Feb 20, 2012

The Many Faces Of Patience

by Miriam Islam


Do people think that they will be left alone because they say “we believe, and will not be tested” (Surah Al-Ankabut 29:2)

What do you understand from this verse in relation to your everyday lives? Imagine it’s another typical day, you’ve prayed, you’ve stayed up, now it’s time to start the day. You woke the kids up, ranted at them and managed to get them ready. Their breakfasts made, lunches made (Husband’s included!) and finally sent them to school.

You come home and sigh. Your day has just begun, should you do the breakfast dishes first or the vacuuming? Should you go up and tidy the bedrooms or mop the bathroom floor? Should you put a machine load in or should you sort out yesterday’s laundry? Will you have time to put the dinner on, pray, eat or should you do the shopping first?

So many questions, so many endless chores. They may seem trivial, but for many women they are very real scenarios that they have to deal with day in day out. It can become frustrating, it can become annoying, it can become exhausting. But there’s no escaping it. Wouldn’t it be so nice to have an easy comfortable life with no chores to constantly think about? Before you answer that question read the cases below and then ask yourself would you exchange your tiring chores for a life like theirs?

I buried my five year old son today, he cried for a banana the day before he passed away. His favorite fruit was bananas, he loved it as a baby, mashed up with milk. I haven’t been able to find even a rotten banana for over a month because it has nearly been a month since we last ate. The famine has badly affected all our crops and supplies have run dry. My husband went to the next village for food and aid, but by the time he returned my son had died.
And certainly We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones)” (Surah Al-Baqara 2:155)
Last month I saw my husband being shot. Straight in the head. I saw him fall and the blood pouring out. All he was trying to do was save our home from being bulldozed down. They suddenly stormed into our house, shouting: “get out”. My husband lunged at one in protest and the Israeli soldiers just shot him point blank. They calmly carried on as if they hadn’t just shattered my world. My daughter went into shock and had to be hospitalized. My son wakes up every night crying for his dad. I can’t even cry. I don’t know how to grieve but the pain and uncertainty is unbearable. Yet I am not the only Palestinian woman who has lost her home and husband within seconds.
“Allah swt said: “I have no reward other than Paradise for my believing servant who is patient when I take away one of his beloved from among his companions of the world” (Bukhari)
It all started with yellow eyes and constantly being sick. The weight loss and exhaustion came next “We think its Gallstones causing problems, we can easily remove them” they said. The “gallstones” turned out to be a tumor. “It’s advanced liver cancer, there’s nothing we can do”they said. I have been given only a year left to live. My daughter thinks I will be holding her hand when she starts her first day at school, my son wonders if I will let him join the junior football team next year. My baby wants me to hold her steady when she takes her first steps. I wonder if I will see any of it. My husband wonders how he will cope when I am no longer here. 
You will have a double reward for being sick and your sins will be annulled as the leaves of a tree fall down” (Imam Malik Muwatta and Bukhari)
Today my husband put an iron to my arm when I asked him for some money. My children haven’t drunk milk for three days; I only wanted to buy one carton of milk so I asked him for some money. Yesterday he punched me in the stomach for asking him what time he would come home. The day before he stamped on my son for getting in his way. My children go to bed every night bruised and hungry. I go to bed injured and heartbroken. What can I do? I speak very little English and have no friends or family. He has threatened to kill the children if I say one word. I can only pray and hope that one day things will change and he will love us.
Those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, bear on themselves the crime of slander and plain sin” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:58)
The men laugh and ask who will save you now? I weep whilst I hear yet another sister is being tortured and brutally raped. It has been the same ever since I was imprisoned in Abu Ghraib, the nemesis that the world has forgotten about. I don’t know what my crime is, but I have been chained by the double standards of the world that criminalise the innocent and protect the criminals. Yesterday I witnessed a new sister banging her head on the wall continuously till she died. She had just suffered a very horrific rape and attack. She could no longer bear this life. The men laugh and we plead; where is the Muslim Ummah of Prophet (saw), who will help us?
And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men women and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help." (Surah An-Nisa 4: 75)
She was threatened; she was tortured until one day her persecutor got into such a fit of rage that he got out his sharp spear and drove it deep into her pelvis. She died instantly. Summayh bint Khayyat; one of the first to accept Islam and the first to die for it. Abu Jahl personally persecuted her. She and her family were made to lie on the hot desert floor and roast in the sun with metal armor on. Their crime? They testified and refused to give up their belief that “There is no God except Allah and Prophet (saw) was his slave and messenger.
For if they come to know you, they will stone you to death or abuse and harm you or turn you back to their religion…” (Surah Al-Kahf 18: 20)

