Patience in Adversity

By Jamal Rahman

“But if you are patient in adversity and conscious of Him- truly this is something upon which to set one’s heart.” (Qur’an 3:186)

The patience shown by the moon to the dark night is what keeps it radiant; the patience shown by the rose to the thorn is what keeps it fragrant.” (Rumi)

Early in his ministry the Prophet Muhammad was in deep despair. After a burst of divine revelations from the realm of Mystery in 610 CE in a phenomenal event called the Night of Power, no new revelations were forthcoming. The prophet felt abandoned. Then, after a lapse of two years, a fresh set of revelations descended. First came the tender words and assurances: “By the glorious morning light and the night when it is still, your Sustainer has not forgotten you nor is He displeased …and truly that which comes after will be better for you than the present.” Then, came some critical guidance: “So, be not harsh with orphan and chide not him who asks, and proclaim the bounty of your Sustainer.”  (93:1-11)

In times of difficulties we are asked to be patient. We are not privy to the larger story. “Of knowledge, it is only a little that is communicated to you,” says the Qur’an (17:85). And, in times of difficulties, remember to continue with acts of charity and righteousness according to your capacity, and do not forsake your prayers and spiritual practices. With patience and those two abiding practices of service and prayers, your restless heart will eventually be rewarded with the radiance and fragrance of peace and ease. The mysterious glow of Presence will bless you in ways you cannot imagine.

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