The Ultimate Test
Abu-ul-Hassan Siraj (mercy be upon him) said, "One day I set out for the performance of pilgrimage (Hajj). As I was making a circuit (Tawwaf) around the Holy Ka'ba, I happened to see a fair-faced woman. I said to myself, By God! I have never seen a woman with such beauty before. Perhaps she has all this beauty as she may not have suffered any grief or sorrow." She heard this statement and said, "What did you say? By God! I am immersed in grief and my heart is afflicted with adversities and misfortunes and there is no one to share with me the pangs of grief." I asked her, "What has happened to you?" She replied, "My husband slaughtered a goat. My two small children were playing with each other and another was in my lap. As I got up, one of the children said to the other, "Shall I tell you how our father slaughtered the goat?" The other replied in the affirmative. Consequently, he. laid his brother on the ground and killed him like a goat. He then ran away on account of fear, and climbed up a mountain where a wolf devoured him. His father went out in search of him and, during the course of his quest, he died due to the intensity of thirst. I left the infant to sit and went towards the door of the house. The infant then crawled to the fire upon which the earthen pot was hung. As soon as he touched it, it fell and scolded him. As result his body was burnt removing the flesh from the bones. I had one daughter left who was married. When she came to hear of this, she fell unconscious and died. It was I who was left alone." Shocked by this I asked her, "How did you bear all these misfortunes?" She said, "A person who would ponder over patience and impatience, would see much difference between them. The reward for patience Is great and for impatience, there is no reward." Then, she recited the following three couplets which read: "I endured because endurance is the best thing to rely upon. If any advantage could be obtained by impatience, I would have adopted it. I endured many a misfortune, misfortunes of such intensity that if they were to have fallen on a mountain, it would have been reduced to dust. I have exercised full control over my emotions and never shed a tear. Now they are falling in my heart."