Types of Patience
Patience is of two types: physical and psychological. Each type may also be optional or obligatory. Thus, we have four types of patience:
1- Optional physical patience such as doing hard labor willingly.
2- Obligatory physical patience, such as enduring the pain of beatings, illness, wounds or cold or hot weather.
3- Optional psychological patience, such as refraining from doing ill-conduct that contradicts sacred knowledge or reason.
4- Obligatory psychological patience, such as enduring the pain of separation from one’s loved ones who are beyond his reach.
The obligatory types of patience can be applied to human beings and animals, whereas the optional types apply only to people. However, some people may only maintain patience for obligatory things, like animals, and forsake optional patience.
Qatada said, “Allah has created angels having reason but with no desires, animals have desires and no reason, and man has both reason and desires. Therefore, if one’s reason is stronger than his desires, he is like an angel. On the other hand, if his desires are stronger, he is like an animal.
While a human baby needs nothing but food, the patience he resorts to in this period, is like an animal’s. The older he grows, the stronger his patience by choice. Just as his sexual desire developes, his power of reasoning also developes by then he can realize what patience by choice really means. But pure patience is not enough to make him refrain from satisfying his desires. By virtue of Allah’s guidance and realizing the goals of life, he begins to think of his interests both in this life and the Hereafter. He then becomes aware of the requital he will get for doing different actions. As a warrior, who fights against an enemy, who equips and protects himself, he should do the same to overcome the worldly desires and interests.
to go to Chapter Six.