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مشاهدة النسخة كاملة : A Few Reflections On Patience

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03-30-2010, 01:41 PM
Yahya Abdul Rahman - March 16, 2010

Perhaps I am not the best person to be writing an article about patience because I have not always been the best example of that noble practice. So, I will attempt to limit the selection of what I include in these scattered scribblings to a few verses from the Quran and a small selection of narrations from the Prophet Muhammad (please me upon him), knowing full well that this is a vast topic and that many books and articles have been written by people much more qualified than I am.

I recall an incident in my life which took place 28 years ago when I, as a young aspiring Christian speaker, was called upon to deliver a sermon on a topic of my choice. At that time people told me I possessed good speaking abilities and I, in the foolishness of my youth, believed them. I chose the topic of patience and the example I used was that of Job (Ayub). I was extremely nervous, it being my first time to deliver a public sermon, and after stumbling along for about 5 minutes I was forced to sit back down with my entire body shaking with fear. And now, these many years later, I reflect on the foolishness of a young man instructing people much older then myself on the virtues of patience. Even now I still feel foolish writing about this topic for, as I stated, I have not always practiced what I preached and thus am well aware of the shallowness in my reflections. But perhaps I can take some consolation in the idea that the words I write are primarily directed at myself and that you - my dear readers - are listening in also. So I hope we can both benefit from what follows.

In the Quran Allah makes many promises, and Allah always fulfills that which He promises. Consider the following verse found in Surah Baqarah where Allah says:

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوفْ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الأَمَوَالِ وَالأنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ

"Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere." (2:155)

There are at least two promises in this verse. First, that we will be tested with a series of disappointments and things which we don't like to happen to us. We will feel fear, we will experience the pangs of hunger and the loss of that which we have worked hard for. These are things which nobody would wish for because they generate pain and discomfort. But Allah also promises that الصَّابِرِينَ - those who patiently persevere - are given the glad tidings of paradise.

In another verse in Surah Muhammad Allah tells us:

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ حَتَّى نَعْلَمَ الْمُجَاهِدِينَ مِنكُمْ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَنَبْلُوَ أَخْبَارَكُمْ

"And We shall try you until We test those among you who strive their utmost and persevere in patience; and We shall try your reported (mettle)." (47:31)

Again, this verse reminds us that we will be tested and this testing is for the purpose of determining the strength of our resolve so that our declaration of faith is not mere words we utter with our lips, but a firm conviction within our hearts regardless of the outward circumstances.

By way of encouragement for those who are going through a rough time, as well as how to react to what is taking place in their lives, Allah says in Surah Baqarah:

لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ رَبَّنَا لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِن نَّسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لاَ طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَآ أَنتَ مَوْلاَنَا فَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ

"On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray:) "Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith." (2:286)

This verse is a reminder that Allah will not place on us a burden greater than we can bear, which means that Allah has given us the capacity to endure those difficult circumstances which come into our lives. He has then instructed us what to say during these difficult times --to be in a state of tawbah (repentance) and to ask for Allah's mercy.

I am most interested in the part where Allah says: "Lay not on us a burden Like that which Thou didst lay on those before us."

This verse causes the reader to reflect back upon the earlier believers and the trials which they were forced to endure. We don't ask for what they went through, but ask Allah to protect from the calamities that they faced.

There are so many stories with regards to our predecessors that I could not possibly relate them here. But allow me to here insert, as one example, the story of Urwah Ibn Al Zubair.

Urwah Ibn Al Zubair had an operation, and the doctor amputated his leg. One friend came to visit him. ‘Urwah thought that the friend came to pacify him for the loss of his leg. So ‘Urwah told the visitor: If you came to give me condolence for the loss of my leg, I already submitted to Allah with patience to reward me for its loss. The guest told him, I came to inform you that your son fell down in a stable, and the animals stepped over him, and he died one hour ago. ‘Urwah said: O Allah! You took one child, and left me many…You took one organ from my body, and left me many organs…O Allah! You tested me with my body, and you were kind to leave me with good health. You tested me with the loss of my son, but you were kind in leaving me the rest of my children.

This, and numerous other examples, which I encourage you to study, remind us of what many people had to endure yet, due to their strong faith and regular practice of patience, they were able to remain firm and have a heart filled with thankfulness to their Creator. Yet we, as believers, ask Allah to protect us from what they had to endure, and may Allah accept our supplication.

Allah further reminds us in Surah Baqarah what to say when we are afflicted with a calamity and the rewards one can expect:

الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُواْ إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ
أُولَـئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَأُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ

"Who say, when afflicted with calamity: "To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return":- They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance." (2:156-157)

Allah also says in Surah Hud:

إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ أُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ كَبِيرٌ

"Not so do those who show patience and constancy, and work righteousness; for them is forgiveness (of sins) and a great reward." (11:11)

Besides the many Quranic verses admonishing us to have patience, there are numerous narrations from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which highlight the rewards and virtues of practicing patience. I will here include only two:

Suhaib ibn Sinan narrated that the Prophet (s) said: “How remarkable is the case of the believer! There is good for him in everything, but this is not the case for anyone except for the believer. When the believer receives any good, he is thankful to Allah, and gets a reward. And when some misfortune befalls him, he endures it patiently, for which he is (also) rewarded.”

In addition, Anas narrates: “I heard the Prophet (s) saying: ‘Allah says: “When I afflict a servant of mine with respect to his two most beloved things (meaning his eyes), and he endures it patiently, I grant him paradise in return‘.”

In these two ahadeeth the believer is reminded once again of the rewards reserved for those who remain patient during times of great difficulty and personal disappointment.

As I finish of this article, I am about to enter into the 46th year my earthly existence. I have much to learn about life and the benefits of practicing patience. Sometimes I am filled with despair regarding my own personal issues, but I am thankful that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) have provided me with words of hope and that those righteous believers who have endured so much are excellent examples to our Ummah of piety, faith and patience.

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