The fruit that sweetens as it matures: Patience

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Patience is the ability to endure the suffering and hardship until the end without any anxiety and clamor. However, the process of patience is not a passive waiting, but an active process both the supplication by action and word are made together.

The proverb which says “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet” shows that patience resembles a tree which is cultivated and grown with great effort but then its sweet fruit is utilized. As is well known, unripe fruit tastes bitter. The tree of patience has also such fruits waiting to ripen. If the fruits of this tree are not picked with hastiness, it will be ultimately seen that the bitterness turns into sweetness. Yet, the humans are greedy in many incidents. They do not watch the order of the steps put by Allah Almighty according to the name of al-Hakim (the All-Wise), they cannot reach their purpose and are deprived of these sweet fruits.

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.

Our beloved Prophet (pbuh) says “Deliberateness is from Allah, and haste is from Satan.” (Tirmidhi 2012) and demands us to act in a calm manner with thinking of all the possibilities. Haste is a sign of insensitivity. The deliberation is one of the tools for the sensitivity. The person who uses his five senses calmly and feel the life relieves himself (of worries etc). The peace of man is hidden in the preservation of this state of tranquility.             

Everything that is created in the universe is either beautiful itself or it is beautiful in regard to its results. Patience is included in the latter. The verse of “We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” (Surat al-Baqarah, 2:155) reveals that patience is a part of the examination in this world and there will be a gift hidden in the patience. It is necessary to concentrate on and prepare your mind and body for the blessings hidden behind difficulties and distresses of the test of life. The truth of “Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” (Surah ash-Sharh, 94:6) ought not to be forgotten and be made a guide. When the servant is examined by his Lord to see whether he will have patience, he should contemplate and say, “I wonder what blessing Allah has intended for me.” and learn a lesson from it.

Allah Almighty Who is very merciful to His servants has the absolute goodness and always wishes goodness for them. When the servant does not accept the goodness coming from absolute goodness in a good manner he causes evil. Actually, he could transform seemingly negative situations into gaining if he uses his will that is bestowed on him in a proper manner. On the other hand, he could transform the benefactions bestowed upon him into evil when he does not show gratitude. In a hadith our Prophet (pbuh) says “Iman is in two halves: half is patience and half is gratitude.” (Bayhaqi). Patience and gratitude is the secret that turns all the negative situations into positive ones.

In another hadith, our beloved Prophet (pbuh) explained this situation as follows: “Strange is the affair of the Mu’min (the believer), verily all his affairs are good for him. If something pleasing befalls him he thanks (Allah) and it becomes better for him. And if something harmful befalls him he is patient and it becomes better for him. And this is only for the Mu’min.” (Muslim).

The only way of being happy and tranquil is to use the mental, spiritual and physical benefactions Allah bestowed upon us in an appropriate way. Just as we do not give 500 pounds for a goods of 5 pennies, feeling too much sorrow over an insignificant incident would show that the benefactions bestowed upon us are wasted.

Since the human is interested in both the past and future time, he disrupts his pleasure by thinking about the pains coming from the past and the fears coming from the future. It drains one’s psychophysics energy and breaks his resistance which makes his patience insufficient. The way for benefiting from the patience properly is to consume it for the present without distributing it to past and future. It is explained in the Risale-i Nur as follows: “If you do not disperse your power of patience that Allāh Most High has given to you into wrong directions, that power of patience can be sufficient enough for all troubles and each calamity.” (The 21st Word) It should also be known that “Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.” (Baqarah, 2:286).      

So, is there a way for getting this sweet fruit with less effort? Yes. Just as an athlete trains before the competition, one could develop his power of patience and enduring the difficulties by worship, reflection, prayer and remembrance, and could be spiritually equipped against calamity before it comes. The fundamental condition of that is definitely to have a strong faith and to place one’s trust in Allah (tawakkul). It is to surrender to Allah by believing that what comes from Him is solely blessing.

Believers do not look the life for the sake of pleasure and taste, look for the sake of tranquillity. The tranquility could be enabled by knowing one’s powerlessness, poverty and his need for Allah. Without these hardships and distresses called as the negative form of worship, one cannot know these features of himself, thus cannot develop his abilities. These difficulties are a natural part of our examination in this world. Risale-i Nur expresses that “Life becomes purified by tribulations and sickness, and by means of them attains its perfection. (The Second Flash) If we look at the negativities we overestimate from this perspective, we could realize that they are shrinking in time. Imam Bediuzzaman expresses this situation as follows “Smile in the face of the trial by having trust, until it too smiles. Everytime it smiles, it diminishes, and changes.” (The Second Flash)

Thus, patience is a priceless potion that transforms all the troubles into tranquility and relief. The secret of Mawlana is the patience in all things and he states this secret in his Masnavi as follows;

When you endure hunger, that’s called “fasting.”

When you endure pain, that’s called “resistance.”

When you are patient with people, that’s called “tolerance.”

When you are patient with a wish, that’s called “supplication.”

When you endure emotions, that’s called “tears.”

When you endure longing, that’s called “nostalgia.”

When you are patient with affection, that’s called “love.”

We also say by making a reference from Imam Bediuzzaman’s 23rd Letter;

When you endure sins, you become a pious believer.

When you endure calamity, you become mutawakkil (the one who place all his trust in Allah) and patient.

When you endure (continue) worship, you become a loved and perfect servant.

Peace be with you then!