Patience of the Prophets عَـلَـيْـهِمُ الـصَّلٰوةُ وَالـسَّـلَام   Part 1

Quranic Pearls

Patience of the Prophets عَـلَـيْـهِمُ الـصَّلٰوةُ وَالـسَّـلَام

Part 1

Mufti Abu Salih Muhammad Qasim Attari

Allah Almighty states:

اِنَّ اللّٰہَ مَعَ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ (۱۵۳)

Indeed, Allah is with those who are patient.”[1]

This verse elucidates the immense merits of patience and highlights that Allah Almighty provides assistance, support, and protection to those who practice patience. Patience, in its literal sense, refers to the act of restraining oneself. In the context of Islamic law, it entails steadfastly adhering to the mandates of Islam and rationality. Likewise, it entails refraining from actions that contradict the dictates of Islam and rationality.[2] Therefore, it is a form of patience to submit yourself to the will and command of Allah Almighty and refrain from committing sins. The avoidance of screaming, wailing and uttering words of ungratefulness to others at the time of difficulty is also patience.

Life is not solely defined by an unending expanse of happiness or an unceasing stream of sorrow. It is a nuanced tapestry, intricately woven with both moments of joy and periods of hardship. Life consists of happiness and grief. No individual exists solely in a state of perpetual bliss, just as no one endures only constant worry and difficulty. Rather, life’s journey is a delicate balance, where happiness and grief interweave, creating a meaningful human existence. A believer navigates this journey by adorning himself with gratitude in joyous times and patience in difficult moments. Proximity in the court of Allah Almighty as well as receiving His blessings, support, divine pleasure and glad tidings of Paradise make patience most pleasant for the accomplished servants. Grief is a necessary part of life.

The Quran describes the esteemed purposes of the most superior human beings, the Prophets عَـلَـيْـهِمُ الـصَّلٰوةُ وَالـسَّـلَام, and one of them is to present a perfect example on how to live. How did the Prophets عَـلَـيْـهِمُ الـصَّلٰوةُ وَالـسَّـلَام display the qualities of servitude, patience, gratitude, love and the fear of Allah? How did they eradicate falsehood, elevate the word of Allah and deal with the governance and welfare of the Ummah? We will explore the patience of the Prophets عَـلَـيْـهِمُ الـصَّلٰوةُ وَالـسَّـلَام in light of the Quran.

Patience of Prophet Nuh عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام

The life of Prophet Nuh عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام was marked by his tireless efforts in bringing people closer to Allah. It is stated in the Quran:

فَلَبِثَ فِیۡہِمۡ  اَلۡفَ سَنَۃٍ  اِلَّا خَمۡسِیۡنَ عَامًا ؕ 

“He hence stayed with them for a thousand years, minus fifty years.”[3]

For a remarkable span of 950 years, he diligently imparted the teachings of tawhid to his nation, urging them to follow his guidance and submit to Allah. However, his nation responded by mocking and belittling him through words and actions. Despite this, Prophet Nū عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام showed determination, courage and forbearance and submitted his efforts in the court of Allah Almighty and said: 'O my Lord, I invited my people night and day. So, my invitation only increased their fleeing (from the truth). And every time I invited them, that You may forgive them, they always thrust their fingers into their ears and covered themselves with their garments, and remained persistent (in their refusal) and were extremely arrogant. I then invited them openly. Then I also spoke to them in public and also spoke to them softly in private.’[4]

After a long period of time and after all forms of proof were established, Prophet Nū عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام supplicated to Allah Almighty for deliverance from his people. This supplication was promptly accepted.

Patience of Prophet Ibrāhīm عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام

The life of Prophet Ibrāhīm عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام was also full of tests and difficulties. Allah Almighty stated:

وَ اِذِ ابۡتَلٰۤی  اِبۡرٰہٖمَ  رَبُّہٗ بِکَلِمٰتٍ فَاَتَمَّہُنَّ ؕ

˹Remember˺ when the Lord of Ibrahim tested him by ˹His˺ certain words (i.e., commands), so he fulfilled ˹all of˺ them.”[5]

Even after facing numerous arduous trials throughout his mission, he remained content with the will of Allah Almighty. Through the blessings of patience and valour, he attained success. Despite facing staunch opposition, he fearlessly confronted his own uncle and the entire nation, forbidding them from idol worship. Then he destroyed the idols they were worshipping. The people were enraged and decided to burn him alive. It is stated in the Quran:

