Last night, I received a phone call from a close relative whom I had thought wanted to extend greetings. Sadly, the condolence-like voice degenerated into castigation and ill-lectures. The caller sounded concerned but the concern was misplaced.
The caller had, in the first minute of the conversation, asked about my most recent surgery and how far I have recuperated. What followed were sermons and castigations. The caller, a non-Muslim, advised that I should ‘take things easy’. “I might have offended some powerful people with my da’wah activities”, I was told.
The caller also furthered by asking if I was the only one. I was reminded that I had a surgery in 2017 following a fatal motor accident that claimed some lives, this year, I have just been operated and in the nearest future, I have to be operated on again to remove the implant in my hand and leg; the ones I got during the 2017 surgery to fix my broken leg and hand.
It is against this backdrop that I will write, encourage, and motivate the believers in this article. Kindly note that this is not a show-off, even if it is erroneously conceived to be so by any reader of this piece, is it not ridiculous that one would bask in the tragedy of his trials and tribulations? It is important to note that life is not to be all rosy and that we all get tested differently. While tests and trials may come in different forms, it is our reaction towards them that matters.
For the Kaafir (an unbeliever), challenges are unexpected and when they come, they are followed with wailing, kicking, frustration, depressing, and of course, looking for who to them. While the atheistic, agnostic, free-thinking, or irreligious unbeliever gets tested, they have no thought of a divine, supernatural or spiritual connection. They cry, get sad, go to the hospital, use anti-depressants and that’s it.
On the other hand, the ‘religious’ unbeliever (one who professes a religion as in Christianity or one who claims to be Muslim but is involved in shirk on a daily basis), someone or something must be responsible for their woes. It follows that when they hit their foot on a stone, they remember their neighbour or friend who detests them. Consequentially, they run from the house of Sheikhs, Monks, Saints, Prophets, Pastors seeking help. Their frequent slogan is, “God, why me?”. It is abominable for people like these to be sick, hungry, witness a thing of fear, loss of property, etc.
In the glorious Qur’an, Allah calls the believing men and women the best of creations due to many reasons. We will be looking at the Muslims being the best of creatures within the scope of this article.
The believers are the possessors of the real and true knowledge, This is to because their lives and thought processes are dependent on the Qur’an and Sunnah which are from the creator of Mankind. He, Allah, created man, knows the man and is in a position to give man proper guidance and understanding of how life works. This is not to discredit knowledge of science, technology etc. However, the real and true knowledge can only be felt by those who know Allah; when this happens, the veil is removed.
Allah says in the Qur’an;
“We shall certainly test you by afflicting you with fear, hunger, loss of properties and lives and fruits. Give glad tidings, then, to those who remain patient;
those who when any affliction smites them, they say: “Verily, we belong to Allah, and it is to Him that we are destined to return.
Upon them will be the blessings and mercy of their Lord, and it is they who are rightly guided.” (Qur’an 2:155-157)
These verses from the Qur’an are clear. The believers would be tested in different ays as stated in verse 155. One may wonder, why should glad tidings be given to those who remain patient and say, “Verily, we belong to Allah and it is to Him that we are destined to return”. Not to make this piece too long a read, I will not write comprehensively on the spiritual and psychological interpretation of the verse.
The one who believes in Allah knows that the world is a temporary place same as their trials and tribulations. For the believer, his return to his Lord is his priority, thus, not losing any form of hope when trials come. ” ‘Saying’ does not signify the mere making of a statement. It means a statement which is accompanied by a deep conviction in one’s heart: ‘To Allah do we belong.’ This being so, a man is bound to think that whatever has been sacrificed for God has, in fact, attained its legitimate end, for it has been spent in the way of the One to whom all things truly belong.
‘And it is to Him that we are destined to return’ refers to the fact that man will not stay forever in this world and will return, sooner or later, to God. And if man is indeed destined to return to God why should he not return to Him having spent his all, having staked his life for His sake? This alternative is preferable to the pursuit of self-aggrandizement and then meeting death either by sickness or accident.”
Allah also says,
“Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried? But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars.” (Qur’an 29:2-3)
While a believer prays and hopes for good, he also expects trials from his Lord. Indeed, trials put one’s belief into a test to differentiate those who are truthful from the liars. Therefore, that a disbeliever sees these tests as evil and punishment is a justification of their kufr.
Tests also come as a means of purification and cleansing of sins as reported in an authentic hadeeth;
“The Prophet (saw) said: “No calamity befalls a Muslim but that Allah expiates some of his sins because of it, even if it were the prick of a thorn.” (Bukhari, Muslim).”
Man’s knowledge is limited and we may not be able to explain why we get tested. Allah says,
“Perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.”(Surah 4: 19)
In line with this verse, what we call a tribulation may be better for us in the real sense.
While we can go on looking into the Qur’an and Sunnah to give a comprehensive analysis of tests and trials, we will stop here with this important hadeeth;
The Prophet (saw) said: “The people who face the most difficult tests are the prophets, then the righteous, then those following them in degree. A person is tried according to his religion. So if there is firmness in his religion, then the trial is increased, and if there is a weakness, then it is lightened. Verily a trial remains with a servant until he walks the earth having no sin left upon him”(Bukhari).
Evidently, a Muslim should not be perturbed by tests and trials, rather, they should rely totally on Allah alone. The Kuffar do not have real and true knowledge because they do not know Allah. Hopefully, they learn from this and further their study of Islam hence having the real knowledge.
“As long as man lives, so will he face calamities – whether be Jew, Muslim, Christian or Athiest” – Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman