Have you ever thought about how to practically develop patience or why you need to develop patience in your life? Research shows that patience is one of the key factors to success and personal well-being . From a spiritual point of view, Allah says that patience is one of the most highly rewarded acts.
“Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account [limit].” (Qur’an 39: 10)
And the Prophet says that nobody can be given anything better or vaster than patience.
“Narrated Abu Sa`id : Some people from the Ansar asked Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) (to give them something) and he gave to every one of them, who asked him until all that he had was finished. When everything was finished and he had spent all that was in his hand, he said to them, ‘”(Know) that if I have any wealth, I will not withhold it from you (to keep for somebody else); And (know) that he who refrains from begging others (or doing prohibited deeds), Allah will make him contented and not in need of others; and he who remains patient, Allah will bestow patience upon him, and he who is satisfied with what he has, Allah will make him self-sufficient. And there is no gift better and vast (you may be given) than patience.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
But how do we practically develop patience?
This month at Barakah Academy, we had a thought-provoking discussion on this subject. It all started when Mohammed Faris, CEO & Founder of Productive Muslim, posed the question to the participants inside the Barakah Academy’s Slack workspace. He wrote:
“I always struggled with the question: “How do you practically develop ‘sabr (patience & perseverance?)” so that when calamities/trials hit you, you can push forward calmly without losing yourself to anxiety and stress.
It feels like an abstract concept that’s hard to prepare for (and you really won’t know if you have sabr (patience) or not until those calamities/trials hit you and observe how your nafs (inner self) react).
One thought that’s germinating in my mind recently is this idea of “developing one’s spiritual capacity/buffer” to deal with trials/calamities. Through the power of rituals (abundance remembrance of Allah , salawaat (sending peace and blessings) upon the Prophet, extra prayers, lots of Qur’an, sadaqah (charity), etc) you’ll build the spiritual capacity/buffer to absorb the shocks that are hitting you and not get too caught up with them when they occur.
Essentially, what these rituals do is help you develop a strong connection/bond with Your Creator so that you develop a strong spiritual grounding to hold you together in good times and tough times. What are your thoughts? How do you develop Sabr in your life?”
His question seems to have hit the right chord with many Barakah Academy members as some deep and heartfelt reflections were shared afterward.
Sidrah, academy member and HR Manager from Scotland, wrote
“Over the years I’ve tried to develop patience in little ways. One way is every so often I’ll create a dua (supplications) list. I’ll make a wish list of everything I would like in my life. Just before Ramadan, I went through it and the majority of the things on my list I gained. It was really humbling and I hadn’t even realized. Just taking that time to appreciate and look back helped. Also in my duas (supplications), I reiterate everything that I asked for in the past few years some of these things were health-related and again there was a pattern and I realized that these worldly issues I can work on (to a certain extent) but it was only by being patient and constantly turning to Allah did it help. I’ve come to that point in my life where I feel everything is in Allah’s hands, and I find that very liberating. I go to Allah for everything and all I need to do is rely on Him and Him only. All my life, He’s come through for me and when my dua hasn’t been accepted I understand exactly why it didn’t and that itself was a blessing. I basically now take a deep breath (sabr/patience) and talk and talk to Allah . It’s so simple. But it works. Breathe and make dua.”
Areefa Ally, academy member and Educator from Canada, wrote:
“While we must take the means to prepare ourselves, there are undoubtedly times that will shake us. We are warned that we would be tested in various forms. The key is how we react. Easier said than done, but we can take steps to respond with excellence.
- For us, Muslims, we often forget the qualifying adjective beautiful when we talk about patience. Pondering that more may be helpful.
- Pausing to question our thoughts vs the reality of a situation is also important.
- Remembering to be thankful for everything Allah sends our way even though it may not initially seem so at face value (challenging times can be a reminder to slow down and refocus, a learning opportunity, a form of cleansing, a push towards something better).
- If challenges involve other people, we are taught to think well of others and to pray for them. These are all things we can remind ourselves of and make a conscious effort to consider whenever situations arise. The best way to remember is to remind others. Lending a listening ear can also be a manifestation of sabr (patience). Please keep in mind: there are times when problems require actions we are not qualified to provide or that sabr alone won’t solve. My suggestions above are not catered to those. There are also times when sabr means not responding to certain stimuli. Please consult your heart and Allah in all cases.”
