“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe” and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test).” (Al-Ankabut 29:2-3)
It is certain from the following verses of the Quran that Allah (swt) will test those who believed in one way or the other- as He tested the believers before. These tests may be in the form of hunger, loss of a loved one or health, or wealth as stated in the Holy Quran: “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).” (Al-Baqarah 2:155)
Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “This world is prison for a believer and heaven for the disbeliever.”
But why these tests are specified only for those who believe? What is the wisdom behind it?
Firstly, it is to check the level of their Iman – to make sure, whether they are strong enough to bear a calamity with an unwavering Iman; and secondly, to wipe out their sins – to purify them for the Akhirah.
Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Trials will continue to befall the believing man or woman on himself, his child and his wealth until he meets Allah (swt) with no sin on him.” (Tirmidhi)
It was narrated by Anas (ra) that the Prophet (sa) said: “When Allah (swt) wills good for His slave, He hastens the punishment for him in this world; and when Allah (swt) wills ill for His slave, He withholds the punishment for his sins until he comes with all his sins on the Day of Resurrection.” (Tirmidhi)
Aisha (ra) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “The believer is not harmed by a thorn or anything greater, but Allah (swt) will raise him in status thereby, or erase a sin thereby.” (Muslim)
The wisdom behind testing the believers through trials and tribulations is that they are made to remember Allah (swt) on account of these adversities. This makes them accustomed to remember Him and keep their thoughts busy with Him. It is natural for the believers to seek and turn to Allah (swt) for help in adversities; while in the times of comfort they forget and neglect it. A believer’s heart only gets content and rest while he remembers Allah (swt) as it is stated in the Holy Quran: “Those who believe, and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28)
How to deal with trials and tribulations?
Allah (swt) has stated in the holy Quran that the most powerful methods to bear calamities and trials are being patient and seeking help from Him through prayer.
“And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashiun (i.e. the true believers in Allah – those who obey Allah with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise, etc.) and in His Warnings (Hell, etc.)).” (Al-Baqarah 2:45)
Inspiration from the Prophets (as)
a) Prophet Adam (as)
Allah (swt) forbade Adam (as) to eat from the forbidden tree in paradise; but he got impatient and listened to Iblees. As a result, he gained Allah’s (swt) wrath and was sent down to earth. It took forty years of Dua and patience by Adam (as) to be forgiven.
b) Prophet Yusuf (as) and Yaqoob (as)
Prophet Yusuf (as) was sent to prison for the crime that he had not committed, but he remained patient and was released after several years; while, on the other hand, Yaqoob (as) met his son after the patience of thirty-four years.
c) Prophet Ayoob (as)
Prophet Ayoob’s (as) story is the most famous story of patience and forbearance. He remained patient during his illness, which lasted for eighteen years, and kept supplicating.
The reward for the patient ones
The trials and tribulations faced by the believers, who remain patient and rely on Allah (swt), never go un-rewarded. This is what Allah (swt) has promised in the Holy Quran:
“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” They are those on whom are the Salawat (i.e. blessings, etc.) (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones.” (Al-Baqarah 2:155-157)
“And be patient; verily, Allah loses not the reward of the good-doers.” (Hud 11:115)
May Allah (swt) place us among the patient believers, to whom Allah (swt) has promised greater rewards. Ameen.