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Patience with Trials and Tribulations

It is He who created death and life to test you as to which of you are best in deed, and He is the Almighty, the Forgiving.

By Abu Amina Elias / 23 Aug 2013

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Muslims will endure many trials throughout their lives.

Allah tests us with hardship and also prosperity in order to validate the sincerity of our faith.

Allah said:

الَّذِيخَلَقَالْمَوْتَوَالْحَيَاةَلِيَبْلُوَكُمْأَيُّكُمْأَحْسَنُعَمَلًاوَهُوَالْعَزِيزُالْغَفُورُ

It is He who created death and life to test you as to which of you are best in deed, and He is the Almighty, the Forgiving.

Surah Al-Maulk 67:2

In all cases, trials can be good for the true believer. If he is tested with prosperity, he should remain grateful and he will receive a reward. If he is tested with hardship, he should remain patient and he will receive a reward.

Suhaib reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

عَجَبًالِأَمْرِالْمُؤْمِنِإِنَّأَمْرَهُكُلَّهُخَيْرٌوَلَيْسَذَاكَلِأَحَدٍإِلَّالِلْمُؤْمِنِإِنْأَصَابَتْهُسَرَّاءُشَكَرَفَكَانَخَيْرًالَهُوَإِنْأَصَابَتْهُضَرَّاءُصَبَرَفَكَانَخَيْرًالَهُ

Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him, and if he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2999, Grade: Sahih

Trials can be a sign that Allah intends good for us, because through trials our sins are expiated and we have the opportunity to perform good deeds.

Abu Huraira reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْيُرِدِاللَّهُبِهِخَيْرًايُصِبْمِنْهُ

If Allah intends good for someone, then He afflicts him with trials.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5321, Grade: Sahih

Mus’ad ibn Sa’eed reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

الْبَلَاءُبِالْعَبْدِحَتَّىيَتْرُكَهُيَمْشِيعَلَىالْأَرْضِمَاعَلَيْهِخَطِيئَةٌ

The servant will continue to be tried until he is left walking upon the earth without any sin.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2398, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَاأَرَادَاللَّهُبِعَبْدِهِالْخَيْرَعَجَّلَلَهُالْعُقُوبَةَفِيالدُّنْيَاوَإِذَاأَرَادَاللَّهُبِعَبْدِهِالشَّرَّأَمْسَكَعَنْهُبِذَنْبِهِحَتَّىيُوَافِيَبِهِيَوْمَالْقِيَامَةِ

When Allah intends good for His servant, He hastens the punishment for him in this world, and when Allah intends evil for His servant, He withholds punishment for his sins until he appears on the Day of Resurrection.

In another narration, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّعِظَمَالْجَزَاءِمَعَعِظَمِالْبَلَاءِوَإِنَّاللَّهَإِذَاأَحَبَّقَوْمًاابْتَلَاهُمْفَمَنْرَضِيَفَلَهُالرِّضَاوَمَنْسَخِطَفَلَهُالسَّخَطُ

Verily, with greater rewards come greater trials. Verily, when Allah loves a people He will test them, so whoever is pleased then for him is satisfaction, and whoever is angry then for him is wrath.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2396, Grade: Hasan

Despite the incidental blessings that might come about from trials, a Muslim should never wish to be put to trial because he does not know if he will succeed.

Miqdad ibn Al-Aswad reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّالسَّعِيدَلَمَنْجُنِّبَالْفِتَنَإِنَّالسَّعِيدَلَمَنْجُنِّبَالْفِتَنِإِنَّالسَّعِيدَلَمَنْجُنِّبَالْفِتَنُوَلَمَنْابْتُلِيَفَصَبَرَفَوَاهًا

Verily, the blessed person is one kept away from trials. Verily, the blessed person is one kept away from trials. Verily, the blessed person is one kept away from trials. How good is one who is afflicted but bears it patiently!

Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4263, Grade: Sahih

Rather, Muslims should supplicate to Allah for security and well-being.

Abu Bakr reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَمْتُؤْتَوْاشَيْئًابَعْدَكَلِمَةِالْإِخْلَاصِمِثْلَالْعَافِيَةِفَاسْأَلُوااللَّهَالْعَافِيَةَ

You will not be given anything after sincere faith as good as security, so ask Allah for security.

