Delayed gratification is a lost art today. Downloads that takes more than a few minutes drive us crazy. Slow internet connection is intolerably abominable! Everything today is fast, fast, fast.
Whatever it is we want to acquire, we want to acquire it in a minimal amount of time, be it memorizing Quran, a degree, diploma, certification, gaining mastery over something.
But, sometimes, like medical school, attaining something worthwhile requires us to put in time and effort over a long period of time. When it’s something worthwhile, like memorizing Quran or attaining a doctorate, your mettle will be tested and at the end of it all, not only will you have attained what you sought, but you will also have developed the discipline, strength, stamina and hopefully character of someone who is serious about pursuing something.
Too often we give up too quickly. Look at the number of people enthused to attend an Islamic program or class or seminar for example. Then look at the statistics and see that number go down if that class spans over a period of several weeks, or months or years.
But look at Musa a.s. Allah called him to Mount Toor, and the original plan was for Musa a.s. to stay for 30 nights and fast for all those 30 nights. But then Allah added another 10 to make it a total of 40 nights. At the end of all that, Musa a.s. was given the Taurah. Equate this Taurah to a certificate or degree that we attain after putting in the time and effort.
And We made an appointment with Moses for thirty nights and perfected them by [the addition of] ten; so the term of his Lord was completed as forty nights. And Moses said to his brother Aaron, “Take my place among my people, do right [by them], and do not follow the way of the corrupters.”[Al A’raaf 7:142]
To get something worthwhile, you have to put in the time and effort. It’s also noteworthy to see that when Musa a.s. was about to leave his people for Mount Toor, he left the leadership to his older brother Harun a.s. He left Harun with a brief instruction.
This also shows us that sometimes you have to make sacrifices and leave your flock under the care of others. A practical example would be going to hajj and leaving your children with another adult. Or, of a mother pursuing graduate studies and in this pursuit, she has to leave the care of her children, at least partly to her husband or someone else.
And sometimes, the flock that you ‘leave’ behind may go a bit chaotic in your absence, like what happened to Bani Israel, who took to worshipping the calf in Musa’s a.s. absence. But that’s for another post…