God is with those who Patiently Wait
We’re always in a hurry, rushing from one meeting to another. One playdate to another. One phase of life to another. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? We all read it as kids, or at least we all know the famous refrain, “slow and steady wins the race.”
But no matter how much we try to teach ourselves through experience or stories that we’re better off taking small, calculated steps to reach our goals, Allah (swt) says about us, “Man was created of haste.”
We feed off of haste. We are addicted to haste – we want everything to be instant, to be at our fingertips. We want our knowledge to expand the first day we sit in a classroom. We want our bank accounts to overflow the first day we think of a brilliant new business plan. We want our kids to learn the best behaviour the moment they are born. We want results, and we want them now.
“Man was created of haste. I will show you My signs, so do not impatiently urge Me” (21:37).
We aren’t alone in wanting to see results or wanting to know when relief will come to us after difficulty. We aren’t the first people to be desperate for change. It happened to the companions of the Prophet (saw) when they asked him to pray for their relief from persecution. He replied by telling them there were believers before them who faced much more difficult trials…“But you (people) are hasty.”
One of the most difficult things is waiting. Just waiting. Waiting for a phone call about a job you really want, waiting for your heart to heal after it’s wounded, waiting to get pregnant after you’re married, waiting for your “lucky break” or your business to take off. Whatever it is you’re waiting for, the very act of waiting is difficult.
But there is a kind of self-discipline involved in patiently waiting for a result – a self-discipline that elevates the status of our souls and that strengthens us for whatever will come our way in this world.
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, “The dua of any worshipper will continue to be responded to, as long as he does not ask for a sin or breaking the ties of kinship, and as long as he is not hasty.” (i.e. as long as he does not become impatient.)
Imagine the elevated status of someone who patiently waits through heartbreak or pain or longing, asking Allah to bring relief, asking Allah to provide sustenance. Then he or she gets up and works hard to heal, to earn his or her way to paradise. And this person waits, no matter how difficult the waiting can be, because he or she understands that what will come after will be worth it.
Imagine the status of someone like this – not because he or she is particularly knowledgeable or extraordinarily generous – but because this person patiently waits. And Allah says He is with those who are patient, those who battle against the most base characteristic of wanting immediate results.
We were created in haste, wanting to know more than we can and to move faster than we’re able. To battle our nature is to understand that patience bears a kind of fruit that is unexpectedly sweet. Musa (as) advised his nation, “Seek help through Allah and be patient. Indeed, the earth belongs to Allah. He causes to inherit it whom He wills of His servants. And the [best] outcome is for the righteous” (7:128).
We are witnesses to the beautiful things that happen all over the world when time and effort are put in. Great masterpieces are created, towering buildings are erected, societies progress piece by piece. Thus we know that it is the patient, consistent, steadfast human being that receives worldly results.
And it is also the patient, consistent, steadfast worshiper that receives Allah’s Mercy.
May Allah (swt) grant us the ability to be patient with ourselves, with our children, and with His decree.