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FaithLife

The Tests We Go Through

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Often in tests, we feel like we have lost out, but what is taken is never lost for a believer – a hadith beautifully mentions “you will never give up a thing for the sake of Allah but that Allah will replace it for you with something that is better for you than it”.

“O my people! Truly, this life of the world is nothing but a (quick passing) enjoyment, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever.” (Qur’an 40:39) 

This beautiful ayah (verse) alone is enough to remind our hearts, that this dunya (worldly life) is not worth worrying over nor remaining sad over – for it will come and go before we know it, but what will remain is the akhirah (afterlife), where we will be for eternity.

It therefore makes sense to focus on our purpose of this life, to pass the ultimate test of this worldly life; to please Allah and gain everlasting happiness and perfection in Jannah (heaven). 

Sometimes it’s easy to lose focus on achieving our Jannah and instead we become distracted on all issues related to dunya, commonly focusing on how unfair this world may be or the tests we are facing – yet we forget what this ayah so beautifully mentioned, that this life wasn’t meant to be permanent nor perfect. 

I recently went through a test in my personal life and I made a conscious decision that this test was not going to define who I am but instead bring goodness and lessons that I can learn to keep throughout my life inshaAllah (God willing).

After learning about why this dunya is filled with trials and why Allah tests us, I have never felt so empowered and loved, and I sincerely hope that if you are reading this now, having gone through your own test, you come out feeling Allah’s Love which is so readily there waiting for you to embrace. 

When life doesn’t pan out the way we hoped, we must remember that this is the plan of Allah, and the plan of Allah is far greater than we could have ever planned for ourselves.

Had Allah lifted the veil for His slave and shown him how He handles his affairs for him, and how Allah is more keen for the benefit of the slave than his own self, his heart would have melted out of love for Allah and would have been torn to pieces out of thankfulness to Allah. Therefore, if the pains of this world tire you, do not grieve. For it may be that Allah wishes to hear your voice by way of duaa (prayer). So, pour out your desires in prostration and forget about it and know, that verily Allah does not forget.”

Ibn Qayyim

If the test of the dunya feels like you have hit rock bottom, you have sunk to the deepest depths of the dark ocean’s floor – remember Ibn Qayyim’s beautiful words above and do not lose faith or hope in Allah’s Plan. 

Tests are a means of becoming closer to Him, humbling oneself, purification of the soul, increasing dependence on Him, earning His Pleasure, and elevating one’s rank. Not only will you rise to the surface of the ocean, but you will also be stronger from the swim and find often you will have collected many pearls along the way. 

Comparing what may seem like a hard chapter of life right now, to the eternal life of happiness in Jannah, puts into perspective that not only will this soon pass, but soon be forgotten and no longer note worth on the timescale of forever. One hadith beautifully mentioned that:

The most destitute of the people (those who frequently experienced hardships and trials) in this world, of those who will enter Paradise, will be brought and dipped once in Paradise, and it will be said to him: O son of Adam, did you ever see anything bad? Did you ever experience any hardship? He will say: No, by Allah, O Lord. I never saw anything bad and I never experienced any hardship.”

The joy and pleasure of being only dipped into paradise was enough for one who had experienced much hardship in dunya, to forget what he had endured, so imagine the pleasure of one who may live there eternally. 

If the sadness or hardship of the test continues to creep into life, it’s beneficial to examine the heart for there may be an attachment to a worldly matter which has taken up the space of the only attachment worthy of the heart: Allah. The shahada is the ultimate reminder that we only worship Allah and we hold no other attachments but Him:

There is no God but God (Allah – i.e. there is none worthy of worship but Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

A hadith mentions the shahada is equivalent to weighing heavier on the scales of deeds than ninety-nine scrolls [containing the record of his bad deeds] for him, each scroll extending as far as the eye can see, “for nothing could compare in weight to the name of Allah.”

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A litmus test to use for when we feel a love for something in dunya (which could later form an unhealthy attachment) is asking the question “is the love of this bringing me closer or further from God?” In answer to this question, we must remember what Allah mentions in the Qur’an “but as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination, then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge.” (Qur’an 79:40-41).

Our love in dunya should only ever be a means of loving Him, our ultimate end goal – and when we have made this a reality, all that awaits us is Jannah. No person, no action, no desire is worth losing Allah over, we must never put Allah the Giver in our hand and the dunya in our heart for it will certainly consume us and push away our hand.

Instead, our purpose should be to always keep Allah as our priority, for this will bring success beyond imagination. A beautiful hadith states that:

Whoever is concerned about the Hereafter, Allah will settle his affairs, make him content in his heart, the world will come to him although he reluctant is for it.”

When we put Allah before anything else, we will achieve not only our end goal of Jannah, but the pleasures of this world as well. 

During these testing times it is so easy for the mind to stop focussing on one’s own heart and to neglect oneself and instead focus on “I wonder what they think about me now?” or “I wonder what my friends/the community must be saying about me now” etc. However, the status/reputation we have and the happiness we feel should be defined by our relationship with Allah.

If we have kept our dignity, sought to please Allah, and tried to uphold any righteousness and piety – we have no need to worry about what anyone else may be thinking, for Allah is truly the only constant in life – His relationship is full of love for us and remains closest to us no matter what, “and We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein [our life line]” (Quran 50:16). 

If the thought of the creation is occupying your thoughts over thoughts of the Creator, a scientifically proven way to reduce this comparison and negative self-esteem is to spend less time on social media and more time connecting to Allah. A 2018 University of Pennsylvania study found that “reducing social media use to 30 minutes a day resulted in a significant reduction in levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep problems, and FOMO”. 

True liberation comes from realising we are not slaves to any societal pressures, but only to Allah alone. Once you have become liberated from the attachments of dunya and the preoccupation of what others may think – just remember the Love of Allah for you, this formula will get one out of any test.

It is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows and you know not.”

Quran 2:216

Often in tests, we feel like we have lost out, but what is taken is never lost for a believer – a hadith beautifully mentions “you will never give up a thing for the sake of Allah but that Allah will replace it for you with something that is better for you than it”.

So, in reality it’s never lost, it’s in fact a gain; a form of protection, expiation of sins, coming closer to Him, and hope that something greater is coming! 

If you are going through a hard time, I sincerely pray you be shown your home in Jannah so that any hardship is made easy for you Ameen. We are nearly there … the path is hard, but know the destination is to meet Him … and that makes it all worthwhile.

“And Allah provides a way out – this is a promise, from sources we could never imagine, Allah is sufficient” (Qur’an 65:2-3).

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