I had to give a khutba at short notice, so I wrote this by piecing together some good pieces on the internet, and adding some insights of my own:

Part I

The importance of patience

In the last ayat of surat-alAsr Allah tells us the importance of encouraging each other to patience.

Being patient is one of the most important attributes of a muslim. Allah mentions it in the quran more than 90 times and has said that the patient gain a great reward, for instance, Allah says in surat Hud:

“Except those who are patient and do good, they shall have forgiveness and a great reward.”

Other ayats relating to patience:

Consider surat alBaqara ayats 152 – 157:

“Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me.”

“O you who believe! seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient.”

(What does it mean when Allah is with you – ‘whoever has gained Allah, what has he lost, and whoever has lost Allah, what has he gained’)

“And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead; nay, (they are) alive, but you do not perceive.”

(This was revealed about those Muslims who were killed at Badr. They were fourteen in total: eight from the Helpers and six from the Migrants.)

“And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient,”

“Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall surely return.”

Now Allah tells us of the great reward for patience:  Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course.

Also the great reward for the patient is mentioned is surat azzumar:

“Say: O my servants who believe! be careful of (your duty to) your Lord; for those who do good in this world is good, and Allah’s earth is spacious; only the patient will be paid back their reward in full without measure.”

Making du`aa in times of difficulty

There are many du`aa found in the qur’aan. Later in surat alBaqara, ayat 286, Allh teaches us a beautiful du`aa that we can make in times of difficulty:

“Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability; for it is (the benefit of) what it has earned and upon it (the evil of) what it has wrought: Our Lord! do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake; Our Lord! do not lay on us a burden as Thou didst lay on those before us, Our Lord do not impose upon us that which we have not the strength to bear; and pardon us and grant us protection and have mercy on us, Thou art our Patron, so help us against the unbelieving people.”

Types of patience

There are 3 general types of patience:

The first type of patience is when a person works constantly to fulfill obligations and to do righteous deeds.

The second type of patience is when a person abstains from prohibited acts and from evil. Abstaining from prohibited acts requires a great struggle against one’s desires, and takes much patience in refraining from the evil influences of Shayaateen among man and Shayaateen among jinn. Therefore, Allah (S.W.T.) will give great rewards on the Day of Judgment to those who patiently abstained from evil. The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) told us about the people who will receive a special reward: “Seven are (the persons) whom Allah would give protection with His shade on the day when there would be no shade but His shade (i.e., on the Day of Judgment) and among them: a youth who grew up with the worship of Allah, …a man whom an extremely beautiful woman seduces (for illicit relation), but he rejected this offer by saying: I fear Allah….” {Imams Bukhari and Muslim} Prophet Yusuf (S.A.W.) is another example of a person who abstained patiently from the evil lure of the wife of a nobleman of Egypt. Prophet Yusuf chose incarceration for several years rather than committing an evil act.

The third type of patience is when a person practices patience during times of hardship without complaints. One must not complain because Allah (S.W.T.) predestines their hardship. This is the fruit of believing in predestination. Predestination is one of the pillars of faith. (fa akhbirnii `anil-iimaan: qaala: an tu’mina billaahi wa malaa’ikatihi wa kutubihi wa rusulihi wal-yami l-aakhir wa tu’mina bi qadari khairihi wa sharrihi)

Part II

Delay gratification to increase the reward

Patience is about taking the long term view – the intelligent persons approach.

There have even been scientific studies that demonstrate that even in this dunya there are benefits to practising patience and being prepared to wait for an increased reward. One example was reported by the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A47688178:

A study that was done in the 1960’s by Standford University psychology researcher Michael Mischel. His study demonstrated how important self-discipline is to success.

The study began with a group of children 4 years old. He optionally offered them one marshmallow immediately, but instead if they could wait for him to return later, they could have two marshmallows instead. He left for approximately 20 minutes. His theory? The children that could wait would demonstrate they had the ability to delay gratification and control impulse, both significant and important traits for attaining wealth and being financially successful. As you would expect, some children took one marshmallow, and other children decided to wait and received two later.

Fourteen years later, the simple study demonstrated the significant differences between the two groups of children. The children who delayed gratification and waited until Dr. Mischel’s return were more positive, persistent when faced with life difficulties, more self motivated and were able to delay immediate gratification in order to pursue their longer term goals.

The children who chose 1 marshmallow didn’t fare as well. They were more indecisive, mistrustful of others, less self confident and often more troubled in general. They were more obviously unable to delay immediate gratification.

Comparing the SAT scores of the 1 marshmallow students to the 2 marshmallow students showed that students that chose 1 marshmallow scored an average of 210 points lower (range is 600 – 2400 – AL) than the 2 marshmallow students. Why? 2 marshmallow students are able to sacrifice immediate activity in the interest of more focused study time for a longer term benefit. The one marshmallow students were far more impulsive resulting in higher distraction and less focus on their school work. They fell for the old “Hey let’s go out, you can always study later“.

Lack of impulse control has proven to result in less successful marriages, low job satisfaction, bad health, overall frustration in life. All of these result in something that has significant negative impact on being wealthy: low income.

Car loans etc.

It is very clear in Islam that interest is to be totally avoided, so be patient and wait until you can buy the car with cash.

How to practice patience

Patience can be learnt, and it grows and builds upon each smaller act of patience. Try to slow down a little, don’t expect everything to be done really quickly.  Anas ibn Maalik related that the prophet said:

التأني من الله العجلة من الشيطان

Acting slowly, biding one’s time is from Allah – haste is from Shaytan.

I talked about when you have patience Allah is with you. What happens to those who do not pay due attention to Allah?:

<<And he whose sight is dim to the remembrance of the Beneficent, We assign unto him a shaytaan who becometh his comrade;>>

surat azzukhruf:36

that is, they will find themselves in the company of a shaytaan.  What that means is that they will experience whispers suggesting wrong thoughts, that they be disobedient to Allah by committing sins. Therefore it is very helpful to maintain patience we should regularly remember Allah, be that through adhkaar, ihsaan – being aware that Allah is watching you as explained by Gibril as, reading the quran. When we remember Allah we are helped to be patient when bad things are happening to us.

The prophet’s advice for dealing with anger:

Hadith – Sahih Bukhari 8.136,

Two men abused each other in front of the Prophet while we were sitting with him. One of the two abused his companion furiously and his face became red. The Prophet said, “I know a word (sentence) the saying of which will cause him to relax if this man says it. Only if he said, ‘I seek refuge with Allah from Satan, the outcast.’ ” So they said to that (furious) man, “Don’t you hear what the Prophet is saying?” He said, “I am not mad.”

Hadith – Sunan of Abu Dawood,

AbuWa’il al-Qass said: We entered upon Urwah ibn Muhammad ibn as-Sa’di. A man spoke to him and made him angry. So he stood and performed ablution; he then returned and performed ablution, and said: My father told me on the authority of my grandfather Atiyyah who reported the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) as saying: Anger comes from the devil, the devil was created of fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry, he should perform ablution.

Hadith – Sunan of Abu Dawood,

The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said to us: When one of you becomes angry while standing, he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down.