Displaying patience when learning

As believers it is important of us to be aware of the etiquette and attitude that should be displayed in the process of learning.  We must acquire a special discipline in this process.  One of the etiquettes is demonstrating a lot of patience before speaking, asking questions or responding to others.  Don’t just open your mouth.  Be mindful and cautious.

Asking questions is not wrong when one sincerely wants to learn.  Allah encourages it.  He says in Surah Anbiyaa; “ask of those who possess the Message”.  But be mindful when asking questions especially to a learned person such as one’s Spiritual Teacher because it is possible that at that time you won’t have the capacity to understand.  You may not be capable of understanding the real spiritual meaning.  For example a lot of people ask the question ‘why stand for Tazeem?’  At this point in time they can’t understand the merit behind it, but Insha Allah through time will come wisdom.

A potent example of this given in the Qur’an is the encounter between Prophet Moses (as) and Hazrat Khdir.  Moses (as) wanted to know more about the truth, more than about creation.  Theologically Moses (as) was a learned person, but he wanted to acquire that knowledge that is beyond reason and logic.  So he set out on a spiritual journey to acquire this knowledge.

Allah guided him to Khdir.  Who was Khdir?  He is a personality Allah mentioned in the Qur’an.  Some say he was a Prophet of Allah, some say he was an angel, some say he was a wise servant of Allah who still functions today.  We can’t say because Allah didn’t give any details about this personality.  All that is recorded is “so they found one of Our servants whom We had mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our Own.”

Throughout their journey Moses (as) demonstrated his limited understanding by questioning Khdir on three separate occasions.  At that point in time he couldn’t see the purpose of Khdir’s actions.  And Khdir summed it up beautifully by asking Moses (as) the question prior to their journey “How can thou have patience about things which thy understanding is not complete?”

We see from this encounter the wisdom in bearing patience, especially when in the company of the learned.  Allah reinforces this in Surah Maidah;

“O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble”.  (5:101)

Continuously asking questions may make things a bit harder for you to understand, as was the case with the Jews.  When they were commanded to slaughter a cow they kept asking Moses (as) question after question and every time they got an answer the task became a little more difficult for them; until they were made to pay gold that equated the weight of a the cow.  This story is recorded in Surah Baqarah, verses 67-73.

Understand something very important; i.e. we do not know Allah’s plan.  Our knowledge and understanding is limited.  Don’t question Allah.  Don’t say why me! when you are faced with trials and tests.  Don’t question Allah’s work.  We don’t know what He has planned for us.  What we do know is that He loves us and He will take care of us.

Unfortunately, we don’t see believers behaving in this manner.  Sometimes we try to take matters into our own hands.  This lesson is really  important especially, when it comes to Spirituality.  If you are told to do something especially by a Sheikh you don’t question it.  There is wisdom and reason for it.

Those who are trying to get closer to Allah are careful and cautious when it comes to opening their mouths.  They remain silent and look on with the outlook that Allah will take care of the affairs of His servants.

Satan was so blessed that he was favoured with entry into paradise amongst the company of Angels, but he questioned Allah and look how far he fell.  The angels displayed their reservations when Allah announced to them that He was going to create man.  Thereafter when they were questioned they responded;

“Glory to Thee, of knowledge we have none, save what Thou hast taught us: in truth it is Thou Who Art Perfect In Knowledge and Wisdom”.  (2:32)

What Allah wants to happen will happen.  He knows what is best for us.  Our understanding is limited and short-sighted.  Put your faith and trust in Allah and He will take care of your affairs.

We beg Allah to make us from amongst those who will never question His Decisions and accept whatever He sends our way.  May He make the trials and tests easy and bearable and may He inculcate in us the ability to demonstrate patience when seeking knowledge and spiritual advancement.

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