Islamic Religious Council of Singapore
4 February 2005 / 24 Zulhijjah 1425
My brothers in Islam,
I would like to remind myself and my dear brothers to always have taqwa to Allah. We do this by abiding all that He has commands us, and avoiding everything that he has prohibited.
My brothers, may Allah’s blessing be upon us always,
Last Friday’s sermon touched upon the virtues of patience, the importance of being patient and how to instill patience in us when facing life’s crisis. Today’s sermon will talk about the misuse and abuse of patience. Patience, although it is a commendable characteristic, and a virtue by itself, if it is used in the wrong manner, it will turn from a positive characteristic, into a negative one. It will change from a characteristic commended by Islam, into a characteristic that is forbidden in Islam.
But how can this virtuous characteristic, this patience, be abused? How can it change into something that is forbidden in Islam?
Actually, there are two situations when patience can be abuse, and forbidden in Islam. First: When we see sinful acts and bad deeds committed by our family members, our wives and children. When we have the power to stop them from committing those sinful acts, we do not use that power. Instead, we just keep quiet be patient with those acts. We do not advise them. We do not forbid them. We just keep quiet on the pretext of being patient.
This is abusing patience. This is when being patient is unwarranted. Even forbidden. It is our duty as the head of the family, to exercise our power, to be firm when we see sinful acts committed by our family members, by our wives and our children. We cannot keep quiet. For keeping quiet on the pretext of being patient means we indirectly encourage them to continue being sinful to Allah. Do remember, that we will be accountable to Allah, in the Hereafter. We will be judged not just by our deeds on this Earth, but together with what our family members did, if we do nothing to stop them from being sinful to Allah. For our children, our wives, can claim in front of Allah that they committed all that sinful acts because we, as the head of the family, did nothing to stop them. Don’t forget the following verse in surah At-Tahrim, ayat 6:
" O you who believe! Protect yourselves and your families from Hell fire, whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allâh, but do that which they are commanded."
In our eagerness to protect ourselves and our families from Hell fire, in our eagerness to stop our wives and children from committing sinful acts to that they will not pull us with them to Hell, let us remember one thing. And that is, we should be tactful and clever in advising our family members. We should not be rash, harsh or even rude when inviting others to the way of Islam, especially to our family members. Allah has reminded us of the need to be clever and tactful. In surah An-Nahl, ayat 125, Allah says:
"Invite to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islâm) with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided."
From that Quranic ayat, we can conclude that we need to strategise when we want our family members to leave sinful acts, and to embrace the teaching of Islam whole-heartedly. We need to use psychology. We need to know how to argue with them without being too emotional or being angry when they answer us back. We need to be rational.
But above all that, we need to start from ourselves. Don’t be like the crab, as the Malay proverb said. The crab teaches its offspring to walk straight, but itself walk sideways. So if we want our children to perform their solat, we should set the good example first of performing our solat on time. And do it in their presence. We can then invite them to perform the solat together with them. If we have a special time for family gathering or family dinner, or we have a special time to watch television together as a family, why not have a special time when the family gathers to perform solat together. We can be the imam for the solat.
We can enforce our young children to perform solat with us, or alone. But we for sure cannot enforce our grownup teenage children to perform solat. They may do it out of the fear from their parents, but they will resentfully do it. Alone, they may not do it. For how long can the parents watch and police him?
Thus, it is better for the parents to instill in their grownup children the need to perform solat. We can ask them to sit down and have a rational discussion on the virtues of solat, and why they find it so difficult to perform solat. We should treat then as adults. Let them voice their opinions and respect their mind. Respect begets respect. If we respect the adulthood, the will reciprocate and respect us as their parents.
Hopefully, with this tactful approach in doing dakwah to our family members, Allah will grant us success, insya Allah.
My brothers in Islam,
The second situation where being patient is not a virtue, when patience is abused, is when we calamities and disasters struck us. Please do not misunderstand me. By all means be patient. By all means, have perseverance. But know this, being patience does not mean that we just sigh, sit down and cry, and let whatever will be will be.
This is not the characteristic of Muslims when facing calamities and disasters. This is not what patience entailed. In fact, this abuse of patience will not bring us much benefit in this world. Instead, we should do the following three things:
First: We learn from our mistakes. We try to discover what our mistakes were until this calamity, this disaster, fell upon us. Is it because we are too sinful? Is it because of our mismanagement? Is it because of our failures to take proactive actions?
Allah says in surah Asy-Syura, ayat 30:
"And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much"
So it is due to our past deed that misfortunes befalls on us.
Second: We should strive our best to avoid such disaster from happening again in the future. Of course, we cannot be 100% certain that such disaster will not happen again. But at least through our efforts, we try to minimize the possibility that the disaster may happen. And we let Allah s.w.t decides.
Third: If the disaster and misfortune still struck us, we should not feel down and respondent. Instead, we take it as a challenge to rise again, learn from our mistakes and ensure such calamity will not befall us again. There might be mistakes that we overlooked. We try to learn from them, and correct what we thought were errors and mistakes.
If we follow up our patience with that 3 things, we will excel as an individual and as a community. Allow me to bring an example. The Japanese people endure so many calamities, from earthquake, to tsunami, to typhoons. And every time it happens, they patiently build up from the ruins. They learn from the mistakes they did in their design and process. And in the end, they become a much-respected people. The can endure disasters better, because they have learnt from their mistakes.
And that my brothers, is one way we can become a community of excellence. Being patient, and follow up on that patience with those 3 actions that I have mentioned just before.