Patience. Perhaps one of the greatest struggles we face as humans living in a world where we have become accustomed to instant gratification. In days of old, to travel from one place to another, people would spend months traveling by foot, horse, boat, or whatever they’d be blessed enough to have. Those same distances are now traveled within a matter of a few hours. Yet, we complain that we our flights are too long, that we don’t get the luxurious trips we “deserve”, and so on. Lovers would write to each other and sometimes have to wait weeks or months to hear from one another. Now, if we don’t get a text message back within minutes, we get upset and start to over-think and over-analyze things, leading us to break our relationships to pieces, because we were too impatient.
Being patient is incredibly important, and Allah has made that very clear in the Quran as well, where He says:
“And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute and [thus] lose courage and [then] your strength would depart; and be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” – Quran (8:46)
“But if you are patient – it is better for those who are patient.” – Quran (16:126)
“If good touches you, it distresses them; but if harm strikes you, they rejoice at it. And if you are patient and fear Allah , their plot will not harm you at all. Indeed, Allah is encompassing of what they do.” – Quran (3:120)
“Indeed, he who fears Allah and is patient, then indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.” – Quran (12:90)
“O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful.” – Quran (3:200)
“But they never lost assurance due to what afflicted them in the cause of Allah , nor did they weaken or submit. And Allah loves the steadfast.” – Quran (3:146)
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.” Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.” – Quran (2:155-157)
“And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah]” – Quran (2:45)
“Indeed, I have rewarded them this Day for their patient endurance – that they are the attainers [of success].” – Quran (23:111)
There are so many more examples of this, but I think these paint the picture I’m trying to portray. Patience is something that comes with its benefits, including the reward of Jannah and the Companionship and Help of Allah. So, really is there really anything more enticing and inspiring than that? What more could you want? With those two benefits, you get happiness and success not only in this life, but in the Hereafter, as well! Allahu Akbar! (Allah is the Greatest!)
To Build Patience, First…
- Have Faith: This is the most important factor in pretty much everything we pursue, but with patience, it is even more crucial, because it lays out where we will go with the next steps. I have experienced an attempt at patient with and without patience, and to be honest, without faith, patience is not only impossible, but its absence breaks a person at the very core of their being. With faith, however, it feels no worse that a small pinch of nerves every once in a while.
- Be Grateful: Look at everything you have in front of you, and consider the fact that Allah has given you so much more than He could have chosen not to give you. No one can look at life, especially as a Muslim, and think that they are not blessed in one way or another. Even if you are a person who has nothing more to his name than the clothes on his back and the faith in his heart, you should consider yourself blessed, because with every moment of struggle you face, Allah is purifying your sins, based on the Hadith of the Prophet (SAW): “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.”
- Be Hopeful: To know for a fact that Allah will answer your Dua (supplication) is a prerequisite to your Dua being answered. Know, without a shadow of a doubt, that will ease your struggle, and will not place on you a greater burden than what you can handle. If you feel like you can’t handle it, remind yourself that Allah knows you better than you know yourself, and that for this reason, He will certainly give you the tools you need to get through what you’re facing.
- Be Optimistic: As you go through your struggles and challenges, remember that Allah has a reason for all that is happening to you, and that there is a positive benefit to come from you facing what you face. He will get you through this, so don’t stress, and put on a smile because you know you have plenty of reasons to.
- Be Content: Try to avoid thinking of the reasons for Allah putting you through your struggle, or what lessons you have to learn from these experiences. Instead, reflect back on them after you have learned the reasons from Allah revealing them to you. Stressing about Allah’s plans and reasons won’t do you any good. Just know that He won’t let you down as long as you trust in Him.
Some practical ways to build on your patience:
- Fasting: Personally, this has helped me to so many degrees in maintaining my patience, that I don’t have enough words to express it. It has and still does help me in my pursuits and ambitions towards becoming a better Muslim, towards my projects, towards getting married to the woman of my dreams, towards reaching my goals in health and fitness, and in finding my path in this world.
- Doing more Nawafil (voluntary acts of worship): This will help us in training ourselves towards making Allah our greatest priority, and as a result, will increase our faith and closeness to Allah, which in turn, will increase the ease and guarantee in Allah’s response to our pleas of His Assistance and Blessings. Ask yourself, how quickly do you rush out of the masjid or away from Salah (prayer) after you have completed your Fard (mandatory) Salah? Often, we don’t take the time to pray the Sunnah or Nawafil prayers because we’re rushed to get back to work, are about to miss the beginning of a show on TV, or something like that.
- Meditation: This is something that many scholars debate about, but the meditation I use to calm my mind and bring me back on track with my patience and focus is one that is very simple and unrelated to any religious meditation. It was actually suggested to me by a very good friend, who also said it helped in one’s focus in prayer. To do this simple meditation practice, sit down in a quiet place and close your eyes and slowly count to 10. Every time you have an external thought enter your mind, you have to start from 1 again. Do this as a way to clear your mind of clutter, and to bring yourself back to peace, so that you can calmly approach your struggle and test with patience and optimism.
This really only covers the bare basics of the topic of patience, and still, I feel as though I haven’t even reached that degree yet. But, I believe that this is a good start, and hope that with time, as I learn more, I will be able to share the lessons I experience with all of you. If any of you have some positive feedback, or some more pointers on what else can be discussed on the topic, then by all means, share away 🙂
May Allah make us all amongst the patient, so that He may be pleased with us and so that we can be amongst the dwellers of Jannah. Ameen!