DAY 18. COVID-19 LOCKDOWN.
|The One who is the Fashioner and Former of each and every thing in all of creation. It is the One who has given everything in creation a special inclination of desire and a special form and a special manner whereby it is.
Patience is a Virtue
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
The tiger in its hunt is focused where the sinews are taught and in stealth he moves more silently than whispering winds, crouched between blades of grass, camouflaged by its coat, breathing what for him is like a zephyr on a hot summer’s day, his eyes fixed on its prey like a nail under a hammer and like a bolt of lightning it strikes on the spine of an unsuspecting prey – Dead! The symmetry of the tiger is glorified even in the taking of life and that is the design of Allah, the Fashioner. All Praise is due to Allah, the Majestic.
Today, the value of patience was made real in the observance of many of Allah’s creations from the little birds that sipped from the birdbath, from the ladybug that fell to the leaf below like a drop of water and to the jumping of the cat over the wall. It was my recollection of the poem, Tyger by William Blake that inspired me to reflect on patience as a virtue in ones character but, fashioned by Allah, the Patient. The tiger is a majestic creature and its poise, grace, stealth, design, symmetry, jawline, piercing eyes and striped coat is for me the personification of patience. Patience, a quality we want but, within reach of those who are willing to focus.
When I observe the tiger walking it is as if the black stripes are writing the text of its hunt and its paws in the snow are the full stops of every finished action like a completed sentence. The sheer movement of the coat is the gloss of punctuation perfecting sentence construction and its grace of action is like the grammar that refines and perfects speech. The opening of its jaws gives its the exclamation of having a presence of awe and the fangs draw questions of survival and the eyes are the cover of a book that entices an urgency to read. Never rushed is a novel well read because a discerning reader is patient enough to savour on every word and so too, the tiger’s every breath is patiently absorbed and every movement personifies patience. Man, as the best of creation, feigns patience because he learnt what it is, but practiced too little to personify it.
Patience is a virtue!
COVID-19 is here to teach us patience. These days are such that we can give into despair, conspiracy theories, hours on Netflix, even more on Instagram and sleeping for hours on end. These habits do not help in establishing patience rather, it works to engender laziness and a goalless life. The furore over the closure of liquor stores and shabeens in South Africa illustrated to us the impatience of society and its incongruent hierarchy of needs. When I look at the tiger it is in sync with its environment and can adapt when necessary. The tiger is not getting up just for the fun of chasing a meek little creature around. No! The tiger does not waste its time but, conserves his energy for a major showdown leading to a meal he will devour enough for the day uncrushed.
Observe man. Each day is a rush even with all the time on hand under the LOCKDOWN. Eating is has become a pastime for us who have ample to eat. Furthermore, our eating habits have been turned upside down and therefore, digestion has become a problem because every action has become tainted with impatience. The movie beckons, so we eat as quickly as possible, social media entices so we eat to post our snapping jaws, TIKTOC videos a calling so we ‘cartoonise’ our lives and the cellphone gives us solitary confinement in a full house. Really, this is our lives in the main so patience is like a beggar at the door waiting to be invited in and not given a morsel for an easy exit.
I then read the news on the ravages of war in Syria and Yemen only to understand their patience. Squalor, deprivation, lack of sanitation, flimsy tents, makeshift shelters, icy winds, scant clothing and absolute shortage of food makes you want to cry but, for them they embrace the tightening hardship with grit, a smile and a prayer. News has never reported suicides in these huge sprawling refugee camps save that they repeated the episode of the peoples suffering which we have become numb too. The patience of the people in Gaza and Occupied Palestine gives you the chill because they look into haunting oppression everyday without fear and they cherish life. Guantanamo Bay’s orange clad prisoners bear all the misery with patience such that many of not all memorised the Holy Quran and its difficult to fathom of patience of the skeletal mother’s embrace of her birdlike baby dying of starvation in the remote arid land of Africa. These stark images plague the mind, softens the heart and knocks on the soul for a response. The soul is restless because it does not have the patience to see it all with the inner eye of faith which, given the chance to speak will say, “
واصبر وما صبرك إلا بالله
“And be patient for your patience is but by Allah…” [an-Nahl 16:127]
واصبر لحكم ربك
” Await in patience the command of your Lord…” [at-tur 52:48].
Allah as the Fashioner gave Patience its virtue within the realm of trials and tribulations and fashioned it to be a quality deep within the heart of man. It does not rest on the tongue nor does it float in the mind like a figment of the imagination. Its deep with the boneless flesh – the heart! If the heart is restful, pure, clean and attached to Allah then the whole body is an epitome of serenity, grace and spiritual symmetry. If not. Alas! the whole body is a conundrum of worry, anxiety and disbelief.
