As this life is a trial for man, he has to face
circumstances of varying nature designed to test the veracity of his claim that
he believes in God and also to cleanse him of undesirable immoral
characteristics. The meticulous details of this trial for each person are
undeniably prefigured. This should ensure us that the trial in question would be
carried out in the most appropriate and befitting manner. In other words, since
the scheme of this trial is designed by the Most Wise, it can never be unfair.
Being engulfed by adversities—an essential element of this trial—man is,
however, prone to forget this indisputable reality i.e. the trial of life is
fair no matter how tremendous the adversities that befall us. He needs to know
that this trial presupposes certain immutable facts that conform to sense and
reason and accord with perfect justice. Losing sight of these facts means to
lose strength and courage to fight trying circumstances. What follows is a brief
note meant to elucidate these facts so that we refresh our knowledge in this
respect and thus consolidate our faith in order to combat adverse circumstances.
Allah is not our Enemy
The foremost thing we must bear in mind is that Allah does
not harbor hostility against us. He does not raise obstacles in our way
because—May Allah forgive me—He bears grudges or strong resentment to us nor is
it that He despises our very existence so much as to do away with it.
He has presented Himself as a friend of mankind; and as
good friends usually do, He warns us of our foremost enemy, Satan, lest we
should let ourselves be carried away by his illusive promises. Similarly, it is
evidently clear that Allah does not take any step without giving respite to His
servants. He has asserted the fact that if He were to catch everyone guilty of
committing sins right on the spot, none from the progeny of Adam (sws) would
remain protected. He has indeed devised the law of giving respite to the
sinners. He in fact awards reprieve to each wrong doer in order to allow him to
repent for his sins and mend his ways. If it were not for this allowance, we
would have been punished as soon as we erred.
Allah is our well-wisher and great friend too. However, He
should not be taken as a friend who maintains unprincipled friendship and
continues to support His friends even when they do mischief. On the contrary, He
is a sincere friend; instead of helping us transgress moral limits, He is always
there to guide us to the right path. In addition to sending us various Prophets
and awarding us Divine Books, He has designed a world of comfort and difficulty
to teach us and help us remain steadfast on the right path.
We must also know that Allah is not how the Jews endeavored
to portray Him. They suffered from the illusions that since they were the
descendents of the righteous Prophets of Allah; they were entitled to cross the
threshold of Paradise no matter how immoral life they would lead. And if, in all
probability, they were cast into Hell, they would not stay there but for a few
days. The Almighty has rebutted their misconception and has termed this: Al-Hād
Fī Al-sifāt (denying the essential attributes of the Lord)—a term which implies
that this is as heinous a crime as associating partners with Him.
Allah does not burden us
beyond our Capacity
The second fact we ought to always keep in view is that
Allah burdens us with only those responsibilities that we can easily discharge;
they are never of such high intensity as to make us lose our faith. The Holy
Qur’ān has elucidated this fact in the words that follow:
We task not any soul beyond its capacity. (7:152)
Obviously, if this sublime principle had been overlooked,
the entire scheme of test and trial would have become an act of tyranny and
oppression. Keeping this premise in mind about the Sharī‘ah, we can safely
conclude that Allah will adhere to this principle regarding other tests of life
as well. His attributes definitely negate the very notion that He overburdens us
just to shake our strength and shatter our hopes. Therefore, the underlying
purpose behind every seemingly astronomical adversity is to test us; the
Almighty never aims at exasperating us through adversities.
Adversities are not meant to
deprive us of our Faith
As an offshoot of the principle delineated above, what
comes to light is that Allah does not create troubles for us in order to divest
us of our faith. The Holy Qur’ān has also shed light on this principle: it was
put forth before the Muslims and the Jews, at the time when the directive
regarding change of Qiblah (i.e. the direction toward which Muslims stand and
offer prayer) was given, that Allah did not want that their faith should go in
And it was not Allah’s purpose to divest you of your
faith. He is full of pity, merciful toward mankind. (2:143)
Kindness is hidden under the
Veil of Troubles
The fourth fact that we must be very clear about is that
hardships indeed bring to our life many promising opportunities as well.
Sometimes, we encounter these opportunities along with the hardships; and
sometimes, after the tough period of trial is over.
Allah, on the basis of His all embracing wisdom and
sagacity, has fashioned this world in pairs. We may observe this phenomenon in
everything that we come across. Without night, the mere idea of daylight is not
only inconceivable but meaningless as well. Similarly, many potential
opportunities come to our way only after we face various hardships. For
instance, a woman has to endure excruciating labor before she is blessed with a
beautiful baby; a student acquires his degree after working hard for a
considerably long period of time; an exhorter to the path of truth only succeeds
after investing his best efforts in his mission for a long period of time.
