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Stress and impatience

Publishing Date : 06 March, 2018

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM


‘You shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal lives’ (Quran 3:186)

Think about the very simple things that stress us as we encounter them on a daily basis like the interminable queues at the bank, post office, supermarkets, government offices and other places of shoddy and poor customer service that stress us daily. But on a higher level there are many other things that challenge our patience on a daily basis. Things like ‘others are living a good life and yet we are struggling’, they have fancy homes and cars and we don’t…. the list is interminable. Impatience tests us every day because it comes in different forms and from many sources.


In our daily lives we have good times and we have our bad times; these are the challenges that test our patience. How we react to them is what really counts. We tend to worry about everything whether it is real or imagined. Some of us see our problems as interminable and unbearable and we lose all hope of ever solving them.


Our problems may not be solved overnight but that is part of the test from our Creator to see who is best in patience and trust. Sometimes we earnestly pray for something and we get impatient and despair because we feel that our prayers are ‘not answered’ to our satisfaction. For the impatient Allah has a message: "Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, who say, when afflicted with calamity: 'To God We belong, and to Him is our return'. They are those on whom (descend) blessings from their Lord" (2:155-157) But always remember: ‘Allah is with those who patiently persevere’. (Quran 8:46)


We have to realise and learn to accept that the Lord is in complete control of everything - we cannot always get what we want because the Lord knows best what is good for us, thus we have to accept the will of God. ‘But it may happen that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you.  And God knows and you do not know!’ (Quran 2:216)


When the stresses of life hit us and we are faced with challenges, it is only then that some of us turn to our Lord in prayer. Unfortunately, it is human nature to forget our allegiance to our Creator when things are running smoothly in our lives. This is true because when the going is good we put it down to our own efforts. Nothing wrong with that but we have to learn to accept that all that happens is through the Will of God.    


‘When trouble touches a man, he cries unto Us, in all postures, lying down on his side, or sitting, or standing. But when We have solved his trouble, he passes on his way as if he never had cried to Us….’ (Quran 10:12)

 Sometimes when we are Blessed, we get arrogant: ‘…… when We bestow a favour upon him as from Ourselves, he says, "This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge (I have)!" Nay, but this is but a trial, but most of them understand not! (Quran 39:49)
There are times when we feel that our problems are just insurmountable and that we do not have the strength to bear those burdens; but don’t despair because the Almighty says: ‘On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear’ and even then the verse further goes to instruct us to pray ‘Our Lord lay not on us a burden greater than the strength we have to bear’.  (Qur’an 2:286). Therefore we should put our faith and trust in the Hands of our Creator.


During those challenging times of despair and sadness, patience is like a fort where one can seek refuge. We can seek relief and comfort in adhering to our deep rooted faith. When you are faced with trials and tribulations and begin to feel overwhelmed, endure with patience, be steadfast and turn to your Lord with sincere faith and prayer for strength and guidance. ‘Surely, Allah is with those who are patient’ (Qur’an 6:46) ‘Verily, with every difficulty there is relief’ (Qur'an 94:5-6). ‘O ye who believe seek help with patient perseverance and prayer for Allah is with those who patiently persevere’ (Quran 2:153).....be firm and patient in pain or suffering and adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah fearing (Quran 2:177).


"Pray for help from Allah (God), and (wait) in patience and constancy: for the earth is God's, to give as a heritage to such of His servants as He pleases; and the end is (best) for the righteous." (Quran 7:128)
The Bible also reminds its followers when it says: ‘….let us run with patience the race that has been set before us’ (Heb. 12:1). ‘Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing in prayer’ (Romans 12:12)

Sometimes we may even feel that the Lord is not answering our prayers and resolving our problems to ‘our’ satisfaction or even that it is taking ‘too’ long – remember that Allah in His Infinite Wisdom and Mercy has a plan for every believer; He may not answer it in the way we want it done, but for the faithful the answer will be revealed in its time. But most important to remember is to develop patience and trust in yourself and in your Creator, once we can do that the hardships will strengthen our hearts and our faith. ‘’Those who believe and whose hearts are filled with satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah; for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction’ (Qur’an 13:28)


A true believer is further reminded that when he prays for his problems to be solved he should always trust his Creator to help him. Don’t be impatient, trust in your Lord, that trust will never be misplaced. ‘If Allah is your helper none can overcome you, and if He withdraws His help from you, who is there who can help you? In Allah let believers put their trust’ (Qur’an 3:160)


However, it is quite common that when our prayers are answered and the Lord eases our burdens, we tend to lose our steadfastness, forget how we worshipfully prayed, pleaded and cried to our Lord and we then return to our usual carefree lifestyles as if nothing ever happened. ‘When trouble touches a man, he cries unto us in all postures – lying down, on his side, or sitting or standing. But when We have solved his trouble, he passes on his way as if he had never cried to Us for a trouble that touched him! (Quran 10: 12)


When in distress learn to destress, learn patience and turn to prayer, a believer should rather ask Allah to bless him, make it easy for him and to grant him what is good in this world and in the hereafter. Therefore when you are faced with trials and tribulations and feeling overwhelmed, be positive and look at the other blessings that you have that many other people do not have. Remember life is full of lessons: In school you are taught lessons then given a test. In life you are given the test that teaches you the lesson.

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