The prime example of patience is codified in Nabi Muhammad (s) and to cite the incident of Taif is paramount here.
Abu Talib and Bibi Khadija (RA.) were the main supporters of the Prophet Mohammed It was so destined that they passed away within a few days of each other, leaving the Prophet Mohammed to lament the bereavement. Prophet Mohammed had lost a caring uncle and a loving wife. The enemies were now relieved, because Abu Talib was no more to protect. A few days after Abu Talib's death, when the Prophet Mohammed was once passing through a lane, a woman emptied her garbage from a window upon his head. He returned home with his head soiled. His young daughter Fatimah sat beside him, consoling and washing off the dirt. As things became intolerable in Makkah, the Prophet Mohammed decided to move to Taif where he thought he would convey the message of Allah to the tribe of Thaqeef. Taif was known for its pleasant climate and beautiful scenery. The Prophet Mohammed knew very well that people at Taif were no different from Makkans. They also worshipped idols and were in constant contact with the people in Makkah. But he did not despair. As he entered Taif, and proclaimed his prophet hood, people jeered at him. One said: "God did not find anyone else for His message except you?" Another said: "I must be naive or a thief if I believed you to be a prophet." And so it went on. Then in order to prevent him from preaching Islam, people of Taif set a group of children and vagabonds behind him. They pestered him and threw stones at him. Tired, forsaken and wounded, he sought refuge in a nearby garden. It belonged to 'Utbah and Shayba Ibn Rabi'a sent, two wealthy chiefs of Quraish. They were both there when the Prophet Mohammed entered and sat under a distant tree. He was alone. Then he raised his face towards heaven and prayed: "O Allah! I raise unto you my complaint for my weakness, my helplessness, and for the ridicule to which I have been subjected. O Merciful of all the Mercifuls! You are the Master of all oppressed people, You are my God! So to whom would You consign me? To the strangers who would ill-treat me, or to the enemies who have an upper hand over me? If whatever has befallen me is not because of Your wrath, then I fear not. No doubt, the field of Your security and care is wide enough for me. I seek refuge in Your light which illuminates darkness and straightens the affairs of this world and hereafter, that Your displeasure and wrath may not descend upon me. For the sake of Your pleasure, I remain pleased and resigned to my fate. No change in this world occurs without Your Will. " The Heavens were moved by the prayer and Jibrail (AS) appeared before Muhammad , greeting him with Assalamu'alaikum and said, "Allah knows all that has passed between you and these people. He has deputed an angel in charge of the mountains to be at your command." Saying this, Jibrail (AS) ushered the angel before the Prophet The angel greeted him and said, "O, Prophet of Allah! I am at your service. If you wish, I can cause the mountains overlooking this town on both sides to collide with each other, so that all the people therein would be crushed to death, or you may suggest any other punishment for them." Muhammad said, "Even if these people do not accept Islam, I do hope from Allah that there will be persons from amongtheir progeny who would worship Allah and serve His cause." Written By: Muhammad Tazoar Ahsan Miaze Phone: +8801674711532 Email: email@example.com
The above encapsulates the deep patience of the great man, Nabi Muhamad (s) in that only a man possessing the quintessence of patience would be able to collect his thoughts, restrain his anger, relax his sinews, suppress his emotions, drive the evil prompting of the ego away, guard the tongue from cursing, stop the mind from careless imagination of divine wrath and to control breathing like a pearls dropping softly into a silent pool making sounds that soothes the body into a calmness caressed by angels which then ushers in a meditative silence.
Please think on the supreme quality of Nabi Muhammad (s)’s patience. In that pain and agony which he describes as one of terrible incidents in his life, he has the sublime patience to settle his mind and make a profound prayer that is well worded and phrased, acknowledging what he feels are his shortcomings (Nabi Muhammad had none) clarifying for himself his steadfastness in his mission, his sincere belief in Allah and his fortitude in continuing his mission until Allah, the High the Magnificent is pleased.
Really, take time to read the prayer and then his response to Jibrail (a.s) tells you of a man whose patience was so profound that it confirmed him to be a mercy to all mankind. Yes, Nabi Muhammad (s) is a mercy to all mankind because his patience was so filtered and purified that he looked into the future and wanted mankind to be saved from the hellfire. The Creator of the tiger whose symmetry is magnificent is also the Creator of Nabi Muhammad (s) whose presence on the earth marked it with patience so that you and I can find peace to learn patience.