Forbearance is a lamp of Allah which leads the holder to His excellence; a person cannot be forbearing unless he is aided by the lights of gnosis and tawhid. Forbearance has five facets: when a man is exalted, but is then humbled; when he is truthful, he is accused of being a liar; when he calls people to the truth, he is scorned; when he is injured without having done any crime; and when he demands his rights and they oppose him.
When you have given each of these its due, you have achieved the goal. When you have countered the half-wit by turning away from him and not answering him, people will come to your aid, for he who wages war with a fool is like a man who puts wood on the fire.
The Holy Prophet said, ‘The believer is like the earth: people obtain benefits from it while they are on it.’ Whoever cannot endure people’s harsh rudeness will not reach Allah’s good pleasure, because His pleasure is closely linked with people’s antipathy.
It is related that a man said to Ahnaf ibn Qays, ‘You are causing me to worry.’ ‘I will forbear with you,’ he replied.
The Messenger of Allah said, ‘I was sent as a centre of forbearance, a mine of knowledge, and a home for patience.’ He spoke the truth when he said, ‘True forbearance is when you pardon a person who acts badly with you and opposes you, while you have the power to take revenge on him.’ It is as the supplication says: ‘My Allah, You are too vast in favour and forbearance to punish me for my action and abase me for my mistake.’