Notes from a class on SABR


-an essential element in fulfilling our ubudiyyah to Allah (swt)

- Rasulullah (saws) said: Sabr is a source of light

- In the Quran it says: [And practice sabr, for you are under Our gaze] One of the early ulamah used to carry a parchment with this ayah on it in his pocket, and he looked at it constantly.

- Sabr is human; animals know nothing more than their basic needs and instincts, all they can do is react; humans have been endowed with reason which balances instinct. We go from wanting food as baby, play as a child, zinnah in adolescence, until we reach puberty and are endowed with some reason.. but reason is not enough, it is not alone sufficient as guidance, the 'aql (intellect) needs 'naql (revealation) "Descartes said I think therefore I am, Ghazali before him said I will therefore I am, I say: I perform sabr, therefore I am human" This deen is the completeness of our maturity and our humanity.


So what is sabr?

The steadfastness of the religious call over the call to passion- if the deen overcomes the nafs, this is sabr

Sabr is an UPHILL BATTLE- when we're going downhill we're losing energy, when we're going uphill we're gaining potential energy. In sabr, we are gaining "spiritual potential energy".


There are 2 kinds of sabr (or two ways we can perform sabr):

1) when something we desire happens to us, something we like, we exhibit sabr in controlling our selves, not going into excess, not transgressing the bounds set down for us by Allah(swt)

Abdur Rahmad ibn Auf said: We were tried by hard times and we showed sabr, but when we were tried in ease and excess, we failed.

Hadeeth: I do not fear for you poverty; I fear for you plentifulness of dunyaa, and it will destroy you as it had destroyed nations before you.

Quran: O you who believe, do not let your families and your wealth draw you away from the dhikr of Allah; and whosoever does that is indeed the loser.

2) Sabr in what we dislike. In 3 areas of life:

a.) sabru ala ta'aat: in obeying Allah (swt). sabr against our nafs who dislikes it, whether in spirituality or mundane, sabr before, during and after the act of obedience.

b.) sabru anil ma'asee: to show sabr against disobedience to Allah (swt). We are attracted to do injustice to others thinking we are doing justice to ourselves. We live in an environment that is dangerously attractive, we need to have patience, constancy, steadfastness = sabr.

c.) sabr andil ma'asid: to show sabr in times of calamity, adveristy, pain, whether physical or emotional. Everything that is in the capacity of an individual to change, he should- but have sabr in what you cannot. Not reciprocating harm is sabr.

Hadeeth: whenever a museebah (hardship) befalls you (and you show sabr) Allah (swt) atones for you some of your sins

Hadeeth: Allah (swt) atones some of our sins not only by physical endurance but by emotional ones as well

Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas (ra) asked the Prophet (saws) "Ya Rasulullah, who amongst people are the most tried (subject to hardships)?" Rasulullah (saws) said: The Anbiyyah (messengers of Allah) and after them the Salihoon (righteous) and then in accordance to your eman, taqwaah etc, there will be more hardships, not less. Every mu'min will be tried by difficulties in accordance (proportion) to their deen. If in this person's deen is solidity (their deen is deeply rooted) the balaa' will increase, to purify, cleanse, strenghten, elevate the person. And if in the deen in this person there is riqaa (weakness, thinness), then that persons balaa will be weakened, until the person walks on the earth cleansed of sins until they meet Allah.


What are the adaab of sabr?

1- once the calamity befalls us, we must show sabr immediately without delay. A woman was in the cemetary, crying, mourning her love, when Rasulullah (saws) said to her "show sabr". She said, not knowing who he was "thats easy for you to say, you have not lost a loved one". When the companions told her who he was, she asked for forgiveness and rasulullah (saws) said: Sabr is to be shown at the beginning of hardship.

2- al-itirjaa': to say immediately, sincerely, from the heart: "Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhee raji'uun" -Verily from Allah we come and to Him we return

3- the tongue and the senses do not act violently - use them correctly, don't get caught up in the pain of the moment

4- Hussnul sabr- sabrun jameel- the highest level, the most beautiful sabr


Sabr can be categorized into 3 levels:

1- Tarkus sabraa: the lowest level- when one does not complain but inside dislikes what's happening to them

2- Ar-ridhaa-bil-beelah: no complaint, to show satisfaction with the balaa (hardship), because they have yaqeen (certainty) that Allah only does to the 'abd what is best for them

3- Ash-shukr-alal-beelah: to have ridhaa (satisfaction) and to be grateful to Allah for the hardship because that person has yaqeen that this is to elevate his spiritual status- looks at the consequence, not the immediate event we are taught sabrun jameel in the story of yaqub and yusuf (as)

Ali (ra) said: Of the realization of the Majesty of Allah, and of knowledge of the right Allah (swt) has on His creation, is that when one is befallen with a calamity, one does not complain, does not even mention what has befallen him.

An 'abd should feel ashamed to describe the pain, we are complaining about the Creator to the creation?

ibn Qays (a tabi') said: I lost my eyesite 40 years ago, I have never told anyone.

an ulumah (didn't get the name): "Whosoever complains about a calamity that has befallen him to other than Allah, such an individual would never find the sweetness of ta'aa (obedience to Allah (swt)) in the heart"


How to attain sabr?

The cure to any disease of the heart (arrogance, anger, lack of hayaa)

1- ILM: brings desire and want to change, use the ilm the teacher conveys to you! brings about hazm- energy, resolve to change

2- AMAL: take it into everyday life, in your actions Qat'al asbaab- severing the ways and avenues to bad deeds. example: lowering the gaze for zinnah. for every haraam avenue, there is a halaal alternative.

No pain, no gain- condition your nafs and your qalb, or they will condition you

Work hard on uprooting the weeds of passion, disobedience and sin. Sow the seeds in your heart of the will to change and sincerity. Let the rain be the mercy and forgiveness of Allah purifying the land, our hearts.

The best door from which we can enter the majesty of Allah, is humility.
1- Always be conscious in our hearts and minds of Allah's nimaah
2- Always be conscious of our weaknesses, the sins we have committed. Have faqar- the opposite of pride, self-reliance, self-interest..

Qur'an: "InnaAllah ma'as sabireen: Verily Allah is WITH those who have sabr."

Ya Allah, make us of those who have sabr, and grant us Your mercy and Your forgiveness.