Home Archive Lectures The Concept of Patience in Islam

The Concept of Patience in Islam

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

His Eminence, the Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Rabi' Al-Awwal, 30th 1430 H. - February, 27th 2009. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer.

The First Sermon

Patience in trial

Allah says in His Holy Book: "And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient. Who say, when afflicted with calamity: "To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return. They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance." (2:155-157).

In this verse, as well as others, Allah, the Most Exalted, is telling us that patience, is a human virtue that makes man earn the satisfaction of Allah and His blessing that signals His forgiveness and mercy. He has considered those who are patient to be guided, for He wants man to be strong before challenges, whether by the challenge of one's soul that calls him to deviate and revolt against Allah, or when faced by the challenges of life, including all kinds of loss, trouble, sickness and the like.

Allah wants man to remain firm and not to fall before any accident or trouble he might encounter, or any feeling that might tempt him to act in a negative way. Man might sometimes find himself experiencing fear, whether as a result of the pressures of the unjust and arrogant, or of the fear that something bad might happen to him or his family: "And We will most certainly tryyou with somewhat of fear and hunger"; when hunger threatens the entire society as a result of the economic crises – and loss of property– as we notice in the international financial crisis that has hit all people, including the believers who lost their funds – and lives – when man loses some of his beloved ones – and fruits – when the land becomes barren, as a result of the lack of rain.

The meaning of trial

If Allah says that he is going to "try" us, it does not mean that He will directly make us suffer; it is rather the nature of life and the laws that Allah has set to govern the universe that might impose this suffering. Allah wants man to be strong and balanced when he faces difficulties, and not to fall in a way that he would lose his belief, dignity and freedom. The loss man faces in a certain field should be a motive driving him to renew his struggle, avoid any such loss in the future and to compensate for it by the efforts he makes.

"And give good new to the patient who say when afflicted with calamity: "To Allah we belong and to Him is our return - when we will see the rewards of our patience which are Allah's mercy, forgiveness and, reward- They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah - as He sends His blessings to the Messenger and the believers, which in this case means, forgiveness and mercy, while in the case of the Prophet it means raising his rank – and mercy, and they are the ones who receive guidance".(2:155-157).

In another verse, we read about those who were faithful to Allah and followed the path of the Messenger: "How many of the Prophets fought with them (fought) large bands of godly men – they were faithful to Allah. But they never lost heart if they met with disaster in Allah's way, nor did they weaken (in will) nor give in". (3:146).

"And obey Allah and His Messenger and do not quarrel for then, you will be weak in hearts and your power will depart- because the nation which is plagued by internal fighting will fail, while it will succeed if it unites- "Allah is with those who patiently persevere". (8:46) Allah also calls on the Prophets to "hold patience; a patience of beautiful (contentment)" (70:5), which is the patience in which man does not complain to other people but only to God.

The patience of the Messenger in the face of the challenges

Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) describes in one of his sayings the ways the Prophet used to control the challenges of the unbelievers. Allah used to accompany His Prophet in his grief and stands and reveal to him in each stage a verse that would relief him.

The Imam says: "He who practices patience will be patient for a short time– since no matter how long a man will live, it will still be short- and he who falls, it will also be for a short time. Then, he says: "Be patient towards all your affairs. Allah, the Most Exalted has sent Muhammad and ordered him to be patient and lenient. Allah said: "and bear patiently what they say and avoid them with a becoming avoidance- with no cruelty or severity- And leave Me (alone to deal with) those in possession of thegood things of life, who (yet) deny the Truth". (73:10-11).

He also said: "Repel (evil what is best, when lo! Between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend.

And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, - none but persons of the greatest good fortune". (41:34-35)- Allah has ordered him to be patient when faced by challenges; so that he would turn his enemies into friends- Thus, the Messenger (p.) was patient until he was accused of major bad traits –magic, madness and lies against Allah- The Messenger was distressed- not emotionally but because such accusations would hinder his movement and prevent people from following his path – Thus, God revealed: "we do indeed know how they heat is distressed it what they say. But celebrate the praises of thy Lord and be of those who prostate themselves in adoration. (15:97-98)- Leave them and open up on Allah and pray to Him and He will relief you. They then rejected him and the Prophet felt a grief, so Allah revealed to him:

"We know indeed the grief which their words do cause thee: It is not thee they reject: It is the Signs of Allah, which the wicked deny. Rejected were the Messengers before thee: With patience and constancy they bore their rejection and their persecution until our aid did reach them".  (6:33-34) -and Our aid surely will come to you as it came to the Messengers before you. But they went too far and they mentioned Allah, and rejected Him. And the Prophet said: "I was patient when it had to do with my self, my family and honors, but I cannot be patient when my Lord is mentioned". So Allah revealed to him: "We created the Heavens and the earth and all between them in six days, not did any sense of weariness touch us. Bear, then with patience, all that they say". (50:38-39)

So the Prophet exercised patience in all his affairs. Then he was brought the glad tidings of the Imams of his progeny who were described of being patient.

