By Sancheet Hoque
Having patience changes the quality of life one has. Most people, even impatient ones, would say it is a positive quality that one can obtain. So what is patience exactly? It is being able to stay calm and collected in times in which there is a setback. Now, this setback is subjective because a ten minute wait could be short or long depending on who you ask. For example, a flight delay might not affect a patient person but irritate others. Having the trait of patience allows one not to be bogged down and affected by setbacks which allow them to pass through it in an easier manner. The impatient person who stresses himself out over the flight delay can’t change the result, no matter how much he complains. Since the setback has happened already, one should accept it. This aligns with the teachings of the Quran as setbacks are tests that Allah decrees on his servants. The Quran speaks of how patience is a quality of a true believer as many verses directly associate it with closeness to Allah. Let’s dive into the book of Allah to understand what it means to be patient and its value.
Say ˹O Prophet, that Allah says˺, “O My servants who believe! Be mindful of your Lord. Those who do good in this world will have a good reward. And Allah’s earth is spacious. Only those who endure patiently will be given their reward without limit.” [39:10]
In this verse from Surah Az-Zumar (The Troops), Allah is commanding the believers to be mindful of him. Interestingly He speaks of two actions and the reward that is given. A person who does good in this life will obtain a good reward, but a person who endures hardships and trials patiently will be given unlimited rewards. From this, it is actually more rewarding to be patient through hard times than to perform good deeds. One can look at how people are suffering from oppression and violence in war-stricken countries. Now it is good to help those people and Allah will reward that person, but the oppressed person experiencing it firsthand will obviously obtain something more if they endure for the sake of Allah.
“O my dear son! Establish prayer, encourage what is good and forbid what is evil, and endure patiently whatever befalls you. Surely this is a resolve to aspire to.” [31:17]
This verse from Surah Luqman informs the readers how Prophet Luqman (as) taught his son important values. He clearly says that enduring patiently is a quality that people should train in. All types of setbacks occur as kids grow up. Even the youngest of children will face setbacks such as not obtaining candy or not getting a toy. As they get older, setbacks such as failing exams or a sports injury. Whatever it may be, Allah is showing the believers through Luqman (as) to teach children the importance of patience from a younger age, so that as they get older they can tackle more difficult tests.
Patience in Regards to Disbelievers
So be patient ˹O Prophet˺ with what they say. And glorify the praises of your Lord before sunrise and before sunset, and glorify Him in the hours of the night and at both ends of the day, so that you may be pleased ˹with the reward˺. [20:130]
In this verse from Surah Ta’Ha, Allah is telling Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) to be patient in regards to the disbelievers and their actions. Even though this is directed to the Prophet (pbuh), his ummah can also apply this to their life. Unfortunately, the media has confused many people about Islam. They might think Islam is violent or oppressive. It is best to stay calm whenever a believer meets someone like that. Simply performing good deeds and showing kindness can easily change the narrative at least on a local scale. No need to argue and fight with anyone, just work on getting closer to Allah!
Patience while Learning
He said, “You certainly cannot be patient ˹enough˺ with me. And how can you be patient with what is beyond your ˹realm of˺ knowledge?” Moses assured ˹him˺, “You will find me patient, Allah willing, and I will not disobey any of your orders.” [18:67-69]
These verses are from Surah Kahf (The Cave), in which Prophet Moses (as) wants to learn from a wise believer, Al-Khidr. Al-Khidr tells Moses (as) that it will be hard for him to be patient. They go on a journey and three events occur that test Moses’s patience. Al-Khidr sinks a boat owned by poor sailors, kills a young boy, and fixes a wall in a village with no hospitality. Since Moses (as) did not understand the reasoning, he became quite impatient, and many people probably would. Moses (as) later learned that there was an underlying benefit in each event and only Allah could see it. This teaches two types of patience: when learning something new, it will be frustrating at first since one does not have knowledge on that specific topic. Once one starts slowly learning then they will understand. Another is that some of these people that Al-Khidr afflicted will not know that the suffering that was caused to them was actually beneficial. Only Allah knows the true wisdom behind every ordeal even if we don’t, so it is always best to stay patient.
Trust in Allah
Why should we not put our trust in Allah, when He has truly guided us to ˹the very best of˺ ways? Indeed, we will patiently endure whatever harm you may cause us. And in Allah let the faithful put their trust.” [14:12]
This verse from Surah Ibrahim gives us the reason to stay patient. It is enlightening and relieving at the same time when one realizes that the pain and suffering one may go through is actually beneficial to us. Allah has guided a person to Islam and made them believe in the oneness of God, so why would He make a servant suffer if there wasn’t a benefit? For example, one can take muscles as a clear parallel. As the owner of the body, one literally tears their muscles in order for it to get stronger. The cells that make up the muscles are in pain and if they had higher intellect could maybe ask: Why do I have to go through this pain? In fact, if one studies biology, one could see that the cells and the different microorganisms are very structured like societies. The owner knows that to get stronger this pain has to be applied. He still loves his body obviously. This is similar to how Allah wants to develop a person in this life. He simply wants you to be the best person possible!
Catered Tests for Growth
Allah does not require of any soul more than what it can afford. All good will be for its own benefit, and all evil will be to its own loss. ˹The believers pray,˺ “Our Lord! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord! Do not place a burden on us like the one you placed on those before us. Our Lord! Do not burden us with what we cannot bear. Pardon us, forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our ˹only˺ Guardian. So grant us victory over the disbelieving people.” [2:286]
This verse is the last ayah of Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow) contains a dua for the believers to pray. Although this verse doesn’t directly mention patience, it talks about the pain the people go through in this life. For each person it is different and Allah afflicts people with what they can endure. Having this knowledge will give a stronger sense of confidence to stay patient because the believers know that they can get through it. Unfortunately many consider suicide or resort to other haram means to relieve them of the pain. Knowing that Allah is giving you this hardship because you can grow from it, should make it exciting! When working out the body, athletes will make sure their muscles are being challenged enough to grow, but not too challenging so they get injured. Pressure makes diamonds!
Ease after Patiently Enduring
So, surely with hardship comes ease. Surely with ˹that˺ hardship comes ˹more˺ ease. [94:5-6]
These two verses from Surah Ash-Sharh (The Relief) talk about the relief and ease that comes after hardships. It points to the duality of life and how everything comes in pairs. One is bound to enjoy food even more than before after going through a famine. One appreciates sunny days after experiencing cloudy days. After pain and suffering, there are always benefits afterward. The workout example still applies as one gets stronger after the hardships their muscles goes through. There are always ups and downs in life, but if the downs are endured patiently, the ups will feel even better.
Hopefully, after reading through this article, it encourages you to try and be patient through all the setbacks in life. The blessed month of Ramadan is coming up, and it will benefit those that have trained their patience level. Companions of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) prepared well before Ramadan so they could make the most of it. Only those that have patience can stand for Taraweeh, fast properly, perform Qiyam, and all other good deeds. Of course, patience helps in all other months as well no matter what it is. Such as waiting for the light to turn red in traffic or waiting for customer service. Being able to stay patient benefits all aspects of life as negative emotions won’t take control!
The Noble Quran: www.quran.com