Chapter 7: Man
cannot do without patience
any given moment, a person is in a situation where he has to obey a command of
Allâh, or he has to stay away from something which Allâh has prohibited, or he
has to accept a decree of Allâh, or he has to give thanks (show gratitude) for
a blessing which he has received from Allâh. All of these situations demand
patience, so up until the time of death, no-one can do without patience.
Whatever happens to us in life is either in accordance with our wishes and
desires, or against them. In both cases, patience is required.
a person enjoys good health, security, power, wealth and fulfillment of his
physical desires, he should not assume that this time of ease will last forever,
and he should not let his good fortune make him arrogant, extravagant or
careless in a way that Allâh does not like. He should not devote all his time,
money and energy to the pursuit of physical pleasure, because too much pleasure
results pain. He should take care to pay what is due to Allâh in the way of zakât
and sadaqah, otherwise Allâh might take away His blessing. He should
also abstain from spending money in a harâm way, and be careful to avoid
spending it in a makrűh way. All of this takes patience, and nobody can
exercise patience at a time of ease except people of very strong faith (as-siddiqűn).
Patience at the time of adversity is easier
than at the time of ease
of the salaf said: “Believers and unbelievers alike may have patience
at a time of adversity, but only people of strong faith can have patience at a
time of ease.” Therefore Allâh warned against the fitnah of wealth,
wives and children: “O you who believe! Let not your riches or your
children divert you from the remembrance of Allâh. If any act thus, the loss is
their own.” (al-Munâfiqűn 63:9) “O you who believe! Truly, among
your wives and your children are (some that are) enemies to yourselves: so
beware of them!” (at-Taghâbűn 64:14) The enmity referred to in these âyât
is not that which results from hatred and conflict, but that which results from
love and care, that might prevent parents from religious duties such as hijrah,
jihâd, seeking knowledge and giving sadaqah.
At-Tirmidhî narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that a man asked
him (Ibn ‘Abbas) about the ayah quoted above (at-Taghâbűn 64:14). Ibn
‘Abbas told him that this ayah refers to some men of Makkah who embraced Islâm,
but when they wanted to migrate to join the Prophet (SAAS) in Madînah, their
wives and children prevented them from doing so. Later on, when they eventually
joined the Prophet (SAAS) and saw that others had already learned a great deal
about Islâm, they wanted to punish their wives and children. So Allâh revealed
this ayah: “O you who believe! Truly, among your wives and your children
are (some that are) enemies to yourselves: so beware of them!” (at-Taghâbűn
64:14). At-Tirmidhî said that this report is hasan sahîh.
hadîth, “Children are the cause of cowardliness and stinginess”
reflects how much a man may be held back in his pursuit of perfection and
success by his wife and children. Once, when the Prophet (SAAS) was delivering a
khutbah, he saw Hasan and Husayn walking and stumbling, so he interrupted
his speech and went to pick them up, and said: “Indeed, Allâh has spoken
the truth when He said: ‘…among your wives and your children are (some
that are) enemies to yourselves.’ I saw these two little boys stumbling
and I did not have the patience to continue my khutbah, so I stopped and picked
them up.” The Prophet (SAAS) did so because of his love for children, and
in this way he set an example for his Ummah to show mercy and kindness
reason why it is so difficult to exercise patience at a time of ease is because
we have a choice regarding how to behave. A hungry person has better patience
when he has no access to food, and when food becomes available, his patience
weakens. Similarly, it is easier to control one’s sexual desire when no women
Patience in worship
human beings have a natural aversion to carrying out acts of worship, like salâh,
because of our inherent laziness. If a man is hardhearted and commits many wrong
actions, thinking too much of physical pleasure and mixing with people who do
not remember Allâh, then he can hardly perform his prayers, and if he does not
pray he does so absent-mindedly and hurriedly.
step of the way, man needs patience in carrying out an act of worship. Before he
starts to do it, he must make sure that his intentions are correct. He should
check his sincerity, and seek to avoid showing off in performing any act of
worship. Whilst he is performing any act of worship, he must try to perfect it,
to keep his intentions pure and his mind focused on the purpose of performing
that act of worship, namely that it is to please Allâh. After completing an act
of worship, he must abstain from doing anything that could corrupt his worship.
Allâh has told us: “O you who believe! Cancel not your charity by
reminders of your generosity or injury” (al-Baqarah 2:264). He should
exercise patience in refraining from admitting and feeling proud of his
performance, as this is more damaging than committing many other, more visible,
wrong actions. Similarly, he should always be discreet and refrain from telling
others about his acts of worship.
Patience in abstaining from committing wrong
best way to help oneself abstain from wrong action is to break all bad habits,
and forsake all those who encourage one to commit wrong actions. Habits have a
strong hold over man’s behaviour, and if habit is accompanied by desires, this
means that there are two soldiers of Shaytân fighting the motives of reason and
religion, which cannot then withstand them.
Patience in adversity and in situations beyond
such as the death of a beloved one, sickness, loss of wealth, etc., fall into
two types: adversity beyond one’s control, and adversity caused by the actions
of another human being, such as slander, beating, etc.
facing situations that are beyond one’s control, people may have any of the
feeling helpless and discontented, panicking and complaining.
2. responding with patience, either for the sake of Allâh or as a sign of human strength.
3. accepting and being contented with the situation. This is actually of a higher status than patience.
4. accepting the situation with thanks and gratitude. This is even higher than acceptance, because in this case a person see the adversity as a blessing and thanks Allâh for putting him through it.
and adversity that befall a person at the hands of others may be faced with any
of the following reactions:
he may choose to forgive and forget.
2. he may decide not to take revenge.
3. he may accept the decree (qadâ’ wa qadr), whilst recognizing that the person who harmed him was a wrongdoer, yet the One Who decreed that this harm should reach him at the hands of the wrongdoer is not a wrongdoer. The harm caused by people is like heat and cold: there is no way to prevent it happening and the one who complains about heat and cold betrays a lack of wisdom. Everything that happens, happens through the decree (qadâ’ wa qadr), even though there are many different ways and means for it to happen.
4. he may treat well the person who mistreated him. This attitude has many advantages and benefits, which nobody can know in their entirety except Allâh.
Patience in situations which are started by choice, but whose consequences get out of hand
example, love, the start of which may be by choice but the final consequences of
which are beyond a person’s control. Similarly, one may expose oneself to the
causes of illness and pain (for example, by smoking or taking drugs), after
which it is difficult to stop the consequences, and after taking a large amount
of intoxicants it is difficult to stop drunkenness. Man should exercise patience
and abstain in the first place.
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