Elevation through Difficulty
The Messengers and Prophets all led difficult lives. Their calamities and hardships were actually a form of elevation and increased status from Allah. None of the Prophets or Messengers were exempted from severe hardship and calamity. If you want to learn more about the lives of the Messenger and Prophet series, click here .
The calamity of the believer is a cleansing, elevation, purification, eradication of sins, and strengthening of his faith.
And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.” Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided. (Al Qur’an 2:155 – 2:157)
This is the promise of Allah to the believers. They will be subject to multiple trials in life, but how, where and when, we do not know.
If Allah loves a servant, He will test him with calamity and hardship. If the person bears it with patience and returns the matter to Allah (meaning to deal with it in the manner prescribed in the Qur’an and Sunnah), Allah SWT will elevate such person towards Him. If the person displays patience and gratitude, contentment, trust and belonging to Allah, now Allah will select him to be amongst the chosen and closest ones to Him, as we can see in the examples of Ibrahim AS and Muhammad SAW.
For the disbelievers and non-believers, the conclusion is simple. Allah SWT will keep opening ease in this life, but He also promises severe torture and humiliation in dunia and in the hereafter. In fact hypocrites can actually descend to the level of kuffar (disbeliever), which is why in the Qur’an, the majority of the verses associate them with each other.
What happens if Allah trials us with calamity, hardship and we do not gain the wisdom, the humble and humility to seek His guidance and forgiveness? The trial which will ensue will be more severe, and the ending even more so.
What comes to you of good is from Allah, but what comes to you of evil, [O man], is from yourself. And We have sent you, [O Muhammad], to the people as a messenger, and sufficient is Allah as Witness. (Al Qur’an 4:79)
Has it not become clear to those who inherited the earth after its [previous] people that if We willed, We could afflict them for their sins? But We seal over their hearts so they do not hear. (Al Qur’an 7:100)
No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah . And whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things. (Al Qur’an 64:11)
Ibn `Umar (AS) said: “Rarely would the Messenger of Allah (SAW) stand from a sitting until he supplicated with these words for his Companions: “O Allah, apportion for us, fear of You, that shall come between us and disobedience of You, and of obedience to You, which shall cause us to obtain Your Paradise, and of certainty, which shall make the afflictions of the world easy for us, and enjoyment of our hearing, and our seeing, and our strength as long as You keep us alive, and make it the inheritor of us. And let our vengeance be upon those who have wronged us, and aid us against those who show enmity towards us, and do not make our affliction in our religion, and do not make this world our greatest concern, nor the limit of our knowledge, and do not give power over us to those who will not have mercy on us.” (Sahih Tirmidhi 3502)
Allah also warns and advises us as follows:
Does man think that he will be left neglected? (Al Qur’an 75:36)
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. (Al Qur’an 29:2)
From the above verses and many other similar ones, Allah promises that one cannot call himself a believer or claim that he is on the right path without Allah subjecting him a trial to check the reality and sincerity of his faith. Through this process, Allah sifts the believers from the liars and the hypocrites. The sincerity of faith does not surface at the time of seeking knowledge, but in a time when we are tested through a trial to apply that knowledge in reality. Allah SWT promises that no one will enter Paradise just like that. Everything has a price, dunia and akhirah, and to merit oneself being seen as a true believer, one must pass the trials that Allah places for him. So if afflicted with calamity, do not lose faith in Allah. Instead, use that calamity as the diving board to turn towards Allah and go back onto the right path!