By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Bestower of Mercy
All praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and may the peace and blessings be on the most noble of Prophets and Messengers, our Prophet Muhammad, and on his family and all of his Companions. To Proceed:
Dear brothers and sisters, Allah has told us in the glorious Qur’an that our faith will be tested. He the Most High says:
“Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere.” [Qur’an, 2:155]
Yes, your patience will be tested. Your character will be tested with gain and loss in wealth, health, power and authority, and knowledge. If these tests are frequent, know that it is for your own good. There is a lesson to be learned from them.
These tests are for you to learn and grow. If your invocations to Allah increase because of them you are rewarded. They also teach you who is in charge when your arrogance and ignorance tell you that “I am self-sufficient.”
Tests from Allah are good for us and they carry many purposes. These tests allow us to reflect and correct our wrong actions. They give us the opportunity to repent. They also prepare us for a great reward that Allah has in store for us.
Respected servants of Allah, know that Allah intends to do good for us. The fact that we are tested is a sign of love and guidance from Allah the Most High. He will test us to purify us. He will make us noble in this world and ready for paradise to meet Him. He will never give us more than we can handle. He says in the glorious Qur’an:
“On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.” [Qur’an, 2:286]
These tests should make us better. They should correct our character, increase our faith, give us knowledge and strength and ultimately open the doors of paradise for us. So when tests come your way, don’t become bitter, become thankful.
Almighty Allah tests His servants with good and bad things, with adversity and prosperity. These tests may be a means to them rewards and high degrees in Paradise. This occurred with many Messengers and Prophets and many righteous servants of Allah. Our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is reported as saying:
“The people most subject to affliction are the Prophets, then come the righteous, and after them come the best people all according to their goodness.”
Sometimes, afflictions may be a result of one’s sins and keeping aloof from the way of Allah. In this meaning comes the verse that reads:
“Whatever of misfortune striketh you, it is what your right hands have earned. And He forgiveth much.” [Qur’an, 42:30]
Life in itself is a trial and test. Allah the Almighty says:
“He Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” [Qur’an, 67:2]
So, in the sense of tests, Allah tests people to confirm their commitment to Islam. He puts them through different situations and conditions to check if they commit to Islam in all situations or not. Allah wants to make sure if the people are sincere in their claim of faith or not.
The second type of test is to put some people through various difficulties in order to elevate their ranks. The more a person is committed to Islam, the more tests he or she would get.
The third test is that Allah puts people through tribulations in order to remove their sins and bad deeds. As reported in Sahih Al-Bukhari, Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.”
The fourth category of test is fitnah, which means a trial to remove the sickness and weakness of behaviour in some people or make them examples for others. Allah the Most High says:
“In order that Allah may separate the impure from the pure, put the impure, one on another, heap them together, and cast them into Hell. They will be the ones to have lost.” [Qur’an, 8:37]
My beloved people, if someone does something good and still suffers, it means it is a test to increase good rewards. It is reported that:
“Aisha (RA) was informed about someone who spoke ill about Abu Bakr after he passed away. So she said, “Allah wants to increase his reward (Abu Bakr) even after his death.”
But if someone does not do something wrong and afterwards he gets in some troubles, then it is a test for other reasons. It is reported that a person was brought to Umar after being caught doing something wrong. So he asked Umar to forgive him on the account that it was the first time, so Umar said:
“No, Allah put you in that position only after He had given you so many chances to repent.”
And people often ask:
“Why do bad things happen to good people?”
The problem is that we human beings have narrow vision. Compared to Allah, we know nothing. A thing may seem bad, when in reality it is good for our souls or our futures. If you can permit me a clichéd example, you might miss an important flight and think that it’s a disaster, then the plane crashes and you realise your life was saved.
In reality the consequences will not always be so obvious. You might be engaged to someone and so excited, then the engagement falls through and you are heartbroken and asking:
“Why did this happen?”
And what you don’t see is that maybe the person was unfaithful, or has a drug problem, or is violent, and Allah has saved you from a life of misery.
As Allah Almighty says:
“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” [Qur’an, 2:216]
So trust in Allah’s plan for you. This is why belief in Qadar (Divine predestination) is one of our pillars of Iman (faith). Because we believe that Allah loves us, and is caring for us and guiding us, even in times of misfortune.
In the same vein, so many people seem to think that hardships are a punishment from Allah. They say:
“Why is Allah angry with me? When will Allah stop punishing me?”
Subhanallah, the truth is just the opposite. Allah attaches no value to the things of this world. That’s why you see so many of the corrupt and powerful living in material luxury. They are being given rope with which to hang themselves. Material comforts are meaningless to Allah. If Allah wants good for you, He tests you. Allah causes us to suffer in this life so that we can be purified, so we can grow and be ready for Jannah (Paradise).
Doesn’t He Almighty says in the Qur’an:
“Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried? 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.” [Qur’an, 29:2-3]
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Rabi’ul Thani 30, 1441 A. H. (December 27, 2019).