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On Patience

Practical Sufism

Selected Teachings of Dr. Nahid Angha


The human being lives in the world of nature, and nature is saturated with colors, tastes, and dimensions.  Pain and suffering, grief and sadness, comfort and good fortune do not spring like flowers from the soil; rather, they are all part of human life, and everyone will taste and experience them.  Should we consider these events to be destiny, then it is a destiny that follows its course without consulting anyone!  The individual should not fail and lose hope when misfortune knocks, nor should he forget the bounds of moderation when fortune blesses him.  To remain firm on one’s own path necessitates patience in conserving one’s strength and will.  Indeed, it may be fairly said that it is the believer who meets the armada of destiny secure in the armor of patience.  The Qur’an (25:75) provides us with the most succinct wisdom that, “Those [who are patient] will be rewarded […] because of their patient constancy: they be met with salvation and peace” or  “You who believe, seek help with patient perseverance and prayer: for God is with those who patiently wait.” (Qur’an 2:153)


Patience is the state of contentment with the destiny of Being.  A Sufi knows that the world of existence is the domain of rules, and that no single particle acts unless in accordance with the rules of eternal essence.  A Sufi is aware of his understanding of the destination of Being.  One who discovers the destination and the rules of this infinitely designed system that we call world remains steadfast at all times.  He will not lose hope when misfortune occurs, and will not fall into smug self-satisfaction when fortune knocks.


Discovery and success come only through patience.  Sufis live patiently for the Divine; they do not love God because He rewards them with the benefits of life, but because He is to be loved.  Since He is the Source of that eternal knowledge, those who are attracted toward knowledge will embrace the Beloved within their whole being.  Whether or not the road toward the beloved is filled with hardship or paved with ease, such incidentals will not alter their intention and dedication: quite simply, they know that they must achieve their goal.


Dr. Nahid Angha, Principles of Sufism. San Rafael: International Association of Sufism Publications, 1991, p. 46–47.


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