Source: Musnad Ahmad 11, Grade: Sahih

Likewise, a Muslim should never rush into trials whether among the Muslims or the non-Muslims.

Allah said:

رَبَّنَالَاتَجْعَلْنَافِتْنَةًلِّلَّذِينَكَفَرُواوَاغْفِرْلَنَارَبَّنَاإِنَّكَأَنتَالْعَزِيزُالْحَكِيمُ

Our Lord, make us not a trial for the unbelievers and forgive us, our Lord. Verily, You are the Almighty, the Wise.

Surah Al-Mumtahanah 60:5

Abu Huraira reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

سَتَكُونُفِتَنٌالْقَاعِدُفِيهَاخَيْرٌمِنْالْقَائِمِوَالْقَائِمُخَيْرٌمِنْالْمَاشِيوَالْمَاشِيفِيهَاخَيْرٌمِنْالسَّاعِيمَنْتَشَرَّفَلَهَاتَسْتَشْرِفْهُفَمَنْوَجَدَمَلْجَأًأَوْمَعَاذًافَلْيَعُذْبِه

There will be tribulations during which a sitting person will be better than the one standing, and the one standing will be better than the one walking, and the one walking will be better than the one running, and whoever exposes himself to these tribulations will be destroyed, so whoever finds a place of protection or refuge should take shelter in it.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 6670, Grade: Sahih

One of the greatest trials a Muslim might endure is the death of a loved one such as a spouse, a parent, or a child. If he remains patient and praises Allah in such a situation, then Allah has guaranteed a house for him in Paradise.

Abu Musa Al-Ashari reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَامَاتَوَلَدُالْعَبْدِقَالَاللَّهُلِمَلَائِكَتِهِقَبَضْتُمْوَلَدَعَبْدِيفَيَقُولُونَنَعَمْفَيَقُولُقَبَضْتُمْثَمَرَةَفُؤَادِهِفَيَقُولُونَنَعَمْفَيَقُولُمَاذَاقَالَعَبْدِيفَيَقُولُونَحَمِدَكَوَاسْتَرْجَعَفَيَقُولُاللَّهُابْنُوالِعَبْدِيبَيْتًافِيالْجَنَّةِوَسَمُّوهُبَيْتَالْحَمْدِ

When the child of a servant dies, Allah says to the angels: Have you taken the life of My servant’s child? They say yes. Allah says: Have you taken the fruit of his heart? They say yes.

Allah says: What has My servant said?

They say:

He has praised You and said to Allah we belong and to Allah we return.

Allah says:

Build a house for My servant in Paradise and name it the House of Praise.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1021, Grade: Hasan

Abu Huraira reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

يَقُولُاللَّهُتَعَالَىمَالِعَبْدِيالْمُؤْمِنِعِنْدِيجَزَاءٌإِذَاقَبَضْتُصَفِيَّهُمِنْأَهْلِالدُّنْيَاثُمَّاحْتَسَبَهُإِلَّاالْجَنَّةُ

Allah the Exalted says: I have nothing to give to My believing servant, if I cause his dear friend to die and he remains patient, other than Paradise.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 6060, Grade: Sahih

The trials of pain and loss are very difficult, but in some ways the trials of prosperity are even more difficult.

Abdur Rahman ibn Awf, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

ابْتُلِينَامَعَرَسُولِاللَّهِصَلَّىاللَّهُعَلَيْهِوَسَلَّمَبِالضَّرَّاءِفَصَبَرْنَاثُمَّابْتُلِينَابِالسَّرَّاءِبَعْدَهُفَلَمْنَصْبِرْ

We were tested with hardship alongside the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and we were patient. Then we were tested with prosperity after that and we were not patient.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2464, Grade: Hasan

An abundance of wealth is one of the greatest trials for the Muslim nation because in such a situation the Muslims are obligated to spend generously from it in charity.

