in almost every society there are people, who are not believers but who live more or less according to the values that allah has described in the qur'an. when it is necessary, these people can behave helpfully, gently and with self-sacrifice, mercy and justice. but no matter how much these people claim to have good moral qualities, they will certainly have their moments when they will not steadfastly maintain this behaviour. for example, someone who has to take an important examination may oversleep in the morning because his watch is broken. when he wakes up he hurries to school and gets caught in dense traffic. he wants to telephone the school to let them know he will be late but all the lines are busy. if a friend sitting beside him asks him a question at this point, he may answer with a peevish tone of voice, or just look at him crossly without giving an answer. this person thinks himself a helpful and understanding person, but in a situation like this we might say his patience has run out and he behaves in an unhelpful way.
in every situation and in all circumstances, a believer is determined to act by the values of the qur'an in the way he lives. he is patient with others who say and do things that are wrong or unpleasant.
for example, someone pushes him out of the way in order to get on the bus first. a friend might say harsh things to him in anger. a careless driver of a passing car might cover him with mud from head to toe as he walks along the road. the possible examples could be multiplied. but a person who has espoused the teachings of the qur'an will realise that all these things are created this way in his destiny and will never behave in an unseemly, irritated or peevish way. of course, he will take every precaution against such a thing happening again, and will do everything he can to avoid things that cause irritation. according to the values taught in the qur'an, even in the case when something happens that causes one harm, a person must be patient with others and if possible repay bad behaviour shown him with better. in the qur'an, allah draws our attention to the fact that, through their patience, believers can repel bad actions kindly:
a good action and a bad action are not the same. repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will be like a bosom friend. none will obtain it but those who are truly steadfast. none will obtain it but those who have great good fortune. (surah fussilat: 34-35)