“But for your Lord be patient.”
In our days, Sabr (patience) is mostly understood as having patience in tests. Certainly, patience in tests is part of a Believer’s life:
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوفْ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الأَمَوَالِ وَالأنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.”
Patience during troubling times and the yearning for the good tidings is what gives each of us the motivation and power to hold on in life.
However, true “Sabr” comes through obedience to Allah (swt)’s commands and staying away from His prohibitions. In this context “Sabr” means steadfastness. Otherwise, just as it is the case today, it could be understood as waiting motionlessly until the troubles are over.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اصْبِرُواْ وَصَابِرُواْ وَرَابِطُواْ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
“O you who have believed, ‘persevere and endure’ (isbirû) and remain stationed (sâbirû) and fear Allah that you may be successful.”
(Al-i Imran: 200)
This verse shows that the one who claims to believe in Allah (to have Iman) have to use two tools in order to obey Allah: The first one is ‘Fear in Allah’, the second is ‘Sabr’, in the sense of submission, patience and steadfastness… Sabr – in order to conduct the duties of worship, to earn the livelihood through Halal (permitted) ways… Sabr – in removing the munkar (the bad), and enjoining the ma’ruf (good)… Sabr – in elevating Allah’s Name, in reviving Allah’s system… All of these are commands. And each command requires Sabr in order to be fulfilled. In order to say “I am of the steadfast”, it is an imperative to fulfil Allah’s orders thoroughly and without any reserve. The Prophets Ibrahim (as) and his son Ismail (as) are the best examples for this:
قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاء اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ * فَلَمَّا أَسْلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ لِلْجَبِينِ
“He (Ismail) said, “O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast. And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead.”
But Sabr also means to stand away from Allah’s prohibitions: Without doubt; living under a system that makes the Haram permissible, standing away from our Lord’s prohibitions requires an immense Sabr. Not using Riba (interest), standing away from Zina (fornication), not making concessions to the Islamic dress code, as well as refusing non-Islamic ruling systems, refusing agreements with the Kuffar, or not rendering Muslims to the enemies and the more… are all issues of Sabr… Standing away from Allah’s prohibitions and fulfilling what is obligated and Halal, and NEVER obeying the Taghut (the enemies of Islam); is having SABR.
فَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ وَلَا تُطِعْ مِنْهُمْ آثِمًا أَوْ كَفُورًا
“Therefore be patient with constancy to the Command of thy Lord, and hearken not to the sinner or the ingrate among them.”