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Surely in that are signs for all who are greatly patient and... (Ibrāhīm 14:5)

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Sūrah Ibrāhīm (Abraham)

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إِنَّ فِي ذَ‌ٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَكُورٍ
Surely in that are signs for all who are greatly patient and persevering (in God’s cause) and greatly thankful (to God). (Ibrāhīm 14:5)

There are four verses in the Qur’ān which end with the same conclu-sions as above: Sūrah Ibrāhīm 14:5, Sūrah Luqmān 31:31, Sūrah Saba’ 34:19, and Sūratu’sh-Shūrā 42:33. When we look at these verses within their own particular contexts, we see that they come after enumerating different bounties of God on people.

As also stated in many verses of the Qur’ān, God’s bounties on human beings are too many to count. However, human beings, who grow up in the embrace of these bounties and are attached to their bodily desires, can realize their value and importance only after they have lost them. What is required of them, however, is appreciation of these bounties when they are at hand and gratitude to God with all our faculties. When they are taken out of our hands for different reasons, we should become factories of patience as required by our servanthood. Saying, “Your favor or deprivation: both are the same for us!”, we should never act in opposition to servanthood. We should be referents of the following hadīth: “The state of a believer is amazing: When an affliction visits him, he shows patience and perseveres—this is good for him. And, when he receives a favor, he becomes grateful, and this is good for him as well.”[1]

In the verse under discussion, the Qur’ān does not use the words “patient and persevering” but “greatly patient and persevering;” and not “thankful” but “greatly thankful.” This is because whatever God grants is great. What bounty of His can we see as small? Are our five fingers small bounties? Is the salivary gland in our mouths of little importance? Are the bounties enumerated in the verses mentioned—the floating of ships on the sea, air, water, life, or faith—which is little or minor? There is no bounty that we can belittle. Therefore, every bounty demands great gratitude. And, God wants us to show great patience when any of the bounties are taken away from us as a trial. An example of this is the patience of Prophet Job, upon him be peace. Bediüzzaman Said Nursi calls him “The Hero of Patience.” He never changed his attitude although he was afflicted with numerous wounds for long years and lost his household and every worldly thing he possessed.

Additionally, heroes of “will-power and knowledge of God,” whose faith has generated patience, are not panicked and do not become hopeless even in the face of the greatest hardships and calamities because they know the wisdom in them. Considering that every evil may have an aspect of good or result in good, they not only show patience but also their hearts beat with thankfulness.

Consciousness of patience and gratitude depends on the degree of one’s faith and knowledge of God and is proportionate to one’s conscious-ness of duty and responsibility. For instance, while the one (Prophet Moses, upon him be peace) who was ordered, “Lead your people from all kinds of darkness into the light” (Ibrāhīm 14:5), would experience the patience and thankfulness of being charged with leading a community from layers of darkness into the light, the one (Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings) who was addressed, “so that you may lead humankind, out of all kinds of darkness into the light” (Ibrāhīm 14:1), would experience them according to his charge of leading all humankind from layers of darkness into the light.

[1] Muslim, Zuhd, 64; Dārimī, Riqāq, 61; Musnad Ahmad, 5/24.