Patience Strengthens Will Power
By: Sayyid Jan Ali Kazmi
The second best act to make the willpower strong is patience. Whether, it is the achievements (attainment) of the world or those of the hereafter. Patience is fundamentally (basically) important and necessary. The reasons for the many failures of a man lie in impatience and intolerance. At times, during the worldly difficulties, man is denied great successes, because of his impatience. Moreover in the world only those achieve great successes, one who strengthen their habit of forbearance (self-control). By not showing patience the human life is filled with many problems and difficulties. Because of impatience, a husband and wife are separated by divorce; sometimes a man cannot perform well in his studies. A man wastes away a good job because of intolerance; at times people suffer great loss in their trade because of their intolerance. Therefore it is very important for every man to cultivate (develop) the gem (treasure) of the habit of patience.
Fruits of Patience
For instance if a person abuses two people, among the two, one person shows patience and passes quietly that this rudeness (impoliteness) should be answered with patience, but the other person shows impatience and, he similarly abuses in return. As results they both fight with each other, both are hurt, one of them looses his eye while the nose is broken and both spent six months in the hospital. But he who showed patience at that time feels happy over his habit, that the fruit of patience is very sweet.
The reality is whether it is the life of the world or the hereafter the end product of patience and tolerance is very sweet and very peaceful.
People who fail to show patience they get caught in many problems and difficulties in the world, for instance those who do not show resistance in their appetite (desire), they fall prey (victim) to different illnesses and disease.
For every aspect of life, the fruit forbearance and patience is very sweet and it is equally important. Now let us see how this element of resistance (struggle) and patience can be inculcated (beaten) in ones life.
To cultivate patience, it is important to perform certain acts. For example, people who write or work with their right hands, they have a strong right hand, on the other hand people who work with their left hand, they have a strong left hand. In repeating a certain act the habit is strengthened, you showed patience for the first time and then when someone insults (abuse) you, you show the same resistance and patience. In the same manner, people who work hard in any field, it might be the field of studies or practical work, gradually and slowly because of patience. For them to study continuously for eight hours and more become a part of their habit. However a person, who does not show resistance in his studies, or his work and feels, tired after working for one hour or so, he cannot be very successful in the world.
Then how can endurance be cultivated? To show compliance (fulfillment) in hardships, for example, on the death of a son … now, if a man does not show patience in a situation like this and he would mourn (grieve) and scream, then is it possible that the son would come back to life again? No… but on the other hand by crying and bewailing the suffering increases manifold (multiplies). Every one has to die one day, some early and others later, death is an inevitable (expected) reality, and no one can escape death. A son dies, a daughter might die, a wife may die, and man should show patience and forbearance (self-control) that everyone has to die one day or the other. Therefore it is useless to show impatience in such situations. On the other hand man should learn a lesson from this, that one day he also has to die, and question himself, “am I ready for death and prepared for it myself?” Here also the fear of death and the lack of readiness to face death are the result of a weak will power and resolve. Thus a man should learn a lesson that great kings have died, the Prophets had to leave this world.
Death is an inevitable reality and if, there would be patience and the ingredient (factor) of forbearance, then a man would be able to show resistance on the death of his loved ones and also on his own death. Otherwise he would increase his suffering ten thousand times by his impatient attitude.
Factors effecting Patience
People, who have the element of patience, appear more committed because of this good habit, as a result you see that people who are more resilient (tough), their will power is also strong. They are able to achieve great success as a result of this quality; they conquer (overcome) high mountains and pitch flags on them, although to climb high mountains is not the ambition (goal) of human life, but these people have greater patience and greater will power. And those who lack patience their resolve is also weak and these people fail to undertake very minor tasks in the world. Therefore if patience is extricated (untangle) from human life then the poor man becomes destitute (needy) and low; patience enables a man to attain the highest excellence. Thus a man should repeat those acts which can strengthen the element of patience in him.
For patience a man should test himself, to see how much patience and resistance he can show, for example the most favorite food can be avoided for one week. Food, which is delicious, is available and is ones favourite, it can be avoided for one week and if a person succeeds in doing so then certainly his willpower is strengthened by this act. Furthermore he becomes more resilient (tough). Then he can repeat the same act for two weeks and in this way the willpower is further strengthened, and a man can set himself free from the slavery of his bodily wishes and desires. Then if a man can repeat the same act for a month, then in this manner man can control his self-desires, and become more patient and resilient (durable). Similarly if a man suffers from the illness of the stomach, for example his cholesterol level has increased. So through fasting a man can control his diseases. Then a man can test himself further, by determining to eat nothing for the whole day, then when for sixteen hours or more a man can control his own stomach and body parts and if he repeats this act for one day then for a week then for a month then through this act, not only the willpower is strengthened but he becomes patient and his physical diseases are controlled. And from this act of fasting, the body parts are refreshed (recharged) and they become more energetic (active) thus through this act a man can develop patience and this patience or resilience is very import.
