Monday, October 13, 2014

Tests and Trials we Experience

Presented by: Sister Lamiaa

This presentation reflects upon one important aspect of our life here on earth which are the tests or trials we go through
Allah (SWT) said in Surat al-Anbiya “Every soul has to experience the taste of death and We test you with both hardships and blessings and in the end you will all return to Us”
Therefore, as you and I travel through life we find ourselves in one of two situations. Either something good is happening in our lives or in which case – as Muslims - our role is have shukr (to thank Allah for the blessing).  Or something bad is happening to us, something we dislike and our role here is to have sabr (patience).
Therefore, Hardships and ease are a trial for you. Everything Allah chooses for you; from good or evil, is for your benefit as Allah (SWT) said in  Surat al Fajr “And as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favors him, he says, "My Lord has honored me (15) But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, "My Lord has humiliated me."
The Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "Strange is the affair of the mu'min (the believer), verily all his affairs are good for him. If something pleasing befalls him he thanks (Allah) and it becomes better for him. And if something harmful befalls him he is patient (sabir) and it becomes better for him. And this is only for the mu'min."
The test with hardship or calamities is clear and it can take a lot of forms such as illness, death, poverty or war;  Allah (SWT) said in the Quran in Surat al Baqarah  “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” .  
There are 4 LEVELS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE AFFLICTED with calamities:
The First Level:
Being angry and this anger can be one of many types. The first type of anger is that which is directed towards Allah. In this case, the person becomes angry at what Allah has decreed for him, and this is Haraam (forbidden). 
 Allah (SWT) said: “And among mankind is he who worships Allah upon the very edge (i.e. in doubt); if good befalls him, he is content therewith; but if a trial befalls him, he turns back on his face (i.e. Reverts back to disbelief after embracing Islam). 
 He loses both this world and the Hereafter. That is the evident loss.” (22:11). The second type of anger is expressed by the tongue like making du’aa for destruction or ruin and what is similar to that, and this is Haraam. 
The third type of anger is expressed by the limbs like slapping the cheeks, ripping clothing, pulling out hair, and similar to that, and all of this is Haraam and in contradiction to patience which is Waajib.
The Second Level:
The person at this level feels the affliction to weighs very heavy upon him, yet he bears it although he dislikes that it happened. Rather, his iman bears it and restrains him from being angry. So the time of affliction and the time of no affliction is not the same to him, and this (level) is Waajib, because Allah commanded the people to be patient, saying: 
 “And be patient, indeed Allah is with the patient ones.” (8:46)
The Third Level:
In this level, the person is pleased with the affliction and he does not bear it as if it is something that weighs heavily on him. This (level) is Mustahabb (preferred) and it is not Waajib according to the most correct opinion. 

The Fourth Level:
Thankfulness and being grateful for the affliction and this is the highest level. In this level, the person thanks Allah for the affliction because he knows that this affliction is a way of purifying him of his sins and perhaps a cause for an increase in his good deeds.
 The Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “There is no affliction which strikes the Muslim except that Allah expiates with it (sins), even with a thorn that may poke him.” (Bukhaaree & Muslim)

One of the examples of being tested with hardship in the Quran is the story of the prophet Ayoub, he lost his wealth and his children and he was physically afflicted with disease. His disease lasted for a long time until his visitors felt disgusted with him, his friends kept away from him and people abstained from visiting him. However, he remained firm in his belief and remained thankful to Allah. Allah rewarded him by removing the distress that was on him, and restoring his family to him (that he had lost), and the like thereof along with them. Allah ( SWT)  praised him in Quran “Truly! We found him patient. How excellent a slave! Verily, he was always returning in repentance to US”
Another example is Prophet Ibrahim, he was an old man before he was blessed with his son Ismail and when Ismail grew up and was his companion, Allah ordered him to slaughter him, so he was faced with a very hard trial but still he obeyed Allah and the words of Ismail were a great example of patience in hardship, he did not rebel against his father but rather he said “O my dear father! Do as you are commanded. You will find me, by God’s will, one of those who show steadfast patience (in obeying God’s commands)."
The other form of trial is the one where people are tried with blessings and this is a harder form of trial.  Being tried with hardship makes most people remember Allah (SWT) and turn to him in humbleness and need. Therefore, it becomes easier for them to succeed in this form of trial. However, people who are enjoying the blessings of Allah most often tend to forget to be thankful. They might become proud and arrogant and in some cases they may even use those blessing to transgress instead of using those blessings for the sake of Allah and to help those who are less fortunate.
Allah said in Suart Al-Alaq “Nay! Verily, man does transgress (6) Because he considers himself self-sufficient (7)”
Some examples in the Quran of how blessings can be trials that lead to the destruction of the person is the story of Qaroon, he was given great wealth and instead of being thankful to Allah, he said "I was only given it because of knowledge I have."   He used his wealth to transgress so Allah ordered the earth to swallow him and his home. There is also the story of the king Nimrod who denied the existence of God except himself and what made Nimrod commit this transgression, utter disbelief and rebellion was his tyranny and the fact that he ruled for a long time as Allah has said in the Quran in Surat al-Baqarah “O’ Muhammed Have you not looked at him who disputed Ibrahim about his lord because Allah had given him the kingdom….”. The same story repeated with Pharaoh as he said to his people “I am your God” and again it was explained in the Quran that the reason Pharaoh claimed to be God is that he was given a great kingdom. Allah said in Surat az-Zukhruf  “And Pharaoh called out among his people; he said, "O my people, does not the kingdom of Egypt belong to me, and these rivers flowing beneath me; then do you not see?”
On the other hand, the Quran also gave us the example of prophet Soliman who was given great bounties and remained thankful and humble to Allah. Allah has given him command over the wind and gathered for Solimon soldiers of the jinn and men and birds. When the jinn brought [Solimon] the throne of the queen of Saba’ and he saw it placed before him, he said, "This is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful - his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful - then indeed, my Lord is Free of need and Generous.”

I would like to conclude with this Duaa “O Allah, make us from those who have patience upon hardships and those who are thankful upon your blessings”

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