways, which makes us lose control of our emotions is when we have to hold back applying Prophet Muhammad’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) hadith:

Narrated Anas: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, ‘The real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.’

— [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 23, Number 389]

Hold back anger, hold back words and just say إِنَّا للَّهِ وَإِنَّـآ إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ” (Qur’an 2:156).  Although this is the approach we have to take in the face of any kind of calamity, for bigger problems we need to seek help of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) through sabr and salaat.

يَآأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ٱسْتَعِينُواْ بِٱلصَّبْرِ وَٱلصَّلٰوةِ

“O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer”

(Qur’an 2:153)

So with all of these bottled up emotions, is it not very easy for us to rant to the first person we talk to? By doing this not only do we waste our great act of patience, but also get into an additional sin – backbiting.

We need to let out our anger and grief by complaining and asking help from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) through dua. Never underestimate the power of dua! Patience and prayers go hand in hand, Allah wants us to ask His help submitting to Him completely.  Wait it out.

وَٱسْتَعِينُواْ بِٱلصَّبْرِ وَٱلصَّلَٰوةِ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلاَّ عَلَى ٱلْخَٰشِعِينَ

“And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive”

(Qur’an 2:45)

What if the problem is still not resolved? In that case should we just let our frustrations build up and be passive about the whole ordeal?

“Sabr is not remaining quiet and allowing anger to build up inside you. Sabr is to talk about what’s bothering you without losing control of your emotions.”- Nouman Ali Khan

Major problems like abuse, neglect, etc. need to be addressed. When a resolution cannot be reached by talking, we have to seek help from people who are in position of authority with an objective of seeking resolution. Trust in Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)  and do what you need to do, by the will of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) the issue will be resolved. And if the problem still persists stick it out with sabr and salaah. Although Prophet Yaqub (عليه السلام) was overtaken by grief and suffering, he never gave up hope and stuck to prayers. His words are a guiding light for us Muslims even today.

قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَشْكُو بَثِّي وَحُزْنِي إِلَى اللَّهِ وَأَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

He said, “I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah , and I know from Allah that which you do not know.

(Qur’an 12:86)

Let us revisit our steps for Sabr:
  1. Hold back Anger/ Words–When Calamity strikes say إِنَّا للَّهِ وَإِنَّـآ إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
  2. Wait it out –
    a) With patience and prayers and
    b) Without ranting things out.
  1. Seek help – with people of authority

As difficult as Sabr seems, when we try to practice it Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) will make it easy for us and reward us for it in both lives — bi-iznillah.

What should keep us going is Allah’s (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) promise of limitless reward for Sabr.

إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى ٱلصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُمْ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ 

“Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account”

(Qur’an 39:10)

* Sahih al- Bukhari 5645, In book reference: Book 75, Hadith 5, USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol 7, Book 70, Hadith 548

About Fauzia Fareeda Syed

Fauzia Syed has a Bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering along with a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Louisville. After working for many years in the IT industry she is now focused in learning and spreading the message of Islam. With profound interest in the Qur'anic Sciences, she is a student of the Qur'an.

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