Forbearance and Firmness
One of the salient virtues on which both the Holy Quran and the words of Holy Imams have put much emphasis and recommended is Patience. This term has appeared for about a hundred times in the Holy Quran and more than ten times it is reference to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). This word Patience as understood from the Quranic verses and the traditions and narrations means steadfastness and not the bearing ill-luck nor submission to unpalatable circumstances.
In order to be well acquainted with this term; in the beginning we invite your attention to some verses and narrations. Thereafter we shall explain their kinds:
1 - O you who believe! Seek assistance through patience and prayer; Surely Allah is with the patient
2 - 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, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah's and to Him we shall surely return. Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course.
3 - O you who believe! Be patient and excel in patience and remain steadfast, and be careful of your duty to Allah, that you may be successful.
4 - And if you take your turn, then retaliate with the like of that with which you were afflicted; but if you are patient, it will certainly be best for those who are patient. And be patient and your patience is not but by the assistance of Allah, and grieve not for them, and do not distress yourself at what they plan.
5 - And We made of them Imams to guide by Our command when they were patient, and they were certain of Our communications.
6 - Moosa said to his people: Ask help from Allah and be patient; surely the land is Allah's; He causes such of His servants to inherit it as He pleases, and the end is for those who guard against evil.
7 - And We made the people who were deemed weak to inherit the eastern lands and the western ones which We had blessed; and the good word of your Lord was fulfilled in the children of Israel because they bore up sufferings patiently; and We utterly destroyed what Firon and his people had wrought and what they built.
1 - Abi Baseer says: I heard from Imam Sadiq (a.s.): A free man is a free man under all circumstances. If he is in trouble he is patient, calamities do not break him even if he is imprisoned and overpowered and put in difficulties. Hence, imprisonment and slavery could not harm the honours Yusuf (a.s.). Darkness and fright of a well could not put him to loss until Allah made him His messenger and pitied the nation because of him. Patience and forbearance is like this. It always results in good. So be patient and tolerant so as to see its reward.
2 - Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: Forbearance is for faith what a head is for a body. One who has no patience has no faith
3 - Imam Baqir (a.s.) said: One who does not cultivated patience for confronting the troubles of life becomes weak.
4 - Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: Every Mo-min who remains patient while in trouble gets the rewards of a thousand martyrs.
5 - Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.) has reportedly said: A Muslim becomes perfect through three virtues: endeavour for faith and religion, moderation in lifestyles and forbearance while in difficulty.
6 - Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: Many a time, one hour of forbearance and patience brings a long happiness and how often an hour of lust results in a lengthy sorrow.
7 - It is reported from Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.): O people! You have patience and forbearance in time of trouble. In truth,. One who has no patience has no religion.
8 - Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.) is reported to have said: Patience, good behaviour, fine attitude and forbearance is the character of Gods messengers.
9 - Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: Verily a slave has his own place and status in the sight of Allah where he does not reach through his deeds. Then Allah puts him in some trouble either physically or monetarily or in a family related matter. Thereafter through patience he reaches that status.
10 - Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.) has said: The best worship is: patience, silence and wait for the arrival of Imam Mahdi (a.s.).
Ali (a.s.) said: Patience is a shield in times of pressure and empty handedness.
Kinds of patience
We learn from narrations that Patience is of three sorts. Some narrations have divided it into two kinds. These traditions fully explain the scope of forbearance. Here we invite your attention to two narrations:
A: The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: Patience is of three kinds: Forbearance in time of trouble, steadfastness for obedience and restraining oneself from sinning. So one who remains patient during difficulty until god gives him ease, God gives him 300 marks measure of distinction and the vastness between such two marks is equal to the distance between the earth and the sky. One who keeps firmness in obedience to Divine commandments gets such 600 marks or degrees and the distance two such degrees is equal to the distance between the innermost part of the globe of earth and the Throne of the lord. One who restrains himself from sin earns 900 measures, the distance between the said measures being from the centre of the earth to the end of the Throne.
B: Asbagh quotes Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.): Forbearance is of two types: Patience in difficulties which is good and nice and better that that is the patience of restraining yourself from a thing which God has prohibited for you. And remembrances also are of two kinds: Remembrance of Almighty Allah in time of trouble and better than that remembrance is which prevents you from doing what God had made forbidden for you.
The point which is remarkable here is that the mention of the word Patience and Zikr in these narration is to mean steadfastness and attention toward Almighty Allah and not mere oral or vocal utterance nor to mean bearing ill-luck. We should understand that these two Traditions are not contradictory because the second also includes obedience to Allah.
Now that you have studied the ayats and traditions regarding Patience it has become fully clear that Patience as mentioned in them means steadfastness and firmness. The Holy Quran says: As for those who say, our lord is Allah, then continue in the right way, the angels descend upon them, saying,: Fear not, nor be grieved, and receive good news of the garden which you were promise.
And again says: Continue then in the right way as you are commanded, as also he who has turned to Allah with you, and be not inordinate O men!, surely He sees what you do.
Raagib says: In fact steadfastness is itself hidden in the true belief and schedule. So the Holy Quran uses the word Mustaqeem, from Istiqamat meaning firmness when it says: Ehdenassiraatal Mustaqeem (And know that this is my path, the Right one.)
So firmness must be in the True straight path and he tells Muslims:???
Just as the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) displayed firmness, in his mission of propagation and teaching and fighting and struggle so also you must also be.
In a famous Hadith of Ibne Abbas we read: No verse more hard and more difficult was ever revealed to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) than this ayat and hence when the companions asked him: why old age has come upon you so soon, he replied: Surah Waaqiah and Surah Hud made me old.
In another narrations we read:
When the above ayat was revealed the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: Girdle your loins, girdle your loins as it is time for action and struggle. Thereafter the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was never observed smiling.
In this verse there are four commands:
1 - order to be firm.
2 - The firmness must always have the divine motive only and it should always be far away from every kind of doubt of the devil and the attainment of the biggest collection and political power should also be only for Allah's sake.
3 - Responsible leader is he who returns to the true path and also leads others toward the same.
4 - To lead the struggle in the course of truth and justice and to block all kinds of rebellion and excessiveness because many a time people show off firmness for attaining the aim but they are unable to care for justice and equity and hence fall a pray to excessiveness and insurgence, beyond limits.
In order to nourish ourselves with steadfastness and patience, after studying the related verses and narrations, look at these four points:
A - We should delve deep into the history of the men of God and Godly persons and bring before our eyes how the messengers of Allah and their close companions fought with their lives in the path of belief and bore all kinds of difficulties and restlessness until they attained their aim.
B - Man must remember that this world earthly life is to pass away very soon and, therefore, if he shows forbearance, he will get eternal reward in the forthcoming unending life.
C - Man should know that becoming impatient gives no benefit but only makes the enemies happy over it and the reward is lost. As said by the Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.): If you bear with patience whatever is destined for you will reach you and you will be rewarded and if you show impatience even then what was to befall you will befall without any reward for you.
D - If one trains his soul and strengthens his spirit problems become easy for him: Surah Ankaboot: 69, Insharaah:6