The real application for patience is patience for obedience to Allah, and the mirror image of that, which is patience against being disobedient to Allah. It is being patient in what you should do, as well as patience in refraining from what you should not do. Patience that is enjoined in Islam is patience with, for and towards Allah. This is what curbs us from reacting according to our own whims and fancies. This is what infuses manner and regulation into our behavior. Patience controls us from reacting hastily, getting freaked out and having knee jerk reactions to unpleasant situations.
Consider the story of Nuh AS. He tried to spread the message of Islam to his community for 950 years, relentlessly day and night, with minimal results. On top of that, his wife disobeyed him, and his son was a disbeliever. According to us he failed at every level.
So why is it that Islam hails him as one of the mightiest prophets and messengers?
Look at how Nuh AS spent his life. His days and nights were dedicated to spreading the message of his Lord. He had no other mission in life, and he persisted with this aim even when it yielded no results. Therefore, when the time came and he asked Allah to punish them all, Allah commanded him to build a boat, and allowed him to bring a small number of individuals on board to leave with him when the great flood arrived. Allah sent rain to Nuh As and destroyed everyone except those on the boat. So victory was given to him, but after more than 950 years of continuous effort. His name is mentioned 43 times over 29 chapters in the Qur’an. The lesson for us is that his success was not dependent on the results, but rather, that he belonged to Allah regardless of the outcome.
We cannot claim to be more patient with our efforts than Nuh AS. Yet, can we devote even 950 minutes to our Lord? We lose patience so quickly, because our iman, faith and belief in qadr are weak. We are skeptical about Allah’s promise to give us victory, and this puts us in a state of shirk, because we then place our faith and reliance on dunia. Because we are not convinced about the concept of qadr, we become hasty and panic easily.
Patience is for Allah, with Allah and towards Allah. It is not the same as going into a situation that is contrary to or frowned on by Islam and then claim that we are patient. Patience also means patience to make the right decisions based on what Allah has taught us. For example, if I see a good-looking young man with no iman and a not so handsome man with beautiful iman, whom do I marry? If I have two job offers, and the one which is haram offers me double the salary, which will I choose? The answer lies in the belief of the person making the choice and should be obvious. Yet, very few people have the conviction to implement that correct decision today –the lure of short term dunia is too tempting.
Musa AS also had to undergo a difficult period of hardship. He was just a shepherd, and had to confront the biggest tyrant in Egypt. Asiyah AS, the wife of Pharaoh, was reduced from being the queen of Egypt to a woman tortured, hanging by her hair, nailed to a piece of wood and then tortured until she died. However, Allah honoured her by granting her a palace in jannah close to Him. She was a woman, and not a messenger or a prophet. She was an ordinary human being, who was exceptional because of the way she held on to her faith.
Did she complain about the loss of her queenhood, treasures, status, marriage, palace? She was a queen and had all the reasons cling on to her status in dunia, yet she went to the extent of sacrificing her life for her faith. Today, we are unwilling to lose even our small apartment, a diamond ring or a car for our iman.
Around the time of Musa AS, there also lived a man in the palace of the Pharaoh, who heard the message. He did not do anything exceptional, but voiced out a few words in confirmation of his faith despite the obvious risks. According to Allah, he is victorious.
Today, we are ready to be defeated just for the desire of a man or a woman. For that desire, obsession and love we are willing to enslave ourselves.
Even after the famous confrontation with Pharaoh, Musa AS had to flee Egypt. When he was in front of the Red Sea and there seemed to be no way out, he said the famous words: that Allah was with him. He did not say that Allah was with all of them, because he knew that the belief of most of Bani Israel who were with him was deficient. We know the famous story of the parting of the Red Sea, and a road was created for them in the blink of an eye. How great a victory when one relies only on Allah instead of becoming discouraged by the overwhelming circumstances!
In a weak report, Allah ordered Musa AS to hit the sea with his staff, and the sea parted. When Musa AS crossed, he saw Pharaoh in pursuit, so he hit the sea with his staff again, but nothing happened. This was because Allah did not command him to do so – the power was not in his staff but it was Allah that caused these miracles.
In accordance with the command of Allah, the enemy was destroyed, and the sea crashed in around Pharaoh’s army once Musa AS and Bani Israel had made the crossing. Musa AS did not require an army, firearms or an atomic bomb. He had Allah with him, and when Allah wants something to be done it was done.
Without belief in Allah, Allah will not give us anything because of our internal defeat.
Allah gives victory and rescue to those who belong to Him. It is a concrete promise. Victory and ability, saving and guarding, are all from Allah, when you deserve it and when Allah ordains it to you, if you belong to him.
What we see in the environment today is an extension of our domestic defeats. Now it is up to us to embark on the journey within. To believe, trust and rely on Allah alone. From all these stories – we have to completely trust and rely on Allah. Today we are deficient in faith, belief and reliance. Today we believe in our desires, and our faith is a thin shell full decorated with the rubbish of dunia, so we are defeated inside and out.
May Allah give us victory over ourselves and shaitan. To have the right iman and yakeen. May Allah make us rise up from weakness, temptation, genetics and disease of the heart.