On July 25th, 2016 during our Quran study meeting in New York City, we discussed Chapter 38 from The Quran and the Life of Excellence, by Dr. Sultan Abdulhameed. The chapter is based on the following aya:
Sura 16, Aya 96
What is with you passes away, whereas that which is with God is enduring. And We shall give to those who patiently persevere their reward according to the best they did.
A human being is good by nature, but it is up to each one of us to uncover those characteristics within us that will help us live a life of lasting significance as opposed to satisfying the most immediate needs and wants and living in the moment.
We make that choice for ourselves. We either make a choice to strive in God’s cause to make a lasting contribution while on Earth, or we follow blindly what others around us do. While enjoyment, rest, and relaxation are needed for our well-being, this aya reminds us indirectly that persevering in our effort to uncover our true goodness is a path to making a lasting contribution in this world and at the same time, a path to uncovering one’s purpose in life.
This process of uncovering divine values within ourselves in an effort to make a lasting contribution is a hard one, which is why it is mentioned in the Quran. It requires consistent prayer and self-evaluation and above all, perseverance during the long periods of apparent stagnation. Here is where the divine characteristic of patience becomes extremely important, which is the reason why patience is mentioned on almost every page of the Quran.
We won’t be able to successfully go through the tests of life, the burden apportioned to us, and achieve lasting peace as well as a life worthy of God’s agent here on Earth unless we learn the lesson of patience. So, while we look to uncover the divine characteristics within us as we work to make a positive influence on people around us, we are uncovering our own purpose and finding that we are slowly but surely becoming who we have always wanted to become – God’s friend and an example of how we should be living our lives.
Summary by Alma Subasic