Allah has established a system of tests that determine our spiritual perfection or lack of it, as the case may be. The test will be held for all persons, believers and non‑believers alike. The test which we are to undergo is not meant to add to the knowledge of God. Although God knows everything, it still is necessary that all men and women be put to test so that the true form of God’s justice and mercy may emerge on the Day of Judgement. Allah says:
أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَنْ يُتْرَكُوا أَنْ يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested?” (Surah Al-Ankabut, 29:2)
Many Muslims only focus on the fear of Allah, when we should balance fear with hope in Allah’s mercy and goodness. Allah encourages us to think positively about Him. We need to understand that all the sustenance and happiness we get in this world is brought by Allah’s benevolence. But we also need to fear the time when our evil acts will cause Allah to punish us, destroy us. Allah says:
فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ
“So remember Me, I will remember you. Be thankful to Me and do not be ungrateful.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:152)
Muslims will endure many trials throughout life such as being afflicted by a calamity, suffering oppression, or even ingratitude in the face of prosperity. A Muslim must remain patient with the command and decree of Allah so as to avoid injustice, selfishness, and various evil deeds that might come about during a trial. We ask Allah to relieve the suffering of Muslims and to guide us through the trials of life and death.
Here are some reasons to have a positive view of Allah (SWT):
- Allah tests us to purify us and wash away our sins
- Allah knows what we conceal and what we reveal
- A test can sometimes replace a worse misfortune
- Allah says that He does not want difficulty for us
- Allah lets them go and gives us many chances
- Allah’s knowledge compasses all things
- Allah is everything in His own accord
- Allah is the Supreme, the Sovereign
- Allah knows what is in our hearts
- Allah Almighty loves His creation
- Allah wants us to call on Him
- Allah wants us to succeed
- Allah wants to purify us
- Allah is the Most Merciful
- Allah is the Most Forgiving
- Allah wants to come closer to us
- Allah does not want to punish us
- Allah is the Source of all kindness
- Allah is First, Last, and Everlasting
- Allah is Al Barr, the Source of Goodness
- Allah gives us extra credit for good deeds
- Allah doing goods deeds because of conceit
- Allah continuously urges us to do good deeds
- Allah is the delayer and puts things right places
- Allah has instilled love in us as well as a sign of Him
لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا
“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:286)
Sufferings occur to teach us that we must adhere to Allah’s natural and moral laws. It is sometimes to punish those who violate Allah’s natural or moral laws. It is to test our faith in Allah and to test our commitment to human values and charity. Allah says:
إِنَّا هَدَيْنَاهُ السَّبِيلَ إِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَإِمَّا كَفُورًا
Indeed, We guided him (to) the way whether (he) be grateful and whether (he) be ungrateful.” (Surah Al-Insan 76:3)
Whenever we encounter suffering we should ask ourselves, “Have we broken any law of Allah?” Let us study the cause of the problem and use corrective methods. “Could it be a punishment?” Let us repent and ask forgiveness and reform our ways. “Could it be a test and a trial for us?” Let us work hard to pass this test.
Allah Almighty says in The Holy Quran:
- “And Allah loves the steadfast.” (Al Imran: 146)
- “Call on Me, I will respond to you.” (Quran 40:60)
- “Glory be to Allah, the best Creator.” (Al-Mu’minun: 14)
- “Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Al-Maida: 42)
- “… are signs for a people who give thought.” (Quran 13:3)
- ” If you are grateful, He is pleased with you…” (Az-Zumar 39:7)
- “And whatever you have of favour – it is from Allah.” (An-Nahl: 53)
- “Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him] on.” (Al-Imran: 159)
- “Allah does not want difficulty for you, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His favour upon you, that you may be grateful.” (Quran 5:6)
A Muslim is enjoined to testify to his belief and to act upon that belief. We are here for a short time and we are being tested. Those who will pass this test will find an eternal world that is perfect and permanent. Those who will fail this test shall see the evil consequences of their sins and corruption. Allah says:
مَّا يَفْعَلُ اللَّهُ بِعَذَابِكُمْ إِن شَكَرْتُمْ وَآمَنتُمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ شَاكِرًا عَلِيمًا
“Why would Allah punish you if you are thankful and believe? And Allah is Appreciative (of good), All-Knowing.” (Surah An-Nisa` 4:147)
Suffering through hardship and adversity is a reminder for people who tend to take things for granted and forget all of God’s blessings. Despite all the blessings given to humans by God, the human being is unappreciative. To pass the test, the believer must maintain his trust that God only can relieve his hardship. The believer will maintain his prayer and call to Allah.
If Allah knows the future, what is the purpose to test us in this life?
- Allah’s ways in His creation: The Quran tells us that good, evil and whatever happens in this world happens by Allah’s Will. Only Allah knows fully His Will. We are here for a short time and we are being tested. Those who will fail this test shall see the evil consequences of their sins and corruption.
- The Quran tells us that Allah is Wise: The Quran tells us that Allah knows and everything that Allah does is right, just, good and fair. We must submit and surrender to His Will.
- This is a temporary world: First of all, Allah did not make this world a permanent world. This is a temporary world and everything here has a time limit.
- Allah allows suffering: Allah allows suffering, but how much Allah protects us and saves us all the time in spite of our violations and negligence.
- Test of Faith: It is God’s design to put humans through hardship and adversity so as to test their faith and their resolve and trust in Allah.
- Cleansing our Soul: Hardship and adversity are decreed by God as a cleansing of our souls from sins we have already committed.
- Allah judges us: By the choices we make, Allah judges us and as such, He either rewards us in the next life or punishes us.
Believers face sufferings with prayers, repentance, and good deeds. The non-believers face the sufferings with doubts and confusion. They blame Allah or make arguments against Him. Hardship and suffering are blessings in disguise. It is a moment of test, a test that once you pass with patience, it will grant you rewards more than you can imagine. Once overcome that period of a test will then just remain a memory of the past.
Allah (SWT) tests us for a number of reasons, some of them are:
- Allah allows some people to suffer in order to test their patience and steadfastness. Even Allah’s Prophets and Messengers were made to suffer
- Allah sometimes allows some people to suffer to test others, how they react to them
- Suffering can also be a test and trial for some people
- People learn lessons from their good examples
- Allah test the concept of cleansing the human from sins in this life is a Quranic truth
- Good people sometimes suffer but their sufferings heal others and bring goodness to their communities.
- If we were not tested and were just put into hell, we would argue that it was not fair to be placed in hell when we had not had the chance to undergo an examination
- If we were not tested, we would not have the opportunity to improve ourselves and attain perfections of the soul
It is to test our faith in Allah and to test our commitment to human values and charity. Believers face sufferings with prayers, repentance, and good deeds. The non-believers face the sufferings with doubts and confusion. They blame Allah or make arguments against Him. Allah says:
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنْفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ
“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits…” (Surat Al-Baqarah, 2:155)
We were created to worship Allah, and we all made a promise to do so before we were sent to earth. May Allah give all of us Ihsan, Ikhlas and Tawfeeq, and give all of us a correct understanding of Islam and the Sunnah. May Allah make us among those who recite, understand and follow the Quran & Sunnah in the best way.