Ka’b ibn Iyad reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّلِكُلِّأُمَّةٍفِتْنَةًوَفِتْنَةُأُمَّتِيالْمَالُ

Verily, every nation has a trial and the trial of my nation is wealth.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2336, Grade: Sahih

Muslims are tested with great acts of oppression committed by authorities and powerful groups in the world, but we must remember that Allah has promised us that those who oppress us will give us their good deeds on the Day of Resurrection or take some of our sins.

Abu Huraira reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْكَانَتْلَهُمَظْلَمَةٌلِأَخِيهِمِنْعِرْضِهِأَوْشَيْءٍفَلْيَتَحَلَّلْهُمِنْهُالْيَوْمَقَبْلَأَنْلَايَكُونَدِينَارٌوَلَادِرْهَمٌإِنْكَانَلَهُعَمَلٌصَالِحٌأُخِذَمِنْهُبِقَدْرِمَظْلَمَتِهِوَإِنْلَمْتَكُنْلَهُحَسَنَاتٌأُخِذَمِنْسَيِّئَاتِصَاحِبِهِفَحُمِلَعَلَيْهِ

Whoever oppresses his brother in his honor or anything else should resolve the matter today before it cannot be resolved with gold and silver coins. If he has good deeds to his credit, they will be taken from him according to the measure of his oppression, but if he has no good deeds left, then he will bear the evil deeds of his companion.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 2317, Grade: Sahih

In such a situation, we must remember that Allah will avenge us in the Hereafter so we should not let our hatred or anger at our oppression lead us to commit further acts of injustice. Allah said:

يَاأَيُّهَاالَّذِينَآمَنُواكُونُواقَوَّامِينَلِلَّهِشُهَدَاءَبِالْقِسْطِوَلَايَجْرِمَنَّكُمْشَنَآنُقَوْمٍعَلَىٰأَلَّاتَعْدِلُوااعْدِلُواهُوَأَقْرَبُلِلتَّقْوَىٰوَاتَّقُوااللَّهَإِنَّاللَّهَخَبِيرٌبِمَاتَعْمَلُونَ

O you who believe, be persistently standing firm for Allah as witnesses in justice and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just, for that is nearer to righteousness. Fear Allah, for verily, Allah is aware of what you are doing.

Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:8

One of the greatest trials is the temptation to resort to violence when confronted with an unjust government, but in such a situation we must be patient and attempt to reform the government without declaring a violent rebellion.

Hudhayfa ibn al-Yaman reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

يَكُونُبَعْدِيأَئِمَّةٌلَايَهْتَدُونَبِهُدَايَوَلَايَسْتَنُّونَبِسُنَّتِيوَسَيَقُومُفِيهِمْرِجَالٌقُلُوبُهُمْقُلُوبُالشَّيَاطِينِفِيجُثْمَانِإِنْسٍ

Rulers after me will come who do not follow my guidance and my tradition. Some of their men will have the hearts of devils in a human body.

I said,

“O Messenger of Allah, what should I do if I live to see that time?”

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

تَسْمَعُوَتُطِيعُلِلْأَمِيرِوَإِنْضُرِبَظَهْرُكَوَأُخِذَمَالُكَفَاسْمَعْوَأَطِعْ

You should listen and obey them even if the ruler strikes your back and takes your wealth, even still listen and obey.

Source: Sahih Muslim 1847, Grade: Sahih

The righteous predecessors (salaf as-salih) decried the violent rebels who lived in their time because their rebellion always led to further suffering, injustice, and division amongst the Muslims.

Hasan Al-Basri, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

لَوْأَنَّالنَّاسَإِذَاابْتُلُوامِنْقِبَلِسُلْطَانِهِمْصَبَرُوامَالَبِثُواأَنْيُفْرَجَعَنْهُمْوَلَكِنَّهُمْيَجْزَعُونَإِلَىالسَّيْفِفَيُوَكَّلُونَإِلَيْهِفَوَاللَّهِمَاجَاءُوابِيَوْمِخَيْرٍقَطُّ

If the people had patience when they are being tested by their unjust ruler, it will not be long before Allah will give them a way out. However, they always rush to their swords, so they are left with their swords. By Allah, not even for a single day did they bring about any good.

Source: Tabaqat Al-Kubra 8789

Therefore, 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 relive the suffering of Muslims and to guide us through the trials of life and death.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

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