Resistance to Hardship
There are three types of patience; one is to show resistance in hardships and sufferings. There is no man in the world that has not suffered hardships in his life, every man, whether he is a king or a beggar/pauper has to go through the suffering of death. The son might die or the daughter or his wife, or father and finally himself.
Similarly everyone has to go through illness and disease; no one is exempted (free) from the depletions (exhaustion) and deprivations of the world. Therefore a man should make himself resilient in the face of hardships. People who lack patience they succumb (surrender) too many physical and psychological illnesses. Because they had never shown patience and commitment in their lives, this is because they never perform those acts, which help to cultivate endurance, and develop the willpower; therefore they never show steadfastness (faithfulness) in times of hardships.
The second type of patience is that, it is obligatory for man to perform those deeds and acts for which he has been created and was given a life (the prayers and worship of God). These acts are a great test for the human desires and wishes; this is because human ego or the ardent desires in a man are at ease loving and it shrinks from hard work. But a man should be able to control his desires and not allow them to dominate (control) him; the bad soul wants to relax (rest) even at the time of work. But a man who has a strong willpower will be able to leave his bed and perform the obligatory prayers and other acts for which he has been created, and which are the greatest ambition of human life.
Attracted to Sins
The third kind of patience is that, a man sees a sin is being committed before him and he is attracted towards the temporary pleasure of that sin, but he has enough patience to shun (avoid) that evil deed, show resistance and save himself from the impurity (filth) of that sin.
These are the three types of patience the first is to show patience in face of hardships, the second is to show stoicism (no emotional feelings) in per- forming the obligatory acts, even if the bad soul stops one from doing it, and not allow the ego to dominate (take over) oneself, but to perform these acts a man should have a strong willpower.
Toughness in Hardship
Now this is a true story in connection to show resilience (toughness) in times of hardships. This is the story of Joseph that, even though he was a Prophet, he faced many hardships in his life but he showed great patience and reliance (confidence) in every difficulty and test. His brothers threw him in the well, and then he was sent to Egypt as a slave, and remained a slave, then he was wrongly accused as a result of which he was put into the jail. But during all this suffering and hardships, he showed patience and resilience.
Now to show patience a man has to have an enlightening (illuminating) thought thus the greatest scholar and philosopher of the world Great Scholar Jaffer Sadiq states:
“Behind every hardship is hidden a blessing of God. A man, who shows patience in face of that hardship, secures that blessing in the world and is entitled to greater reward in the hereafter. But a man who does not show patience he suffers no doubt, but is denied the blessing coming after it, and is deprived of the greater reward, and status in the hereafter.”
Thus whenever a person suffers hardships he should bring this reflection (expression) to mind that no doubt behind this God has hidden a blessing for me and if I show patience then through this I will be able to secure (protect) that blessing. Thus it is because of this enlightening reflection that Prophet Joseph showed great stoicism (lack of emotion), and after all the hardships at last he got the kingship in this world and secured high status and reward in the hereafter.
Then this is the philosophy to show patience in the time of suffering and hardships.
The second important act to make our willpower strong is thanksgiving, and by being ungrateful a man is caught in many psychological disturbances (disorder) and illnesses. There are two segments (section) of faith, one of them is patience and the other is gratitude or thanksgiving. No man can be perfect until the habits of patience and gratitude are not cultivated in him. And if we observe we find that only a very few people in the world feel indebted (thankful) and are grateful to God, although only those people who are thanksgiving are able to taste the flavour of immense (enormous) gratification (pleasure).
Now the question is, what is thanksgiving and how can it be cultivated?
Thanksgiving is connected to thought, reflection and meditation (considerat- ion). Until a man does not reflect he cannot be grateful and cannot be obliged to his Lord, thus the greater a human reflection the greater the level of thanksgiving and indebtedness (thank- ness) towards God. We can take an example to make this discussion easy to interpret.
