Apr 28, 2014

Will you be patient? - Part 1


Growing up, I was a very impatient child. If I wanted to know something, I had to get an answer right away, I had to get what I wanted immediately or else I would lose interest in it. My father tried many times to curve this weakness in me until one day he told me something that to this day stayed with me. He said "My daughter, you have to learn to be patient. If you are patient, you will be successful in life, but if you remain impatient, you will surely suffer." 

What my father was trying to tell me was that patience was one of the main tools to success in this life and the next. Reading Qur'an and studying it led me to understand how profound the advice of my father was. Allah Subhannahu wa ta'ala, many times in the Qur'an, prescribes patience as a remedy to many of our ills and discomforts.

In good and in difficult times
When Allah Subhannahu wa ta'ala, blesses us with good, as believers, we should persevere in our worship and be patient with our joy. Being patient with our sense of joy means that we should not go overboard in our happiness and forget WHO showered us with such a blessing. This requires self restraint. As believers we are happy when something good happens to us but at the same time we remain focused on the Grantor of the blessings. We don't become arrogant and ungrateful as per the description in the following verse:

But if We give him a taste of favor after hardship has touched him, he will surely say, "Bad times have left me." Indeed, he is exultant and boastful. (11:10)

Let us just take for example the final messenger of Allah, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, who was given the greatest blessing one could ever have, which is a guarantee from the Almighty that all his past, current and future sins were forgiven. He was guaranteed Jannah as his final abode, yet, how was his reaction? We see in the following hadith that our beloved prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, reacted with utmost gratitude.

Al-Mughirah ibn Sha’bah reported: 
The Prophet salallahu alayhi wa salaam would pray until his feet were swollen. 
It was said, “Why do you do this when Allah has forgiven your past and future sins?” 
He said, “Shall I not be a grateful servant?” (Sahih Muslim, Book 39, Number 6772)

Just as we practice self-restraint in times of joy, we should also practice self-restraint in times of difficulty. This means that we bear the difficulty with patience without again losing focus on who our Benefactor is and who we belong to. If we truly realize that nothing belongs to us, we develop patience when Allah takes a blessing away from us. However, if we can’t understand that concept, we risk losing patience and falling into despair.

And if We give man a taste of mercy from Us and then We withdraw it from him, indeed, he is despairing and ungrateful. (11:9)

Thus, the true believer, the real winner is the one who in times of joy and in times of hardship is able to remain patient as per the description in the following ayah:

Except for those who are patient and do righteous deeds; those will have forgiveness 
and great reward. (11:11)

In our interactions

Allah has created us as a trial for one another. Husband and wife, child and parent, siblings, relatives, friends, colleagues, all struggle in their interactions with one another. We learn that this is part of Allah's plan for us and the solution in building peaceful relationships with others is to have patience. Here again, patience is the prescription to resolve many of our issues in relationships.

... And We have made some of you [people] as trial for others - will you have patience? 
And ever is your Lord, Seeing. (25:20)

Look out for part 2 of this topic where we will continue to discuss having patience inshaAllah.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post comments in the section below!


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