The Prophet, may Allah continue to nourish his soul and our connection to him, taught us that the two highest virtues a person can possess are a positive perspective of God, and a positive perspective of people.
Having a positive perspective of God means having high expectations of the good He is going to give you, and of things working out even better than you could have imagined.
This is key. It entails recognizing that God knows what good is, for you. So when things don’t seem to be going well, it is important to recall the fact that only God knows what is best for us.
The second important factor is to have patience. It will help you maintain your state of positivity through thick and thin, it will be what you use to put a hold on judging a situation as negative, sinking into despair, and letting go of your good state of gratititude.
When you live in a state of positivity towards God, your life path unfolds in the most marvelous of ways. You go through a door, and find yourself in a room full of delights and wonders; you thank for this, and are led through a door into another room, even more marvelous than the last! You thank for this, and you are led through a door into yet another room, more satisfying and beautiful than the last, and so it continues!
You thank for one experience, and God blesses you with an even greater one, just as He promised in Quran: if you are grateful, I will increase My blessing upon you.
But what happens if you come to a door and find yourself in a room that is unfamiliar, dark, hard to navigate – totally unlike the rest? Do you start to wonder if your gratitude was just a magic charm, and now it’s run out? Do you wonder if your good luck ended? Do you start to think you were you a fool all this time to believe you could trust God and His Grace? Do you start to feel you were wrong all along and you should you just get real and lower your expectations?
With patience, none of these thoughts have room to enter. This is the beauty of patience. It creates a space inside you to accept the space you are in, outwardly. Patience does this by allowing you to put the monkey mind in pause mode. When you are patient, you are deliberately stopping yourself from reacting and getting embroiled in emotions. We call a person who is not responding to a situation that would anger another, patient. We call a person who never complains patient. That is a big part of patience – to not allow yourself to get drawn into the negativity you would normally jump into.
With patience, instead of panicking at the darkness in the room, or becoming angry, you are creating a space of non-jugmentalism of the situation, inside you. With this state of inner quietness, you will be able to hold onto the notion that it is God Who is the only Judge; and only He knows what is good or bad. You will also be able to hold onto the trust in God: that He always brings to us what is good for us.
With this inner peacefulness, you will come to understand this new experience in this dark room. You will be able to realize that though at first this space you are in seems unlike the others you have enjoyed in your life, it is not cause to give up on being grateful and seeing God positively. You will also start to notice that it’s not all dark. That somehow, you can see. You can make your way through it.
Never be willing to give up on gratitude and throw out a good perspective that you had of God, just because an experience is unintelligible to you and seems to break the pattern of good that you have experienced thus far. Don’t allow your entire view of God to be thrown into question so easily! Use the tool of patience to remain steady and hang onto your positive perspective and gratitude. Patience is the rope that will tie these priceless virtues to you and not let them run away.
With patience, before you know it, time will pass and you will discover that even that room which you thought was a negative place was in fact, like all the others you previously enjoyed and thanked for, actually a positive space and the best thing that happened to you. At that very moment, when you have made peace with the room you are in and found yourself thankful for it, you will be able to move through the door that leads to the next room – which will likely be one of great comfort and ease.
Inna ma’ al Usri Yussra
(truly with every difficulty, there is ease)
So this is for everyone who says: I used to have a positive perspective of God but then x happened. Don’t let x mark the spot of letting go!
Patience is the missing ingredient – it is a necessary tool for times of challenge.
Now you have three necessary ingredients for a happy life: a positive perspective of God, expression of that positivity through gratitude, and patience for the times when the situation seems hard to view as positive.
May God bless each and every traveler and equip us all with these wonderful tools for a safe passage!