The powerful Words of Allah on patience
Patience can be hard for many people, especially with the trials they’re facing in life. If you’re struggling with patience, let me share with you the best counsel/therapy I found on patience. It is from the Words of Allah in the Quran. Allah says:
“Whatever you have will end, but what Allah has is lasting. And We will surely give those who were patient their reward according to the best of what they used to do ” (Qur’an 16: 96)
This verse gives two powerful reminders:
1. “Whatever you have will end. And what Allah has is lasting”
Even your patience can end at some points, but Allah’s Mercy is lasting. Your energy can end, and Allah’s Help is lasting. Your strength, capacities despite how much you train and prepare…can end, but Allah’s Kindness is lasting.
You will not be able to show exemplary patience in every single situation. This is not human. Maryam (Mary) [peace be upon her], the best of all women, the one Allah made an example for believing men and women until the end of time… when her calamity escalated she said: “I wish I had died before this“. (Qur’an 19: 23) If someone was going through difficulty and out of pain said I wish I had died or said some other emotional thing, we would have judged them and judged their faith. But this is the woman with the strongest faith, best knowledge and closest connection with Allah . Yet, Allah recorded her weakness in His Book. Allah knows we’re human. Allah is showing us He’s Merciful enough to not judge us by our lowest moments. This brings us to the next point.
2. “And We will surely give those who were patient their reward according to the best of what they used to do”
Allah didn’t say according to every single moment of their patience period or every single calamity/test they faced. He rather said that He’ll judge by the best moments, the best performance. Do you know when the teacher gives 5 pop quizzes but only grades you for the best 2? If the teacher was merciful enough to grade you according to your best performance, then know that Allah is more worthy of showing incomparable Mercy towards the slaves He created with His Hands.
The message is: Increase in having “best moments” and don’t lose hope during low points, you can turn them into best moments with sincere repentance and increasing in good deeds to wipe out the bad ones. Allah loves the patient ones (Qur’an 3: 146). But He also loves those who repent (Qur’an 2: 222).
Some effective means to develop patience from the Qur’an
1. By asking Allah Himself to make you patient.
“And be patient, and your patience is not but through Allah…” (Qur’an 16: 127)
2. By being in the company of teachers and righteous companions in regular circles of knowledge if possible like (learning Qur’an…etc). The reminders and barakah of those circles have a tremendous impact on handling calamities with peace and groundedness.
“And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.” (Qur’an 18: 28)
3. In Chapter 70 of the Qur’an, Allah talks about beautiful patience (verse 5), then He gives insights (around 8 tips from verse 19 to 35) on what people can do to attain balance in good and bad times.
“Indeed, mankind was created anxious: when evil touches him, impatient, and when good touches him, withholding [of it]. Except for the observers of prayer – Those who are constant in their prayer, And those within whose wealth is a known right for the petitioner and the deprived – and those who believe in the Day of Recompense. And those who are fearful of the punishment of their Lord – Indeed, the punishment of their Lord is not that from which one is safe – And those who guard their private parts. Except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they are not to be blamed – But whoever seeks beyond that, then they are the transgressors – And those who are to their trusts and promises attentive. And those who are in their testimonies upright. And those who [carefully] maintain their prayer: They will be in gardens, honored.” (Qur’an 70: 19: 35)
Practically speaking, in situations where we need to show patience, there can be 3 conditions:
- We’re able to display beautiful, gracious patience. This is the best condition, it is what we need to aim for, and it is a great favor from Allah . The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.” [Sahih Al Bukhari]
- We react in an unfavorable way. Then the next best thing to do is immediate repentance and following the bad deeds with good ones. If we don’t show the best patience, then show the best repentance.
- We feel completely down. Then we keep calm until this storm ends. It will end and we can still find Allah Forgiving, Accepting of the best, overlooking of the worst. But in low points, we do not approach the haram (unlawful) or leave the fara’ed (obligatory acts). And when one restores energy through the help of Allah (The Guide, The Healer) then hastening to repentance and maximizing good deeds to make up for the lapse.
Patience is a powerful trait and it is one of the Barakah Culture’s mindsets. It is a state of humility, hope, and reliance upon Allah . But if this turned into anger, displeasure with Allah or entitlement, then it loses its soul. Sometimes Allah allows us to break down to open room for repentance because repentance then can be a better state of humility. If one is not humbled by patience, they’ll be humbled by repentance. Allah opens both doors to access His Love, and Allah is ever Merciful to the believers.
If you’re looking for a place to practically learn more about the Barakah values and mindsets, then check our Barakah Academy. The Barakah Academy is your online platform to train with professionals who want to learn practical personal and professional development skills that are faith-based and linked with the latest research and science. It’s your global community of like-hearted professionals who want to live a better version of themselves spiritually, physically and socially.
 Schnitker, Sarah. (2012). An examination of patience and well-being. The Journal of Positive Psychology. 7. 263-280. 10.1080/17439760.2012.697185.