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The science of patience (II)

These magnificent words, which flow from verse 63 to the end of the chapter, when put to use, would give the world absolute peace. We would be happy and stroll like angels on earth.

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Except that the words do not invite us to enact any angelic sacrifice. Rather, Allah commands us to do simple things such as:

– Praying for our offspring (verse 74)

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– When we meet naysayers, hecklers and the ignorant, we should say something peaceful to them and not engage them (verse 63)

– When you spend, don’t be stingy or extravagant (verse 67)

– Don’t give false evidence or engage in ill speech (verse 72)

– Don’t commit adultery or idolatry (68)

But the most important thing I want to point out here is that toward the end of these verses Allah says of the servants who follow these regulations: “Those will be awarded the Chamber for what they PATIENTLY endured, and they will be received therein with greetings and [words of] peace.”

We can learn two things here: one, you can’t be a good servant of Allah without having patience; two, the reward for patience is eternal peace.

Remember at the beginning of the description of the ibadurrahman, Allah says when they meet the ignorant, they bear them with a patient shrug and say words of peace?

“And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace.”

At the end of the description, Allah says words of peace would also be said to the patient fellows in Heaven, because they themselves used to say them on earth.

Science, however, is beginning to demonstrate that the patient will not only be rewarded in the hereafter, but also in this world.

The following is a discussion of the positive outcomes that are due to the patient one according to science.

In a 2007 study, Sarah A. Schnitker and Robert Emmons demonstrated that patient individuals had better mental health because they felt more abundance, experienced less depression, had fewer negative emotions and were more mindful and more connected to mankind.

Professor Terrie E. Moffitt, a psychological scientist at the Duke University believes that the developed world needs patience now as they needed education at the dawn of the 20th Century. She said this during her keynote speech at the inaugural International Convention of Psychological Science in Amsterdam.

In an ongoing longitudinal research since the 1970s, Moffitt and her colleagues measure different life outcomes of over 1,000 people from childhood (beginning at age 3) in the city of Dunedin in New Zealand.

Commenting on her study, PsychologicalScience.org reported:

“According to results, the participants who had measured the lowest on self-control [a measure of patience] in childhood scored the highest on various health problems by age 38, Moffitt reported.”

She also said that based on their biomarkers, those scoring lowest on self-control measure were one year older than their chronological age, while those with self-control were one year younger.

“So the two groups are about one-and-a-half years apart,” Moffitt said. “And we predict that this difference between them will widen as they continue to age.”

Moffitt also analyzed data on fraternal (not identical) twins from the U.K. and found that the twin who scored low on self-control as a child, had more behavioral, academic and occupational problems in secondary school.

“And that’s despite having grown up in the same home with the same parents, in the same neighborhood, in the same school, and in most cases in the same classroom,” Moffitt said. “So for this analysis it’s not merely the family into which you’re born that matters. It’s whether you’re able to develop self-control skills that counts, as well.”

The second kind of patience is the strength to bear daily hassles – such as a traffic gridlock – without losing your head.

Moffitt concluded by saying that “self-control has come to mean more today than it did in the past, and a person’s level of health [and] wealth now follows in part from the self-control skills they’re able to master as children.”

Yet, from the Islamic perspective, it is not now that self-control has come to mean so much. Everywhere you turn in the Qur’an Allah commands His servants to be patient so that they will be successful.

For example, the Qur’an clearly shows us how Allah prepared Prophet Muhammad (SAW) for the message in chapter 73.

To be continued next week. 

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(This is a chapter in the book “Social Science of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)” by Ibraheem Dooba)

If you are interested in being notified when the book is completed, please email Profbrainy@gmail.com

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