“And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah ]” [Qur’an; 2:45]
“Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.” [Qur’an; 4:34]
“And I do not acquit myself. Indeed, the soul is a persistent enjoiner of evil, except those upon which my Lord has mercy. Indeed, my Lord is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Qur’an; 12:53]
“So be patient, [O Muhammad]. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth. And ask forgiveness for your sin and exalt [ Allah ] with praise of your Lord in the evening and the morning.” [Qur’an; 40:55]
“And that there is not for man except that [good] for which he strives. And that his effort is going to be seen – Then he will be recompensed for it with the fullest recompense.” [Qur’an: 53:39-41]
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) as saying: For one among my Ummah who shows endurance against the hardships and rigours of Medina, I would be an intercessor or a witness on his behalf on the Day of Resurrection. [Sahih Muslim]
Abu Huraira reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: The supplication of every one of you is granted if he does not grow impatient and says: I supplicated but it was not granted. [Sahih Muslim]
Narrated Ka`b: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The example of a believer is that of a fresh tender plant, which the wind bends lt sometimes and some other time it makes it straight. And the example of a hypocrite is that of a pine tree which keeps straight till once it is uprooted suddenly. [Sahih Bukhari]
On the authority of Abu Amr Sufyan bin Abdullah ath-Thaqafee (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me something about al-Islam which I can ask of no one but you.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Say I believe in Allah — and then be steadfast.” [Muslim]
Overcoming idleness and engaging in hard work is an obvious key to success. For a believer, perseverance is powered by the intention to please Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), among other motivations. This intention by itself is a powerful driving force.
One must be willing to step out of one’s comfort zone and exhaust every possible means to achieving the desired outcome, while conforming to the limits set by Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) encouraged diligence and avoiding laziness. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, “If one of you were to carry a bundle of firewood on his back and sell it, that would be better than asking a man who may or may not give him something.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i]
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as saying, “A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don’t say, ‘If I had not done that, it would not have happened so and so,’ but say, ‘Allah did that what He had ordained to do’ and your ‘if’ opens the (gate) for the Satan.” [Muslim]
Regardless of the obstacles in one’s path, and whether or not one attains what he sets out to do, the intention to please Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) through the effort is in itself a source of reward and success.
Various verses from the Qur’an convey the virtues of patience and perseverance such as being protected from the plotting of enemies, being on the path to success, earning His love, and attaining Jannah.
As mentioned in the book Purification of the Soul (link below), perseverance is a true attribute of the believer. He circles around it and then returns to it. It is the pillar that supports his faith, without which he could not remain upright. Whoever has no perseverance can have no faith, or if he does have some faith, it is scant and weak. Such a person worships Allah half-heartedly: if he encounters good in this life, he is reassured with his belief, but if he is affected by misfortune, then he turns away from Allah and loses everything both in this life and in the next life, settling for a losing deal.
The word sabr (صبر) in Arabic indicates holding back and self-restraint. When applied to daily life, it refers to restraining oneself from becoming agitated by circumstances, restraining the tongue for complaining, and restraining the hands from self-harm or tearing clothes (as a form of expressing grief).
There are two ways to complain:
- Complaining to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), which does not invalidate perseverance.
The Prophet Yaqub (peace be upon him) said, “I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah…” [Qur’an, 12:86]The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Oh Allah, I complain of my weakness of strength…”
- Complaining about affliction by objecting to its nature and character. This contradicts with perseverance.
There are two types of impetus that drive the self. One is the active impulse of courage, and the other is the inhibiting force of restraint. The true essence of perseverance is to channel the impulse of courage towards beneficial matters and to channel the force of restraint towards avoiding what is harmful.
It is important not to confuse perseverance or firmness with stubbornness. The former is a positive trait while the latter often leads to tension amongst people. Stubbornness can be described as holding on to a point that is baseless, an argument that is wrong, a statement that is incorrect, a principle that is flawed, etc. Firmness, on the other hand, however, is when one is firm upon justice, steadfast with regard to valid principles, holds fast to what is correct, adheres to a strong sense of good values and morals etc., while still respecting others.