Ibn al-Qayyim on patience

The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawzi, in his book Iddah al-Saabireen wa Dhakheerah al-Shaakireen, wrote the following insightful and uplifting words on the subject of Sabr:

 والنفس مطية العبد التى يسير عليها إلى الجنة أو النار والصبر لها بمنزلة الخطام والزمام للمطيه فإن لم يكن للمطيه خطام ولا زمام شردت في كل مذهب

And the soul is the mount of the servant upon which he embarks either to Jannah or to the Hell-fire, and Sabr is like the rein of that mount. And if there were to be no rein for the mount, the mount would bolt here and there, directionless.

 وحفظ من خطب الحجاج اقدعوا هذه النفوس فإنها طلعة إلى كل سوء فرحم الله امرءا جعل لنفسه خطاما وزماما فقادها بخطامها إلى طاعة الله وصرفها بزمامها عن معاصى الله فإن الصبر عن محارم الله أيسر من الصبر على عذابه

In one of the speeches of al-Hajjaaj, he said, “Restrain these souls for they plunge into every evil. May Allah have mercy upon a person who places a rein around his soul and guides it to the obedience of Allah and turns it away from from disobedience of Allah. For verily Sabr against the prohibitions of Allah is easier than sabr against His punishment.”

 قلت والنفس فيها قوتان قوة الإقدام وقوة الاحجام فحقيقة الصبر ان يجعل قوة الإقدام مصروفة إلى ما ينفعه وقوة الاحجام امساكا عما يضره

I [ibn al-Qayyim] say: the soul has the ability of driving and daring, and it has the ability of restraint and resistance. The reality of patience is that one directs its driving force towards that which would benefit him and directs his resistance against that which would harm him.

ومن الناس من تكون قوة صبره على فعل ما ينتفع به وثباته عليه اقوى من صبره عما يضره فيصبر على مشقة الطاعه ولا صبر له عن داعى هواه إلى ارتكاب ما نهى عنه

Some people find that their ability to patiently persevere in doing that which will benefit them is greater than their ability to patiently refrain from that which will have them. So he is able to persevere in fulfilling the commandments but he has no sabr against the call of his desires to commit what is prohibited for him.

ومنهم من تكون قوة صبره عن المخالفات أقوى من صبره على مشقة الطاعات

And some people have a greater ability to patiently refrain from opposition than their ability to patiently persevere in obedience.

ومنهم من لا صبر له على هذا ولا ذاك

And some people do not have the sabr for either of these two.

وأفضل الناس أصبرهم على النوعين فكثير من الناس يصبر على مكابدة قيام الليل في الحر والبرد وعلى مشقة الصيام ولا يصبر عن نظرة محرمة

The best person is the one who has the most sabr in both matters. Many people are able to persevere in praying during the night, whether it is hot or cold, and fast during the day, but are not able to lower their gaze.

وكثير من الناس يصبر عن النظر وعن الالتفات إلى الصور ولا صبر له على الأمر بالمعروف والنهى عن المنكر وجهاد الكفار والمنافقين بل هو أضعف شئ عن هذا وأعجزه

And many people are able to lower their gaze but are unable to enjoin good and forbid evil or participate in jihaad against the kuffaar and the munaafiqeen. Rather they are the weakest in these things are they cannot do them.

وأكثرهم لا صبر له على واحد من الأمرين وأقلهم أصبرهم في الموضعين

And a majority do not have sabr for one of these two things, and a minority are able to exercise sabr in both cases.

وقيل الصبر ثبات باعث العقل والدين في مقابلة باعث الهوى والشهوة

And it is said that Sabr is that the intellect and the deen stand firm when faced with lusts and desires.

ومعنى هذا أن الطبع يتقاضى ما يحب وباعث العقل والدين يمنع منه والحرب قائمة بينهما وهو سجال ومعرك هذا الحرب قلب العبد والصبر والشجاعة والثبات

And the meaning of this is that human nature runs after that which it loves, but intellect and religion prevent it. So there is a standing war among them, and this war has its ups and down. The battlefield is the heart of the slave, and sabr, courage and steadfast firmness.

[Iddah al-Saabireen wa Dhakheerah al-Shaakireen p. 25-27]

See also: “Allah had distributed people’s actions just as he has distributed their sustenance”

One thought on “Ibn al-Qayyim on patience

  1. Pingback: “Allah has distributed people’s actions just as he has distributed their sustenance” | Tulayhah

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