The following are a selection of illustrations cited by Imaam Adh-Dhahabee in his book: Siyar A’laam an-Nubalaa of the unique qualities of patience, resilience, strength and bravery possessed by the Salaf of this Ummah as well as others after them:
Aboo Dharr (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) remained for thirty days without there being any food for him except for the water of zam zam.
Hishaam bin ‘Urwah mentions:
Thieves became common in Al-Madeenah, so Asmaa took to placing a dagger under her head. This was in the time of Sa’eed bin Al-‘Aas. In the Mustadrak of Al-Haakim there occurs: From Hishaam bin ‘Urwah from his father who said that during the era of Sa’eed bin Al-‘Aas in the fitnah Asmaa bint Abee Bakr (radhiyallaahu ‘anhumaa) would take a dagger and place it under her pillow/elbow-rest, so it was said to her: “what will you do with that?” she replied: “if a thief enters upon me; I will slit open his stomach.”
Yet she was blind.
It has been said that:
Al-Hasan bin ‘Alee (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) performed the Hajj some fifteen times. Many of them he would perform by walking from Al-Madeenah to Makkah.
At-Taboodhki mentions: Hunaid bin Al-Qaasim narrated to me, that I heard ‘Aamir bin ‘Abdillaah bin Az-Zubair say:
I heard my father say that he came to the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) when he was being cupped. So when he finished he said: ((O ‘Abdullaah! Go with this blood; then burn it in a place where no one may see you)). So when he parted the Messenger of Allaah, he wilfully took the blood, and then drank it. When he returned; he (the Messenger of Allaah) said: ((what did you do with the blood?)) he replied: “I approached the most hidden place I know, and then placed it therein.” he said: ((Perhaps you drank it?)) So he replied: “yes.” So he said: ((and why did you drink the blood? Woe be to the people from you, and woe be to you from the people)). Moosaa Taboodhki said: so I narrated this to Abaa ‘Aasim, so he said: “they used to hold that the strength which he used to possess was from that blood.”
(Reported by Al-Haakim in his Mustadrak vol 3 p.554 and Al-Haithamee in Al-Majma’ vol 8 p.72 and At-Tabaraanee and Al-Bazzaar and Aboo Ya’laa. Al-Haithamee said that the men in its chain of transmission are the men of the Saheeh except for Hunaid bin Al-Qaasim who is still trustworthy).
Laith mentions from Mujaahid:
There was never an aspect of worship that the people were incapable of performing except that Ibn Az-Zubair undertook it. Indeed once a flood came and so covered The House (the Haram), and so he performed the tawaaf (circumambulation) – swimming.
Hakeem bin Jablah Al-‘Abdi’s leg was severed on the Day of Al-Jamal, so he took hold of it and struck the one who had cut it off with it. He then remained fighting on one leg reciting poetry. So he lost a great deal of blood from it and so sat down and reclined on the deceased who had cut his leg off. Then a horseman passed him by and asked: “who cut your leg off?” So he replied: “my pillow” and there was none heard to be braver than him.
It was said to ‘Aamir bin Abd-Qais: “indeed you live in the outdoors, do you not fear lions?” he replied: “indeed I feel ashamed from my Lord, that I should fear anything other than Him.”
Al-Ahnaf bin Qais lost sight in his eye and so he said: “it went some forty years ago, I did not complain of it to anyone.”
The leg of ‘Urwah bin Az-Zubair became gangrenous, so it was said : “shall we not call a doctor for you?” he replied : “if you wish”. So they suggested : “shall we not make you drink something that would make your senses go?” (i.e. as a distraction to the impending amputation). So ‘Urwah replied : “get on with your task; i never thought that the creation would drink that which would make their intellects go – such that they do not know their Lord”. Thereafter a saw was placed over his left leg and the amputation began, yet not a sound was heard to have come from him. Once it had been severed ; he said : “If You (O Allaah) have taken; then you have indeed left something as a remainder; and if You have put to trial; then You have indeed pardoned.”
He did not leave off reading his portion of the Qur’aan that night.
Shaqeeq Al-Balkhee said:
“The sight of ‘Abdul-‘Azeez bin Abee Rawwaad went for twenty years; and yet his family and his son were unaware of it.”
Aboo Mansoor bin Buwaih of ‘Iraq was one of immense strength; he would grapple a bull by its horns and wrestle with it.
(Taken from: Al-‘Ibr min fawaa’id as-siyar p.163-166. Original references to the quotes above can be found in Siyar A’laam an-Nubalaa, in order of quote: 2/51, 2/293, 3/253, 3/366, 3/370, 3/531, 4/17, 4/92, 4/430, 7/185, 16/232)