Money does not buy everything
There was a man was ungrateful and used to fret (worry) and hassle (bother) over trivial things of the world, that such and such person has a big car while I do not, and so and so person has a huge house and I do not have a house, that a particular person has so much money while I am deprived of it. One day that man saw an angle in his dream, the angle said … think of yourself as a millionaire but both your eyes have been ruined, and the doctor has said, that for each eye one hundred thousand dollars will be required, then what will you do? He replied that what use is the money if I have no eyes I will pay ten hundred thousand instead of one for the sake of my eyes. Then the angle asked that if your tongue gets diseased and you can neither eat not talk, and the doctors say that ten hundred thousand dollars will be required then what will you do he answered that I will spend ten hundred thousand dollars for the sake of my tongue. Then he asked that what if your hands get diseased and the doctors say that to cure your hands one hundred thousand of dollars will be required then what will you do? To which he replied that there is no pleasure in life without hands, I will certainly pay one hundred thousand dollars. Then the angle said that what if your ears get infected and the doctors say that one hundred thousand dollars will be required for their cure than what will you do, the man replied that so what I will pay the money for the treatment of my ears. Then the angle asked that what if your feet get infected and the doctors demand two hundred thousand dollars for their treatment to which he replied that, so what I will pay two hundred thousand dollars. He kept asking of each and every part, and then calculated the total sum for all the parts of the body. Then the angle said, “Oh unfortunate (unlucky) person, why are you so ungrateful, you say that you have nothing, when each and every part of your body is worth millions of dollars. You are ready to spend so much on your eye and your tongue, what is it that you do not possess, when all parts of your body are healthy and well?”
Reason for Ungratefulness
Thus a man becomes grateful when he reflects over these things, if he does not reflect he does not pay thanks. But how is a man to reflect and ponder over these things? If a man looks only at those who are better than he is and who are more privileged (fortunate) than he is then, obviously he will not give thanks. But if he will look at those who are less privileged than him then he will give thanks and will be grateful of his blessings.
In the teachings of the Prophets and it is mentioned in the Holy books that, “Sit among the poor and keep in their company, in this way you will be grateful. But, if you look at the rich and the privileged only then you will not give thanks and will not be grateful.”
What are the good Habits?
Thanks giving and gratitude is one of the best of all good habits, which leads to wisdom and knowledge, this knowledge if it is about his Creator and this wisdom if it is about the cause of human creation then the human reflection is also rightly guided. If a man gets to know the cause of his creation and where is he to go after death, then with this knowledge, reflection and contemplation is guided towards the right path.
Closest person in Paradise to Prophet Jesus
This story is about, where Prophet Jesus meets a woman. Once, Prophet Jesus questioned his God, “O God who will be closest to me in Paradise?” To this God replied that there will be a certain woman with you in Paradise, her name is such and such and she lives in such and such city. Prophet Jesus questioned got curious about this woman to see who this particular woman is, who has been given an equal status as the Prophets. He wanted to go and see for himself that because of which act she has reached a status equal to the Prophets. Prophet Jesus questioned inquired from God if he could go and meet that woman, to which God assented (agreed). When Prophet Jesus questioned reached the village of that woman to meet her, he saw that there is a woman who is lying on an old and worn out mat. She is deprived of both her hands and feet, and the mosquitoes and flies are biting her, she is so helpless that she cannot even shun the flies away. But in that same position she is praying, “O my God, the way you have blessed me and the graces you have bestowed upon me, in the whole universe you have not blessed any one else in the same manner.” She said this though she had no hands and eyes, had no house and no money.
Prophet Jesus was surprised to see this, he went to the woman and said, “ My God grace you with peace” and the woman replied without seeing any thing and without her sense of sight, “May God have peace upon you O Prophet Jesus Soul of God ”. Prophet Jesus was again surprised as to how she could recognize him without looking at him, but he first questioned her, “O lady, you have said that you have been blessed by God with such benefits and grace which no one in the whole universe has been blessed. Though you neither have hands or feet, or eyesight, you are so helpless that you cannot even shun the flies off yourself? The woman replied that “O Jesus I am telling the truth that God has favoured me better than all the others in the whole universe.” Prophet Jesus said “O lady explain it to me so that I may understand, what special favour God has given you, though you have nothing special that I can see?” To this the woman replied,
“O Prophet Jesus, how better could God have graced me and favoured me than the fact that he has not given me those parts of the body from which a man might commit sin and evil deeds. Had God given me eyes then it is most likely that I would have committed an evil act, or an act, which was against the will of God. Then if God had given me hand then maybe I would have hurt somebody and robbed. God has not given me feet and if I had feet then maybe I would have trodden towards sin. God has not given me those body parts with which human beings commit sins and evil deeds; on the other hand God has given me a pure heart and has illuminated that pure heart with the light of His love. But God has given a tongue to converse with Him, and whenever I wish, I can talk to Him, and He has given me the ecstasy (delight) of prayer and I keep myself busy in the act of prayer and his remembrance.”
This is reflection and contemplation, which is attained after knowledge and wisdom, but not every person, is granted this reflection and as a result a man does not thank his God and is ungrateful, and as a result of this ungratefulness he is caught in mental restlessness and psychological uneasiness (discomfort).