Ṣabr means more than patience… within its name you get meanings of:
Ṣabr is also the Arabic name for the Aloe Vera plant. Aloe Vera is the highly bitter cactus that offers amazing medicinal properties. Herbalists classify Aloe Vera as vulnerary, meaning it helps heal wounds. It is applied to burns, abrasions, and even to bites to sooth the pain and promote healing.
Bearing those meaning in mind, now, look at our Ṣabr, It is like an acknowledgement that patience in the face of pain and suffering is bitter, it is spiky and prickly, it hurts , yet in its deep core, it is soothing and healing.
Like the cactus, Ṣabr is not passive, it does not helplessly wait for conditions to change or for water to pour down from the sky. Rather, it digs its roots firmly in the ground and stubbornly reaches for those underground invisible streams; it toughens its skin and, faces the desert harshness with determination and fortitude; it saves water for the rough days and perseveres when the sustenance is scarce. Ṣabr is an active engagement in life, it honours the struggle, the grit, the pursuit, it is motivating and empowering.
The Quran teaches: “So be patient with gracious, beautiful patience” (70:5)
“فاصبر صبرا جميلا”
A gracious, beautiful patience is brave, assertive, honourable, determined and active.
And, “God does not change the condition of a people until and unless they changes within themselves” (13: 11)
“ان الله لا يغير ما بقوم حتى يغيروا ما بأنفسهم”
Change is tough, but, as Anais Nin says: “and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud is more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Change happens when the passive, helpless patience turns into an active determine Ṣabr, this Ṣabr is the quality of the people of excellence, people who do good - people of Iḥsān.
“ واصبر فإن الله لا يضيع أ جر المحسنين”
“And be patient, for indeed, God does not allow the rewards of those who do good to go to waste.” (11:115)