The Prophet of Islam, last and final Messenger of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: “How amazing is the case of the believer; there is good for him in everything, and this characteristic is exclusively for him alone. If he experiences something pleasant, he is thankful, and that is good for him; and if he comes across some adversity, he is patient, and that is good for him.” (Muslim)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Most High, the Most Merciful, has created situations in our lives, such that by having strong faith and positive attitude we can earn immense good. But the Shaitaan (Satan) on the other hand tries to make us despondent and negative and make us forget the favors of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). Shaitaan makes us focus and zoom in on minor difficulties and disregard the billions of Nai’mah (bounties and rewards) our Lord has bestowed on us.
What is Patience and how to develop it?
Sabr (Patience) is the ability to endure pain and difficulty with self-control, forbearance, calmness and equanimity having in mind the reality that the current life is fleeting and the true life is the life of the Aakhirah (Hereafter).
We learn from Hadeeth that it is the most virtuous people who go through the most trials. It is the Prophets who endured the greatest hardships. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Exalted and the Majestic, gives us trials and difficulties to the extent of our Piety and thereby helps elevate us. For even in this worldly life, no one can become a doctor or an engineer or achieve anything without going through hardships and succeeding in several tests and exams. Then what about attaining high stations in the eternal life?
The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) was mocked, ridiculed and harassed by his own community when he started preaching Islam. These were the people who once honored him and named him Ameen (Trustworthy) Saadiq (Truthfull). Still our beloved Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) endured all this with patience, constantly making Du’aa (Supplication) for their guidance. When Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) returned to Makkah al Mukarramah victorious he showed his extreme forbearance and forgave all those who had abused him. These people consequently accepted Islam and became his ardent followers. Similarly, when any of us start following the Deen (Religion) and adopting the Sunnah – following Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) — in all walks of life, we may face difficulties and ridicule from our own relatives and friends. But surely Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s help is with those who are steadfast in following His commandments. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says in the Holy Quraan:
كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَأَغْلِبَنَّ أَنَا وَرُسُلِي إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ [المجادلة: 21]
“Allah has written (in His pre-destined decree), ‘I will certainly prevail, both I and My messengers.’ Surely, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty.” (Mujaadilah 58:21)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) also says:
إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُمْ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ [الزمر: 10]
“Certainly those who observe patience will be given their reward in full without measure.” (Az-Zumar 39:10)
Further Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ [البقرة: 153]
“Surely, Allah is with those who are patient.” (Al-Baqarah 2:153)
We face trials of patience in our daily life. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) bestows some with more in terms of worldly comforts than others. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) might bestow some with better family, children, reputation or jobs than others. Verily these are tests of our patience and gratefulness.
إِنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلَادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ وَاللَّهُ عِنْدَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ [التغابن: 15]
“Your riches and your children are but a trial. As for Allah, with Him is a great reward.” (At-Taghaabun 64:15)
When we look at people who have more than us, we need to realize that what Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) has bestowed on them is a trial for them and it may be that if Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) had bestowed the same on me I may not have been able to fulfill the responsibilities of these Nai’mah and would be held responsible on the Day of Judgment.
Further we need to look at people who have been less fortunate. Al-Hamdulilah, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) has blessed us with sight, hearing, speech, ability to walk, etc. What about people who miss any of these? If any small organ does not work properly in the body, then the person has to undergo so much pain and medical expenses. We need to be constantly thankful to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) for each and every organ in our body – which are doing their jobs without us making any effort or paying them.
We also face trials wherein people do not fulfill their responsibilities towards us (Say for example the daughter-in-law does not respect and treat well the mother-in-law and vice versa).
“The one who reciprocates the good done to him by a relative is not the one who joins the tie of kinship. He is rather the one, when his relatives treat him badly he treats them well.” (Al-Bukhari)
So when in any such situation where our kith and kin do not give us treatment we might deserve we need to remember the above words of the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) and do good to them. We need to take peace and rest from the fact that on the Day of Judgment, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) will settle all accounts. And for any of our rights which were not fulfilled, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Exalted and the Majestic, will honor us and fulfill them on the Day of Judgment and give us an eternal reward.
Developing gratefulness (Shukr)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:
لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِنْ كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ [إبراهيم: 7]
“If you express gratitude, I shall certainly give you more, and if you are ungrateful, then My punishment is severe.” (Ibrahim 14:7)
All our relationships and dealings with others in life are based on mutual reciprocation. But Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) is fully Self-Sufficient and needs no one, while we are completely in need of Him. Hence the least we can do is to show sincere gratitude and obedience to Him.
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) is taking care and providing for us right from the time we were conceived to the time of our death.
وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ مِنْ سُلَالَةٍ مِنْ طِينٍثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُطْفَةً فِي قَرَارٍ مَكِينٍثُمَّ خَلَقْنَا النُّطْفَةَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْعَلَقَةَ مُضْغَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْمُضْغَةَ عِظَامًا فَكَسَوْنَا الْعِظَامَ لَحْمًا ثُمَّ أَنْشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقًا آخَرَ فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ [المؤمنون: 12-14]
“We have created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him a sperm-drop in a firm resting place. Then We turned the sperm-drop into a clot, then We turned the clot into a fetus-lump, then We turned the fetus-lump into bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh; thereafter We developed it into another creature. So, glorious is Allah, the Best of the creators.” (Al-Muminoon 23:12-14)
When we are weak and powerless in the mother’s womb He provides us food through the umbilical cord. When we are born, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) puts so much love and compassion for us in our parents’ hearts that they do not mind any suffering in taking care of us. True Shukr or gratefulness to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) is in realizing each and every blessing Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) has given us, and thanking Him for it.
We ask Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) to make us all of the patient and the grateful.