What exactly does Sabr mean?

Sabr (in arabic صَبْرٌ‎) is an Islamic concept that makes up one of the two parts of faith (shukr being the other). It’s often translated as patience, but Sabr more accurately depicts being persistence and persevering. It includes aspects of being self-disciplined, remaining spiritually steadfast, showing fortitude especially when faced with adversity or setbacks.

What Does Sabr Look like?

Sabr is about suppressing that loud and obnoxious voice in your head that wants to unleash it’s wrath towards others when they inconvenience you or insult you.

Sabr is about maintaining and upholding one’s love and loyalty to Allah under any circumstance.

Sabr is about tightening your bond with Allah every time you feel pain, suffering or hurt as opposed to straying away. 

Sabr is keeping your head when all around you people are losing theirs.

The Importance of keeping sabr and making it a daily practice is a beautiful and powerful concept of Islam. It’s a way of living that tends to bring peace and tranquility to one’s life. Sabr is about checking your emotions and keeping them under control to prevent you from engaging in activities that may not be deemed righteous. If we’re being truthful, there’s likely been a number of times where in retrospect we may have said or done things which we now regret. In these moments, it would have paid greatly to have practiced Sabar.

This is easier said then done. Read till the end where I’ll share actionable tips to help you practice sabr (click here to skip to this part).

But first we’ll explore many verses and quotes about sabr and it’s importance from famous Islamic figures as well as referring to the Quran and Hadith.

Islamic Quotes About Sabr (Patience)

We’ll begin with Sabr in Quran. The importance of patience is a common theme spread across many surahs.

patience in islam
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“And when they went forth to [face] Goliath and his soldiers, they said, “Our Lord, pour upon us patience and plant firmly our feet and give us victory over the disbelieving people.” (Surah Baqarah Ayat 250)

Sabar Quotes
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“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.” (2:155)

“Who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts are fearful, and [to] the patient over what has afflicted them, and the establishers of prayer and those who spend from what We have provided them.” (Surah Al Haj Ayat 35)

“And certainly were messengers denied before you, but they were patient over [the effects of] denial, and they were harmed until Our victory came to them.” (6:34)

quran verses about hardship
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“And if We give man a taste of mercy from Us and then We withdraw it from him, indeed, he is despairing and ungrateful. But if We give him a taste of favor after hardship has touched him, he will surely say, ‘Bad times have left me.’ Indeed, he is exultant and boastful – Except for those who are patient and do righteous deeds; those will have forgiveness and great reward.” (11:9-11)

“O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful.” (3:200)

Qur'an quote about patience
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“So be patient with gracious patience.” (70:5)

Learn Dua For Patience From Quran

“He (Ya‘qūb) said, ‘Rather, your inner desires have seduced you to something. So, patience is best. Hopefully, Allah may bring them all together. Surely, He is the All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (12:83)

“O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination. And do not turn your cheek [in contempt] toward people and do not walk through the earth exultantly. Indeed, Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful.” (31:17-18)

“Idris, and Zul-kifl, all (men) of constancy and patience” (21:85)

quotes about sabr in islam
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“O believers! Seek comfort in patience and prayer. Allah is truly with those who are patient.” (2:153)

“those who observe patience in order to seek the pleasure of their Lord and establish Salāh and spend secretly and openly from what We have given to them, and repel evil with good. Those are the ones for whom there is the ultimate abode” (13:22)

“[Moses] said, ‘You will find me, if Allah wills, patient, and I will not disobey you in [any] order.” (18:69)

“And be patient, for indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.” (11:115)

“So patiently persevere: for verily the promise of Allah is true: nor let those shake thy firmness, who have (themselves) no certainty of faith.” (30:60)

Sabr and silence
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“And if you punish [an enemy, O believers], punish with an equivalent of that with which you were harmed. But if you are patient – it is better for those who are patient.” (16:126)

“Now Allah has lightened your (task), for He knows that there is weakness in you. So if there are of you a hundred steadfast persons, they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a thousand of you, they shall overcome two thousand with the Leave of Allah. And Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)” (8:66)

Hadith On Patience:

The sunnah of Prophet (ﷺ) further emphasizes the importance of patience in Islam.

prophet muhammad quotes about patience
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Narrated Anas: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.” Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 1302 In-book reference : Book 23, Hadith 61

Sufyan bin ‘Abdullah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Tell me, of something to which I may remain steadfast.” He (ﷺ) said, “Say: My Rubb is Allah and then remain steadfast.” Then I said: “O Messenger of Allah! What do you fear most about me?” He took hold of his own tongue and said: “This.” Riyad As Salihin Arabic/English book reference : Book 18, Hadith 1517

Narrated Abu Hurairah: “When the following was revealed: ‘Whoever works evil will have the recompense of it… (4:123)’ That worried the Muslims, so they complained about that to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and he said: “Seek closeness and be steadfast, and in all that afflicts the believer there is atonement, even a thorn that pricks him, and the hardship he suffers Grade : Sahih (Darussalam) Jami At Tirmidhi English reference: Vol. 5, Book 44, Hadith 3038 Arabic reference: Book 47, Hadith 3312

hadith on patience
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It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The believer who mixes with people and bears their annoyance with patience will have a greater reward than the believer who does not mix with people and does not put up with their annoyance.” Grade : Sahih (Darussalam) Reference : Sunan Ibn Majah 4032 In-book reference : Book 36, Hadith 107

