The Zahuri Sufi Web Site: Lectures

Let me extend to you a warm welcome and request you to sit with me at the table,
where are served Joy and Suffering, where toasts are proposed, where after dinner
speeches are made and where human destiny is discussed.

I with you all joy and wish you to achieve all the good things of life, which you
want to achieve, in the, short span of life granted to us.

But, the question is, what you wish and what you want to get, or what you want to

To get is easy.
To achieve is a little difficult.

To get requires little or no labour. It may drop in your lap like a ripe fruit, at any
time, when you are sitting underneath a tree bearing ripe fruits.

But it is otherwise with achievement. To achieve means to work, to watch and wait.
How many are willing and prepared to work assiduously, watch continuously and
wait hopefully?

The crux of the matter is that we are living in an age of hurry, we want quick
results. It is not surprising if hurry gives worry.

Hurry is the negation of wisdom.

In the battlefield of life there are more casualties than anywhere else. In order to
take refuge an individual takes different directions and resorts to different pursuits.
In modern times, self-aggrandisement is considered better than self control.
The age of anarchy has set in. The defiance of vice is treated as a futile effort.
Modern society has given a subordinate place to virtue. It considers that virtue has
outlived its utility. In our social framework, more emphasis is laid on material

The problem is the lack of character but building. Want of stability in character is
responsible for many of the ills with which our-present day society suffers.
To take virtue as a guide and to act - according to the dictates of virtue is to act
according to-the laws of wisdom.

It is to live and to act as wisdom directs.

The real worth of a man is not judged by his possessions. He may be rich. He may
be a storehouse of knowledge. He may be popular. He may be famous.

All these things do not- confer upon him dignity if he lacks character.
Commendation or admonition does not make a man better.

Wealth is not lasting.
Popularity is vanishing.
Fame is a mere pageant.
Knowledge demands right use.

A man is best judged when he is involved in some trouble or when he is seized by
some misfortune. How he acts then, in the given situation, is the measuring rod. By
moaning and groaning he adds to his misery. The solution lies in patience.
Why not try patience?

Why not give it an opportunity to prove its intrinsic worth?

Many have drawn themselves towards patience in the time of affliction and they
felt satisfied with its working. If we try it, I am sure we will be benefited by it.
Patience is a virtue born of wisdom. Patience is the child of self-control. But what
is patience?

Patience may be defined as the infinite capacity endure pain, suffering, grief, loss
and destruction without murmur, grudge, complaint, without sob and sigh and
without tears.
Patience is a wonder working virtue.

Its basic and essential nature remains the same under all conditions.

There are four cardinal virtues, namely, justice, wisdom, courage and self-control.
Of the theological virtues of faith, hope and love, it can be said that each one of
them is like a polar star.

Patience combines in itself the virtues of wisdom, courage, and self-control on the
one hand, and the three theological virtues on the other.

Wisdom implies discrimination and adopting a course of action in the right

Courage may be active or courage may be passive. Active courage is an
inducement to perform something, and in doing so, to face and rise up to
intimidation, coercion, threat, pain and trouble. In other words, it is to patiently
persevere and to move on, forward and upward.

Passive courage is to bear hardship, pain or suffering, which is unavoidable, and
never to lose serenity of mind. Physical courage is to be indifferent to pain and to
be insensitive to fear.

Moral courage insists on taking a right course, being aware of the fact that pain and
hardship will have to be faced in the pursuit of the course of action one has
earmarked for oneself.

Temperance is another virtue which resists all temptations to pleasure. The Greeks
acted on the dictum:

Nothing too much.

Temperance calls for self control, and self control implies patience and
A man is rich or poor not by the wealth that he possesses or the lack of wealth, that
which is denied to him, but he is judged by the degree or intensity of the power of
patience, perseverance and endurance.

Suffering is the lot of man. Is there any person in the world who may validly claim
that he has not undergone suffering in one way or the other? Is there any man on
earth who has not suffered any loss? Is there any man who has no experience of
grief? Is there any man who can say he has achieved all his aims and objects, and
realised, in full measure all his ambitions, aspirations and desires? Is there any man
who has not uttered in despair "might have been`? Is there any man, who has not
undergone sickness, illness, or some other malady? Is there any man, who has not
witnessed some calamity, like flood famine, fire or earthquake. If there be any such
man let him come forward.

There are men, who have suffered but, who have not been cowed down by
suffering. They kept their buoyant spirit even when entangled in suffering. There
are men who have experienced grief, but their grief could not move them. There are
men, who have suffered loss in business, but their loss was compensated by their
spirit of resignation. There are men who have undergone privation, poverty, penury
illness, sickness, and affliction, but they exhibited a marvelous trait of character
and did not allow their serenity and tranquillity to be disturbed.

