NOVEMBER 14, 2014 By: Dr. Ramadan Jalloh
In the name of Allah the Most Beneficent the Most Merciful
Indeed all praise is due to Allah. We praise Him, seek His assistance, we seek forgiveness from Him and we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our own selves and the evils of our actions. Whoever Allah guides, none can lead astray and whoever He leads astray, none can guide. I bear witness that none is worthy of worship except Allah who has no partner, and I also bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.
I admonish all mankind and myself to fear Allah in the secret and in the open, remember Him in the good and hard times, and to endure and be patient in obeying Him and against disobeying Him.
Allah said: “O you who believe! Endure and be more patient, and guard your territory, and fear Allah, so that you may be successful”.Al-Imran: 200.
Realize oh you brothers and sisters that you are living in a world of trials and tests, and a life full of calamities and examinations. Spears of calamities fall down upon you like rains and arrows of trials are projected towards you. Allah’s decree upon you is in progress, and His Judgment on you is momentous. No one returns His decree and destiny and no one hinders the occurrence of His desires and actions. Allah said: ” And when He decides upon a thing, He says to it only: “Be!” and it is”. Ghafir: 68.
He also said: “And the Command of Allah is a decree determined”. Al-Ahzab: 38.
My respectable Muslim brothers and sisters, Allah has created this world and made it to be rough and not smooth and destined for it to be a place of changes, where opposite scenes happens. If He brings laughter for a day, He would bring cries for days, if He brings happiness at a time, He would bring sorrow many times. The healthy become sick, and life move towards its end. Here a person is filled with joy on receiving news of a baby, there is sorrow for the loss of a lovely one.
Ibn Al-Jawzi said: “If the world was not a place of trial, life would not have been difficult for the Prophets and the righteous ones.” Adam (alaihe salaam) struggled with trials until he left the world, Noah (alaihe salaam) cried for three hundred years, Ibrahim (alaihe salaam) tried with fire and the slaughtering of his son, Ya’qub (alaihe salaam) wept over his son Yusuf till he lost his eye sights, Musa (alaihe salaam) suffered a lot from Firoun (Farouh) and the Israelites, Isa (alaihe salaam) had to live a difficult life in the deserts, Prophet Ayub (alaihe salaam) suffered from a disease that lasted for eighteen years until he was called: “the tested Prophet of Allah”, and our Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) endured trials of poverty, the deaths of his wife Khadijat and his beloved uncle Hamza who was killed in the battle of Uhud. So many other righteous people went through similar trials. If the world was created for pleasure, the believer would not have had a share from it.
Salman al-Farisi once visited a sick friend of his and said: “Allah tests his believer slaves with trials and then gives them relief from it, so that their past sins be waved away for them, and He Allah also tests His dissolute slaves with trials and gives them relief from it, but for them like a Camel whose owner would tie it and then release it without knowing the reason of it being tied and released.”
Yes brothers and sisters, Allah tests all His slaves: believers and non-believers, righteous and non-righteous, each would receive his or her own share of trials. This would be tried with a chronic disease and that would be tried with problems in wealth and family, here would be the death of a close relative and there the loss of a loved one, but people differ in their receptive approaches towards these trials: some would receive it with anger and disparity, and they are the worst type and represent the lowest standard, and could be an act of kufr, some would receive it with patience which is the list requirement from a believer, some would receive theirs with pleasure and submission, being pleased with Allah’s decree on them and some would receive theirs with gratitude and praises to Allah. So here are four receptive approaches: anger and disparity, patience, pleasure and thankfulness.
Fellow Muslims, here are two factors that may help counsel you during times of trials:
Firstly, You must realize that your wealth and family all belong to Allah. He is the true owner of everything, you are just a slave on whom Allah has entrusted them upon, if He takes them back, He is taking back that which He owns, you as a servant have brought nothing into this world, Allah owns everything and so He therefore control things the way He desires.
Secondly, That as long as your destination is towards Allah, you must realize that the life of this world is a short one, no matter how long you may live, you will have to abandon it one day, and then you will meet your Lord as He first created you without wealth or family, rather you will meet him with your good or bad deeds. If that is the case, then how can someone be happy for what he has and be sad for what he has not.
