TESTS, TRIALS, TRIBULATIONS & EXAMINATIONS
To all my friends and foes, relatives and neighbors, colleagues and students, all sincere Imams and teachers, all wicked Imams and wicked followers, all Muslims and non-Muslims, old and young, males & females, all housewives and children, all close allies and enemies, all businessmen and businesswomen, all innocent humans and guilty infidels, all honest and wicked men, all news carriers and corrupt & evil men, all store-owners, all peoples of all walks of life, regardless of religion, creed, color or race. To all of you I bring this message of TRIALS & tribulations. Read well and ponder, and wonder, and fear the wrath of the Al-Mighty Creator, for He shall surely test you.
O Muslims! Fear (the wrath of) Allah as He should be feared, for fear of Allah brings more rewards & blessings and prevents afflictions.
O Muslims! Allah has decreed the fate of all creatures, written down their impacts and deeds, portioned out between them, their livelihood and wealth, and created death and life that He may test them, which of them is best in deeds. Indeed, belief in Allah’s decree and preordainment is one of the Pillars of Iman (faith). Nothing happens in this Universe except by His will. And His Will cannot be questioned.
This life is full of misfortunes and sorrow. It is destined to be a place of hardships and troubles. Trials and tribulations are as inevitable in this life as cold and heat. Allah says,
“And certainly We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to those who are patient.” (2: 155)
Pre-destination is a test by which the truthful ones are distinguished from the untruthful ones. Allah says,
“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say, ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested.” (29: 2)
The human soul does not become pure except through trials, and it is during tribulations that real men are known. Ibn Jawzee said, “Whoever wants to have everlasting peace and well-being with no affliction, does not understand the meaning of Allah’s commandments, nor does he perceive the meaning of submission to Allah. Every person (either believing or disbelieving) shall inevitably taste suffering in this world, for this life is based on hardships. Man lives between comfort and suffering. Prophet Adam, for instance, had the angels prostrated before him and yet was soon after expelled from Paradise. A believer is afflicted with trials in order to refine him, not to punish him. He is tested in ease as well as in hardship. Allah says,
“And We tried them with good (blessings) and evil (calamities) in order that they might turn (to Allah’s obedience).” (Al-A’raaf 7: 168).
Bretheren in faith! Something undesirable may sometimes have a pleasant result, while something seemingly desirable may turn out to have an unpleasant and abominable result. Do not therefore feel that harmful things cannot come to you through hardship. Allah says,
“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. Allah knows, and you do not know.” Al-Baqarah (2: 216).
Prepare yourself mentally for afflictions before they occur so as to make their occurrence light on you. Do not be worried because of tribulations, for they have their limits, and watch what you utter during your hard times for many a word has ruined its utterer. A resolute Muslim stands firm during hardships, his heart does not change and he does not complain. Console yourself whenever afflicted with a promise of reward from Allah. Wise people show endurance whenever they are stricken with misfortune so as not to add to their misfortune the malicious joy of their enemies, for whenever your enemies know of your misfortune they are overjoyed.
Bretheren in Islam! Endeavor to keep your misfortunes and pains to yourself, for concealment of afflictions and pains are of the qualities of noble people. Be patient over afflictions, they will soon be removed from you. Those who perished only suffered as a result of their impatience, while the patient ones are being recompensed with good rewards. Allah says,
“And those who are patient, we will certainly pay them a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do.” (Al-Anaam 16:96).
The reward of the patient ones will be doubled for their patience and Allah will be with them, remove their afflictions and make them victorious.
O afflicted one! Your Lord does not deny you what you want except what is better than that. He does not test you but for your well-being, and He does not subject you to tribulations but to purify you. He tries His slaves with pleasure as He blesses them with calamity. Do not therefore waste your time thinking over what has already been guaranteed for you. As long as one is still alive his provision will no doubt come to him. Allah ta’ala says,
“And no living creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah.”(Hud 11:6).
Further, if Allah, out of His wisdom, closes a door against you, He opens out of His Mercy, a door for you, better than the closed one. It is by afflictions that righteous and understanding people are increased in rank and reward. Sa’ad bin Abee Waqqaas said: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, who are the most afflicted of all people? He replied (sallah Allahu alayhi wa sallam), “The Prophets, then the righteous people, then those who are nearest to them in perfection and those who are nearest to them. Man is tested according to the strength of his religion. If he is strong religiously, his test is increased and if he is weak in religion, his test is reduced and a believer will be tested until he walks on the earth sinless [i.e. his sins have been erased by series of afflictions that he endured.]” (Al-Bukhari)
Fellow Muslims! Prophet Adam laboured along difficult paths filled with afflictions. Prophet Abraham was thrown into a blazing fire. Ishmael was laid down for slaughter. Yunus was swallowed by a huge fish. Prophet Ayyube suffered from a severe illness. Yusuf was sold for a pittance, thrown into a well, and wrongfully jailed. Muhammad (sallah Allahu alayhi wa sallam) suffered many different kinds of injuries. You also are in the path of moving calamities, for this life does not give pleasure only, to anyone. The Prophet (sallah Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” (Al-Bukhari). Some people of knowledge said, “Whoever Allah creates forParadise will be having trials and undesirable things.”
