Dealing with trials
Knowledge and Faith – Which one upholds the character of a person when afflicted by a calamity or struck by a trial?
In sahih AlBukhari and Muslim, Anas narrated that the Messenger of Allah salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam once passed by a woman who was weeping on a grave of her son, He said: “Observe Taqwa, and be patient” Not recognizing him in such circumstances she rudely replied, “Get away from me, you were not afflicted with a calamity like mine”. The Messenger of Allah just left her alone. When she was told who he was, she rushed to his house and apologized. The Messenger of Allah salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Patience is counted on the first strike.”
Ibnul Qayyim rahimahullah explains that knowledge alone is not enough to help a person hold on during the time of Fitna and trial, because when a trial falls it takes people by surprise and people become completely distracted. Faith however stays and as a matter of fact shapes a persons response which reflects the level of beneficial knowledge s/he carries. If knowledge is not employed in ones life and not translated into action then it’s not beneficial.
If knowledge was enough to pass a test or trial, then Iblis would be the most worthy of success, but he was not.
How do tests differ from being punished for sins? Is there any way to tell?
Both are part of the test. Punishment for sins does not necessarily have to be with a severe or excruciating kind of punishment, it can simply be with ample convenience like wealth, power, or access to more sins – that is, an allurement. Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala says, “and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial.” Always have good assumptions regarding Allah while keeping in mind that it might be because of what you have done. Keep the balance.
Is it correct to say that if you fail a test, Allah places similar trials before you as a second chance and because you’ve disobeyed Allah, His punishment is by pushing you away through various “allurements,” but in actuality He is testing you, kind of like “tough love,” to see if you will come back to the truth?
You are right on this and here is one example from Surah al-An’am that many use as a proof,
Before thee We sent (Messengers) to many nations, and We afflicted the nations with suffering and adversity, that they might learn humility. When the suffering reached them from Us, why then did they not learn humility? On the contrary their hearts became hardened, and Satan made their (sinful) acts seem alluring to them. But when they forgot the warning they had received, We opened to them the gates of all (good) things, until, in the midst of their enjoyment of Our gifts, on a sudden, We called them to account, when lo! they were plunged in despair! Of the wrong-doers the last remnant was cut off. Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. (6:42-45)
Is it a sign of increasing iman when you begin to realize all the tests in your life, big or small, and begin to really struggle with this and trying to ‘pass’ the tests? Is submitting to your desires ‘failing’ the tests in ur daily life?
The answer is in surat An-nazi’aat:
Then, for such as had transgressed all bounds, And had preferred the life of this world, the Abode will be Hell-Fire; And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord’s (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower Desires, Their Abode will be the Garden. (ayah 37-41)
What should one do if one has failed a test in the past and realizes it, and what should one do if he/she is failing the test but he/she is still in the middle of their test or fitnah?
Persistence is the key to success; persist on Tawba even if you fail. If you stop and surrender then it’s another failure. Failing once is better than failing twice and twice is better than thrice.
In the Qudsi Hadith Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala says,
My servant has committed a sin, then my servant said: ‘My Lord, I have committed a sin, O forgive me.’ And Allah will say, ‘My servant knows he has a Lord who forgives the sin and who holds one accountable for it. Be my witnesses that I have forgiven him.’
The man then commits another sin then says the same thing…on the forth time Allah says, ‘Write down an inerasable Tawba ‘repentance’ for my servant, so let my servant do what he wants.’
This hadith however, doesn’t justify sin or give a green light for those who wish to indulge in haram. The hadith informs us that a heart which becomes addicted to Tawba cannot hold too long on the sin, and soon will this heart return to Allah in repentance. And with such addiction and adherence to sincere Tawba, no sin can last.
Written by Shaykh Yaser Birjas. Read the full article here.
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