Patience is a virtue

When I was at a clinic earlier in the week to get my medicine, we heard screams mixed with profanities from the matron’s office. This made us jump spontaneously and head to where the shouts were coming from, bearing in mind what was reported about healthcare providers being attacked while on duty.

I personally took a few steps towards an angry woman – she was so upset that I am sure she was not seeing or hearing anything at the moment. She was shaking so hard I was afraid she would pass out, but she finally calmed down, which allowed the matron to ask her about her complaint, and it did not take long to find out that the woman wanted to see the doctor and the nurse asked her to wait for her turn. This angered the woman, whose reaction was very “violent”, and I am sure she was not aware of what she was saying.

This is the nature of many of the human race – the lack of patience, although it is a virtue that all of us must try hard to have. We should take pause before reacting to anything. Anyhow, the woman, after calming down, insisted to apologize to the nurse.

I learned early on that to face difficult problems and complicated circumstances needs patience. Such situations may include perseverance in facing delays, being tolerant towards provocation without getting angry or forbearance when under strain, especially if problems persist for longer times. Patience is the level of endurance one can have before negativity.

The three heavenly religions addressed patience and paid special attention to it. The Talmud extols patience as an important personal trait, while in Christianity patience is one of the most valuable virtues of life.

Meanwhile, Islam considers patience (sabr) one of the best virtues of life. Muslims believe that with patience one can grow closer to God (Allah), and with it can reach true peace. It is also stressed that God is with those who are patient, more specifically during calamities and suffering. Several verses of the Holy Quran urge Muslims to seek Allah’s help when faced with fear and loss with patience, prayers and perseverance:

“Be sure We test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give good tidings to those who patiently persevere; who say, when afflicted with calamity ‘to Allah we belong and to Him is our return’.” – Quran (2:155-156)

Patience is also referred to in the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Sahih Al-Bukhari: Narrated Aisha (RA): I asked the Messenger of Allah about the plague. He said “that was a means of torture which Allah used to send upon whomsoever He wished, but He made it a source of mercy for the believers, for anyone who is residing in the town in which this disease is present, and remains there and does not leave that town, but has patience and hopes for Allah’s reward, and knows that nothing will befall him except what Allah has written for him, then he will get such reward as that of a martyr.”

With this I conclude and say — patience is a virtue!

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