Real trial, oh mankind, is the trial in one’s religion, and whatever trial besides that, is regarded as well being, for it raises one in the rank and erases one’s sins. Also, all comforts that do not bring one closer to Allah, is a tribulation. Do not therefore grieve over what you miss in worldly materials, for worldly pleasure begets pain and disobedience. Abu Dardaa said, “Of the insignificance of this world to Allah is that He is not disobeyed except in it, while what is with Him cannot be obtained except by abstaining from it. Engage yourself in what will benefit you more. Keep away from what is in peoples’ hands, and you will be the wealthiest of them. Do not lose hope in Allah’s Mercy lest you are disgraced. Always remember Allah’s favor on you and drive away your distress by being pleased with Allah’s decree, for however long the night may be, it will be followed by the dawn.
Supplicate to Allah, He will give you relief and if you are patient Allah will provide a way out for you. Ponder over the story of Prophet Ya’qub who lost a son for a long period of time, and yet did not lose hope of relief from the Almighty One, but rather said, “Maybe Allah will bring them all (back) to me.”
Dear mankind! It is only Allah who deserves all praise and is capable of attending to all complaints. It is only Him you must beseech to remove your misfortunes. Pray to Him during the night with submission and humbleness and request Him to make your affairs easy for you. He says,
“Is it not He who responds to the distressed one when he calls Him (better than your gods.)” (27: 62)
Put your trust in the Omnipotent Lord and take refuge with Him with a humble heart, and He will open the doors of His mercy for you. Fudile Bin ‘Iyaadh said, “If you lose hope in all the people and you do not ask anything from them, your Lord will give you all that you want.” Whoever leaves his affairs in the hands of Allah, will achieve what he aspires. Always recite the prayer of Prophet Yunus:
“None has the right to worshipped except You (O Allah) Glorified (and exalted) are You (above all that they associate with You). Truly, I have been of the wrong doers.” The ‘Ulamaa said, “No one in distress recites this prayer except that Allah gives him relief from his distress.” Ibn al-Qayyim said, “It has been tested that whoever says:
’Verily distress has seized me and You are the most Merciful of all those who show mercy’ seven times, Allah relieves him of his distress.” Put then, yourself, under the protection of Allah, depend upon Him, submit your affairs to Him, and ask Him for relief. Try to supplicate in the most appropriate periods like during prostration and the last hour of the night. Do not feel uneasy if your supplications have not yet been answered, and do not lose hope in Allah’s Mercy even though the period of your affliction may seem long, for relief is near, and continue to pray to Allah. Also, know that when Allah afflicts you no one except Him is capable of removing that affliction, for He does whatever He wills.
If your provision seems delayed, seek forgiveness (istighfar), for misdeeds necessitate punishment, and if it does not seem that your supplications are having any impact, then examine yourself, for it may be that you have not been sincere in your repentance. Endeavor also, to give charity to the needy, for charity prevents and removes affliction. However, if your affliction is removed, then give thanks abundantly, and praise your Lord, and know that a false sense of safety is indeed a big trial. Allah says,
“Say: Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Lord and Protector, and in Allah let the believers put their trust.” (At-Taubah 9: 51).
Dear Muslims! No condition is permanent. Fortunate is he who is always God-conscious. Fear Allah in any condition you may find yourself. You can do nothing to prevent what has been destined to happen, as you do nothing to attain what has not been pre-ordained. The ability to choose and control is with Allah alone, and His choice for His slave is better for him than his choice for himself. Dawud Bin Sulayman said, “Three things indicate the piety of a believer:
1. His trust in Allah in what he has not attained.
2. His satisfaction with Allah with whatever he has attained.
3. His patience over what he has missed.”
A wise man was asked, “What is wealth?” He replied, “Fewness of one’s mundane desires and one’s contentment with what suffices him.”
Shurayh said, “A slave will not be afflicted by a trial except that he finds three blessings therein, (1) that the trial has nothing to do with his religion, (2) that the trial was not bigger than it is, and (3) that Allah gives him patience to bear it.”
“And he who brings the Truth and he who confirms (and supports) it such are the men who do right. They shall have all that they wish for, with their Rabb (Lord, Cherisher and Sustainer). Such is the reward of those who do good, so that Allah will remit from them (even) the worst in their deeds and give them their reward according to the best of what they have done.” (Qur’an 39:33-35)
May Allah continue to guide us, and illuminate our hearts with His Light. May He give us the patience and understanding, and cover us with His Grace and Mercy. May He save us from the trials of Life & Death, and the trials of the punishment of the Grave, and from the blazing Fire of Jahannam. Aameeen!