So one day during one of my social lurking sessions, I saw a post on a friend’s Facebook wall – ‘فَاصْبِرْ صَبْرًا جَمِيلًا’ which loosely translates to ‘.. so be patient with a beautiful patience.’ (Qur’an – Surah Al Ma’arij Verse 5). I say loosely translate because Arabic isn’t a language you take at face value, every word has so much depth, so many layers one English word isn’t enough to explain it.
What a beautiful, beautiful line!
We live in a world where people don’t think twice before asking a married woman why she isn’t pregnant yet, where people are quick to whisper behind a friend’s back the moment they see their child doing something wrong, where people are always quick to judge and pass comment. We have no qualms now about backbiting, slander and gossip little realising the effect it has on another human being.
Just this morning, I was scrolling through my News Feed (see, social lurker!) and amongst the rainbow coloured profile pictures proclaiming their joy at the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in the United States there were the haters. The bigots who put homosexuals in the same category as murderers and rapists and branded them harmful to the development of society. They brought in religion (without any evidence of course!) to strengthen their claims and some even went as far as taking the ruling as a personal attack on Islam since it happened during the Holy Month of Ramadan. It angered me so much that people took it upon themselves to pass the verdict that homosexuals would enter Hell, that they were quick to brand these people as detrimental to society. I know people, some close to me who are gay, and they are some of the kindest people in my life. I spent a good part of my morning defending their rights to be who they are. I mean drinking alcohol is prohibited in Islam but rarely do we see people brand those who enjoy a glass of wine now and then as being the scum of society, no one is calling for them to be locked up with the murderers and rapists.
So I was angry that people have no regard for humanity, no regard for the Islam they preach – I mean the basic tenets of Islam are peace, kindness to others, humility and love – and then I spoke to a friend. He said, “I have that habit (of getting sucked into putting the haters straight) but I doubt it goes beyond anything other than being publicly forced into shutting up.”
And that’s when it hit me, I can research every surah in the Qur’an to back my case, look for relevant Hadiths but it still will not be enough to change the minds of the people who think this way. They are set in their ways and it will take a lot more convincing and effort to get them to think rationally.
I am ranting again, aren’t I? This is when I went back to the above-mentioned verse. Rather than getting angry and losing precious energy, I should summon all my strength and persevere to observe a beautiful patience.
And similarly, every one of us I believe is fighting some form of battle. For the married woman yet to become pregnant, it is a very public one. It is easy to get angry at the Auntie who perseveres with the question, it is easy to say people really should mind their own business, but the hardest is to put a smile on, be gracious and politely answer back.
In Surah Al Baqarah, Allah says:
|كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ|
In the face of trials, we say we trust Allah, we say we trust in His plan but in reality we hurt inside, we complain, we get angry. I know I do.
It is difficult to see the good in something we see as bad. In times like this Allah reminds us that our actions and our deeds – the dignified way we deal with tribulations – will set us apart on the Day of Judgement. Our actions is what truly separates us.
The Prophet (saw) said: And know that victory comes with patience. [At-Tirmidhi] – This is a reminder for me first!! So, the next time someone says something I do not agree with or if someone asks you a question you do not really want to answer, I hope you and I will think back to this beautiful, beautiful verse and be patient beautifully (or beautifully patient?).
So, the next time someone says something I do not agree with or if someone asks you a question you do not really want to answer, I hope you and I will think back to this beautiful, beautiful verse and be patient beautifully (or beautifully patient?).
Note: The calligraphy at the beginning of this post was done by the amazingly talented Creative Director at my office and he does not know Arabic lettering. It was all done free hand! 🙂