Tag Archives: Sabr

Patience is to ballast

Salam Alaykum,

“Ah, Ah, hot, hot, hot, you…”

The Prophet (saw.), in a hadith narrated by Anas (ra.) said:

“The real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.” [Sahih Bukhari]
 Patience is important in all facets of our lives, often however it is the missing ingredient that would make our life just that much sweeter. We’re not very patient are we? But we are, always then I find, when we realise that we can gain something out of being patient. Patience is something that is learnt, as kids it’s hard to stay still for very long.
“Patience is a virtue”, as the saying goes. Attaining those qualities as they are in the 7 heavenly virtues isn’t easy, they require work. We live in a fast-paced world, don’t we? With apps such as Telegram and Whatsapp, Skype and Viber contacting someone is possible in seconds. We are pretty much available round the clock. It’s fast-food and Coffee to go, Couch to 5k, everything is laid out to spending every second as efficient as possible, on the go. We forget to take time out, until we burn out.
 In today’s post I’d like to take some time to try and define patience a little. The Arabic word for patience is Sabr (صبر). It carries the meanings of shackling, fettering, patience, forbearance, composure, steadfastness, firmness, self-control, perseverance and endurance.
The word Patience in the English language is derived from the Middle English Pacience which was taken from the Old French and stems from the Latin patientia. Pati, means to suffer.
According to Merriam-Webster Patience is:
1  bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
not hasty or impetuous
4 steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
The word صَبَّرَ (Sabbara) a close relative of the Word Sabr means to ballast. In nautical terms to stabilise a ship with something heavy. I like the imagery this provides, imagine life as a journey through the seven seas. There will be days, of sun-shine and strong wind but there will also be days filled with storms. There will be days where you need all the ballast you can have and days where you have to throw it all over board. Constancy, balance bearing pain or a situation and dealing with it in a way that balances things out.
While being patient is often brought up when something bad has happened or one is suffering, it does not need to be so. Sabr also means to hold yourself back from something, to refrain to do something that you may regret, from fulfilling your temptations and from saying the curse word that lies on your tongue when almost burning your finger.
It is to prevent us from acting Jahil, this word doesn’t just have to do with not using ones mind or being ignorant, but also acting impulsive or acting on pure emotions clouding one’s head whether that is anger or love.
As the Prophet (saw.) said: “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.” [Al-Bukhari]
Sabr therefore is needed in all facets of life, whether it’s in dealing with kids or the elderly. The colleague or waiter, the neighbour and really all of creation and all the situations we may find ourselves in.
And God knows best,
Wa Salam,