The Patience of Ayyub (a.s.) vis-à-vis the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) Patience
The word ‘patience’ is at the very least uttered by the literate populace of society. From the dawn of realization to the last breath, patience acts as a soothing balm on the wounds of the heart. Everyone knows this doctor but nobody recognizes him. Everybody is familiar with it yet it lingers in the pale of unawareness. Here patience signifies the act which works towards the satisfaction of Allah (Blessed and High be He). It denotes the patience that elevates the being of man to a higher plane, gives proof of his being immortal and brings him closer to Allah. Patience, despite having a non vocal existence, attracts the attention of all of Allah’s creation with its eloquence. Patience is a condition manifested in a person on his progress to perfection. But, its effects and benefits envelop the universe when it progresses to a pinnacle where patience itself is proud of the patient one.
Patience is the collective elucidation of existential elements like perseverance, strength of character, good nature, will power, firm beliefs, high morals and the determination to struggle. This is illustrated by the saying of the Master of the Pious Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) that man may appear to be insignificant but encloses a universe within himself. When man, with the power of patience and forbearance, sidesteps the intricate universal web of political deception, he tears down the trap set up by the regimes and annihilates the deviating schemes of false propagation. As he pays attention to his own being elevating himself in stages towards nearness to God, he then breathes in an environment where he feels the Power of Allah (Blessed and High Be He) is alongside him. Hence the words of the Elevated Creator:
“Surely Allah is with the patient ones.”
The Holy Quran announces at another place:
“So be patient, and you cannot be patient except with Allah’s (help).”
(Surah Nahl (16): Verse 127)
Allah continues in the above verse ‘And do not grieve for them’ and then states:
‘Nor be upset by their guile.’
On the one hand, Allah – the High – advises and encourages the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in this verse to exercise patience. On the other, He empathizes with him, articulating neither to grieve for those people nor be upset over their planning.
So, here are numerous minds working in unison with machinations of concealment and preparing secret plans. The objective is to create towering difficulties for the aim of Prophethood. While the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), with great forbearance and despite knowing everything, does not reduce his remembrance of the Lord’s bounties.
Who can determine the eloquence of the Divine Word?
The verse on one side, describes clearly the situation faced by the Messengers and Prophets (a.s.) while nations never forgo their deception and cunning. The plants of knowledge and prophecy bloom on the other side, for the Messenger of the last age has to complete his proof and argument. Thus, the act of patience is required in the propagation of the message. Consequently, Allah (the High) has addressed the Prophet’s nation thus: ‘And seek assistance through patience’. Forging ahead with patience for a companion is the core of Allah’s satisfaction.
The writer wishes to the draw the attention of the readers to the radiant creation of the Infallibles (a.s.). Their pure life in this world uncovers the fact that we, the (Muslim) nation are different from the bearers of the position of communication and elucidation of the Prophetic message even though they are in an earthly shape and live, laugh and cry like us. Being happy and sad, like us. Resembling us, they sleep and awaken, living alongside us, conversing in similar manner. The difference is that their relations with the inhabitants of the heavens are continuous and established. Their worries and grief, happiness and satisfaction remain the same after their passing away as it was when they were alive. Therefore, reflecting on the innumerable traditions, we observe that when Imam Husain (a.s.) was martyred, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) appeared in the dreams of his companions and of the Mother of the faithful, Janabe Umme Salmah complaining: ‘My Husain (a.s.) has been brutally martyred in the blazing desert sands of Karbala, while he was hungry and thirsty for three days.’ His condition betrayed his anguish; no amaamah on his head, bare-footed, sleeves rolled up, dust of Karbala on his head and the blood of Husain (a.s.) on his face!!
The question that arises here is that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) who exercised unimaginable patience in his chaste life, that he (s.a.w.a.) himself says: I have endured the same amount of difficulties as suffered collectively by all the Messengers (a.s.). When the people of Makkah proposed: O Muhammad! We are ready to give whatever you desire to forsake spreading your message, he (s.a.w.a.) replied: Even if you place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, I will not turn away from its propagation. This firmness and determination points towards the status of ‘patience’ of the Seal of Messengers (s.a.w.a.), which cannot be comprehended by human thought, however sharp it maybe. The people staying in the land were unaware that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had suffered far more in Madinah than in Makkah, specifically during the latter part of his holy life and had to bear patiently even after his death.