If they narrate their experience, it will be a strange story of success secured by
their spirit of patience, perseverance and persistence. One thing, I am sure, will be
common among them all. It is their unshaken faith that "it is all for the best." It is
all for their own good. It is all to make them strong, and of stable mind, and of deep
emotions, and to make them firm like a rock.

Joy and sorrow are two emotions, which give strength and weakness to the body
respectively. Hope and fear are inter linked with sorrow. Fear implies sorrow.
Hope can not be separated from, fear. Love and pain depict joy and sorrow

It is patience which teaches us the invaluable lesson, to suffer and to be strong.
Success, without patience, is a distant goal, or we may say a mere dream.
Those who have no patience are to be pitied.

Hurry is the enemy of patience.
Hurry is in fact the foster child of Satan.

To demand quick results shows the immaturity of mind and the latent incapacity
for sustained labour.

How foolish the man who wants his wounds to be healed within a few hours? How
unwise is the man who sows the seed and wants to reap the crop the next morning.
How imprudent is the sick person., who wants to be cured of a fatal disease
without any loss of time. How unwise are the parents, who want their child to take
his postgraduate degree the day after his admission in a primary school.

Life need not be like a noisy stream which attracts attention by its noise, but which
is in fact, neither useful nor helpful. And, neither should life he like a stagnant pool
which has no direction, depth or motion. Then what should life be like?

Life need not be stagnant. It should be like a river, which is neither boisterous nor
noisy, but which is useful for fields and farmers.

If we read the lives of the mystics we will find that their life was an epitome and an
epitaph of continuous search for human welfare and the advancement of human
happiness. In the hour of trial and in moments of sorrow, suffering, disappointment,
despondency, dejection, destruction, persecution, harassment and embarrassment,
they remained peaceful, calm and collected, and drew renewed vigour, spiritual
force, and strength from patience. They took suffering as a passing phase. They
believed and held firmly that after every hardship and suffering, relief must come.
The fact is, that in the school of life, the book entitled "Suffering" is a prescribed
text for intensive study. When one comes to understand the philosophy behind
suffering one invariably comes to the conclusion that suffering is not a thing to be
detested. Suffering is for our own good. Suffering is in fact a salutary discipline.

A tree unless it is trimmed and pruned does not look majestic and beautiful.
A lawn unless the grass is cut, remains a rough spot.
A diamond, unless it is cut, has no lustre and brightness.
An incense stick, unless it is burnt, does not give fragrance.
Coal is black, but when put in a fire, it becomes white.
Rain comes from dark clouds.

A wise man is one who combines activity with patience and perseverance.
An intelligent man is one who is not influenced and affected by the external
circumstances, come what may.

Wisdom comes from self introspection.
Enlightenment comes from self-realisation.
We learn more by suggestion.

Suffering is also a suggestion. This suggestion is advanced to those whom God
wants to mould and equip and prepare for higher, nobler, and better ends.

To overcome misery, defeat, frustration and, destruction, we should seek the help
of patience.

Patience is the armour of man.
Wisdom is the gift given to man.
Love is. the hallmark of man.
Knowledge is the sceptre of man.
Self- control is the test of man.
Perseverance is the test of man.
Persistence is the triumph of man

It is said that patience is bitter but its fruits are sweet.

It is given in the Qur'an that God is with those who undergo patience.

Patience has a reformatory influence on man. It rescues a person from envy,
jealousy, pride, temptation, anger, inner conflict and tension. It removes obstacles
to a better and happier life. It lends new dimensions to life. Its role in moulding
character and its insistence on strengthening the will need no elucidation.

It is patience, perseverance, persistence and audacity that remove hindrances from
the path, leading to success.

Patience is strength which defies all hardships.

To be a genius, one should have patience and perseverance in ample measure.
Patience promotes the purification of character. It lends beauty, gentleness, and
sweetness to life. It goes to a sick man to give a word of comfort and cheer. It goes
to a bereaved family to console.

It secures rare sweet beauty.

Patience teaches humility. Its one lesson is that, suffering is meant for purification.
It is, like pruning a tree, in order to make it beautiful.

Patience lends beauty, grace, and sublimity to life. Inner strength and nobleness
receive sustenance from patience.

To understand the 'cause' or purpose of suffering, in whatever shape it may come
or however it may visit, requires insight. By patience and perseverance, the
sufferer comes to realise that, the experience of suffering gives variety to life and
is meant to strengthen his character.

The tests, trials, and tribulations call for patience. Patience is strengthened by
experience. And experience depends upon hope for its survival.

