Can hope end?  Only the heart can tell us, the heart is our compass. The Divine probably invented hope  to keep us going in all circumstances.  Nevertheless, the Qur’an speaks of patience rather than hope.

Hope in Christian perspective represents trust in the Divine.  In the Islamic context, faith is equivalent to peace of mind, trust in the Highest.

If you live like me  in Western Europe, in common  language hope is the concretisation of a wish sooner or later. Patience is sometimes defined in the same way: waiting for our dreams or wishes to come true  .

Following the spirit of the Qur’an, I would define patience as the conviction that everything works out for the best despite a final result that is the opposite of  what was  wished or dreamed of.

The word hope in the Qur’an

First of all, verses in the Qur’an enjoin patience more than they enjoin hope on believers.

In some translations the word hope  is used to convey the meaning of several words in Arabic that do not necessarily mean hope.   Take for  example the request in the Qur’an, [1] to  « pray with fear and desire »   commonly translated as praying with fear and hope.  The Arabic word used in the Qur’an rather  expresses   covetousness, ambition,  desire or envy.  In another verse[2] the Arabic verb  used for to hope finds its root in a completely different word.

 What is the  difference between enjoining hope and patience you may ask?   A huge difference.

In the case of men and women childless by circumstance there is a time when hope is no more. It is not a matter of  hope  destroyed, for example, by a doctor’s announcement that all medical solutions to procreate have been exhausted  ,  but rather of  hope being  stopped abruptly by a body, the female body which says stop.  Sometimes it is simply the heart that speaks, the heart knows that it is over.   There will be no children.  Hope is gone.

Hope understood as the expectation of something or desired is vanishing.  It disappears despite the methods of positive thinking or other beliefs that implies that  each human being decides of his or her fate including the conception of a child.

Then begins the patience, the patience to wait to get better, to live again. The patience to invent a life that one had not imagined without children.

The patience in the Qur’an

The word patience is defined as waiting, an expectation mixed with trust in the Divine.

In the Qur’an the word patience, sabr in Arabic, is repeatedly found in the suras in this form.  « Seek help in prayer and patience » 2:45,  « Announce the Good News to the patients » « God is with the patients    » … . The injunction to patience also concludes many surahs. Like Suras 3, 16 or 30.

This word patience corresponds to waiting in the trial  mixed with trust in the Divine. In other words, waiting with the conviction that everything will return to normal.  Not necessarily in the desired order, but in the  order with a solution adapted to each and everyone.

In Muslim communities, verse 216 of Sura 2 is often invoked to comfort people facing difficulties or trials that seem insurmountable.

Fighting is ordained for you, though you dislike it. You may dislike something although it is good for you , or like something although it is bad for you: God knows and you do not.[3]

Original Text Sans enfant par circonstance : Une différence entre espoir et patience ?

Translation by Discussions Essentielles and Deep L

© Photo credit Unsplash-Paolo Bendandi  

[1] Example of the verse 56 Surah7

[2] Example of the verse 218 Surah 2

[3] The Qur’an, A new translation by M.A.S Abdel Haleem Oxford University Press, 2011.

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