“imagine yourself in this situation… imagine that you’ve just gotten onto a bus. a few people got on before you, and a few people get on after you. after a while, the bus stops, and a man and 2 young kids get on the bus. the kids start running around and bothering the passengers, taking people’s hats and hitting the people on the bus and so on. the man, presumably the father, sits there staring into space seemingly not caring about what his kids are doing… now imagine yourself in this situation… how will you feel?”
“… you would feel annoyed at the kids, and annoyed or perhaps angry at the man for letting the kids bother everyone without even making the slightest effort to stop them… now suppose that this goes on until a man sitting next to this man turns to him and says, ‘excuse me, sir, your kids are running around and bothering the people on the bus… would you please ask them to stop?’ - to which the man answers, ‘oh.. i am really sorry, i wasn’t paying attention. we just came from the hospital, their mother just died…’ — now how do you feel?”
“… the situation didn’t change, but the way you feel suddenly changes… the kids may still be running around, but now you are no longer annoyed and angry, you feel compassionate and merciful. why? because when you compare the small annoyance of the kids against something as big as death, it doesn’t really matter anymore.”
this was from a talk given at mca on friday entitled, “weathering the storm - virtues of patience.” the talk was given by sheikh abdul bary yahya, who is masha’Allah an amazing person and sheikh. friday was the first time i had the honor of meeting him and listening to him.
to my non-muslim friends: as you may have been able to tell by the first story, a lot of the stuff in the talk doesn’t necessarily apply for muslims only - they are mostly general stories with lessons that can be taken by everyone. as thus, it maybe worth your while to read this too.
by the way… i should mention that whatever is in italics and quotes is not really quoted… its more of paraphrased. so anything that’s wrong here is due to my shortcomings and/or misunderstanding.
“… (sh. muhammad alshareef) once gave me a very good example about patience. he said that sometimes, he would have to teach kids (in sunday school for example). and sometimes, he’d have to teach really young kids. so sometimes, he would teach them, and other times, he’d let them color for example. and sometimes, he wouldn’t have enough crayons to go around for the whole class, and so sometimes, the kids would have to share the crayons.”
“… and almost everytime, two kids would want to color something using the same color. the kid who didn’t get the color he wanted would run to him crying and screaming because the other kid got the crayon… and the whole while , he’s thinking to himself, ‘… but its just a crayon…’”
“… and that’s the point… to the kid, its a big deal, because the kid doesn’t see the big picture. to his teacher, who sees the big picture, he realizes that its not a big deal… so how do we know that the things that make us cry from the bottom of our hearts and make us really sad are not just a crayon in the eyes of God? many times, if we saw the big picture, we too would realize that, ‘hey… its just a crayon..’”
i’ll skip the next part and come back to it at the end, because it talks about how a muslim is to view these hardships of life. i’ll continue on to one of the important ways he mentioned as to how to build patience.
“… so lets say there’s something in specific that makes you lose your patience and that you want to be more patient the next time that happens. say for example you got angry at your wife or kids, and that you don’t want to do that anymore. how do you become patient in these situations?”
“… you identify the situation, and make intention that the next time this thing happens, i will not get angry for example. how does that make a difference? consider, for example, if an earthquake were to happen, and you’d never thought about it or been in one before… what would you do? you would not know where to go… should i go outside, should i stay inside, should i go under the table… what should i do? essentially, you would end up running around in circles because the earthquake happens so suddenly that you don’t have time to react and think properly as to what to do…”
“… but now suppose that you sat down right now and devised a plan. ‘if an earthquake happens and i am in this place, i’ll do this. if i am in this place, i’ll do that. if i am outside, i’ll do this.’ — then once the earthquake happens, your mind will promptly pull the right course of action into active memory and you’ll begin executing that preplanned task. and the same applies with patience.”
i personally never thought of this. and maybe that’s why there are situations where i fail to react the correct way, because they happen so suddenly and i don’t have a plan for how to handle them. so i thought this was really good advice.
“there are three types of patience. patience with respect to hardships or calamities, patience with respect to doing good things, and patience with respect to staying away from bad things. for the believer, there’s the hadith of the Prophet (salla Allahu 3alayhi wa salam which says):”
“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 (Saabir) and it becomes better for him. And this is only for the Mu’mmin.” [Muslim]
“… also, everything that harms a believer, even if its being pricked by a needle, erases sins and gives good deeds… sometimes the hardships that happen are tests in order to raise a person’s levels and erase their sins. and sometimes, they are a punishment for something a person has done, in hopes that this thing will bring the person back to Allah.”
so that was roughly it. i probably missed several points but i basically documented whatever i remembered. may Allah grant us patience, and may Allah reward sheikh abdul bary.
also, please make du3a2 for my grandmother, who passed away on saturday. “إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون”