Even if one is going through a difficulty as a
punishment for doing something wrong in the past, it is still a test, and
should, therefore, be endured with patience. In other words, a condition of
tribulation is always a test from God Almighty. Sometimes, it is meant only to
be a test that comes to enable the individual to get higher rewards and reach
higher levels of spiritual excellence. On other occasions, it is sent because
one had done something wrong in the past and God Almighty wanted the individual
to be reminded of it and to enable the individual to go through it and get his
sins washed away and also to earn higher rewards.
It is sometimes quite obvious to the individual who is
going through testing times that he had done something wrong for which he is
being punished. In such a case, he should seek forgiveness from God Almighty.
However, if it is not clear whether a difficulty has come to remind and punish
or just to test a person, it is always advisable that the individual should keep
thinking of the possible wrongs he might have committed in the past which may
have been responsible for the trial to have been sent.
Let us also not forget that whether it is prosperity or
poverty, both are trials from God Almighty. It is wrong to imagine that we are
only tried by God Almighty when we go through difficulties. The Qur’ān says:
As for man,
whenever his Lord tries him by honouring him and by giving him good things, he
says: ‘My Lord has honoured me’. But when He tries him by restraining his means,
he says: ‘My Lord has disgraced me’. No. (89:15-17)
The expression ‘No’ in the last part of the passage is
clarifying that it is a misleading understanding that worldly successes are a
source of honour and worldly tribulations are a source of disgrace. No, they
both are nothing but manifestations of the trial of this worldly life.