There are certain things you always come back to. Just like the body needs water every day -- alot of it and multiple times a day -- so the heart needs constant reminders of Allah's rahma, His mercy. Multiple times a day in fact.
"Why do I keep doing wrong even though I know for sure it's wrong?" a sad young man asked his shaykh. "Because we're human," the shaykh said. We're not robots solely controlled by our brains. We have a complicated and sometimes messy combination of heart, intellect, body, hormones, desire, soul, emotion, weakness, need, ignorance, pride, memory, forgetfulness... and on top of that...we're social creatures, so you can now add distractions, competitions, envies, loves, desires, friendships, rivalries, confusions...and the list goes on. Truly the human being is one complicated mess.
When you ponder upon this disarray, it starts to make sense that it takes a long time for the human being to come around to doing good. And when we fall into the wrong, it takes ages to come out of it. And that Allah is understanding of all of this, "with believers full of empathy and compassion." He knows us better than our own selves. No explanation of our own condition will ever match what Allah has already known about us, from before we were born, about our challenges, weaknesses, hopes and dreams.
God said to David:
"If those who ponder about Me were to know how long I would wait for them to do good and how much compassion I have for them in what befalls them every day, and how much yearning I have for them to leave off sin, they would melt in their desire to meet Me. David, this is My will for those who simply think about Me. What then for those who take action." (1)
They say the corollary of this is the Prophetic hadith:
"Allah is greater in happiness with the repentence of His servant than if a man gets lost in the desert, then loses his horse with all his food and drink, until he despairs. Giving up, he sits down leaning against at a tree awaiting death. Then, while in this state, he suddenly sees his animal. He takes its reigns, and from the intensity of esctasty he shouts, 'Allah! You're my slave and I'm your god!' He mangled the words out of happiness." (2)
Allah says, "If you (humans) held the keys to the warehouse of your Lord's Mercy, you would have clenched [them] tightly out of fear of giving" (17:100 Israa).
We are impatient with people, and with ourselves. We are stingy in giving. And giving isn't just money. It's also chances. We don't want to give people a second chance because we are vulnerable creatures, afraid of getting hurt a second time. That is the difference between the human being and Allah. Nobody can hurt Allah, and therefore He can be patient with them, and grant them chance after chance, decade after decade, century after century.
It might soften our hearts, next time we see something we don't like from someone, to just realize how much time we ourselves take to get out of bad habits and get into good ones. It doesn't alter what right or wrong actually is. It just alters our state when we express it. The last of the famous collection of 99 names is Al-Sabur, the Patient. Going against your own nature of hastiness and trying to be patient is a testimony to your trust in Allah.
May Allah, with His Rahma, re-inspire the hearts of the hopeless, alleveate the pain of the suffering, and increase in strength those taking action.
1. Imam Ghazali's Ihya, likely to be from the remaining sayings of the Israelites.
2. Sahih Muslim, narrated from Anas.