The Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam said: "Whoever directs someone to a good, then he will have the reward equal to the doer of the action". [Saheeh Muslim]


وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوفْ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الأَمَوَالِ وَالأنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ – الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُواْ إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ

أُولَـئِكَعَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَأُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ

“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Saabiroon (the patient). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly, to Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” They are those on whom are the Salawaat (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.” (1)

EVERY BELIEVER WILL BE TESTED

It is clear that this life is filled with calamites, tests and trials. Every believer will be subjected to many of these calamities, tests and trials. Sometimes these trials are manifested in himself, sometimes in his wealth, and sometimes with his beloved ones. These preordainments are from the One who is All-Wise and they touch the believer in various ways and manners. If a believer does not have the correct understanding regarding the manner of dealing with trials and tribulations he may err seriously. This is especially true when facing difficult and burdensome calamities.

Many people are ignorant of the wisdom behind facing trials and tests. They may not understand that Allaah سبحانه وتعالى does not intend to punish us through tests; rather Allaah creates an opportunity to earn His Mercy. The believer should look at the matter of ‘ibtilah (being put to tests) and trials through the textual proofs from the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, in order to stand firmly grounded regarding these matters.

Yes, it is a test and a trial. Every day we are tested in this life.

Our wealth is a test; the spouse is a test; the children are tests; poverty, wealth, and richness are tests and health and illness are tests. We are tested in everything which we possess and encounter in this life and until we meet Allaah the Most High.

Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says in Soorah al-Anbiyaa’:

كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ وَنَبْلُوكُم بِالشَّرِّ وَالْخَيْرِ فِتْنَةً وَإِلَيْنَا تُرْجَعُونَ

“Everyone is going to taste death, and We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good. And to Us you will be returned.”(2)

And Allaah سبحانه وتعالى said:

أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ

“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 Allaah 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 Allaah knows all that before putting them to test).” (3)


Therefore both the healthy and the ill are tested. The one who was healthy did not know until he was touched by a trial, and the one who was ill did not feel that he was being tested until he was cured. No one is safe from this due to his prestige or his status. This does not prevent the matter of testing as we remember from the authentic hadeeth, where the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “The most intense in terms of testing are the prophets and then the like and then the like.” (4)

Amongst us there is no one who possesses the ability to reject the tests. The faithful, patient, persevering individuals, who anticipate their reward from Allaah سبحانه وتعالى are the successful ones amongst the tested. Also from amongst us are those who are tested but they fail due to their weak faith and their objection to Allaah سبحانه وتعالى; we seek refuge in Allaah سبحانه وتعالى from such a state.

May Allaah’s Mercy be upon al-Fudayl bin 3Iyaad who said, “As long as the people are in a state of good welfare, once tested, they will return to their realities. The believer will go to his faith and the hypocrite will go to his hypocrisy.”[2]

EVERYTHING HAS BEEN PREORDAINED

Allaah سبحانه وتعالى preordained everything for us including our sustenance and our life spans. Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says in Soorah az-Zukhruf:

نَحْنُ قَسَمْنَا بَيْنَهُم مَّعِيشَتَهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا

“…It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in this world…” (5)

Our sustenance and livelihood are preordained with clear and certain measures. Illness is preordained, one’s welfare is preordained; everything in this life is preordained. So a person should accept what Allaah has preordained for him and should not hate, dislike or feel discomfort regarding the preordainments of the Almighty and All-Wise. On understanding that a certain test is a part of the decree of Allaah, one should submit his affair to Allaah and know that whatever befalls him could not have missed him and whatever misses him could not have befallen him.

HOW THE BELIEVER DEALS WITH TESTS AND TRIALS

Whosoever wants their life be monotonic (always according to his wishes and without trials), it is as if he wants the pre-decree of Allaah to be in accordance with his desires. This is wishful thinking. No matter what pre-ordinance or test occurs it a matter that is good for the believer. However, this is conditional upon the believer’s gratefulness to Allaah for His favours and his being patient during times of trial.

It is reported that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Amazing is the affair of the believer. His affair for him is all good, and this is for none except the believer. If he is touched by something good and he gives thanks, then it is good for him. And if he is touched by a calamity or hardship and he is patient then this is good for him.”[6]

Allaah سبحانه وتعالى stated in Soorah an-Nisaa’:

فَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئاً وَيَجْعَلَ اللّهُ فِيهِ خَيْراً كَثِيراً

“…it may be that you dislike a thing through which Allaah brings a great deal of good.” (7)

وَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

“…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allaah knows but you do not know.” (8)

One should recognize that Allaah is the One who tests him and also the One who bestows favours upon him. He should also know that not all that he dislikes is to be disliked in reality, and likewise, not everything which he desires is in reality beneficial for him. {Allaah knows and you do not know”.

Some of the Salaf رحمهم الله said “If you are afflicted by a calamity and you are a patient, then your calamity is one. But if you are not patient, then your calamity is doubled – losing the reward and losing the beloved one, the Hereafter (Paradise).”