"And we appointed, from among them, leaders, (Imams) giving guidance under our command. So long as they preserved with patience and continued to have faith in our signs". (32:24).

At this point the Prophet said: "Patience to belief is like the head to the body". And he thanked God for that, And Allah revealed to him:

"The fair promise of thy Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, because they had patience and constancy, and we leveled to the ground the great Works and fine Buildings which Pharaoh and his people erected (with such pride)." (7:137).

And the Prophet said: "It is a glad tiding and revenge. And Allah revealed: "then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)".(9:5) and: but if they fight you, slay them " (2:191). Thus, Allah killed them by the hands of His Messenger and those who loved Him. Therefore, Allah gave him the reward of his patience in addition to the reward He has saved for him in the Hereafter. Thus, whoever exercises patience, will not die before he sees that he is averaged for in his enemies in addition to the reward saved (for the Hereafter).

Patience is a symbol of belief

As-Sadiq (a.s.) also says: "When a believing servant in put into his grave, the salat- as if the prayer in a living thing- stands on his right and the Zakat on his left, his good deeds stand shadowing over him and forbearance stands aside, when the two angels in charge of interrogation enter the grave, forbearance tells the salat, the Zakat and good deeds: "You are to help your friend. If you felt unable, I would be with him".

Imam Ali (a.s.) says: "Patience is of two kinds: patience over what pains you which is a good and beautiful patience and even better is the second kind of patience which is the patience against what you covet - when you desire something that is prohibited and you feel deprivation- And mentioning Allah is of two kinds: when you are hit by a calamity - and you say: "to Allah we will return"- (2:156). And, the second one which is better when you mention Allah upon something that is haram and it acts as a barrier."

Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.) says: "When my father Ali bin Al-Hussein was dying he told Me: I will advise you with what my father advised me on his deathbed: Be Patient on the rights even if it is bitter".

Being with the right is costly because people are against it and they would charge you and persecute you. And you have to be firm when you face such a situation.

Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) says: "Patience to belief is like the head to the body. If the head goes, the body will follow; similarly, if patience goes, belief will follow."

Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.) says: "Paradise is associated with hateful things and patience. When one is patient towards hateful things, he will enter heaven. Hellfire is associated with desires and pleasures. Those who give themselves to these pleasures will go to hell."

Therefore, Allah wants us to face all life with all its problems losses and calamites by means of patience and believing that everything is in the hands of God. He has told us about the rewards of those who are patient in times of trouble, grief and calamities. We have to be patient in all our affairs and to rely on Allah in everything. "Allah is sufficient for us and most excellent is the Protector" (3:173).

The Second Sermon


Al-Quds: intellectual and security Judaization

On the Palestinian front, we meet again with Jerusalem as we celebrate the Holy City as a capital of the Arab culture; the thing which the enemy could not stand and considered it to be a terrorist threat, so it turned the city into a military barrack  to suppress the activities that accompany its declaration as the capital of the Arab culture, taking into consideration its historical extension represented by its intellectual production and creative inspirations and diverse religious cultures that embodied in its holy shrines the history of messages and the lives of prophets. All this confirms the city's Arabism that joins between Christianity and Islam in its Arabic language and opens up, through its culture, on many places in the world whose people regard it as a sacred city and associate it with their religious beliefs and historical extension, which refutes the Jewish myth that considers it to be the capital of the usurping entity and their allegations about the historical right of the Jews to reign over Jerusalem… So, Israel prevented any kind of celebration and even prohibited children from releasing balloons to celebrate the occasion. Actually, this state fears even from the children of Jerusalem whose future will open up to the commitment to its religious heritage, especially Al-Buraq Wall and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In spite of all this terrorism at the security and intellectual levels, we have not noticed any denouncement by the International Community and even the Arab and Muslim authorities, protesting on these practices, which suggests to the Jews that their Judaization and aggression practices are not faced by a conclusive refusal by the world that makes even the mother who is bereaved of a child laugh when it talks about human rights.

A water war against the Palestinians 

On another level, some senior Israeli military officials are demanding a new invasion of Gaza, having failed in achieving their goals of ending the resistance and turning the Gaza sector into a bargaining chip.

This failure was destined, despite all the support the enemy received from the Western administration, which considered that the Jews are practicing self-defense against the rockets launched by the Resistance, without taking into consideration all the crimes against humanity, the killing of civilians and the shelling of hospitals, mosques, schools and universities and the demolishment of houses on the heads of their occupants that the enemy has committed. In addition, the Security Council has refrained from condemning their practices, while the International Criminal Court did not prosecute Israel, although the confessions of the enemy's soldiers that they had received direct orders from their commanders to kill the largest possible number of Palestinians did not leave any chance for these international institutions even to maneuver.

