by Sheikh Khâlid Husayn
Allah tells us that we will be tested. He also makes it clear to us what is
expected from us when we undergo these trials and what our reward will be if we
He says: “Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss
in goods, lives and the fruits (of your toil) but give glad tidings to those who
patiently persevere. Those who, when misfortune strikes them, say: ‘Indeed we
belong to Allah and to Him is our return. Those are the ones upon whom are
blessings and mercy from their Lord and it is those who are rightly guided.”
[Sûrah al-Baqarah: 155]
The Prophet (peace be upon him)said: "No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm
or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him,
without Allah wiping out his sins by it." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]
In another narration, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “No Muslim is
afflicted by harm, whether it is but the prick of a thorn or something worse,
without Allah expiating his evil deeds on account of it and his sins falling
away from him like leaves off a tree.'" [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "When Allah desires good for someone, He
tries him with hardships." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]
The Muslim may be tested by all sorts of difficulties like sickness, lack of
income, and disobedience from his children. In fact, the many afflictions that
may beset a person are incalculable. This is the point that the Prophet (peace
be upon him) was stressing when he mentioned: “fatigue, illness, anxiety,
sorrow, harm or sadness …even to the extent of a thorn pricking him”.
All of these afflictions, if endured patiently by the believer, are a means of
attaining Allah’s forgiveness as well as His reward.
Every one of us is being tested by Allah. He tests us all in different ways. We
should not assume that the difficulties that we face in life are punishments or
are signs that Allah is displeased with us. Likewise, we should never construe
the success and pleasures that others enjoy as signs that Allah is pleased with
them or that they are privileged. Sometimes, quite the opposite is true.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If Allah wants good for his servant, He
hurries on His punishment in this world, and if He wills ill for a servant, he
holds back punishing him for his sin so He can give it to him in full on the Day
Allah makes it clear that everything in our lives – the good and the bad of it–
is a trial for us. How will we cope in the situation that Allah has placed for
us? Will we be grateful in prosperity and patient in affliction or will we be
arrogant and disobedient?
Allah says: “Every soul shall taste of death. And We will test you with evil and
with good by way of trial. And to Us is your return.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 35].
Allah says: “Know that your wealth and your children are but a trial and that
Allah has with Him a mighty reward.” [Sûrah al-Anfâl: 28]
Many people do not realize that they are tried just as severely with the good
that they are given as they are by the misfortunes that befall them. Allah says:
“And as for man, whenever his Lord tries him by honoring him and makes him lead
an easy life, he says: ‘My Lord honors me’. But when He tries him by straitening
his means of subsistence, he says: ‘My Lord has disgraced me’.” [Sûrah al-Fajr:
Some people are blessed to be born and raised in good Muslim families then turn
their backs on Islam, while others are born and raised in non-Muslim countries
to unbelieving parents and grow up to be among the best of Muslims.
We are tried with wealth as well as poverty. If we are wealthy, will we hoard
our wealth or spend in charity? Will we use it for lawful purposes or squander
it in vice? Will we trust in Allah in our investments, or will our avarice and
fear of losing our wealth make us take recourse to unlawful means to preserve it
and increase it?
If we are poor, will we be content and patient and seek lawful means to attain
our sustenance or will we resort to unlawful means to meet our needs? Will we
accept the fact that Allah gives more to some people than he does to others, or
will we grow hateful and vindictive?
We are tested with health as well as sickness. A man with good eyesight is
tested with regards to his use of it. Will he use the blessing of his sight to
good purpose or to gaze at unlawful things? His good eyesight may be what takes
him to Hell. A blind man is tested whether he will bear patiently with his
disability. His patience in affliction may be what earns him his place in
Paradise. Our goal is the Hereafter and we are all being tested.
Allah says: “It is He who created death and life that He may try you as to which
of you is best in deeds.” [Sûrah al-Mulk: 2]
We may also be tested through others. We know from experience that even a small
child can experience suffering as well as a person who is mentally handicapped
to such a degree that he cannot understand the concepts of Islam and is not
legally accountable. Though it may not be that such a person is not undergoing
tests of his own; however his plight may very well be a test for those his life
affects. How will they treat him? Will they care for him, respect him, and give
him his rights?
We may not be able to fathom the wisdom behind why Allah decrees what He does
for us or for others of His creatures. However, we must know that Allah does
everything in accordance with His wisdom and bear our trials patiently.
Ultimately, we must remember the words of Allah in the Qur’ân: “He cannot be
questioned for what He does but they will be questioned.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 23]