You may feel tired after having offered six rak’ahs of Taraweeh prayer in Ramadan, but remember that the Prophet Noah spent 950 years calling on his people to believe in God’s oneness, but only few of them accepted his message.
If you are aggrieved by a friend or a neighbour, remember that Jesus (peace be upon him) was about to be crucified by his people, but God raised him to heaven. Yet Jesus wanted nothing except that his people should believe in God the Creator.
If you spend time trying to persuade someone to accept the message of goodness, and you are at the point of despair of making any headway, remember Abraham (peace be upon him) when he was cast into the blazing fire by his people. They took nothing against him except that he wanted them to abandon their idols and believe in God alone. He was saved when God made the fire cool and a place of safety for him.
Throughout your life, remember Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who endured thirteen years of hard opposition by his people who tortured his followers. He had eventually to leave his hometown, the place he loved best, in order to continue his strenuous efforts and deliver God’s message to mankind.
No wonder. It is Prophet Muhammad who said:
‘Wonderful is a believer’s situation. He is in a good position in all situations, but this applies only to a believer. If he gets what pleases him, he expresses his gratitude to God, and this is good for him. And if he is met with adversity, he is patient, and this is good for him’.
What happens when patience disappears from people’s life?
You shall find some who worship stones, trees, images, etc. even though they are given irrefutable proofs of their error. They continue to adhere to their wrong ways only because their ancestors did so, and they cannot tolerate to be different from their ancestors.
You shall find someone who gambles in the hope of making an easy gain, and another who gratifies his sexual desire in forbidden ways. Such people just cannot be brave enough to resist their desires.
You shall find people keen to satisfy their addiction to tobacco or other poisonous drugs, even though they are fully aware that by so doing they incur God’s anger and expose themselves to numerous diseases. They simply say that they cannot bear the withdrawal symptoms.
A person who suffers a misfortune may take it too hard, and it may destroy his faith and ruin his life. This is simply because his faith is not strong enough to realise that accepting his misfortune with resignation will earn him rich reward from God.
Many are those who cannot persevere with their good actions although these ensure their happiness in both this life and the life to come. Nor do they have the patience and perseverance to stop a sinful action that gives them no benefit but causes them much harm. They simply sink into its depths. They do not resign themselves to the acceptance of a test to which God may expose them. Therefore, they show impatience and lose hope and confidence. As a result, they suffer much in this world and they lose their potential reward from God. They do not have the perseverance that is required to achieve a goal they set for themselves. Hence, their life is wasted with nothing to show for it.
Patience in adversity is the way to achieve what is best and to secure victory. Whoever shows patience will eventually be successful. ‘If you persevere and continue to fear God - that is indeed a matter requiring strong resolve’. (3: 186) No wonder, the word sabr, which means patience, and its derivatives occur more than 100 times in the Qur’an. Indeed, God makes admittance into heaven the proper reward He grants His servants who are patient in adversity, as He says:
‘Today I have rewarded them for their patience in adversity. Indeed it is they who have achieved triumph’.
Thus, In the great competition we enter, which is life itself, winning and losing are determined by the measure of our patience and the choice we make.