Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Patience in adversity|
|08/25/01 at 03:37:42|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
[center]Patience in adversity
By Dr Muhammad Kamal Al-Shareef[/center]
One of the most effective and recent methods of treating depression is what is known as "cognitive therapy," which aims to change the patient's way of thinking and how he or she looks at matters or events that might have triggered their depression, leading them to look at life in a gloomy way.
Faith provides the believer with a perspective which is certain to alter his view of misfortune and calamities. In fact, it makes him the least likely to experience depression as a result of such misfortune. Should he experience depression, then the mere remembrance of the truth of faith will ensure a much speedier and more complete recovery for him.
One of the basic elements a believer should always keep in mind is that calamity and misfortune will ensure forgiveness of any sins he might have committed, provided he bears such misfortune with patience. Should he be punished by the authorities for any act of disobedience or sin he might have committed, such punishment will serve as proper atonement and ensure his forgiveness. When the Prophet accepted the pledge of support by his companions which committed them to refrain from all acts of disobedience to God and His messenger, he said to them: "Whoever commits any such act (of sin) and he is punished for it in this life, that punishment atones for it and purges him. Should his (sin) remain secret, then his case is left to God: He will inflict punishment if He so wills, and He will forgive him if He so pleases." (Related by Al-Bukhari)
When the Prophet visited any patient, he used to say to him: "Do not worry. This serves to purge you, God willing." (Related by Al-Bukhari).
Even psychological suffering, or adversity, anxiety or depression, will help a believer to attain forgiveness. The Prophet (peace be upon him) says: "Whatever befalls a believer of hardship or suffering, worry, grief, harm or other adversity, even a thorn that pierces his skin, will ensure the forgiveness of some of his sins." (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
At the same time, God has promised those who endure with patience whatever befalls them, acknowledging it as part of God's will, generous reward in the hereafter. His reward will more than compensate for what they lack in this present life. God says: "We shall certainly test your steadfastness with a certain degree of fear and hunger, and with diminution of wealth, lives and crops. But give good news to those who persevere; who endure adversity and misfortune, saying, "To God we belong, and to Him we shall return." Their Lord sends His blessings and mercy upon them, and they shall be rightly guided." (2:155-157)
The Prophet says: "Any Muslim who, when suffering a calamity, says what God has ordered him to say: 'To God we belong, and to Him we shall return; my Lord, grant me Your support in this calamity that has befallen me and compensate me with something better,' will be sure to have God's support and a better compensation."
A lady companion of the Prophet, Umm Salamah, learnt what a believer should say when misfortune befalls him or her. Sometime later, her husband fell ill and died. He was an exemplary, loving husband.
When he died, she said, "To God we belong, and to Him we shall return; my Lord, grant me Your support in this calamity that has befallen me and compensate me with something better." Then she wondered, "where could I find a man better than Abu Salamah?" But when her waiting period was over, the Prophet sent to her proposing marriage, and she married him. Thus, God granted her something better than what she lost. She lost a loving and caring husband, but gained God's messenger as a husband.
True patience is shown right from the moment a person receives the news of misfortune. It is not like what some people do. They first show a great deal of distress, crying and wailing, and even expressing dissatisfaction with God's will. Then after some days, when the effects of the misfortune appear to be decreasing, they begin to say that they accept God's will and endure it patiently. Like the Prophet says, patience in adversity is that shown at the first shock. Hence, a believer must always remember these highly expressive phrases to say when he meets misfortune: "To God we belong, and to Him we shall return; my Lord, grant me Your support in this calamity that has befallen me and compensate me with something better."
In Islam, patience in adversity does not mean that one should not try to change what misfortune befalls him. Nor does it mean that we should find pleasure in enduring a calamity. Indeed a believer should try his best to change whatever adversity may befall him, but he should do so with patience, content always with what God has given him. He should not be of the complaining type who always say, "what have I done so that God has inflicted this on me." Similarly, he must not complain of the efforts and hard work which will be required to alter a calamitous situation.
Nor is it permissible to resort to what is forbidden in order to change one's misfortune. A poor person who shows patience may work hard in order to increase his income, but he may not resort to theft, cheating, or embezzlement. One who suffers an illness seeks medical treatment, but he must not try to reduce the effects of his illness by drinking intoxicants. We may add here that medical doctors feel that intoxicants do not provide a cure in any case.
In essence patience in adversity means being happy with what God has given us, and contentment with our new position in which we find ourselves as a result of the misfortune that has befallen us. A married woman with young children may suddenly find herself a widow, responsible for the upbringing of her young ones. She accepts her new role in life and exerts her best efforts to fulfill it in a most satisfactory way. Someone who loses his eyesight accepts what has happened to him and tries his best to make himself and his work conducive to happiness in both this life and the life to come.
Patience in adversity is the essence of adapting oneself to practical realities. It is a characteristic which leading psychologists see as indicative of maturity and psychological well-being. It certainly leads to both.
[i]"Islam in Perspective" - Arab News - 14 August 2000[/i]
Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Haniff (with 2 f's)
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