Suffering, without patience remains suffering. But once the ointment of patience is
applied then suffering, instead of decaying, destroying and defacing the beauty and
serenity of life, moulds and shapes the life, as a potter moulds clay to make pots.
Not to be patient is not to rise up to the situation in which a person. finds himself

Impatience, generated by certain factors, under certain conditions, gives sustenance
to tension and inner conflict.

Impatience is weakness of character. It is the negation of all that is true beautiful
and noble.Impatience is the result of the loss of faith. When interior realities like
faith are lost then everything is lost. Life becomes like a floating vessel, which is at
the mercy of waves. Impatience is the mistress of restless agitation. Impatience
leads to the fragmentation of life.

Haste and hurry nourish and sustain impatience.

Sometimes it so happens that spiritual depression leads to the loss of patience in a
given situation. Spiritual depression may be due to a melancholy or a gloomy
temperament, which has allowed pessimism to enter life. It may be due, also, to
persistent affliction or trial or tribulation, resulting in the loss of the power of

Sometimes sickness makes a person impatient. Prolonged treatment means
prolonged despondency.

In some cases, it so happens, that repeated troubles and continuous tests deprive
life of sweetness, harmony and hope. Life looks tiresome because the heart has
become sick, as the misfortune has thrown it out of the, nest of peace.

Mental confusion is also responsible in a way for the loss of the spirit of bearing
hardship, without murmur, which is called patience.

Sometimes needless argument and questions create mental confusion, depriving a
person of patience. A question which receives no satisfactory answer leaves a
doubt in the mind. Doubt is the enemy of faith which gives sustenance to patience
and keeps it vibrant, alive and active.

The question now arises as to how to acquire or imbibe the spirit of patience. To
exhibit patience is to rely upon Divine Grace. Patience is the manifestation of
indifference to pain, suffering, sickness, bereavement, trials, and tribulations.

To cultivate the spirit of patience is to acquire the inestimable virtue of optimism.
It is to convince oneself that, when joy does not last long, suffering cannot last long
either. It will go-back to its dwelling.

The one who has sent suffering for our test will also remove suffering from our path
Patience calls for self-surrender and self control.

In the hour of trial and in time of suffering, the study of scriptures is best.
The study of the lives of the prophets is conducive to the pattern of life, marked by
the colours of patience, perseverance and persistence.

To study the lives of the saints, who were ridiculed, harassed, embarrassed, vexed
and persecuted, is to derive consolation and to be fortified against the visiting

To be absorbed in the pursuit of useful activity is to forget the pangs of suffering.
Poetry and literature soothe nerves and calm the emotions, thus restraining one
from haste and hurry and from being impatient.

Seclusion, silence, and introspection are aids to patience.

Mosques, temples, churches and the tombs of saints, vibrate peace, and peace, in
its turn, feels reluctant to be disturbed by impatience.

To be guided by the dictum, that the higher the position and greater the opportunity,
implying more difficulties, undergoing more suffering ensures patience.
In order to be patient and to be fortified to face and overcome every challenge, one
must try to train oneself to be patient in small things, and in the trials of every day.
Thus trained and equipped, the person will not lose patience when he finds himself
besieged by some unexpected calamity, trouble, or hardship.

To learn to wait dispassionately, watch vigilantly, think positively, act wisely,
resolve firmly, and live hopefully is to bear sorrow, suffering and sadness calmly
and patiently.

The past may be an hindrance in the path leading to the dwelling where patience
resides. But, in a way, the past is helpful, as our experiences are stored therein.
In case of injury or injustice caused, or some trouble inflicted by someone, the
golden rule is to forget it; or better still to forgive it so that the even tenor of life
may not be disturbed. In case of some calamity or mishap it is always better to
take it as a test and to accept it as such, without any sigh of remorse or resentment.

Not to be patient in time of suffering is not consistent with human dignity. To
suffer is human, but to bear suffering calmly constitutes human dignity. Patience is
a tribute to greatness and to loftiness of character. Not to cultivate the spirit of
patience is to bear a grievance against God.

Those who seek God, those who serve God, are those who have first sought
patience, served patience and at last found patience working in a mysterious way
for their good, ultimately making them an instrument of Divine Will.

Patience. if pursued, makes ample provision for a radical simplicity.
Patience, is the mother of virtues, manifesting courage, self-control, wisdom, love,
faith and hope.

The love relationship between God and man called patience transcends vision and
values, virtues and vows, concern and caring, discouragement and dejection, and
sorrow and sickness.

A strong heart is an asset.
A trained mind is a good guide.
What is touched by patience turns into a rainbow.

Zahurul Hassan Sharib
August 1984
From the 'Lectures' of Dr Zahurul Hassan Sharib published by the Society of
Mystics, Asma Publications. Ajmer, India.

The Sustaining Power of Patience