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5 Ways to Build Patience and Perseverance

In Surah Asr of the Quran, Allah subhana wa ta’ala tells us that all of mankind is in a state of loss. However, after mentioning this sobering reality, He gives us a way out, a path to come out of this “loser” lifestyle and attain success. He says,

“Except for those who believe, do good deeds, urge one another to the truth, and urge one another to patience and perseverance” [1]

This article will seek to talk only about the last part of the verse, “urge one another to patience and perseverance.” In fact, the word which encompasses both patience and perseverance in the Quran is Sabr. Another word also used is Hilm, generally translated as Forbearance. One of the names of Allah is also Al-Haleem. Imam Ahmad, rahimahullah, said that patience has been mentioned 90 times in the Quran. And that in and of itself speaks volumes. In fact, in some ayat of the Quran, Allah has commanded patience, like He has commanded to pray, fast and give charity. For example, Allah says

“So be patient, your patience only comes from God.” [2]

In this world of instant gratification, it is very easy to never have patience. It is easy to get agitated, frustrated and ultimately depressed at anything and everything. So how do we build patience?

KNOWING ABOUT THE REWARDS OF PATIENCE

Why would we want to be patient if we do not see the fruits of it? If we do not know what the outcome of it will be? Allah frequently mentions concepts in the Quran which we are likely to forget, and among them is patience. And along with patience, Allah almost always adds in the reward. Allah shows us the path to seek His help,

You who believe, seek help through patience and prayer, for God is with the patient [3]

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First, He asks us to seek His help through patience and prayer, and then He mentions the jackpot, that Allah is with the patient. If Allah is with someone, is there any chance that he will fail in life? If Allah is with someone, is there any chance he will be overcome? If the Most Powerful, Owner of all that Exists, the Master of the Universe is on your side, what do you have to lose? Be patient!

The scholar Abu Alee ad-Daqaaq said, “The patient ones are victorious and have honour in both worlds since they have been told that Allah is with them.” [4]

Furthermore Allah mentions in the Quran, “Those who persevere patiently will be given a full reward, without any accounting” [5]

The rewards that Allah will give for those who are patient are without any accounting. Would we not want our Day of Judgement to be one where there would be no accounting?

KEEP TRACK OF SITUATIONS THAT TRIGGER IMPATIENCE, AND HOW MANY TIMES IT HAPPENS

Take time one day to see how many times you get impatient in that particular day, and/or what situations it is that trigger your impatience. If you do not know the enemy how will you fight it!?!

First, take a week to track how many times you get worked up and impatient

Secondly, track what it is that makes you impatient? What is/are the triggers? Is it the traffic? Is it too many phone calls? Is it just your spouse? Is it your kids creating havoc? Is it just anything that doesn’t go according to your plan?

Look out for these triggers. Once you know how many times you get impatient, you will know how much work you need to do. Once you what it is that triggers you, you will know what is that is making you lose it!

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TRACK YOUR SELF-TALK AND REPLACE YOUR THOUGHTS

One of the very common things that happens during a bubble of impatience which then festers into unease and then into full blown rage session is self-talk. In our head there are millions of things going on and a million different voices! Track these thoughts, if needed write them down. You will see a pattern building up, a pattern of re-occurring thoughts, a pattern that just repeats itself over and over again. Track these thoughts, and replace them with an alternative positive one. For example, if I am getting impatient because someone is late for a meeting, I might go “he is always late, what will I do now”. I can change that to “perhaps he has had a bad day, and has been caught up with something unexpected. May Allah alleviate his problems”.

Moreover, a lot of “self-talk” is also waswasah (whispers) of the Shaytan. Surah Falaq is one of the surahs revealed by Allah to specifically seek protection from wasawasah.

DUA, WUDHU AND DISCONNECTION

Allah has taught us multiple duas for patience in the Quran. For example,

رَبَّنَاأَفْرِغْعَلَيْنَاصَبْراًوَثَبِّتْأَقْدَامَنَا وَانصُرْنَاعَلَىالقَوْمِالكَافِرِينَ

Rabbana afrigh ‘alayna sabran wa thabbit aqdamana wansurna ‘alal-qawmil-kafirin

Our Lord, pour patience on us, make us stand firm, and help us against the disbelievers.[6]

Impatience also leads to anger, and the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam advised during anger to

1. To say Audhu billahi minashaytan nirajim. [7]

2. If he is standing, then he should sit. If the anger fails to subside, then he should lie down. [8]

3. A person should remain silent. [9]

4. Make wudhu. [10]

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Another thing one can do is disconnect from the situation. Walk away, take a bit of time out, let your mind come down. Disconnect and slowly the impatience will die down

FOCUS ON SMALL TRIGGERS AND PRACTICE

Start by focusing on the situations that induce a minimum level of impatience, not the ones that cause you to blow up. If you start by controlling your reactions to these, and continue to practice, soon you can move to the next small trigger and the next. Overcome these one at a time, and then you will slowly be able to handle situations.

[1] Quran 103:3

[2] Quran 16:127

[3] Quran 2:153

[4] Ibn al-Qayyim, Patience in the Quran

[5] Quran 39:10

[6] Quran 2:250

[7] Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim

[8] Narrated by Abu Dawud

[9] Narrated by Ahmad

[10] Narrated by Abu Dawud

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