Rediscovering the Pursuit of Patience

Growing up in the 21st century, today’s generation—infamously known as Generation Y—is characterized among the most hardworking and intelligent, however we are also characterized as perhaps the most abrasive, ungrateful and furthermore, among the extremely impatient. We demand the world, and we demand it now. We crave results, but we crave it now. Yes, we are willing to work continually for our goals, however, we want the fruits of our labor right now.

The virtue of sabr, or patience, is among the most sought after, yet most difficult characteristic to achieve. It is within the human tendency to desire, to worry, and to even doubt. When we are not witnessing our some sort of productivity, we begin to panic, question our intentions and perhaps question the plans of our Creator.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in Surah Al-Baqarah:

“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad
 tidings to as-Saabireen (the patient ones).  Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Inna lillaahi wa Inna Ilaihi Raaji’un (Verily to Allah we belong and verily, to Him we shall return).’ They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are
 those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones.” (2:155-157)

How many times have we furiously questioned due to what we perceive for the lack of answers? How is it that we, as the limited and flawed humans, strive for perfection when we cannot even fathom its existence? Our worries get to the best of us and eventually we fail the tests that Allah bestowed upon us. Our foresights prevent us from seeing the benefits in which comes under the wraths of these tests. For don’t the greatest gifts come in the strangest packages?

Due to its rarity and difficult, sabr is indeed a beautiful concept, but attaining it is truly difficult. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala chose the people of patience and gratitude to benefit from His signs and be distinguished by this great fortune. He says in four places in the Qur’an:

“Truly, therein are Ayaat (evidences, proofs and signs) for every patient, thankful (person)”

[Ibraheem 14:5; Luqmaan 31:31; Saba 24:19; al-Shoora 42:33] .

The Prophet ﷺ adds to this by telling his Ummah:

وَمَا أُعْطِيَ أَحَدٌ عَطَاءً خَيْرًا وَأَوْسَعَ مِنْ الصَّبْرِ

“There is no gift that is better and more comprehensive than patience.”

Patience is truly not only a virtue, but a remarkable blessing. It is more than merely calming our anxiety before an exam, worrying about a job interview or any other worldly affair that we so quickly become consumed with. Rather, it is also holding our anger when provoked, our reactions during our trials and tribulations, and most importantly, understanding the testing of our faith so that we may see if the intentions of our hearts really do match with the words of our tongues and the actions of our existence. And if not, so let us take a moment to correct ourselves and strive for a new level of patience for the benefit of our sanity and the contentment of our Lord. May Allah bless us all with such an Iman that we never doubt Him or become angered by His perfect plans, and may He guide us to be pleasant and understanding with those around us and of course ourselves. Ameen.

Featured image: Lift Me Up


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