Imam Ahmad related two phrases that were said to him during the difficult times in which he was being punished and tortured.
A man who was imprisoned for drinking alcohol spoke the first, when he met Imam Ahmad and said,
"O' Ahmad, be steadfast for you are about to be whipped for the truth that you are upon. I have been whipped many times for drinking, and even I was patient."
(So be patient [O' Muhammad]. Verily the Promise of Allah is true, and let not those who have no certainty of faith, discourage you from conveying Allah's Message [which you are obliged to convey].)
(Qur'an 30: 60)
(…If you are suffering [hardships] then surely, they [too] are suffering [hardships] as you are suffering, but you have a hope from Allah [for the reward, i.e. Paradise] that for which they hope not... )
(Qur'an 4: 104)
A Desert Arab who witnessed Imam Ahmad in chains as he was being taken to prison said the second phrase. He said, "O' Ahmad, be patient, for verily, if this is the spot from which you will be killed, it will also be the spot from which you will enter Paradise."
(Their Lord gives them glad tidings of a Mercy from Him, and that He is pleased [with them], and of Gardens [Paradise] for them wherein are everlasting delights.) (Qur'an 9: 21)