Patience is an ever-evolving process in all of us. It’s also probably one of the most challenging things to master as a believing slave because it requires so much of us, spiritually, psychologically, and even physically at times. The amazing thing is that Allah is completely aware of how difficult this task can be. Imam Ahmad said that Allah has mentioned patience 90 times in the Qur’an! Not only does this show it’s overwhelming importance in all matters of deen and dunya but it also serves as motivation and encouragement… to know that Allah is in control and that all matters belong to him. In ayah 156 of Surah al Baqarah, Allah subhanahu wata’ala says:
الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُواْ إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ
Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.
As I was going through the tafseer of this ayah, I was truly humbled by the word choice and the clarity of it subhanAllah. In the previous ayah, Allah took an oath and described that the believers will surely be tested with hardships through fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives, and sustenance, and after all of this, Allah sends glad tidings to those who are patient. So this ayah continues to describe the sabireen, that when a museebah reaches them, they immediately respond with an affirmation that we indeed belong to Allah, and to Him, we will return. What’s interesting about the word museebah is that it comes from root sowb, which literally means to hit the mark. For example, when an arrow hits a target, it did not happen to land there by chance; rather, it was meant to pierce through the designated target. Yuseebu gives the meaning that something reaches exactly where it is meant to reach, it was never an accident to begin with. SubhanAllah. How humbling. :)
From a young age, we memorize the six pillars of iman and verbally tell our teachers that the sixth one is “Qadr–believing that everything seemingly good and bad is from Allah”. Only after a few doses of life are we really able to understand our limits after which, we can reflect on Allah’s all-encompassing Might and Power over us. Why should we ever complain when everything belongs to Allah to begin with? If we truly believe that everything comes and goes as Allah pleases, why do show even a hint of impatience when He, ‘azzawajal, takes something away? The believers are those whose knowledge can be an evidence for them inshaAllah. If we know all these things about patience, we should be even more careful about ever letting out a sigh of complaint no matter how trying a circumstance may be. Show a little patience and watch how Allah blesses you in dunya wal akhira.. without limit (inshaAllah)! :)
People generally go through different degrees of patience as a part of this evolving process.
- The first degree, is when the person becomes angry and finds a way to express that frustration. This is completely normal but for a believer, we should always strive to reach the highest degree.
- The second is Sabr: One controls his emotions and his tongue. For example, when Ibrahim passed away, Rasulullah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said “The eyes shed tears and the heart is saddened, but we only do that which pleases our Lord. Indeed, Oh Ibrahim, we are grieved at your departure from us”. SubhanAllah.
- The third degree is Ridaa’: When a person is pleased with the decree of Allah. Knowing that whatever has happened, is eventually for the best inshaAllah, no matter how confusing it may seem to us at the time. Radheetu billahi rabba.
- The fourth and highest degree is Shukr: This is when you are genuinely thankful to Allah. You hope for better, trust in Allah, and you are thankful that Allah tested you now instead of taking account of you in the hereafter. Allahumaj ‘alni minaSabireen. Ameen.