Virtues and Benefits of being patient
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What wealth I have, I will not hoard from you. Whoever has forbearance, Allah will help him. Whoever tries to be independent, Allah will enrich him. Whoever tries to be patient, Allah will give him patience, and no one is given a better or vaster gift than patience.” Muwatta Malik Arabic reference: Book 58, Hadith 1850

Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet (ﷺ) passed by a woman who was sitting and weeping beside a grave and said to her, “Fear Allah and be patient.” Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 1252 In-book reference : Book 23, Hadith 15

Narrated Abu Said Al Khudri: Some Ansari persons asked for (something) from Allah’s Apostle and he gave them. They again asked him for (something) and he again gave them. And then they asked him and he gave them again till all that was with him finished. And then he said “If I had anything, I would not keep it away from you. (Remember,) whoever abstains from asking others, Allah will make him contented, and whoever tries to make himself self-sufficient, Allah will make him self-sufficient. And whoever remains patient, Allah will make him patient. Nobody can be given a blessing better and greater than patience.” Sahih Al-Bukhari Book 24 Hadith 548

 The Virtues of Patience in Islam

If you want to reach any level of mastery it will require patience. It will require you putting in the necessary hours. Being patient is a virtue that goes beyond just controlling your emotions, it’s vital for success in this dunya and to reach Jannah. Here are sayings that are not from the hadith or the Quran but are important nonetheless.

Imam ali quotes about patience
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“A person’s true patience is shown in a time of anger.” – Imam Ali

Islamic Quote about controlling your desires
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Desires make slaves out of kings and patience makes king out of slaves. Imam Ghazali

Two things define you: Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything. (Imam Ali)

Ya Allah give me Sabr when things don”t go my way. You know what is best for me, So help me accept what you have decreed for me and make me among your grateful servants. Allahuma Ameen.

A beautiful lesson from the story of Prophet Yusuf, is that even if the people closest to you in your life betray you, as long as you keep trust in Allah and show sabr (patience), He will raise your status and open doors for you. Trust Allah.

beautiful short Islamic quote about patience
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I’ll be patient, Till even patience tries of my patience. (Imam Ali)

Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.

Through patience, great things are accomplished. – Imam Ali (A.S)

Every time People hurt me. I become closer to Allah.

Prophet Muhammad on virtue of being patient
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When the prophet (ﷺ) Says: “Be Patient” remember this advice comes from one who lost both parents and buried six of children during his life.

Sometimes Allah stops you because the way you choose is dangerous. He will give you what you need at the perfect time. Just be patient, because the good things come to the people who have Sabr.

Sabr is not remaining quiet and letting anger build up inside you. Sabr is to talk about what’s bothering you without losing control of your emotions. Nouman Ali khan.

“Never have I dealt with anything more difficult than my own soul, which sometimes helps me and sometimes opposes me.” Imam Al-Ghazali

Maybe i’m asking for a drop and Allah wrote for me the ocean.

virtues of sabr
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“Patience is of two kinds, patience over what pains you, and patience against what you covet.” Imam Ali

“No two things have been combined better than knowledge and patience” Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

“behind every smiling face there is an untold story of sabr”

Patience is that the heart does not feel anger towards that which is destined and that the mouth does not complain. Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya

How To Practice Sabr:

TIP #1: Here’s a technique I find particularly useful for controlling your emotions, begin your day contemplating some of the bad things that can happen to you that will disrupt your inner peace. 

You may be skeptical of this, wouldn’t constantly thinking of negative things make you more uneasy or on edge? Not necessarily.

By practicing thinking about ways that people or situations will let you down you can consciously attempt to avoid them from occurring and when they do occur you will not be taken by surprise. By taking the time to see your downfall takes the sting out of the event and gives you the ability to take a backseat and rationalize your way through the emotion. After all why would you be upset about a thing you knew could happen?

TIP #2: Try persuading yourself to desire the things you already have. We all want the latest and greatest stuff, that’s no secret. But if only we could be content to desire the things which are already in our possession would we be more happy with our life. The irony in doing so is we would then save more and be better off financially. Enjoy the good things in life but do not cling or grow dependent on them. Practice giving away to show yourself that your happiness is not contingent on materialistic items that you really do not need. We often suffer more in imagination then we do in reality.  The Quran even states, Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear (2:286).

TIP #3: Don’t cry over spilt milk. Once the milk has been spilt and washed down the drain no amount of crying, whining, or murmuring would bring the milk back. It’s a simple concept, but difficult to practice. Complaining has no utility besides making you feel sorry for yourself. Instead, learn to say Alhamdulillah for everything (the good and the bad) that happens in your life. It’s your fate and it can’t be any other way than the way it already is.

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Please share your thoughts towards these quotes. Which is your favorite or do you have a favorite that’s not mentioned here.

May we always stay between Sabr and Shukr