قَالُوۡا حَرِّقُوۡہُ وَ انۡصُرُوۡۤا اٰلِہَتَکُمۡ  اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ  فٰعِلِیۡنَ (۶۸

“They said, ‘Burn him and help your gods, if you are to do ˹something˺.’[6]

Prophet Ibrāhīm عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام trusted Allah Almighty and was steadfast, patient and content with His will, so he accepted his fate. This display of patience earned him the help of Allah Almighty. Allah Almighty commanded the fire:

یٰنَارُ کُوۡنِیۡ بَرۡدًا وَّ سَلٰمًا عَلٰۤی اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ (ۙ۶۹)

“We said, ‘O fire! Become cool and peaceful upon Ibrahim.’”[7]

Following his safe return from the fire, he exemplified remarkable patience and tolerance. He embarked on a journey of migration, accompanied by his wife and nephew, Prophet Lū عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام. Their journey took them from Iraq to Harran, then to Aleppo, and ultimately to the mountain of Jerusalem . Prophet Ibrahim عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام declared this to be a migration towards his Lord. It is mentioned in the Quran:

وَ  قَالَ  اِنِّیۡ مُہَاجِرٌ  اِلٰی رَبِّیۡ ؕ 

"Ibrahim said, ‘I am migrating towards my Lord.’”[8]

Then upon the command of Allah Almighty, he took his wife and son, Prophet Ismāīl عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام, from Syria and left them in the uninhabited wilderness of the aram. There were no signs of life, water or food for miles. The words of Prophet Ibrāhīm عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام are mentioned in the Quran:

رَبَّنَاۤ  اِنِّیۡۤ  اَسۡکَنۡتُ مِنۡ ذُرِّیَّتِیۡ بِوَادٍ غَیۡرِ  ذِیۡ  زَرۡعٍ عِنۡدَ  بَیۡتِکَ  الۡمُحَرَّمِ ۙ

‘O my Lord, I have made some of my offspring settle in a valley wherein there is no cultivation, near Your Sacred House.’[9]

Leaving your lifelong partner and beloved child in the wilderness, in obedience to the command of Allah Almighty, serves as a powerful demonstration of immense patience and trust. Then Allah Almighty commanded the noble Prophet عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام to sacrifice his young son, upon which his son encouraged his father to remain patient and steadfast. This narrative of patience and loyalty is explained in the Quran:

فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَہُ  السَّعۡیَ قَالَ یٰبُنَیَّ  اِنِّیۡۤ اَرٰی فِی الۡمَنَامِ اَنِّیۡۤ  اَذۡبَحُکَ فَانۡظُرۡ مَاذَا تَرٰی ؕ       قَالَ یٰۤاَبَتِ افۡعَلۡ مَا تُؤۡمَرُ ۫ سَتَجِدُنِیۡۤ  اِنۡ شَآءَ اللّٰہُ مِنَ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ (۱۰۲)

فَلَمَّاۤ   اَسۡلَمَا وَ  تَلَّہٗ   لِلۡجَبِیۡنِ (۱۰۳)ۚ     وَ  نَادَیۡنٰہُ  اَنۡ  یّٰۤاِبۡرٰہِیۡمُ (۱۰۴)ۙ    قَدۡ صَدَّقۡتَ الرُّءۡیَا ۚ     اِنَّا کَذٰلِکَ نَجۡزِی الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ (۱۰۵)

“And when he became capable of working with him, (Ibrahim) said, ‘O my son! I dreamt that I am sacrificing you, now see what is your opinion?’ (The son) said, ‘O my father! Do what you are being commanded; Allah willing, it is soon that you will find me patient.’ So, when they both submitted to Our command, and the father laid down his son by his forehead; do not ask about that (astonishing) situation. And we called out to him; that ‘O Ibrahim. You have indeed made the dream come true.’ And this is how We reward the virtuous.”[10]

(To be continued…)

[1] Al-Quran, 2:153, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[2] Al-Mufradāt, p. 273

[3] Al-Quran, 29:14, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[4] Al-Quran, 71:5-9 Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[5] Al-Quran, 2:124, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[6] Al-Quran, 21:68, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[7] Al-Quran, 21:69, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[8] Al-Quran, 29:26, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[9] Al-Quran, 14:37, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[10] Al-Quran, 37:102-105, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān




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