This brief article explores the meaning, forms, and benefits of patience. “Be persistent and patient, for Allah is with whom who maintain patience.” (Qur’an 8:46).
According to Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.), patience is to faith what the head is to the body. As the body dies without the head, when patience dies, so does faith.
The four pillars of religion are perseverance, conviction, justice, and struggle, Imam Ali (a.s) said in response to a question regarding faith. He said, “Patience consists of four characteristics: excitement, dread, piety, and expectancy (of death).” Therefore, those who are eager for Paradise will resist evil temptations; those who are afraid of the fire of Hell will refrain from committing sins; those who practise righteousness will easily withstand the challenges and sufferings of this life; those who are eager for death will hurry to do good deeds.”
Nasir Al Din Al Tusi, a renowned scholar, once said: “Patience involves controlling one’s excitement while dealing with the undesirables.”
According to the famous gnostic (Arif) Khwajah Abd Allah al-Ansari, “Patience is the ability to prevent oneself from grumbling about secret pain.”
The honourable traditions show numerous degrees and levels of patience, and the reward by level, degree, and merit vary.
According to Imam Ali (as), the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) declared that there are three different types of Patience: Patience during times of affliction, Patience regarding obedience, and Patience regarding disobedience (to Allah). And the third type is better than the previous two.
“Patience is of two types: Patience on what you loathe and Patience on what you appreciate,” remarked Imam Ali (as).
A person’s understanding of God is incomplete if they experience inner suffering due to life’s setbacks and difficulties. A person’s soul moves closer to God to a higher degree when they can be content and satisfied in the face of adversity. Patience is related to inadequate knowledge of the mysteries of worship, the forms of sin, and the ways of obedience in terms of refraining from sin and obligations.
A person will be unfazed by challenges and adverse conditions if they firmly believe that what they will gain in the other world after death results from their actions in this life. Instead, such a person learns to be content with their challenges in performing their heavenly tasks. His happiness surpasses the suffering of the ordinary individual in the face of such challenges. He becomes more attached to God when things are bad.
The characteristics of Imam Husayn’s (as) companions during the Battle of Karbala served as an example of the manifestation of such a high degree of patience.
Among the Prophet’s (PBUH) advice to Abu Dharr (RA) was, “If you can act with a solid conviction for the pleasure of Allah, then do so,” according to Imam Reza (as). And if you cannot do this, practise patience under challenging situations since it will benefit you greatly.
Many positive outcomes are brought about through patience, including discipline and spiritual training. It gets more manageable for a person to bear hardships and difficulties over time if he patiently endures misfortunes and calamities as well as the difficulties involved in worship, rituals, and the bitterness that results from giving up forbidden pleasures, all of which are done in submission to his Lord and Provider. A patient’s soul gives up its previous uncontrolled condition and acquires an enduring luminous faculty. He has a persistent glowing quality that elevates him above the level of Patience to various additional higher spiritual levels as he exercises Patience. A person becomes more steady and solid by encouraging virtue and forbidding evil (Amr bil ma’ruf wa Nahi’ anil Munkar).
When faced with monetary loss, death, natural disasters, etc, anguish, worry, and strange body motions are indications of the soul’s frailty. They weaken resolve, afflict the mind, and rob one’s personality of stability and dignity. Patience is the secret to opening the doors to happiness and deliverance at such sensitive times. It makes it easier to overcome challenging situations, make intelligent decisions, and take appropriate action. The foundation of one’s taqwa is patience. Patience is the foundation of connection with God and His love regarding obedience. The key to being content with divine destiny and decrees are having patience in the face of misfortune.
Patience in God: This phrase refers to patience in the face of evil tendencies (such as lying, slandering, and avarice) and unattractive characteristics (such as egoism, hypocrisy, and envy) as well as abstinence from objects of want and affection (such as avoiding haram music, skipping sleep in favour of night prayers, and eating sensibly) when engaging in self-purification. On the Beloved’s road is the denial of one’s identity. The wayfarers are in control of this stage.
Patience with God: For a fervent traveller on the road of God, his sincere ibadat and efforts result in such selflessness that he can experience closeness with God on rare occasions. His heart and perception are illuminated by the light of His qualities and names. During these times, he must be patient and protect against any traces of self-love, pride, etc, to see higher phases.
Patience from God: This concept relates to the stations of God’s lovers who, after experiencing His tremendous love, must endure separation from Him when returning to their physical realm. It is the most challenging of the stations. In the well-known Du’a Kumayl, “O my God, my Master, and my Lord! How shall I bear Thy separation if I can bear Thy chastisement?” Imam Ali (as) alluded to this supreme level of Patience.
Patience with God is an ideal state. When a person reaches the stage of solely existing with God, he shapes himself according to Allah’s standards. It is for people who have been gifted with stability and constancy, and it can only be gained through God’s Patience.
“Whoever among the believers endures patiently a misfortune that befalls him has earned salvation and the reward of 1,000 martyrs.” “The believer enters the grave with salat on his right hand, zakat on his left, virtue facing him, and Patience sheltering him. When the two questioning angels approach him, Patience tells virtue, zakat, and salat to take care of their friend; if they cannot help, she would take care of him herself,” according to Imam al-Sadiq (as).
The world is a jail for believers. Be patient and forgiving throughout its difficulties by marshalling all your strength at your disposal. Stand up to difficulties and disasters with courage and fortitude.
Make sure you understand that your internal turmoil and pain are useless against misery and disasters, save that they are a part of a terrible embarrassment.
Do not grumble about God’s inescapable decrees and orders.
Be satisfied with Him. You will see its results during tough times if you direct your heart’s focus to the centre of Absolute Perfection (God). Your heart will grow so big that it will be the place where God’s sovereignty is revealed. Then your heart will be so full of wealth and joy that everything related to you’ll lose all sense of value in this world.
Patience, forbearance, and constraint have magnificent and lovely forms in the universe and bring forth fair, abundant rewards. You will not whine to God Almighty about the difficulties in life and the difficulties you face if you have confidence in God and think that everything is in His great hands. Instead, you will gladly accept them, perform your obligations, and express gratitude to Him for His blessings.
According to Imam Ali (as), someone who practises patience will always succeed, even if it takes a while.
The writer is a Sr Lecturer in Economics. [email protected]