'Sabr' is an Arabic word which comes from a root meaning to detain, refrain and stop.
There is an expression in Arabic, “so-and-so was killed sabran,” which means that he
was captured and detained until he died. In the spiritual sense, patience means to stop
ourselves from despairing and panicking, to stop our tongues from complaining, and to
stop our hands from striking our faces and tearing our clothes at times of grief and stress.
What scholars have said about patience
[1.9 The Need for Beneficial Knowledge]
This is because the person, even if he has believed that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and that the Qur’an is the truth in a general way, is commonly in need of knowledge of that which would benefit him and harm him. He is in need of knowledge concerning what he has been commanded to do and forbidden from doing in the finer aspects of the matters and in those areas of which he has no knowledge. [Not only this but we find that] that which he does have knowledge of, he does not put the greater part of it to practice! Assuming that all of the commands and prohibitions contained in the Qur’an and Sunnah have reached him, then the Qur’an and Sunnah contain laws that are general and universal for which it is not possible to specify to every individual person - therefore the person has been commanded due to the likes of this to ask for guidance to the Straight Path.
Guidelines on Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil
In order to enjoin good and forbid evil, you must know the principles governing them and
how to distinguish between them. Actions will not be any good if they are not done with full
knowledge and wisdom. `Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz said, "Whoever worships Allah without
knowledge, will do more damage than what he puts right."
Mu'adh Ibn Jabal said: "Knowledge should precede action, because if action and intention are
done without knowledge, then ignorance, misguidance and desires will prevail."
So if a believer knows that by forbidding a particular evil, his action will lead to a greater
evil, then he should not forbid that evil in the first place; or if his action will lead to the
elimination of what is of greater benefit to the Muslims, then again, he should not forbid that
The Prophet t did not kill Abdullah Ibn Ubai Ibn Salul, the leader of the hypocrites, and his
friends, because they enjoyed significant support from among their tribes. So the Prophet
avoided killing Abdullah Ibn Ubai Ibn Salul, because people might think that he was killing
his companions, and also because Abdullah Ibn Ubai Ibn Salul's tribe might have risen up
against the Prophet , and sought to avenge their leader's death.
Accordingly, you must consider the issues of maslaha and mafsada12 before embarking on
enjoining good and forbidding evil.
Hudhaifah related that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "By Him in Whose hand my soul is, you must
enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, or Allah will certainly soon send punishment
from Him to you. Then you will make supplication and not receive any answer."1
An-Nu'man Ibn Bashir related that the Prophet said, "The metaphor of a person who complies
with Allah's orders and prohibitions in comparison to those who violate them is like the metaphor of some people who drew lots for their seats in a boat. Some of them were given seats on the upper deck, and the others on the lower deck. When those on the lower deck needed water, they would have had to go up to fetch the water, so they said, 'Let us make a hole in our part of the ship and save those who are above us from our troubling them.' If the people on the upper deck let the others do what they suggested, all the people in the boat would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both groups would be safe."2
Enjoining good and forbidding evil, (Arabic: amr bi'l-ma'ruf wa'n-nahiy an al-munkar), is the pivot
and most important principle in Islam and it is the main reason why Allah sent His Prophets
and Messengers to His creatures. If this principle is not implemented and put into practice,
then prophethood is ineffective, the deen fades away, misguidance, corruption and ignorance
prevail, civilizations decline, and nations are destroyed.
Whenever this principle has been extinguished, people follow their desires and whims, ignore
their Lord, and live like animals — and then you can hardly find anyone who adheres to the
principle of enjoining good and forbidding evil, even though the reward of putting it into
practice is great in the sight of Allah.
The Obligation to Enjoin Good and Forbid Evil
(Let there be a community among you
who call to the good,
and enjoin the right,
and forbid the wrong.
They are the ones who have success. ) (3: 104)
Allah also says:
( They are not all the same.
There is a community among the People of the Book
who are upright.
They recite Allah's Signs throughout the night,
and they prostrate.
They have iman in Allah and the Last Day,
and enjoin the right
and forbid the wrong,
and compete in doing good.
They are among the salihun. ) (3: 113-114)
In the above verse, Allah does not accept their righteousness just by their believing in Allah
and the Last Day, until He has added to it the principle of enjoining good and forbidding evil.
In another verse, Allah says:
Supplication is one of the most powerful tools for driving away evil, and
btaining that which is needed; however, its effect may be absent if there is
weakness in the self - such that the supplication could be disliked by
Allah (Subhanahu Wata'ala) ; if it includes any injustice, or due to the
weakness of one's heart, not being devoted to Allah ~ at the time of supplication.
Hindrance may also be due to eating that which is Haram
(unlawful in Islam) or to the accumulation of sins on the
heart, or to the dominance of one's desires upon the self.
The Prophet ~ said: "Supplicate to Allah when you are
assured of being answered, and know that Allah does not
answer a supplication which comes from a careless and
inattentive heart." (Sunan Tirmidhi - Chapter of Supplication and Musnad Ahmad 3/451 )
Extract from Spiritual Disease and its Cure
by Ibn Qayyim
Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali (may Allah have Mercy on him) said:
“Know that intention (niyyah), will (iradah), and goal (qasd) are various terms that all mean the
same thing, and it is a description of the state of the heart when it is a source for two things:
knowledge and action.
Knowledge comes first - as it is the foundation and condition - and action follows it, since it
is the fruit that branches from knowledge. This is because every action – that is, every
intentional movement and motion – does not occur without three things: knowledge, will,
and ability. Nobody does something without knowing of it. So, he must have knowledge.
Likewise, nobody does something without having the will to do it. So, one must have the
will to do something, and the meaning of will (iradah) is that the heart reaches out to what it
sees as being in accordance with what it seeks...