Likewise, a person only becomes eligible to enter Paradise
after facing full-blown adversities and troubles. The Holy Qur’ān says:
You think that you will enter Paradise while there has
not yet come to you the like of [that which came to] those who passed away
before you? Affliction and adversity befell them; they were shaken as with
earthquake, till the Messenger [of Allah] and those who believed along with him
said: ‘when comes Allah’s help?’ Now surely Allah’s help is near. (2:214)
In short, it is the established practice of the Almighty
that He, before blessing a person with another bounty or instilling within him
new ability and skill, tries him by testing him with hardships and adversities.
However, the implied objective evidently is to make him eligible to receive
Allah helps us during
The fifth fact which should be deep-rooted within our heart
and soul is that Allah does not forget His servants after they are engulfed by
troubles. On the contrary, He keeps watching over them and comes forward to help
them with all His armies when they call upon Him. When Zulaykhā tried to
captivate Joseph (sws) by her ravishing beauty, the Almighty hastened to help
him. Similarly, the Ever Merciful helps His servants whenever troubles envelop
them. However, the provision of this help hinges upon one divinely ordained
clause: a believer must try his utmost and spend his last particle of energy to
fight tough circumstances, then the help of Allah will descend down upon him and
he will be sifted out of the tough situation.
The Holy Qur’ān has unveiled the emotions of the Prophet
Moses’ (sws) mother when she cast him into the river. If she had failed to
compose herself and then refused to undertake the great task, it would have been
eventually disclosed that Moses (sws) was among the slaves of Israelites.
Consequently, he would have been put to death. But Allah helped his mother
demonstrate perseverance. He, in addition, consoled her that His help was meant
to fortify her heart so that she might be of the believers. (28:10)
Allah is Merciful
One after the other, a series of egregious mistakes
emanates from us but He, the Merciful, keeps ignoring them. Like a true mentor,
He reprimands us such that He creates some hardships for us in order to save us
from going completely astray. He, sometimes, reveals our mistakes to others as
well. The objective is to teach us that we had better mend our ways. This
retribution continues to take place; if the person pays heed to the calls of his
conscience, he feels contrite and seeks the forgiveness of the Almighty, which
is readily granted by the Ever Merciful. In case, the person neither feels
remorseful nor does he turn to His Lord for forgiveness; then his reins in the
realm of evil are let loose. He is given a further period of respite. This
respite provides him with two opportunities: he may of his own volition turn
back to His Lord or may prefer to move further ahead on the evil route that he
has selected for himself. For the extent of his transgression, Allah however has
marked a manifest line. In case, he becomes as daring as to touch the
borderline, he is deprived of the essence of his hearing, seeing and reasoning
faculties; so no admonition would now make way to his heart.
This does not happen in a day or two. Allah decides this
matter adhering to the virtues of tolerance. The decision is actually arrived at
after taking into account the special circumstances of the criminal, his
capabilities, the contribution of the society toward his character building etc.
In short, everything that can be done under the head ‘justice’ is taken properly
into consideration. Hence, the criminal is not declared an outlaw after he has
overruled just one instruction of the Sharī‘ah.
Tests are an Integral Part of
Allah has created this world so that we could enter Heaven
by following the path of truth. This is why the present life will never be
devoid of tests. The very purpose behind the trials is to take us to Paradise.
This world is analogous to an examination hall where lack of seriousness will
cause the candidates to meet a drastic failure.
No inhabitant of this world should suffer from the illusion
that he will not be tested since this is against the very objective of his
creation. The entire scheme of the Almighty is that He will undoubtedly try His
servants here in order to select those who will dwell in the blissful place
called Heaven. Any attempt to escape from this trial would also culminate in
Are Blessings/Adversities the
Criteria to judge People?
Such criteria have somehow found general acceptance just
like in the days of ignorance. It is perceived that Allah is pleased with those
who are blessed with a comfortable life and displeased with those who are living
in penury. Under this concept, some criminals involved in bribery and smuggling
business choose to have the following phrase inscribed on the facade of their
palaces Hādhā Min Fadal-i-Rabī (it is a blessing upon me from my Lord). Such
perception is nothing but a mere fallacy.
Poverty and affluence are two aspects of the test and trial
that we are put through. Allah tests some people by showering them with His
bounties and some by straitening their means; Allah is however not displeased
with either of them. It is very likely that the affluent person, who is not
burdened with troubles—like the owner of grand treasures, Kārūn (Korah)—is
disliked by the Almighty. The comfort of the present world may be the result of
what Allah decided for him—he would be given everything in this world and
deprived of everything in the Hereafter. Likewise, if the period of difficulty
prolongs for a servant, it is not improbable at any rate that the victim be the
handpicked selection of the Almighty. Perhaps, Allah wants that this servant
should be rid of all his sins in order to become eligible to enter Paradise.
(Adapted from Sajid Hameed’s ‘Hum Par
Mushkalayn Kiyūn Ātī Hayn’ by Jhangeer Hanif)