There is also another war that the enemy is waging against the Palestinians. For, in addition to the provocations by the extreme right in the town of Um Al-Fahm, the Israeli companies, aided by the occupation forces and under their supervision, are stealing the Palestinian waters and pumping them into the Jewish settlements and towns. They are even selling the surplus water to the Palestinians (47 million cubic meters were sold last year to the Palestinian houses). Such a usurpation of Palestinian water is, according to international law experts, a violation of the international law, since it is an exploitation of an occupation authority to the natural resources of the occupied country. But this Jewish thief is not governed by the international law, since those who supervise it justify all the Israeli thefts, including the stealing of the Palestinian homeland; since the International Community sees that it is the right of the Jews to reject all the international laws, armed by the protection of the United States and the European Union, and the silence of the Arab and Muslim world.

Popular calls to end the war on Iraq

In America, we have noticed that thousands of Americans have demonstrated, demanding to end the war on Iraq, which has stepped in the seventh anniversary of its invasion, and considering that the Pentagon and the big companies are trading in death.

We wish that millions would have demonstrated in the Arab and Islamic countries, to reject the occupation, express solidarity with both, the Iraqi and Afghani peoples, and demand the withdrawal of the American and NATO troops, especially after the failure of the American plan and the NATO alliance. Even the new American President, Obama, has declared that the war on Afghanistan can not succeed, for the people reject any foreign troops, in spite of the weakness of their military strength before the American and Atlantic (NATO) forces.

In Iraq, we notice the resumption of suicide attacks that target civilians in the mosques, streets and religious ceremonies in the context of directing, anew, the potentials of the nation towards the wrong and forbidden acts, rendering it permissible to shed the blood of the Muslims and the peaceful based on certain Fatwas issued by some ignorant people or those who have no knowledge of jurisprudent criteria, and away from the spirit of the resistance that ought to be directed towards the occupation and not to be based on a blind hatred that targets those who are different from them in their sect, ethnicity or politics. Unfortunately, this is the dilemma of the Islamic world represented by the major international axes that rip off its wealth and occupy its countries and by certain Takfiri movements that were prevented by their narrow vision and the fanaticism of sectarian hatred from aspiring to a wide horizon through which the Arabs and Muslims can face the occupying force, once they hold on to their unity and solidarity and reject their dispersion and aggression of one against the other.           

Lebanon: Sectarianism is a forgery of the will

As for Lebanon, the issue lies in how can sects reproduce their positions in their geographic regions, political and religious leaderships, foreign relations, and funding resources. Governed by these subjective elements, it would be natural that each sect will represent a state that seeks its own interests away from those of the country; which can be reflected as fissures and cracks at the level of national unity. When the states multiply, in accordance with the number of sects within the same country, then the authority would appear as the system of division of shares between sects, which eliminates the government and consequently, the state itself. Then, the foreign states might interfere making the states (sects) multiply, according to the diversity of their interests, leaving no room for the citizen, but only for the sectarian man who seeks rendering his country at the service of his sect and not the contrary. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the Arab world that did not know the notion of the state in its modern history; however, it has experienced certain kinds of personal or family authorities that eliminate the state and confine it to the sphere of the person and family. Perhaps, the shortcoming in the logic of the elections lies in the fact that the citizen does not practice his free will of choice. In fact, the sect imposes pressures through its leaders to counterfeit his will and confiscate his freedom, in the sense that it becomes all about his sect and not his country.

Lebanon: legitimizing treason and freeing criminals

It is shameful to witness, every now and then, the emergence of those who call for liberating agents, thieves, and criminals from the strains of the law and the requirements of justice; the last of these attempts was represented by a project submitted to the Parliament to issue an amnesty for the lords of crime; those who were tools of the occupation forces in occupying the land, killing citizens, destroying the homeland and confining the free and the honest in jails and torture camps.

We understand when a country is to move from one phase to another and from one stage to another, certain legislations are stipulated to protect the country in its future and the expectations of its generations with what protects it internally and prevents the thieves from returning to their previous policy of international or regional theft and the like. However, we have noticed that, in Lebanon, amnesty has become part of the political game, and entered the sectarian and confessional calculations and is meant to turn into an electoral merchandise in a country in which treason dresses up in the garment of national interest, and humiliation beautifies itself to become an act of forgiveness, and the experts in treason and crimes brag to the extent that renders treason patriotism, in the sense that the freedom of the criminals and agents becomes the freedom and independence that the country can not rise without.

The problem in Lebanon lies in the fact that treason has emerged at the level of the political leaderships and consequently, they have deemed it easy that those who are beneath them would follow the same path. Moreover, they wanted the legislation to involve the popular base, in order to legitimize their leadership, so that the country would remain a hostage of external tutelages in major political calculations and minor internal projects and we remain in the swirl of adherence to local leaders who, in their turn, blindly follow the orders of foreign leaders. May Allah compensate the Lebanese for all their heritage plunged in humiliation, contempt, and death!