In his advice, Shaykh Adabali – the famous scholar and teacher of Osman Bey, the founder of the Ottoman Empire – says “Patience is a must, my son. You cannot arrive at your destination without patience. You cannot reach Mount Qaf without patience.”
Yes, you cannot get anywhere without patience. You cannot work without patience. You cannot obtain knowledge without patience either. Impatience and intolerance in a family break the peace that has been established. If the master of a workplace is impatient, he cannot do a good job. If a craftsman is impatient with a craft, his artisanship will become superficial and will not delight people. If a musician is impatient, his notes will not give pleasure to people; it will be rough. In short, no work is beautiful without patience.
Our Lord, Allah (swt), always tests us; sometimes with fears, sometimes with livelihood, and sometimes with the loss of someone or something we love. However, Allah has given every human the strength of patience. And He does not place a burden on a person’s shoulders beyond his capacity.1 Unless a person uses his strength of patience wrongly, his patience will be enough for any calamity.2
Our Master, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), says, “Anything that disturbs a believer is a calamity.”3 This is the world of test, and a human – who has responsibilities in this life – is charged with patience against the things that befall him. Any calamity that happens to us will hopefully be a redemption for our sins on condition that we show patience.
Allah does everything He does with wisdom. Like the steps of a stair (coming one after another regularly), there is a course or sequence in everything He created. Being patient means watching these steps. Impatience, however, means skipping those steps ambitiously and hastily, thus taking actions without observing the laws which Allah has made with wisdom.
Patience is the key to overcome problems and difficulties. The help of Allah and success are with the patient people.
Patience is not a meaningless resistance, and it is not a pointless obstinacy by any means. On the contrary, it is a proceeding step by step towards the goal by reason, contemplation, deliberateness and belief.
Patience is, while reaching the goal, proceeding by giving correct answers to the questions “How are we going to move forward? What should we pay attention to? What steps are we going to follow?” For instance, one of the most important principles for the betterment of a person is to act patiently. It is of course not easy to make a person leave all of his bad habits at once. If your aim is to improve this person, you need to act gradually, with attention and deliberateness.
Aisha (ra) says, “In the first chapters revealed in the Qur’an, Paradise and Hell are mentioned. When the number of people embracing Islam increased, the verses about halal and haram (permissible and prohibited) were revealed. They would say ‘We will never give up alcohol’ if the first verse were something like ‘Do not drink alcohol’. If the first verse were something like ‘Do not fornicate’, they would say ‘We will never give up adultery’.”
The beloved of hearts and the educator of souls, our Prophet (pbuh), turned the age of darkness and ignorance into the age of bliss by means of this method of the Qur’an.
Every person who has a cause and a big goal certainly faces obstacles and problems. Overcoming those obstacles is only possible with patience. When impatient people are met with obstacles, they lose their courage and give up the struggle for their goals. Those who resist and show patience reach their goals. For this reason our Master (pbuh) says, “One who shows patience wins a victory.”
When he was in Makkah, our Prophet (pbuh) used to go to fairs to visit tribes and to convey the message of Islam to them. There were people who were kind to him, but there were also those who behaved toward him in a rude and ugly way. One day, one of those who behaved badly said, “Oh Muhammad! We have become tired of sending you away, but you haven’t become tired of coming.” Islam spread around the world as a result of this sincere dawah (i.e. conveying Islam) which our beloved Prophet persistently continued with patience, determination and effort.
When they asked Imam Bediuzzaman Said Nursi “How can you endure the difficulties you’re faced with? How do you endure them?” he answered as follows:
“Two years ago an official spoke insultingly and contemptuously about me behind my back. (…) I addressed my lower self: if his insults and the faults he described concerned my person, may Allah be pleased with him, because he told the faults of my soul. (…) If he spoke falsely, he helped to save me from hypocrisy and undeserved fame, the source of hypocrisy.
And if it was merely to curse at me, insult me, and blacken my character, that does not concern me either. For I am an exile, a prisoner, a stranger, and my hands are tied; it does not fall to me to try to restore my honour myself. (…) Insulting a person’s prisoner concerns that person; he defends the prisoner. Since that is the reality of the matter, my heart becomes easy. I declared: “My own affair I commit to Allah; for Allah ever watches over His servants.”4 I thought of the incident as not having happened, and forgot it.”5
Sometimes turning a deaf ear to troubles and calamities is the greatest solution. If Imam Nursi had taken the heavy burden of that calamity on his shoulders, he would have become exhausted. Instead he examined that trouble and made it smaller. And he got rid of it with a right patience and full reliance on Allah.
Sometimes there is a big rock in the middle of riverbeds. The waters beating the rock want to carry it away. By the language of its disposition, the rock says to the waters passing by its right and left “Bye! Bye to you too!” We need to be like this rock in the face of troublesome events.
Therefore, patience is not a silent waiting, but a careful, tranquil, planned and principled stand.
Patience is not gulping down (your troubles) and losing yourself in them, but learning to deal with them.
Patience is to excitedly grow in belief and further develop your personal goals.
Patience is to be able to control anger.
Patience is not keeping silent against evil, but to get rid of that evil by means of goodness.
Patience is not an idle stand, but an active movement.
Patience is not laziness, but a wise activity.
Against the difficulty coming from the continuity of worship, assuming the attitude of servitude and continuing worshipping with the conscience of servanthood is the most beautiful patience.
Not giving in to the lower-self due to sins and struggling to protect and preserve the eyes, ears and other organs from sins is the greatest patience.
Saying, “Both Your favour and trouble are most welcome” and acting with the conscience that calamities come from Allah is the most meaningful patience.
May Allah make us among those who have patience.
May Allah show the right patience to our minds and inspire it in our hearts.
1- The Qur’an, Baqarah, 2:286
2- The Flashes, Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, 2nd Flash, p. 6, Altınbaşak Neşriyat
3- Kütüb-i Sitte, Akçağ Yay., v.9, p.543
4- The Qur’an, Ghafir, 40:44
5- The Letters, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, p.55