It is clear that this life is filled with calamities, tests, and trials and that every believer will be subjected to many of these. Sometimes these trials are within himself, sometimes with his wealth and sometimes with his loved ones. These preordained trials and calamities, from the One who is All-Wise, will touch the believer in various ways and manners; if the believer does not have the correct view regarding the matter of testing, then he may err seriously, especially since some of the calamities are painful and profound. Allah says:
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. – Surah al-Anbiyaa. ” (Surah Al-Anbya 21:35)
Many people are negligent about the wisdom behind trials and testing; they may not understand that Allaah (سبحانه و تعالى) does not test us as a punishment, but rather as mercy. Allah created death and created life and whatever is in it from the afflictions and problems, to test us which one of us is better indeed than others. So the affliction with war is so that Allah will know the mujahidin and the patient ones. Allah says:
حَتَّىٰ إِذَا اسْتَيْأَسَ الرُّسُلُ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُمْ قَدْ كُذِبُوا جَاءَهُمْ نَصْرُنَا فَنُجِّيَ مَن نَّشَاءُ وَلَا يُرَدُّ بَأْسُنَا عَنِ الْقَوْمِ الْمُجْرِمِينَ
“Until when gave up hope the Messengers, and thought that they certainly were denied, then came to them Our help, and was saved whom We willed. And not (can) be repelled Our punishment from the people (who are) criminals.” (Surah Yusuf 12:110)
Life is a test and a trial; we are tested every day in this life. Our wealth is a test; the spouse is a test; the children are tests; poverty and wealth are tests, and likewise, health and illnesses are tests. We are tested in everything we possess and in that which we encounter in this life until we meet Allaah, the Most High. Allah says:
نَحْنُ قَسَمْنَا بَيْنَهُم مَّعِيشَتَهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا
“It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in this world.” (Surah Az-Zukhruf 43:32)
The first lesson is that tests and trials are beneficial to the believer’s Tawheed (worship of Allaah), Imaan (Faith), and tawakkul (reliance upon Allaah). They force mankind to examine the reality that they are a weak creation who has no power or strength, except in their Lord, Allaah. Muslims will endure many trials throughout their lives. Allah tests us with hardship and also prosperity to validate the sincerity of our faith.
1 – Allah the Highest said: “Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best indeed.” (Al-Quran 67:2)
2 – And the Highest said: “Verily We have created man in toil.” (Al-Quran 90:4)
3 – And the Highest said: “Alif-Lam-Mim. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We have faith’, and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make known, those who are true, and will certainly make known those who are liars.” (Al-Quran 29:1-3)
4 – And the Highest said: “Or you think that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty, ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who had faith with him said, ‘When will the Help of Allah come?’ Yes! Indeed Allah’s help is close!” (Al-Quran 2:214)
5 – The Messenger of Allah (SAW), said: “The world is the prison of the mu’min and a Paradise for the kafir.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitabaz-Zuhdiwa’r-Raqa’iq (18/93) – Sharh an-Nawawi)
So the truthful mu’ min has patience upon what afflicts him in the world so that it becomes for him the everlasting delights, and the kafir is delighted in the world as if it is his paradise, and it becomes his everlasting punishment on the day of reward.
The Types of Afflictions and Patience Upon Them
1 – Fear, hunger and murder. Allah the Highest said: “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to as-sabirun (the patient ones).” (Al-Quran 2:155)
2 – War and Jihad. The Highest said: “And surely, We shall try you till We know the mujahidin (those who fight in the way of Allah) from amongst you and as-Sabrin (the patient ones).” (Al-Quran 47:31)
3 – Disease. Sometimes, the affliction is caused by diseases so that Allah may test the patience of a person and listen to his supplication. Allah the Highest said: “And (remember) Ayyub (Job) when he cried to his Lord: ‘Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy. “ (Al-Quran 21:83)
4 – Imprisonment. A type of test so that Allah may know (and single-out) the patient one from others, as it happened to Yusuf – peace be upon him – when he remained in prison for eight years, for an accusation which touched his dignity. Then he came out free (of what he had been accused of), dignified and became a minister.
5 – The trial of wealth and children. Allah the Highest said: “Indeed, your wealth and children are a trial.” (Al-Quran 64:15]. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “When a person dies, his action discontinues except for three: a continuing charity, or knowledge which proves to be of benefit, or a righteous son who supplicates for him.” (Narrated by Muslim – Sharh an-Nawawi 11/85)
6 – The harm from people. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “The mu’ min who mixes with people and remains patient on their harms, is better than the mu’ min who does not mix with people nor does he remain patient on their harms.” [Narrated by IbnMajah and at-Tirmidhi and it is sahih].
And He said concerning Luqman the Wise as he ordered his son:
يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا أَصَابَكَ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ
“O, my son! Establish the prayer and enjoin [with] the right and forbid from the wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, that (is) of the matters requiring to determine.” (Surah Luqman 31:17)
Do not think that the entrance to Jannah is easy without Jihad, for those before you were afflicted with wars and diseases … and were shaken that, even the Messenger and those with him said when the help to them was delayed: “‘When will the help of Allah come?’ Yes! Indeed Allah’s help is close!”Therefore, the fitnah (trial) is Allah’s test for the faithful ones, so that Allah will know the truthful ones and He will know the liars in hardships.