We all know the need to bear patience when things don’t go to plan. Our plan. How many times have we heard someone give that timeless advice to keep positive, understand that when things go seemingly wrong, it’s Allah’s way of testing us to remain calm? We need to put our wholehearted trust in Him. I totally agree with that advice.
We also believe, as Muslims, that any suffering endured with grace and dignity in this life is a means of purification and redemption on the other side of this life, insha’Allah. Having patience is invariably associated with negative life experiences. Whilst being in that composed state in the thick of all our troubles is an admirable goal, I have recently become more aware of how it is only part of the whole picture.
Humans are inherently myopic and impatient and it is rarely understood that having patience is also an essential characteristic in times of ease and comfort. I know that seems illogical. What is there to be patient for when life is already full of goodness in its many forms? Isn’t having patience a waiting game that we need to master in the face of adversity only? Wrong.
To be honest, I never gave the idea of being patient in good times much thought. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has opened my eyes to such a nuanced perspective on life, I cannot possibly encompass it all in one blog post. For now, I just want to mention how I realise I am extremely fortunate with my lot in life, Alhamdulillah. Good fortune itself is not always a tangible entity. It is not always measured in commodities, cash or a career. Sometimes, it is simply a state of peaceful inner acceptance of one’s circumstances. With good fortune follows the need to bear patience and have responsibility in the handling of these blessings. In the wrong hands, blessings of a material kind can be the downfall of someone. For example, it’s possible that a person is blessed with wealth of different kinds but, in haste, squanders it on futile pursuits. It’s this type of situation that requires a heightened awareness of patience. Comforts in life often bring with them a certain heedlessness as well.
Coming back to today, I sit here in my home and wonder about the human suffering which exists across the world – be it physical, financial or emotional. I admit I feel a sense of guilt for having escaped some tests which others have faced. I wonder what I did to deserve this privilege? And yet, I console myself by reminding myself that, for now, Allah has not chosen those trials and tribulations for me. Of course, He knows what each person can bear and allocates their lot accordingly. He gives everyone their share of grief and their share of calm. Yet, in all those situations, the unwavering constant is the need to remain patient. Arguably, striving for that in our quiet phases of life is an even bigger challenge since the smokescreen fools us into thinking there is nothing left for us to do. Life is good. We can simply cruise through on autopilot.
Do I, therefore, wish to avoid complacency and be kept on my toes? Do I want Allah to put me through trials just as a reminder of my ultimate purpose in life? I think that would be foolish. Arguably, having comforts in life are as much a test as they are a blessing. We can easily become lost in moments of unguarded arrogance. On this Earth we tarry for some time but the amusements are as consequential as the hardships. So, in fact, nothing and nobody is unaccounted for. Being short-sighted as we are, we only remember Allah in our desperate times but the truth is, it’s a remembrance that needs to happen always.
He wants to hear from us not only when we are at our lowest moments but also when we are soaring with happiness. So, my blog post today is a testimonial to all the good I have witnessed in my life, the things I am aware of and unaware of and all else in-between. Alhamdulillah.