ONCE, THE PROPHET (pbuh) passed by a woman weeping beside a grave. He consoled her gently to be God-fearing and patient. (Not turning to look at her admonisher), she said to him: “Leave, for never have you been afflicted with a loss like mine.” (Silently, the Prophet (PBUH) left her be).

(Later, she was informed that her adviser had been none other than God’s Messenger (PBUH). (Mortified), She went to ask for his pardon: “I recognized you not, O Messenger of God.” The Prophet (PBUH), perfected his lesson for her: “Indeed, patience is in the very first stroke of a calamity” (Bukhary).

Three Days Later Is Not Patience
We are tried, from time to time, with varied tests and tragedies?” some as shattering as the loss of a loved one, others as apparently plain as controlling our anger. Yet be it devastating or slight, seldom is it that we exhibit the patience enjoined on us by Allah.. Much like the woman mentioned in the narration above, our tolerance arrives only after our crisis expires and a new mood transpires, when we realize that we are powerless to change Allah’s decree. And how often this comes, as in this report, when someone has reminded us of the full import of what we have done and said.

Patience is not an accident but a virtue that manifests by choice, nourished, as it is, by strong faith in Allah. It resides in our ability to hold our tongues when it is hardest to do so, on the one hand, and to inflict them with the words “to Allah we belong and to Him are we returning” (2:156) the moment calamity strikes.

Ascending to this level of patience is not easy. We are tested and tried, sometime in ways we never expect. The burden is heavy but never insufferable: “God tasks no soul beyond its capacity” (2:286). In His divine wisdom, Allah encumbers those of us who need it, just enough to make us feel our human limitation, only so much as to cause us to recall our need for Him, with the slightest sufficiency to bring forth our conscious decision to submit to and accept His will, whether for the first time, or to help us renew our faith..

Through tests, He instills in us a balance of fear and hope, an understanding of predestination and free will. Others, Allah burdens to increase their reward with Him to elevate them ever nearer to Him, for His love of them. A few suggestions follow on how we can train ourselves in patience.

Four Tips For Improving Your Patience

1. The first step to fixing any problem is to acknowledge that it exists in the first place “Indeed, Allah does not change a people’s condition until they change what is in their souls” (13:11).

2. Look for the silver lining. Remember that all humans are tested. This cannot be avoided. But we should shun the negativity we associate with our ordeals. How can we do this? Look for the means in which each trial can give you strength and make you a better Muslim. Said the Prophet, (PBUH): “Wondrous is the condition of the believer.. For, indeed, all his affairs are good for him. If something pleasing befalls him, be gives thanks (to Allah) and it is good for him. And if something harmful befalls him, he is patient and it is good for him. And such is only for the believer” (Bukhari).

3. Constantly remember the countless favors and blessing Allah has given you. Moreover, keep in mind that whatever issues you face, there are always others who have it much worse than you. Make duaa for them.

4. Place your trust in Allah and seek His help “Allah is with those who patiently persevere” (8:46). Commenting on this verse, Ibnul Qayyim remarked: “Allah has a special “with-ness”, or ma’iyyah, with those who have patience, meaning that He is present with them, protecting and supporting them.

So remember that the promise of Allah awaits those who hold firmly to being patient. Of them Allah shall say, on the judgment: “Indeed, this Day I have rewarded them for what they have endured patiently. It is they who are the (truly) triumphant!” (23:111).

(Courtesy: Al Jumuah Magazine)