Author: Harun Yahya
Publisher: Goodword Books (2003)
Pages: 93 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
Discusses the importance of patience.
Excerpts from the book --
O you who believe, be steadfast; be supreme in steadfastness... (Surah Al 'Imran, 200)
Allah has revealed in a verse, "This is a Book We have sent down to you so that you can bring mankind from the darkness to the light, by the permission of their Lord, to the Path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy" (Surah Ibrahim, 1), thus drawing attention to the Qur'an's attribute of bringing people from darkness to light.
The Qur'an defines patience as one of the paths that lead people from darkness to light and as an attribute of morality that is superior to, wide-ranging, and very different from the daily behavior of many people. True patience is a moral characteristic displayed in the face of difficulty and in every moment of life. Moreover, it requires the demonstration of determination and consistency during times of ease and hardship, and is a lifelong endeavour that never goes astray, even for a moment.
Allah gives the most striking examples of patience in the lives of the Prophets, because they showed patience while teaching Allah's religion and leading a moral life. They never deviated from their devotion to Allah, and were patient people who sought only Allah's approval.
This book will define this high moral virtue taught by the Qur'an and invite people to acquire true patience. Inaccurate understandings of patience will be explained along with the kind of patience Allah requires, how Allah may test people so that they can acquire a more perfect patience, and the great return Allah promises to those who exhibit great patience.
Examples of how the Prophets showed patience in every area until the end of their lives will be presented in the hope that people will "be steadfast for our Lord" until the end of their own lives. (Surat al-Muddaththir, 7)
This book also will give the good news that Allah provided for those who respond to this call with the verse, "give good news to the steadfast" (Surat al-Baqara, 155). Moreover, emphasis will be placed on the facts that Allah is "with the steadfast" (Surat al-Baqara, 153) and that patience is a matchless key that opens doors to many fine things for the faithful. As Prophet Muhammad (saas) states:
Whoever remains patient, Allah will make him patient. Nobody can be given a blessing better and greater than patience. (Bukhari)
THE QUR'ANIC DEFINITION OF PATIENCE
O you who believe, seek help in steadfastness and prayer. Allah is with the steadfast. (Surat al-Baqara, 153)
Allah, Who has defined the best way of life for people and the most appropriate moral conduct for their nature, announces in "We send down in the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to the believers" (Surat al-Isra', 82) that patience is a mercy for the faithful.
People can gain Allah's approval and love by fully applying the Qur'an's truths in their lives. Allah requires the faithful to adhere to the Qur'an's morality as long as they are alive, without showing any weakness. To carry out this task successfully, the faithful must acquire the supreme characteristic of patience, which is the result of faith. Those who learn the secret of patience can demonstrate the required steadfastness in every act and prayer.
Attaining this secret is extremely easy. Allah manifests His attribute "Al-Sabur" (The Patient) on those who believe in Him and helps perfect the determination in their hearts.
The real source of this lifelong true patience is the believers' faith in Allah. They know that Allah encompasses all things in His knowledge, that everything occurs only with His permission, and that He hides thousands of blessings and benefits behind all events. In addition, they do not forget that Allah is the Friend, Guardian, and Helper of the faithful. Thus, although it may not seem so at first glance, all events are arranged to somehow benefit the believers. For this reason, patience is not a moral characteristic that makes life difficult for the faithful; rather, it is a form of worship that they accept wholeheartedly and with joy. Here is one point of difference between true patience and the view of patience as commonly understood in society.
Many people do not know the true meaning of patience, how truly patient people are required to behave, or how important this is in Allah's sight. They regard patience more as holding up one's head when faced with difficulties and problems, either overcoming or enduring them. Thus, they consider patience as the ability to withstand something, up to a certain point, and that an occasional loss of patience is quite normal. Moreover, according to this non-Qur'anic understanding, it is utterly futile to show patience in a matter from which no concrete benefit can be derived. And so when faced with such a situation, they give way to frustration and believe that being patient is useless.
The Qur'anic concept of true patience is quite different from this understanding of endurance. In the first place, people experience patience as the instruction of Allah and so can neither exhaust nor lose it. They carry out this form of worship joyfully and fervently and expect no concrete benefit in exchange for it, because they are patient solely to earn Allah's approval. What matters for them is the knowledge that they will earn His approval with their superior morality. For them, such a reward is enough.
