The Prophet ﷺ taught us that “patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.” (Bukhari) It is not easy to bear bad news and not lose it or break down. It is even harder to prevent ourselves from questioning something that is so, in our eyes, blatantly bad. Why? But as we said before, there is a reason for tests. This is why we are taught in the Qur’an to say “To Allah we belong and to Him we return” so that when are afflicted, we remember that nothing is outside the realm of Allah’s knowledge, power and mercy. He knows this is happening, and there is a higher purpose to it.
Examples of Those Who are Patient
The Prophet ﷺ is the best example. Despite being exiled from his home, losing his loved ones, being abused and suffering near starvation, he never wavered in his character. He was patient in doing good, patient in refraining from evil even when he was tempted with wealth and women, and he was patient when afflicted with calamity. All of his children died in his lifetime except Fatima (ra). He lost his wife and two of his uncles whom he loved dearly. Those who followed him were tortured. Yet he persisted in praying in the night, was described as always smiling and never hesitated to help people. His patience was in perseverance and never questioning the will of Allah.
Look at Prophet Ayyoub (as), who was not only patient with his affliction but he was content! He lost all fourteen of his children, his wealth and the companionship of the people because of his disease. Yet when he was asked to supplicate for Allah to heal him, he said “Allah gave me 50 years of blessings, should I not be patient with the same number of years of hardship?” He never complained of his illness. Of course, we should always ask Allah to help us (and Ayyoub (as) finally did) but what we should take from this is he wasn’t angry with Allah and never questioned His will.
Finally, ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubair (ra), one of the companions, had to have his leg amputated. While he was being visited by a friend, he said, “If you came to give me condolence for the loss of my leg, I already submitted to Allah with patience to reward me for its loss.” But the guest told him, “I came to inform you that your son fell down in a stable, and the animal stepped over him, and he passed away.” What would be the response of ‘Urwa of that moment? He said: “O Allah! You took one child, and left me many…You took one organ from my body, and left me many organs…O Allah! You tested me with my body, and you were kind to leave me with good health. You tested me with the loss of my son, but you were kind in leaving me the rest of my children.” Subhan’Allah. May we all be of the patient!
Paul Salahuddin Armstrong