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By Ebrahim Saifuddin
Allah (SWT) has tested the people of the past in various ways and will keep on testing His creation. He has informed us about these tests in the Quran. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also informed us that Allah will test us from time to time. Sometimes hardships and losses occur in life due to our sins. To wash of these sins in this world, Allah inflicts upon us these hardships:
Narrated by ‘Ayesha: Allah’s Apostle said, “No calamity befalls a Muslim but that Allah expiates some of his sins because of it, even though it were the prick he receives from a thorn.” (Sahih Bukhari Vol. 7, Book 70, #544)
And again by a different narrator:
Narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” (Sahih Bukhari Vol. 7, Book 70, #545)
Paying for sins in this world is much easier than paying in the Hereafter. It is a blessing in disguise, which Allah bestows upon us and saves us from the payment of these sins in the Hereafter.
The Quran informs us what to do when we face these tests in our life and also tells us about the reward that we will receive if we are successful in dealing with the situation in the way we are expected to:
Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return”:-
They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance. – [Quran 2:155-157]
We are to be patient during hard times and always remember that Allah is the Creator of everything and we all will return to Him. No deed is lost in front of Allah and we will be rewarded for even the minutest good that we ever did. Trials afflicting us can be signs of His Love. It is narrated that Prophet Muhammad said:
Narrated By Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” (Sahih Bukhari Vol. 7, Book 70, #548)
Misfortune can bring a person towards the right path. It can make better Muslims out of people. Observing patience, remembering Allah and turning only to Him for help and guidance during such times, will help us attain Allah’s forgiveness and His rewards.
Allah tests man through various agencies, both through adversity and prosperity. A person with a luxurious life is tested to see how much he spends in the way of Allah and how much he is thankful to Allah for the blessings bestowed upon him. Another can be tested by the things he desires but does not and/or cannot possess. What do these people do is actually their test. Does the person deviate from the way of Allah to pursue the worldly gains?
Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial. To Us must ye return. [Quran 21:35]
The Quran reminds us that in periods of hardships, we are to remain patient, remember Allah, and protect ourselves from committing that which is declared unlawful by Allah:
Ye shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and ye shall certainly hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if ye persevere patiently, and guard against evil, then that will be a determining factor in all affairs. – [Quran 3:186]
An important thing that we should always remember is that everyone is tested. If we declare that we are Muslims, that does not mean that we will not be tested in this world. The Quran is very clear on this issue:
Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, “We believe”, and that they will not be tested? – [Quran 29:2]
One should not think or feel that he is the only unique person going through such times or that Allah is displeased with him. Every single person faces difficulties to the best of their capacity. Surely Allah is not unjust and does not overburden a soul:
On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear – [Quran 2:286]
This world is an abode for tests and one should not deny or avoid these but should face them and pass them successfully. A person can be put into hardships for a number of reasons and we might not know those reasons when undergoing a certain loss but what we must do is always remember Allah, be patient, abstain from what is unlawful, give charity and ask Him to help ease out our hard times. If we do fail to do this then we should turn to Allah and ask for forgiveness. Allah Most Merciful and Insha Allah He will forgive us for the wrong that we do.