This saying of some of the Salaf is in relation to what Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says:

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ عَلَى حَرْفٍ فَإِنْ أَصَابَهُ خَيْرٌ اطْمَأَنَّ بِهِ وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ فِتْنَةٌ انقَلَبَ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ خَسِرَ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةَ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْخُسْرَانُ الْمُبِينُ

“And among mankind is he who worships Allaah as it were upon the edge (i.e. in doubt): if good befalls him, he is content therewith; but if a trial befalls him he turns back on his face (i.e. reverts to disbelief after embracing Islaam). He loses both this world and the Hereafter. That is the evident loss.” (9)

THE REWARD ASSOCIATED WITH TESTS/TRIALS

Certainly testing is a station for a while (i.e. it is temporary). It erases the sins just as the leaves fall from a tree, as mentioned in the ahaadeeth byAbu Sa3eed Al-Khudri and Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنهما that 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 Allaah expiates some of his sins for that.”[10]


Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه also narrated that the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “If Allaah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” [11]

In a hadeeth narrated by 3Abdullaah ibn 3Umar رضي الله عنهما, he said “I visited the Prophet during his ailments and he was suffering from a high fever. I said, “You have a high fever. Is it because you will have a double reward for it?” He said, “Yes, for no Muslim is afflicted with any harm except that Allaah will remove his sins as the leaves fall from a tree.”[12]

Hence, the reward is affirmed regarding every type of harm or hurt, tangible or intangible, if the believer patiently perseveres and anticipates the reward. As Anas bin Maalik رضي الله عنه reported: I heard Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم saying, “Allaah said, ‘If I deprive my slave of his two beloved things (i.e. his eyes) and he remains patient, I will let him enter Paradise in compensation for them.'”[13]


Tests and trials are a means to removing sins (from the believers) and all the children of Adam commit sins. Tests and trials may also raise one’s degree enabling one to move on to a higher level in Paradise as in the hadeeth where Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “When the child of a person dies, Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says to His angels: ‘You have taken the soul of the child of My slave?’ They say: ‘Yes.’ He says: ‘You took the fruit of his heart.’ They (the angels) say, ‘Yes.’ Then Allaah says, ‘What did My slave say (upon that)?’ They say, ‘He praised you and made istirjaa’ (meaning he said, Innaa lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji`oon’ – To Allaah we belong and to Him we shall return). So Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says, ‘Build for My slave a house in Paradise and name it The House of Praise’.” [14]

In another hadeeth: “Any Muslim who is hurt by a thorn or greater than that, Allaah سبحانه وتعالى will remove a sin from him and elevates him a degree (raise his status) because of that. [15]

So (he is raised) degree above degrees, until he reaches his final degree in Paradise which comes due to his patience and above that, due to the Favour of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى, as He سبحانه وتعالى says:

إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُم بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

“Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning.” (16)



Thus calamities, trials and tests are signs of love from Allaah for the believers. They are comparable to a cure; although it may be bitter, you accept it because it is from the one whom you love; and to Allaah belongs the best example. As comes in the hadeeth, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “The magnitude of the reward is proportional to the magnitude of the affliction. When Allaah سبحانه وتعالى loves some people, He tests them. He who is content (with Allaah’s decree) will receive the Pleasure (of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى); and he who is discontent will attain the wrath (of Allaah).” [17]

Imaam ibn Al Qayyim said: The ibtilaa’ (testing) of the believer is like medicine for him. It cures him from illness. Had the illness remained it would destroy him or diminish his reward and level (in the hereafter). The tests and the trials extract these illnesses from him and prepare him for the perfect reward and the highest of degrees (in the life to come).”

Certainly the affliction of tests and trials is better to the believer than the punishment of the hereafter. Certainly it is a cause for the elevation of one’s rank and expiation for his sins, and therefore it is better.

In the hadeeth, Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “If Allaah intends good for the Believer He hastens his punishment in this life and if He intends otherwise, He withholds his punishment for his sin until he re-compensates him for it on the Day of Resurrection.”[18]

The People of Knowledge made it clear that this is in reference to the one who is a hypocrite. Allaah سبحانه وتعالى withholds the punishment from him in this life to give him his full account on the Day of Resurrection; and we seek refuge in Allaah from such.

[…to be continued part 2]

Testing, Affliction and Calamities by Shaykh Dr. Saalih As-Saalih رحمه الله
Delivered on May 20th, 2006
http://albaseerah.org/forum/showthread.php?t=4151

=========================================================

References:
(1) soorah Al-Baqarah 2:155–157
(2) soorah Al-Anbiyaa’, v:35
(3) soorah al-3Ankaboot, v:2-3
(4) Al-Bukhaaree
(5) soorah Az-Zukhruf, v:32
(6) Saheeh Muslim
(7) soorah An Nisaa’, v:19
(8) soorah Al-Baqarah, v:216
(9) soorah Al-Hajj, v:11
(10) Al- Bukhaaree & Muslim
(11) Al-Bukhaaree
(12) Al-Bukhaaree, 550
(13) Al-Bukhaaree, 557
(14) Imaam Ahmad and Shaykh al-Albaanee graded it Hasan
(15) Saheeh Muslim
(16) soorah Az-Zumar 39:10
(17) At-Tirmidhi and Shaykh al-Albaanee رحمه الله graded it Saheeh.
(18) At-Tirmidhi and Shaykh al-Albaanee رحمه الله authenticated it.
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Comments on: "Testing, Affliction & Calamities 1" (4)

  1. […] Leave a comment Continued from Testing, Affliction and Calamities 1 […]

  2. […] Testing, Affliction & Calamities […]

  3. Nighat Parveen said:

    Bismillah
    As salamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatallahi wa barakathu

    JZK Khateera for such a wonderful explanation and beautiful Quran verses and Hadith references that has touched me from the heart. I was very upset, i was trying to be patient but my heart was not in control but when i opened my mail, i saw [calamities, trials and tests..] it give me so much strength, stability and made me realized the love of Allah [swt] , May Allah [swt] reward immensely to the writer and sender InshahAllah , lots of duaas for you all
    Keep sending beautiful mails like this

    Sister Nighat
    Canada
    BarakAllahu feekum,
    wasSalaamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullah

  4. wa 3Alaykum Assalam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakatuh sister Nighat

    Aameen to your du3aa’.
    may Allaah make your affairs easy and give you Yaqeen & tawakkul in Allaah & make you and us patient on trials of duniya.Aameen
    Jazaana wa iyyakum

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