The definition of Sabr: Imam al-Sa’di

Allah provides the most excellent examples for His slaves to imitate in His Book. Among them, He mentions the following specifically in surah al-Anbiyaa’ when He says:

وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِدْرِ‌يسَ وَذَا الْكِفْلِ ۖ كُلٌّ مِّنَ الصَّابِرِ‌ينَ  وَأَدْخَلْنَاهُمْ فِي رَ‌حْمَتِنَا ۖ إِنَّهُم مِّنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

“And [mention] Ismaa’eel and Idrees and Dhu’l-Kifl; all of whom were from the saabireen. And We admitted them into Our mercy. Indeed, they were of the righteous.” [21:85-86]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, offers the followin points of benefit from these ayaat:

أي‏:‏ واذكر عبادنا المصطفين، وأنبياءنا المرسلين بأحسن الذكر، وأثن عليهم أبلغ الثناء، إسماعيل بن إبراهيم، وإدريس، وذا الكفل، نبيين من أنبياء بني إسرائيل ‏{‏كُلٌّ‏}‏ من هؤلاء المذكورين ‏{‏مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ‏}‏ والصبر‏:‏ هو حبس النفس ومنعها، مما تميل بطبعها إليه، وهذا يشمل أنواع الصبر الثلاثة‏:‏ الصبر على طاعة الله والصبر عن معصية الله، والصبر على أقدار الله المؤلمة، فلا يستحق العبد اسم الصبر التام، حتى يوفي هذه الثلاثة حقها‏.‏

Meaning: And mention Our chosen slaves and Our sent prophets with the best of remembrance, and praise them with the most eloquent commendation; Ismaa’eel bin Ibrahim, and Idrees, and Dhu’l-Kifl – Prophets from the prophets of Bani Israa’eel, “all” from those who are mentioned “from the saabireen“. And al-Sabr: it is withholding the nafs and prohibiting it from that towards which it is inclined by its natural inclinations. And this includes three types of sabr:

1) sabr upon the obedience to Allah,

2) sabr against the disobedience of Allah, and

3) sabr with the painful decrees of Allah.

So the slave has not earned the title of sabr completely until he has fulfilled the full due of these three.

فهؤلاء الأنبياء، عليهم الصلاة والسلام، قد وصفهم الله بالصبر، فدل أنهم وفوها حقها، وقاموا بها كما ينبغي، ووصفهم أيضا بالصلاح، وهو يشمل صلاح القلب، بمعرفة الله ومحبته، والإنابة إليه كل وقت، وصلاح اللسان، بأن يكون رطبا من ذكر الله، وصلاح الجوارح، باشتغالها بطاعة الله وكفها عن المعاصي‏.‏ فبصبرهم وصلاحهم، أدخلهم الله برحمته، وجعلهم مع إخوانهم من المرسلين، وأثابهم الثواب العاجل والآجل، ولو لم يكن من ثوابهم، إلا أن الله تعالى نوه بذكرهم في العالمين، وجعل لهم لسان صدق في الآخرين، لكفى بذلك شرفا وفضلا‏.‏

So Allah has described these prophets (‘alaihim al-salaatu wa’s-salaam) with al-sabr, and this shows that they have fulfilled it’s due, and they have established their actions with it as they should. And they are also described with al-Salaah (righteousness), and this includes:

1) righteousness of the heart, by knowledge of Allah and love of Him, and turning to him at all times, and

2) righteousness of the tongue, for it to be moist with the remembrance of Allah, and

3) righteousness of the limbs, to occupy them with the obedience of Allah and restraining them from disobedience.

So by their sabr and their righteousness, Allah entered them into His mercy, and He made them, along with their brothers, from among the messengers. And He rewarded them with a reward in this life and the next. And even if there were no reward for them except that Allah the Exalted lauded them by means of their mention by all creation [i.e. by mentioning them are their praises in His Book], and made for them a truthful remembrance in the later generations, then that would be sufficient as an honor and a bounty.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg 617]

See also: The Sabr of Choice and Sabr of Necessity: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: “And mention in the Book, Ismaa’eel”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “Work, O family of Dawood, in gratitude”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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3 thoughts on “The definition of Sabr: Imam al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: “And mention in the Book, Ismaa’eel”: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: “Work, O family of Dawood, in gratitude”: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: The Sabr of Choice and Sabr of Necessity: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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