Home > Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar > Three Levels of Sabr

Three Levels of Sabr

Listen Here: “Three Levels of Sabr”  by Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

The goal of the believer is to attain mayi’ah with Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ (Mayi’ah is to be completely attached to Allah, to attain a closeness to Allah wherein you are completely conscious of Him). The believers who wish to attain mayi’ah direct their efforts, their time, their relationships all in accordance with the will of Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎.

One of the ways a person can attain a state of mayiah is through sabr (patience). Sabr is a very specific act, and can be defined in three ways:

  •  Although sabr has deeper levels, the basic principle of sabr is of sabr fil’musibah (having sabr in the face of difficulty). This is the type of sabr most people understand. This is when you show patience in the event of some difficulty. We all undergo difficulties, but the distinguishing factor is how we deal with them. Some people will get upset and continuously complain, but the believers will see difficulty as an opportunity to worship Allah swt, they will exhibit a calmness and say alhamdulilah (all praise is to Allah) for the chance to come closer to Him. They’ll say innallahi wa ina’ilahi rajioun (from Allah we came and unto Him is our return). Whatever we lost in the difficulty, it came from Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ anyway so it ultimately doesn’t matter because we all have to go back to Him.
  • Another level of sabr is sabr an’nil masiah (having the sabr to restrain from sin). When the believer is faced with the opportunity to do sin, he will immediately turn away from it. This will require a certain sabr, a certain restraint, because the chance to do sin is all around us. It’s easy to log onto the computer and engage in a variety of sin, it’s easy to sit with two people and talk about a third.
  • The third level of sabr is sabr a’la taha (sabr in the acts of worship). There are inevitably times when a person feels excited to do a certain act of worship. If you’re in the masjid and everyone is praying maghrib, it’s easy to be excited for the one short period of time, but you have to pray maghrib 365 days of the year. To develop a consistency in our routine, to patiently do our good deeds and worship without fail requires a deep sabr.

These are the three types of sabr the saalik (the seeker) must work to establish. Everyone is in different circumstances, some people don’t have the strength to pray abundantly, but they are able to be free from sin. Other people are able to face problems with great patience but don’t engage is extra worship. At the least, however, we should all abstain from committing sin. This is the least part of our sabr, and without sabr it will be very difficult to attain mayi’ah.

The ultimate concept of sabr is actually having sabr over this life for the next. The true sabr is foregoing the bounties of this life for the bounties of the next life. The story of this deen is not that we’ll never be able to fulfill our desires; it’s just a matter of where we’ll fulfill them, in this short life or in the eternal hereafter?

My thoughts: I don’t think I ever thought about sabr in the context of worship. Its definitely true though, in order to establish a routine of worship (for example: 30 minutes of Quran daily, the nafl of salaah, etc). one has to be incredibly patient, these habits don’t just develop overnight they take conscious dedication. And sometimes days come where you don’t follow your plan, get dismayed, and this is where the sabr comes in.

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