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Dear Ramadan,

One of the things we do when fasting is waiting. Waiting for the iftar (breaking-fast meal). Waiting for that moment we finish the 11 hours of hunger, thirst and fatigue. Waiting for that moment our stomach receives what it’s been asking for. In other words, fasting is a form of patience and steadfastness.

To be honest, I’m not good at being patient. In fact, there’s something I really want to to happen, and several times I have lost patience and even felt hopeless. Yet, your presence reminds me that belief in God is not just about being grateful. It is also about showing forbearance, putting trust in God and keeping hope in the midst of adversities.

Being patient means making supplication (du’a) and taking necessary action but understanding that the result is up to God . It means remembering that God listens and answers all of the prayers, but how He responds depends not on what I fancy but on His wisdom and knowledge of all things. God might give me what I ask for immediately, or He might withhold the gift for later, or He might decide not to give me the gift, or He might grant me something much better than what I ask for. Like a doctor who knows if a medicine is salubrious to a patient and the best time to give it, God knows exactly what is beneficial for me as well as how and when it should be provided. Just as He prescribes fasting to train my lower self (nafs), He afflicts hardships or forces me to wait for something so that I can showcase my sincerity and fulfil my duties. After all, when you love something/someone, that love is not truly sincere when you turn away from the beloved at the face of some hardships and calamities.

Thus, instead of lamenting, I guess I should feel grateful that God still gives me the opportunity to wait and grow. That’s why sometimes all I want to pray is to ask God to give me resilience and patience. It’s easy for the mind to understand the nature of God’s trials, but the emotions can sometimes overrides the reasoning.

As for worship and servitude to God, it should be purely and sincerely for God’s sake. Man should only proclaim his impotence and seek refuge with Him through supplication, he should not interfere in His dominicality. He should leave the taking of measures to Him and rely on His wisdom. He should not accuse His Mercy. (Said Nursi, The Twenty-Third Word in The Words, p. 325

“No kind of calamity can occur except by the leave of God: and if anyone believes in God, God guides his heart (aright): for God knows all things” (The Qur’an 64:11)