Excellence of Patience and Gratefulness.

Author: Ibn Al- Qayyim

Faith consists of two parts- patience and gratefulness and any slave of Allah who wishes good on himself should never abandon these two qualities.

Abdallah bin Mas’ud is reported to have said: “Faith has two parts; half is patience and the other half is thankfulness.” [al Tabarani 8544].

It is attested by the fact that Allah (SWT) has joined them together in several verses of the Qur’an, for example;

“Surely, there are are signs in this for every patient, thankful person.” [14/5; 42/33; 31/31; 34/19]

That’s how the introduction to this excellent book begins, and to say the truth it is never easy giving a short review on Ibn Al qayyim’s books because they are so wonderfully written; it’s like he poured out his entire heart into them and no review can ever match that kind of sacrifice.

Many people may wonder why in this book the eminent Sheikh starts by saying that patience and gratefulness are the two parts of faith, yet we all know that there are six articles of faith. The reason, to give a brief description is because for a slave to worship Allah fully both of these elements must be present in the believer.


In a believer’s life, he alternates between commands that he is required to obey and complete, and prohibitions that he is ordered to shun and avoid. He lives in the shadow of a Divine decree that takes place accidentally and a bounty that he is required to acknowledge by expressing gratitude to the Benefactor. Since a person is always surrounded by these conditions he has to persevere in patience throughout his life.

Throughout the book, the eminent sheikh take us through the definition of Sabr, its different types and levels, an argument about which of the two is best up to the definition of Sabr as one of the attributes of Allah (SWT) as He is called al-Sabur and al-Shakur.

He divides patience into five categories; Obligatory, desirable, forbidden, reprehensible and permissible.

Obligatory Patience:

  • patience in resisiting what has been prohibited.
  • patience in carrying out obligatory deeds.
  • patience in tribulation over which a person is helpless, such as illness, poverty etc.

Desirable Patience is to restrain oneself from worrying over unpleasant matters, to remain constant in doing desirable deeds and to refrain from retaliating when one faces an aggressor or other acts of agression.

Forbidden patience consists of refraining from food and drink until death. Also applies to refusing to eat dead meat, blood or meat of swine when there is danger of starvation. Tawus and Imam ahmad said; “A person who was forced by necessity to eat dead meat or drink blood and refrained from doing so and consequently starved to death would go to hell.”

Reprehensible Patience consists of instances where a person resists or controls himself from food, drink, dress and sexual intercourse to the extent of causing harm to the body.

Permissible Patience is to refrain from any act in which the consequences of both the doing and avoiding an act are equal.

The best thing about this book is its unpredicatability and easy flow which makes it equally easy to understand and act upon. Each page contains numerous lessons and on many occasions the keen reader will find himself stopping every now and then to reflect on them. There is a clear call to action in every passage and by all means the reader of this book wil be left with a deep feeling that indeed the book had been authored specifically for him.

Some of the inspiring passages from this beautiful book include;

Exercising patience when prosperous is very difficult because it is connected with power. A hungry person is more capable of showing steadfastness when food is not available to him, than he is when it is there. Similarly, a person full of sexual desire is more in control of his desire in the absence of a woman than he would be when she is available.”

Exercising patience is hard and unpleasant for humanity, yet it can still be achieved. Patience has two elements: knowledge and practice. These two are also essential ingredients of all medicines, which aid in the treatment of hearts and bodies. From these two ingredients is the medicine of patience prepared.”


One response to “Excellence of Patience and Gratefulness.

  1. Pingback: The Fallacy of this worldly Life. | Deen Republic·

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