I had always believed there was no element of ‘patience’ in me. ‘I am born like this. It’s in my genetics.’ This was my mindset and the arguments I gave when someone told me to be more patient. I believed I would never be able to become more composed, calmer and more patient.
But then I turned to Allah for help and He helped. And Alhamdulillah I am witnessing my own transformation from a person on the verge of a violent form of depression to someone who is more in control of herself.
So how did things turn around exactly?
The main changing point in my life was the chance to learn Seerat-un-Nabi SAW, the life of Prophet Muhammad SAW. Being brought up in a religious family and then being taught in an Islamic school, I wasn’t ignorant at all. But before this, things just never clicked and never affected me the way they have now. Alhamdulillah.
One of the things that I have learnt in these Seerat-un-Nabi SAW classes is that patience is a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad SAW. This is something I didn’t know before. When talking about Sunnah, we hear a lot of things: miswak, etiquettes of eating, etiquettes of drinking, Sunnah of wearing shoes, etc. But we rarely see anyone talking about the Sunnah of patience.
For thirteen years, our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW endured difficulties, torture, torment, and taunts from the disbelievers in Makkah. His companions RA endured the same. That period of thirteen years before emigration to Madina was a very difficult time for the Muslims of Makkah. We cannot even imagine that and we cannot even compare our meager problems with the problems and difficulties they faced. And yet, what was the command of Allah SWT at that time?
For thirteen years, the Muslims of Makkah were only advised to exercise patience. And nothing else. They were not even allowed to answer back. They were not even allowed to defend themselves.
While performing Tawaf around the Kaaba, our beloved Messenger of Allah SAW was taunted by the disbelievers of Makkah and was called upon abusively. Our Beloved Messenger of Allah SAW would only listen to them, continue his Tawaf and not even answer back. The disbelievers tormented him in every way possible. And yet the only command at that time was to exercise patience.
That is when I started thinking: do my problems even compare to what my Beloved Prophet SAW faced during those thirteen years of his life? He endured all that for what reason… because he wanted to teach us the art of patience. He endured all those difficulties so that we can look at his example and learn to be patient in life. By enduring everything himself, he became the exemplary role model of patience.
So is patience not a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad SAW? Sadly, we limit the Sunnah of Messenger of Allah SAW in a very small circumference. And we rarely talk about patience in the context of being a sunnat.
Another thing that helped me was the verse from the Quran, “Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” Of course, I have known this verse all my life. But again, sometimes, by looking from a different perspective, things look completely different from what we have known before.
Allah says in this verse that if we become patient, Allah is with us. Allah doesn’t say that we are with Him when we are patient. He doesn’t say that we get close to Allah when we are patient. Rather He says that He becomes close to us when we are patient. He is with the patient. There is a big difference in that. The Lord of the Worlds, the Master of everything becomes close to us when we become patient. What else do we need, really?
Knowing these two things, I have now begun to see every day as a new test for me. At the end of every day, I check myself:
Was I patient today?
Did I lose my temper?
Was I successful in controlling my anger?
When I score well, I feel positive about myself. And when I fail, I silently resolve to be a better person the next day.
Every difficult situation is an opportunity to groom myself, to follow the Sunnat of Messenger of Allah SAW, and have Allah come close to me.
May Allah ease all our difficulties and keep us with aafiat. Ameen.