Sabr is a word we often hear Muslims use, but how many of us open-heartedly accept it when others tell us to have sabr.
We usually respond with a big yes, “I should practice more sabr” – but many of us feel we can’t show any more sabr, or that the person advising us doesn’t even know how we feel.
Allah throughout the Quran uses the word sabr. He uses it to describe the characteristic of a believer. Of course, that is one of the reasons we try and console people when they are tested and tell them to find comfort through sabr. But how many of us mean it? And more importantly, how many of us like hearing it?
Sabr isn’t something we can actually have within ourselves because others have told us to. It has to come from us, it has to come from the innate belief that resides in our hearts – it must be because we appreciate what it means to Allah when His slaves show sabr.
My mum recently spoke to me about Asiya, wife of the Firaun. We all know she was a beloved slave of Allah. She lived in the home of a tyrant and she believed in Allah when he (the firaun) wanted everyone to believe there was no greater being than him – astaghfirullah. Despite all this, Asiyah continued to remain firm in her faith.
My mum reminded me, that it was the belief in Allah and the Hereafter that allowed Aisya to have a sabr that is unmatched; it wasn’t because everyone around her told her that sabr was her only option. She consciously, willingly, with full faith showed sabr – a sabr so beautiful that she was able to make dua to Allah to build her a home near Him in jannah.
“My lord! Build for me a home with You in Paradise…” (66:11)
I think it was about 5 days ago I had listened to my mum on the phone talk to me about Asiya, and although I paid attention to her (I promise I did) – it was only afterwards I thought about what she said. I’ve been thinking about practising a sabr that isn’t asked for, a sabr that we as believers should be able to have because we want to, because we know its worth.
It is nice to talk to others about what we might be experiencing, the difficulties, the tests – but the bottom line is we can’t automatically grow patience and acceptance in our hearts just because someone else tells us to. We can only do that when it is part of what we believe, think and are. As usual, it is easier said than done – but thinking about making sabr part of who we are can be a great start to getting close to Allah – just like Aisya did.
Aisya didn’t have a great story of a woman to follow – we on the other hand have her as an example in the Quran – let’s think about her more, think about why Allah chose to tell us about her.
“O you who believe! Endure and be more patient…” (3:200)