Practising patience is as important in the good times as it is in the tough times. And we will only have patience in the tough times – when we so desperately will need it – if we’ve established it during times of ease, or at least reflected over it, or indeed lived it with others in *their* time of need – something which is truly the sign of a blessed individual.
We should all prepare a place in our hearts and minds where we can accommodate all the tragedies which will sooner or later come to our lives, but this is an economy that few people care to practice.
I’m not trying to be pessimistic. Our Prophet ﷺ was not seeking forgiveness all the time because he was a sinner, and neither did His Lord command him regularly to patience because his entire life was a tragedy. It wasn’t. But it would be a real tragedy for us if we were only to think that to be in a blessed state of humbling ourselves before Allah, or to be told to be patient, is only applicable when we are in a bad moment, or a rut in life, or a mid-life crisis.
Patience is realism. It is understanding that whatever we are experiencing at the moment – whether we perceive it to be good or bad – is all ultimately a test on whether you stay *real* or not, whether you attribute your blessing correctly to the One who gave it to you.
That’s why being patient and worshipping your Lord in a consistent, deep, quality manner during your good times is far more difficult than in the bad times. You can’t see the problem. You can’t feel the grief you need to be patient with. The heart doesn’t feel enough pain to kick in the patience reflex. You don’t feel the need to thank Allah because things are so good “without Him”.
That’s why Ibn Taymiyyah termed this type of patience the more challenging and the more rewarding. Think about it: the majority of the world’s population have failed in this type of patience. And worse, Allah tells us that He continues to bless them with the dunya and good times and that they’ll continue in their heedlessness and leave this life whilst actually being content with their disbelief.
That is why when we see those who have been blessed with so much in this life and yet they still preserve their values, their Deen, their thanks to their Creator, and their thanks and connection to the normal folks around them, then we still call this “patience” even though it may not seem so. And what do we say about this person? “He still keeps it *real*.” That’s why patience is a permanent state we must incorporate in our lives, and we must create that space where we are always alert and aware. As I said, patience is realism.
This is thus the development of patience. This is why anyone who truly understands patience, has truly understood Islam, reality, and life itself.
~Ustadh Abu Easa