Patience is a Virtue

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

“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. 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.” —Al-Baqarah, Verses 155-157

This is what I thought of when I read this article:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8219814.stm

and this one… http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10728.shtml

and this one… http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8206184.stm

and this one… http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8137206.stm

The list could go on and on. Every day Muslims are faced with challenges–whether its wearing Hijab when you’re not allowed to or it’s something of a more serious matter. Let’s face it, the Muslim Ummah, or global community, is at odds with the rest of the world a good chunk of time. We always hear that we should be patient and pray to Allah (SWT), but the fact of the matter is that we are not asked to consider the matter of being patient: It is demanded of us.

A prime example of this is found in Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) story, when he was ordered to leave Haajer and the newly born Isma’il in a deserted valley known at the time as Bacca (later to be known as Makkah). When she discovered that Allah (SWT) had ordered it, she did not doubt Ibrahim’s decision to take her out to the valley. She even reassured Ibrahim that if Allah ordered it, then there would be “khair” or good in it.

Another example is when Ibrahim (AS) was told to sacrifice his eldest son Isma’il in a dream. The significance of this story is that he was ordered to sacrifice the blessing that was given to him in old age after he thought he would not be granted any children. He again, pursued it even though he doubted his own strength in completing the task. And the young boy again reassured his father that if Allah willed it, only good could come from it.

These stories are just a few that were mentioned to preface the book In the Footsteps of the Prophet, by Tariq Ramadan. He goes on further to make a point that no Prophet was tested with such extreme test and they were not given some Divine reassurance. The men never doubted Allah’s will, they doubted their strength and ability to complete the task at hand. Doubt of self does not equate doubt of the Creator.

We should critically examine the tests of the Prophets’ and understand the lessons embedded within them. The tests that they were given were tests that no normal human being could bear, which only indicated their importance in history. There is a hasan hadith that states, ““If Allah Loves a people, He tests them.” (Tirmidhi, 4/2396). If Allah did not love His Prophets, would he test them to the extremes? Which the question can then be expanded upon us: If Allah did not love us, would he test us with things that we believe we cannot bear?

Each and every time one of us have been tested with something in life, to the point where we believe we cannot bear it, we are presented with a set of choices. The choices we make, whether we realize or not will impact us for the rest of our lives. It makes us who we are and develops our sense of being. When we rely on Allah (SWT) alone in our endeavors, we set ourselves up for success, even though we may not feel like it at the time.

Another way to look at it is to look at the course of nature–as humans, we can only see so far. And even then the train of thought is based on a certain order of events and situations, we cannot guarantee any of them. I think the most interesting thing is to track our decision making process in a flow chart and realize how HUGE it can become and the long term effects that we cannot list. A friend told me once that we cannot look at time as a straight line, rather that it is fluid and based on a set of choices that we make (and yes, Walter said it in “Fringe” too). This all plays into the context of patience, if we are not patient to see the results of our choices then we only limit ourselves and what we do. To have patience, faith, and pure conviction in our decisions will lead us to become more confident in who we are and remain steadfast on a path that will lead to success.

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