Let’s revert to the verse. Weighing the divine promise in the scale of today or tomorrow would not behove intelligent men. When the verse was revealed, it covers not only the present for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) but he bears witness to events and calamities until the Day of Judgment. The depth of patience required for this cannot be gauged except by the Imams (a.s.) or those who have through association with them, been enlightened on some aspects of things to come. This is a place for reflection. Allah, Blessed and High, Creator of space and time, the All Powerful, despite his absolute authority advises the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) ‘do not grieve’. The advice is not limited to patience but informs that Allah knows their plans. Other the other hand, the addressee is the one whom He has appointed to the status of Prophethood and fixed him as the fountainhead of purifying the selves by the recitation of His verses and gifted him the knowledge of the Book and wisdom.
Can the verse whose soul is ‘patience’ be confined to the present? No, the duration of this verse reaches the dawn of reappearance of the last Imam (a.s.). Hence, when Yahya, the brother of Amr-e-Aas along with Abdullah Ibn Ja’far, met Imam Husain (a.s.) to request his return to Madinah when the latter had decided on his journey to Iraq. Imam (a.s.) replied:
Brother! Last night, I dreamt of my grandfather, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). I will go ahead.
Then added to Janabe Abdullah:
I cannot describe the dream further. It is a secret that can be disclosed only in front of Allah (on the Day of Reckoning).
The caravan of Imam Husain (a.s.) entered Karbala. Sentries were placed upon the banks of Euphrates. The day of Aashura dawned with its tribulations, heat, hunger and thirst. The war started. Hurr, Habib, Zuhair, all were martyred. The youth of Bani Hashim came forward. The grandson of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) removed the lance from the chest of his son Ali Akbar (a.s.). He saw his youthful son rubbing his heels vigorously in the dust, breathing his last. He saw the standard of Abbas (a.s.) falling. He lifted the severed arms of the martyred lion back to the tent. He witnessed the piercing of Hurmala’s arrow into the tender neck of the six-month old Ali Asgar (a.s.). Imam Husain (a.s.) then fought alone. His body suspended upon arrows and finally, the dull blade of Shimr (may Allah curse him)…
Imam Husain (a.s.) was bowed in prostration. The knife moved and his blessed severed head was held aloft on a spear. His sister stood on a hillock, watching everything helplessly.
The patience of Imam Husain (a.s.), the patience of Janabe Zainab (s.a.) is beckoning. The Almighty Allah had said a long time ago:
(O my patient friend, O my extraordinary servant) ‘and be patient and your patience is not but by (the assistance of) Allah. And grieve not for them’.
Today grief, pain, tears and anxiety of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) have slowly built up to a stage which leads to the exposition of the verse. The slanderers lie about the battle of Imam of Husain (a.s.) being a political war for cheap publicity or to boost their own stature as scholars. They try to hide its character-molding reality. Nor do they ponder over the patience shown by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on the martyrdom of his grandson which he will continue to exercise till the advent of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). This has deprived them of intercession on the Day of Judgment.
O My Lord! O the Lord of Husain (a.s.)! Even now, your Prophet (s.a.w.a.) endures the hurt which descends upon the lovers of his grandson in a downpour of difficulties. They are also pained at the hands of dishonest propaganda but have to be patient. If the reappearance of your grandson Hujjat Ibn al-Hasan (a.s.) is hastened and the dawn is filled with the fragrance of his advent, only then can your nation breathe a sigh of relief under the flag of one whose name itself inspires the spring (of happiness). The period of sorrow and suffering of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would end.
May Allah introduce us to the spiritual condition, blessing and mercy of patience and hasten the reappearance of our Imam (a.t.f.s.). Aameen!