Life is never one sweet song. As they say, it is full of ups and downs. Allah reminds us of this in Qur’an 29: 2 and states “Do men think that they will be left alone for saying, ‘We believe’, without being tried?” Life in itself is a trial by which Allah gets to know the righteous and the ungrateful from among men. But no matter the challenges that confront us in life, we must not allow trials (which are inevitable) to weigh us down and consequently deny us the happiness we deserve to enjoy, as human beings, on earth.
Trials come in many forms and under different circumstances. Disappointments; failure in exams, marriage, business ventures or political contests; ill-health, and loss of a job are forms of trials decided by destiny. There are other forms of trials, which are usually occasioned by man’s transgression against the limits set by Allah. Qur’an 30:41 states “Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned; that Allah may give them a taste of some of their deeds…” Corruption, bad governance and a distorted value system, which belong to this self-imposed category of trials, have collectively turned many Nigerians into victims of inexcusable circumstances.
Life in the modern world is characterized by many challenges; a situation that seek to buttress Charles Darwin’s social theory of “survival of the fittest”. Indeed, there seem to be more challenges to cope with in modern life than the time and resources available for man to tackle them. An average Nigerian citizen, today, swims in a stormy sea of problems; lacking access to basic necessities of life. The fear, which daily envelops man from heightened insecurity, poverty, unemployment, collapsed education system, failed healthcare system, and corrupt civil service are critical enough to deny him happiness. This notwithstanding, it is important that we make life worth living.
Trials are naturally meant to ascertain whether we can strive to constantly put Allah first in everything we do, say or think about. Overcoming trials requires much pain and sorrow; not because they are good experiences in themselves but because they seek to purify us. A purified heart is filled with patience, which is key to achieving a life of peace and contentment. Besides the reward Allah has promised in Qur’an 39:10 to give to those who are patient; Qur’an 2:156-157 further assert that Allah will grant His blessings, mercy and divine guidance to those who are perseveringly patient.
It would require a great deal of patience to live a happy life under the country’s prevailing circumstances where the well-being of Nigerians is increasingly threatened by inflation, misrule, corruption and hunger. To make life worth living, patience is a difficult but necessary task. Allah exhorts in Qur’an 2:45 “Nay, seek (Allah’s) help with patient perseverance and prayer: it is indeed hard except to those who bring a lowly spirit”.
We need patience not only to understand or appreciate the weak among us but also to manage the wicked and the insensitive. The ability of an individual to endure difficulties, manage inconveniences or live with intractable challenges defines patience. This life is too short for one to remain unhappy. It is called patience when a person confronted with an adverse situation remains full of hope.
It’s only when we exercise patience over all matters in our life that we would be able to preserve the essence of words like peace, love, tolerance and compassion. Unless we are able to do this, the bond that should expectedly exist between husband and wife, between a king and his subjects, and between employer and his employees may either be missing or better imagined. It is with patience that the weak amongst us have continued to live in peace with the strong, and vice versa.
Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) teaches that a person’s physical strength does not lie in the ability to fight or subdue others but the strong is one who restrains himself when things are in turmoil. We need patience to experience joy in place of sadness each time we encounter failures or adversities. Even when we succeed, we need patience to preserve and sustain the joy in success.
Without patience, a teacher would be unsuccessful in the task of teaching or training others. An Islamic scholar, too, would fall short of shaping or reforming his followers if he lacks patience. Without patience, a lot of marriages would fail. Husbands need to be patient to tolerate their ever-ungrateful wives just as wives require being patient in order to cope with their perpetually assertive husbands. Parents must exercise patience in bearing with the very unbecoming attitude of their children and wards even though morality must not be compromised in any form. Although Islam exhorts patience over abnormal situations, it does not imply allowing evil to preside over good.
Like charity, patience is never in excess. The higher the spirit, the better the outcome. If only a person would wait (patiently), all would come his way. Impatience, in most cases, leads to regrets. No one has ever regretted being patient. A patiently persevering heart is, spiritually, a wealthy heart though without money. How poor then are those that have no patience? With patience, one is able to possess that which he lacks. Patience consoles the mind over adversities. Apart from being a leadership quality, patience helps one to develop the capacity to undertake painstaking tasks.
Patience guides man to pursue all things with ease and comfort. The one who is patient is always a degree above others who act impatiently. He neither acts unwisely nor reacts unreasonably. May Allah (SWT) enrich our hearts with the patience needed to make life in this world worth living, amin.