The Types of Patience (Lesson 7)

Bismillah. The following is the continuation of Syaikh Hamza Yusuf’s reminder regarding patience.

Ramadhan Ruminations Lesson 7: The Types of Patience

Alhamdulillah, we have been looking at patience. Today insyallah we will look at the different types of patience that have been defined by our scholars. Ibnu Jauzi said essentially shabr at the first is shabr ‘alan ni’mah, which is to be patience with the blessings of Allah SWT given us. This means that we use them for the sake of Allah SWT. So it is very important to recognize that our health is for reasons. Some people spend their health in disobedience to Allah SWT. That’s squandering of the gift you’ve been given by your Lord. Other people for instance have a lot of wealth, but end up wasting their money. Some collect cars. This is the sign of deep material sickness. Some people collect cars and some constantly are buying things (consumerism). These are real diseases in the hearts. If we look at the prophet SAW, when he returned to his Lord, Aisyah RA brought out his possession. And this is something that’s famous about Gandhi when they show you what the possession that he died with. Our prophet SAW actually have fewer possession. He is literately uninterested in worldly possession. He had what he needed it. We certainly don’t have to do that; there is nothing wrong with having worldly possession. However, if you have wealth, it is a blessing from Allah as long as you pay your zakat and helping others. But at certain point, enough is enough. Being patient with blessings, means using those blessings for good things, for purposeful things, for meaningful things. That’s very important.

Second is being patient with tribulations that come to our life. One of the Arab poets said, there are eight things that will happen to every human being; and every human being will eventually see these eight things: surur (joy); huzn (depression); ijtima’un (coming together/gathering), furqotun (dispersing/separation), yusrun (ease); ‘usrn (hardship); sukmun (sickness) and ‘afiyah (health). These are the natures of the world. There is constant turning of events. In fact, one of the great roman philosophers said always remember fortune does what it pleases. What he meant is that never trust prosperity. Never trust prosperity. When we are in prosperous situation, be grateful, but recognize it could all go very quickly. We see people commit suicide because stock market crashes or because their company goes bankrupt. These are people that are so attached to material world. When they lose their material things, they completely collapse or fall apart. So being patient in tribulation is extremely important to have that qualities. It’s not having hala’. Allah SWT said, that human beings are created in the state of anxiety (QS Al-Ma’arij: 19). If you look at the child that goes in to the world. It goes to total anxiety. It needs to be soothed by the mother. That embrace by the mother, as you transition into the adulthood, is the divine embrace. That is recognizing that Allah SWT is there, always. To give you solace, even in the worst of tribulation. So it’s very important that we transition out of that state of hala’, i.e. the mother removed that anxiety state from the infant, now Allah SWT will always remove that state for the individual who believes sincerely. One of the extraordinary verses in the Qur’an about this is there is no calamity that afflict you except by the permission of God; and whoever believes in Allah SWT, Allah will guide his heart (QS At-Taghabun: 11). So whoever believes in Allah SWT, Allah will guide his heart. In common commentary, what they say is that every affliction that comes to you is by the permission of God. It’s from the qadr of Allah SWT. And whoever believe in Allah, Allah will guides his heart. In another word, if you believe, if you have certainty in your heart, Allah will guide his heart to tranquility and accepting the decree. This is actually moving to higher maqam now. We are moving into much stronger maqam of faith. That’s really really important to remember.

Third is shabr ‘ala tho’ah, which is maintaining patience with your devotion. There are people that slack off. Some people come back to Islam during Ramadhan and then when Ramadhan’s over, the syaithan has been released back to dunya, they fall back to bad pattern before Ramadhan. We see this in many many people. There has to be continuity in your practice. And so this is shabr ‘ala tha’ah, you have to be continuous in your practice. So the first is patience with blessings; then patience with tribulation; and then patience with devotional practice. Being consistent in your prayer. Inna sholata kaanats ‘alal mukminina kitaaban mauquta, the prayers for the believers are on defined times (QS An-Nisa’: 103). Some people outside of the faith find this difficult to understand about Islam. This idea of specificity, that we have this regimented time to pray, even though the prayer time has some space, but actually this recognizing that I have to pray five times a day, to go back and reset myself. This disciplines our time because time dissipates. Wal ‘asr, by time, verily human being in loss (Al-‘Asr: 1-2). We lose time passing. Every inch of it, we never gain it back, illalladzina amanu, except those who invest their time with believe and good actions; and they enjoin truth. And because those who enjoined truth will always be opposed, they have to be patient. So they also have to enjoin patience (Al-‘Asr: 3).

Patience in blessings means using those blessings for the sake of Allah. Patience in tribulation means recognizing that everything comes from God. Tribulations are either comes from sins that we accrue or raising of our degree. However, Ibnu Taimiyah said, the one who really follows the narrative of the Qur’an by a type of reasoning, he will conclude by inductive reasoning that the vast majority of calamities actually happen because of what human beings have done. So bring in ourselves. Unfortunately, one of the calamities involve that the innocents are also affected by the sins when they’re public. So it affects the whole group, despite the fact that only some of the people are wrongdoers. So this is one of the trials of life on earth.

Insyaallah, on the next session, I’ll go through the eight Karamat that comes from patience.

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