Oh you who have been tried with a calamity or disease or the lost of a loved one, be patient, for that patience will please your Lord, comfort your heart, drive away your worries and pains, greaten your reward, guarantee for you better replacement of whatever lost. Be patient for patience is a sign of Allah’s guidance, symptom of happiness, address of the faith and the evidence of submission.
If affairs are in turbulence, life gets darkened, calamities get worse, vices increase, patience becomes the only light. And if hated things occur, fearful things happen and the loss of hope increase, patience is the only recourse. And if the channels of request are blocked, worries overcome, anguish and pain greatly felt, patience is the only cure. And if the religion becomes strange, the Islam becomes a distress, disobedience wide spread, doubts and lusts increase and patience becomes condolence.
The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said: “The believer is constantly faced with trials in his life, his family and wealth until he meets Allah with no sins on him”. He also said: “The people who are faced with the greatest trials are the prophets and those like them. A man is tried according to strength of his religion, if he is strong in it, he is tried more, if he is weak, he is tried accordingly”. In another hadith he said: “The greater the trials, the greater the reward. If Allah loves a group of people he tries them, whoever is pleased with it would have pleasure in return, and whoever is annoyed with it would have annoyance in return”.
He also said: “If the child of Allah’s slave dies, He would say to His Angels: You have taken the child of my slave, they would say: yes, He would say: what did my slave say? They would say: He praised you and returned it all to you. He would say: Build for my slave a house in paradise and name it: the house of praise”.
Let every Muslim affected by a calamity fear Allah and be cautious not to do or say words that would annoy Allah and destroy his deeds. Allah is all just and does not wrong anyone, All knowing and does not forget anything, All wise in His actions and destiny, and does what He wills. He owns the command of all affairs before and after they happen.
And know that it is not a problem for one to be tried in his life, or his wealth, his family and relatives, for that’s Allah’s way on His slaves. He said: “And you will not find any change in the Way of Allah”. Al-Ahzab: 62.
Calamities could happen due to sins committed or evil deeds or wrong doings one has forgotten or pretend to forget but Allah sees it and knows its secrets and private counsels. Allah said: “And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much” Ash-shura: 30. He also said: Evil (sins and disobedience of Allah, etc.) has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned (by oppression and evil deeds, etc.), that Allah may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return (by repenting to Allah, and begging His Pardon).Ar-Rum: 41. In Tirmidhi, it is reported by Abu Musa al-Ash’ari that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “No calamity befalls a slave except due to a sin committed but what Allah forgives is more”.
Sometimes calamities come when Allah wants to increase the goodness of His slaves and raise them to higher ranks. It also comes for a Muslim to realize his weakness and disability and his need for his Lord and for him to realize that he possesses no power of benefit or harm to himself. He depends only on Allah.
Servants of Allah, its indeed not a problem to be tried with calamities but the problem is in the attitude of many people today in being despondent and panic when afflicted with calamities in this world, neglecting the recommended ethics and behaviour in such situations which calls for one to praise Allah and return matters to Him, but rather they do things that contradicts their faith, weaken their hearts objecting the decree of Allah, and they become heedless after that on the calamities that affects the deen (religion), where a Muslim would be seen avoiding salaat (prayer) and would not consider it a calamity. He would eat from usury and bribery and would not consider it a calamity, he would indulge in fornication and other vices but would not see it as a disaster, he would disobey his parents, cut that which Allah has ordered to be joined (his kinship) and would not consider it as calamity, he would wrong people, eat their money unlawfully and seize their rights without fear and their hearts would not move.
Anas bin Malik was right when he said: “You do things which appear in your eyes thin like hair, we use to consider them during the time of the Prophet (PBUH) as deadly sins”. So brothers and sisters, it is not the trials that affect lives and wealth, we must worry about for those are part of the life itself, but trials that touch our deen and weaken our faith is worth worrying.
May Allah grant us patience in our trials, Ameen.
Note: The Author is a Sierra Leonean academic Doctor who spent 18 years at the renowned Islamic University in Madina Al-Munawarah. He holds PHD distinction with Honours in the studies of ‘AQIDAT’ (Islamic creed).