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The Five Categories of Patience

In the name of God, compassionate & merciful بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ | Peace be with you السلام عليكم

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3: Five Categories of Patience | Part 4 | Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 |
Part 8 | Part 9 

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Patience can be divided into categories following the five categories of deeds, namely wâji (obligatory), mandûb (encouraged), mahdhûr (forbidden), makrûh (disliked) and mubâh (permissible).

[1] Obligatory (wâjib) patience
  • Patience in abstaining from forbidden (harâm) things and actions.
  • Patience in carrying out obligatory deeds.
  • Patience in facing adversity which is beyond one’s control, such as illness, poverty, etc.

[2] Encouraged (mandûb) patience
  • Patience in abstaining from disliked (makrûh) things.
  • Patience in performing acts of worship which are liked and encouraged (mustahabb).
  • Patience in refraining from taking revenge.

[3] Forbidden (mahdhûr) patience
  • Patience in abstaining from food and drink until death.
  • Patience in abstaining from eating harâm meat, carrion and blood, when the alternative is death and starvation. Tawus1 and Ahmad ibn Hanbal2 said, “Whoever has no choice but to eat carrion, harâm meat and blood, but refuses to eat it and dies as a consequence, will enter Hell.”
  • Patience in refraining from begging. There is a dispute as to whether begging from people is forbidden or permissible. Imam Ahmad said that this kind of patience and abstention is allowed. He was asked, “What if a person fears that if he does not do this, he will die?” Imam Ahmad answered, “No, he will not die. Allâh will send him his due provision (rizq).” Imam Ahmad did not allow begging: when Allâh knows the need of a person and his sincerity in abstaining from begging, Allâh will send him rizq. Other scholars, including some of Imam Ahmad’s companions and Imam ash-Shafi‘î3 said, “It is obligatory on such a person to beg, and if he did not beg, than he would be a wrongdoer, because by begging he protects himself from death.”
  • Patience in enduring things that may lead to death, such as predators, snakes, fire and water.
  • Patience at times of fitnah (tribulation) when the Muslims are fighting Muslims. Patience in abstaining from fighting at such a time, when Muslims are killing Muslims, is mubâh (permissible), indeed it is mustahabb (liked and preferred). When the Prophet was asked about this, he said, “Be like the better of the two sons of Adam.” In other, similar reports he said, “Be like the slave of Allâh who was killed, and not like the one who has killed,” and “let him (the killer) carry his own wrong action and your wrong action.” In another report, he said, “If the sword is too bright, put your hand on your face.” Allâh has told us the story of the better of the two sons of Adam, and how he surrendered himself and did not fight back, and how Allâh commended him for that. This is different to the case when Muslims are fighting kâfirûn: in that situation the Muslim has to defend himself, because the meaning of Jihad is to defend himself and Islâm.

[4] Disliked (makrûh) patience
  • Patience in abstaining from physical appetites (food, drink, sex) to the extent of causing damage to one’s health.
  • Patience in doing a makrûh deed.

[5] Permissible (mubâh) patience
  • Patience in abstaining from mubâh deeds.

[1] Tawus ibn Kaysan, a tabi'in (follower of Prophet Muhammad after his demise), and student of Abdullah ibn Masud
[2] Ahmad ibn Hanbal, 8th century Muslim imam from Persia, considered the founder of the Hanbali madhab
[3] Imam ash-Shafiî, century

From: Uddat as-Sabireen wa Dhakirat ash-Shakireen [Patience & Gratitude]
By Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

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