Furthermore, the patience recommended by the Qur'an is not a moral characteristic employed only in times of hardship. True patience is shown in fully applying all of the Qur'an's teachings, in being scrupulous in guarding against all behavior that Allah warns against, and in being determined to live according to the Qur'an's morality as long as one is alive and with no thought of deviating from it, regardless of circumstances.
In "But, in your Lord's sight, right actions that are lasting bring a better reward and are a better basis for hope" (Surat al-Kahf, 46), Allah points out that proper behavior carried on with determination is regarded with approval and invites the faithful to be patient under all circumstances.
THOSE WHO HAVE TRUE PATIENCE
Therefore be patient with a beautiful patience. (Surat al-Ma'arij, 5)
Only the faithful understand the true nature of patience and live in the manner of which Allah approves, for they have accepted the Qur'an as their guide. And, only the Qur'an explains the real meaning of patience and the type of patience that is acceptable to Allah. For this reason, the only people capable of being "patient with a beautiful patience" are those who follow the Qur'an.
The source of their patience is their faith in Allah and their submission to Him. Like all of their other characteristics, patience emerges only through a true understanding of faith, because to believe is to understand that there is no deity but Allah, that He encompasses all things in His knowledge, that only Allah has the power to determine one's destiny, and that nobody can enjoy gain or suffer loss without His willing it.
One reason why the believers can show patience is because their faith enables them to appreciate Allah's might and glory. Those who know that Allah has boundless wisdom and boundless knowledge also know that only He can determine what will be the finest life for them. They know that Allah possesses all knowledge about all creatures and events in the past, present, and future, whereas people have only a limited intelligence that is prone to making mistakes in determining what is good and what is bad. In most cases, a seemingly unfavorable event may bring many benefits, although people may well be totally unaware of this. Allah points out this important truth: "It may be that you hate something when it is good for you, and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows, and you do not know" (Surat al-Baqara, 216).
Thus, knowing that only Allah possesses this knowledge and wisdom, the believers put their trust in Him, fully aware that whatever He wills is always beneficial, even though the benefit may not be immediately apparent. Therefore, they display true patience. In other words, one characteristic of those who have true patience is that they are people who have grasped and embraced the nature of destiny.
The Qur'an states that the faithful are patient and put their trust in Allah, as follows:
Those who are steadfast and put their trust in their Lord. (Surat an-Nahl: 42)
Another reason why the believers exhibit such a patient determination throughout their lives is their strong fear and consciousness of Allah. Just as they know that Allah has a boundless love and mercy for His servants, they also know that the punishment of Hell is eternal. Allah warns those who consider themselves too great to worship Him and who turn their faces away from Him of the torment to come. As the faithful are aware of this warning, they take pains to avoid it by being extremely careful and patient in implementing all of Allah's instructions and prohibitions. They channel their fear and consciousness of Allah into living the Qur'an's morality throughout their lives.
Awareness of this world's true face also ensures that the faithful will continue to be patient. As is stated in "We will test you until We know those of you who strive hard [for the cause of Allah] and those who are steadfast, and test what is reported of you" (Surah Muhammad, 31), Allah makes a distinction between those who show patience in their worship of Him and those who manifest their resistance by becoming impatient. As a result, He will give those who worship Him in this life noble residences as hospitality in the next, while punishing those who deny Him with an eternal, inescapable Hell.
No matter what hardship they encounter, the faithful know that such hardship is a test from Allah and so do not lose their patience. How could they, knowing that they will face the Day of Judgment and receive their reward for their fine morality? Allah's Messenger (saas) also mentions that the believers remain patient when faced with calamity, since they always trust Allah, as follows:
The example of a believer is that of a fresh tender plant. From whatever direction the wind comes, it bends it. But when the wind becomes quiet, it becomes straight again. Similarly, a believer is afflicted with calamities (but remains patient until Allah removes the difficulty). (Bukhari)
One fundamental element of patience is exactly this-the believers have certainty about the Day of Judgment and the afterlife. Armed with the strength they derive from the knowledge that they will be tested here and rewarded on the Day of Judgment for every event for which they showed patience, and that Allah gives the good news of His mercy to those who show patience, they are committed to showing patience.
As we can see, only the faithful can experience true patience, because only they have bound and delivered themselves up to a sincere faith in Allah, have appreciated His might, and put their trust in destiny. In addition, they have a powerful fear and consciousness of Allah, have understood this world's true face, and believe firmly in the afterlife.