"And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers."
(Al-Quran 51:55)

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Prophet Muhammad (saw) - the Patient One

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the English language, patience is sometimes defined as the capacity for calm endurance of pain, trouble and inconvenience. 

As an Islamic virtue, patience has an additional spiritual quality to it: To endure hardships for the sake of Allah, consciously making the intention that, by being patient and by not complaining, one will hopefully receive rewards from Allah in the Hereafter. After all, many hardy people in this world calmly endure pain and hardship; but relatively few people do so for the sake of Allah. 

As for the Prophet (saw), he was a paragon of patience. For him, being chosen to be the seal of the Prophets meant, not an easy life, but a life of difficulties and hardships, of trials and tribulations, of pain and suffering. In fact, no one in the history of mankind faced as many hardships as did the Prophet (saw).

Death would have been easier than the personal tragedies the Prophet (saw) experienced throughout his life, and yet he never complained, but instead remained steadfast, patient, and thankful to his Lord.

In being patient, he was obeying his Lord's command:
And endure you patiently (O Muhammad), your patience is not but from Allah ...
(Surah An-Nahl - Verse 127)

He patiently endured being an orphan, being poor and being hungry. He was patient when he was forced to leave his homeland, his house, and his family. He was patient when he was being persecuted, when some of his Companions were being tortured, and when others among his family members and Companions were killed. He was patient when his enemies waged war against him, when Bedouins acted ignorantly with him, when Jews plotted against him, when hypocrites conspired to harm him, when many of his own relatives forsook him and declared war upon him.

He was patient in other ways as well. He patiently resisted the temptations of this world, the allure of riches, and the appeal of being strong and powerful. He turned away from all of the above because, instead of those worldly attractions, he longed only to please His Lord.

In every aspect of his life, and in every stage of his prophethood, the Prophet (saw) was patient. Patience, in fact, was his armour against everything that is harmful in this life. Every time he remembered what his enemies said, he recalled the words of Allah:

So bear patiently (O Muhammad) what they say ..
(Surah Ta-Ha, Verse 130)

Every time a difficult situation became almost too difficult to bear, he remembered the saying of Allah: 

... So (for me) patience is most fitting ..
(Surah Yusuf, Verse 18)

And every time he faced almost certain destruction at the hands of his enemies, he remembered Allah's saying:

Therefore be patient (O Muhammad) as did the Messengers of strong will ..
(Surah Ahqaf, Verse 35)

His was the patience of a man who is perfectly confident that Allah will help him and that Allah will reward him for his hardship and for his patience. His was the patience of a man who knew that Allah was with him and that Allah was all the help he needed in life. As such, nothing - no harsh word, no curse, no rude behaviour, and no physical torture - could shake him, faze him, perturb him, or even annoy him.

When his uncle died, he was patient. When his wife died, he was patient. When Hamzah (ra) died, he was patient, even though Hamzah was killed in an especially gruesome manner.

When he was forced to leave Makkah, he was patient. When his son died, he was patient. When most of his people rejected his message, he remained patient. When his pure and chaste wife was accused of doing a vile deed, he remained patient, seeking help from none save Allah.

When his people labelled him a poet, a sorcerer, a madman, and a liar, he remained patient. When they cursed him, persecuted him, waged war against him, and physically assaulted him, he remained patient.

In short, he was, and continues to remain the leader of those who practice patience, and the ideal role model of those who are thankful.


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