So would you exchange your life of chores for theirs? Nobody would wish it upon himself or herself. They are terrible situations where the women and families are going through indescribable pain. So where does our relatively easier lives fit in with their hardship? PATIENCE IS THE CONNECTION.

Beautiful patience is needed in every single one of the situations in order to overcome the pain of it. The women’s’ pain is covered in patience that Allah has granted as a coping mechanism. They are extreme situations which require higher levels of patience, yet Allah chose to test their limits because Allah knew their capabilities. Through their immense patience Allah wanted them to attain a higher status in the hereafter as PATIENCE holds its own special place in Jannah.

Allah never burdens a believer beyond what they can bear, yet it isn’t enough to say we believe without being tested on the strength of the statement. We don’t realise that every single day, we are being tested and we are exercising patience. How? By continuously doing the same deed over and over again without complaining. Praying every day-on time. Maintaining good relations with family and friends-every day. Making a conscious effort to be good with our husbands every day. Holding our anger and tongue in check-every day. These actions all require patience.

When we have a comfortable, mildly stressful life we are less thankful and conscious of Allah’s favors. It is easier to call upon Allah when we are in difficult situations as our eemaan levels rises. But in our everyday lives our eeman and consistency in doing good deeds is tested. Did you do your Salah willingly on time? Did you read the Quran every day? Did you feed a needy or sick person every day?

Patience in not disobeying Allah is just as hard. Our consciousness to stay away from haraam is tested. Did you really not answer your mum back when she annoyed you? Did you really refuse to backbite every single time you could? Did you really not look at that non-mahram attractive person more than necessary?

It is much easier to commit a sin, or not pray regularly when we are happy and untroubled. That is why patience in constantly obeying Allah, despite our desires, is the hardest to maintain. The plight of those women must never be forgotten, but we don’t need to have been locked up or lost someone to exercise patience. We need to be grateful that we are not in such situations and express our gratitude by constantly remembering Allah at all times.


JazakAllahu Khairan. That was a much needed reminder for me, and inshaAllah the next time I whine about the chores and the trivial matters of life, hopefully I will remind myself of the struggles other sisters are going through around the world and be thankful to Allah for the immeasurable blessings He has bestowed upon me.

SubhanAllah this is a really heartbreaking and eye-opening read. Everyone has their "limits" and only Allah knows them... For some, those chores are he bane I their existence and they struggle with their nafs
to do them everyday... And for some, losing a child is the worst that can happen. In any case, we need to say Alhamdulilah for everything.

Alhumdulilah! I pray for patience every day. It is the only strenghth I would like to keep strong for my needs to meet Allah's(swt).

Subhanallah, my eyes are burning and my heart hurts for these women.  I could literally feel their desperation as I was reading.  May Allah grant us all the patience we need to get through this life and make it to our final destination, Jannah Firduas insha Allah.

Subhanallah! A realloy lovely post sis! Jazakallahu Khair for the much needed reminder! <3

Jazakallah khair to everybody for the  taking the time to read and draw a personal lesson from this article. Yes it is essentially about patience but what I really intended was to draw attention to the real plights of such women. It is women like them we need to take inspiration from and keep in our prayers all the time. There is so much injustice and hardship in this world, the least we can do is pray for them.Allah will deal with the rest.

mashallah...your article was a real eye opener...we all know such women exists,but an article like yours just banged it right on the head!!
your article reminded me of a book i read called 'the olive tree'..its an insight into palestinian history through a palestinian family..based on a true story..a must read if you havent read..
any how...keep up the good work..may Allah bless u...

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