In the Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Most Beneficent
In an age where there is an incessant drive for instant results; ranging from fast food, instant access to information to the need to produce results in a short period of time, it seems to be almost an anomaly to talk about the merits and virtue of waiting. Of course, there are occasions, such as worship where a person is encouraged to hasten toward good, i.e., embarking upon good acts with determination and eagerness, and then completing them with calmness, concentration, and devotion (Mirqāt al-Mafātīḥ). However, the matter is different when we apply this to our daily lives.
Contrary to what the modern world would want us to behave, we learn from the Messenger of Allāh (Peace Be Upon Him) that it is actually encouraged to conduct our daily activities with calmness and patience, as acting in haste often leads to spoiling one’s actions.
“Calmness and patient deliberation is from Allāh and haste is from Satan”
So why is this is important to you and me? Often we find ourselves rushing matters and as a consequence feeling stressed and dissatisfied. We often hear of people complaining that things are taking too long; it’s not quick enough, that we have been waiting too long, and so on. The problem with all of this and with the world we are living in is that we are missing important lessons that need to be learnt. We are so busy trying to reach our destination that we forget about the enjoyment of the journey.
Allow me to touch upon an episode of The Messenger of Allāh (Peace Be Upon Him) to allow us to draw some meaningful insights. After the first revelation descended upon the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him), there was a break (known as fatrah al-waḥy) of three years where there was no revelation. No doubt this was a challenging time and The Messenger of Allāh (Peace Be Upon Him) was subject to a great tribulation, let alone waiting anxiously for the next revelation from God through the angel Jibrā’īl.
We should always remember that events that unfold in our lives carry messages, if only we cared to stop and reflect over them. The scholars mention certain wisdoms behind the break in revelation that Messenger of Allāh (Peace Be Upon Him) underwent. Let us look at how this can benefit us.
By bearing the trial and waiting patiently, The Messenger of Allāh (Peace Be Upon Him) was being trained to become accustomed to difficulty in the life to come. People who seldom face obstacles in life find it back breaking to persevere when the real tsunami hits. Ask anyone who has gone through a challenging life about how they faced difficulties and you will see that they are some of the most resolute people around. What doesn’t break you can only make you stronger.
Secondly, it is well known that challenges in life are episodes that people are more likely to remember and draw inspiration from. When the next challenge beckons, we are able to draw from our previous experience to strengthen us for the next one. The process continues until this becomes a habit. How inspirational is that? The Messenger of Allāh (Peace Be Upon Him) would use this difficult period as a reminder later on in his blessed life. Think about instances in life where things were tough and there was no light and now that episode has passed. If Allāh brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
Finally, longing for your beloved only serves to increase your love for the beloved. The waiting of the Messenger of Allāh for the words of Allāh served only to increase his love for Allāh. Allāh wanted to bring him closer via this mechanism of patience. Nothing grants you greater utility than having earned it through patience and perseverance. How can it be so? Those who are provided with gifts on a plate will never enjoy the same pleasure as those who have patiently persevered.
Hāroon Ebrāhīm Sīdāt