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Archive for the ‘Refining Character’ Category

Keep Only a Few Friends

Source: ‘Biography of Imam Sufyaan ath-Thawri ‘. this book is sold by dar-us-salaam and the author is “Salaahud-Deen ibn Ali ibn Abdul-Maujood”

    Sufyaan Ath-Thawri: A True Mountain of Knowledge & the Leader of Believers in Hadeeth

Sufyaan ath-Thawri (may Allah have mercy on him) said that one foolishly compromised one’s religion when one kept too many friends. Having too many acquaintances diverts one from one’s duty towards one’s Lord, for a person who has many friends is always busy socializing with them and fulfilling their rights over him; so he becomes preoccupied with people when he really should be preoccupied with his religious duties. The ill-effects of being too gregarious can last well beyond a social gathering. Sufyaan said, “I might meet a brother and as a result, remain heedless (of what I should be doing) for an entire month.”

A friend, Sufyaan insisted, should be someone who helps one to improve as a Muslim; otherwise he is not worth keeping as a friend. Sufyaan expressed this sentiment when he sad, “If someone is not with you, then he is against you.”

And Yousuf ibn Asbaat reported that he heard Sufyaan ath-Thawri say, “Whenever I spoke contrary to the desires of any man, he, regardless of who he was, would inevitably become furious with me. The people of knowledge and piety have departed.”

Sufyaan once advised someone to test the character of the person he wanted to befriend. Sufyaan said, “Choose whoever you want as your companion. But when you have made your choice, make him angry, and then order someone to go and ask him what he thinks about you-without him knowing that you sent that person.”

Bakr ibn Muhammad Al-‘Aabid related that Sufyaan ath-Thawri once said to him, “Direct me to a man with whom I can keep company.” Sufyaan said, “You are searching for something that cannot be found.”

Khalf ibn Ismaa’eel Al-Barzaanee reported that he heard Sufyaan ath-Thawri said, “Acquaint yourself with fewer people, and as a result, you will backbite less (frequently).”

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AL-FA WAID: A Collection of Wise Sayings – Imam Ibn al QAyyim

If the servant of Allah begins the day and the evening, without having any other concern except Allah, the Almighty, He will fulfill all his needs and relieve all his worries. He will empty the servant’s heart for the sake of His Love, his tongue will constantly remember Him and he will have the strength to perform religious duties for His sake.

And if he begins the day and the evening, without having any other concern except the life of this world, Allah, the Almighty will cast worry and grief into his heart. He, the Almighty will leave him to himself, and keep his heart busy with things other than His Love. His tongue will not remember Allah but will only be concerned with the creation. He will use all his strength in things other than the sake of Allah, and he will remain busy in the service of creation. He will work very hard in the service of others. Just like a bellows that pumps itself up and then squeezes itself to the utmost in the service of others. Therefore, whoever refuses to submit to Allah, to obey and love Him, will be afflicted with the servitude, love and service of creation.

Allah, the Almighty says in the Qur’an which means, “And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allah) (i.e. this Qur’an and worship of Allah), We appoint for him Shaitan (Satan devil) to be a Qarin (an intimate companion) to him” (Az-Zukhruf, 43:36)

Abu Sufyan bin ‘Uyaynah said, “You will never bring forward any famous proverb but I will bring the likeness of it from the Qur’an,” Thereupon someone said to him, “So where is in the Qur’an “Give your fellow brother a date, and if he does not accept it then give him a firebrand.” He then recited the previous Qur’anic verse.

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It is reported that Muhammad Al-Bâqir – Allâh have mercy on him – said, “Never does any pride enter the heart of a man except that his intelligence decreases by the same amount.”
Al-Dhahabî, Siyar A’lâm Al-Nubalâ`, in his biography of Muhammad Al-Bâqir.
Muhammad b. ‘Alî b. Husayn b. ‘Alî b. Abî Tâlib, known as Al-Bâqir, was the great-great grandson of the Prophet – Allâh’s peace and blessings be upon him.

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A Forgotten Sunnah: Walking Barefooted

Al-Hasan bin ‘Alee narrated to us, Yazeed bin Haarun narrated to us, Al- Jurayri informed us on Abdillah bin Buraydah: that a man from the Companions of the Prophet -sallahu ‘alayhi wasallam- traveled to Fadaalah bin ‘Ubayd -may Allah be pleased with him- while he was in Egypt. So he arrived at him and said: I have not come to you to visit you. But you and I have heard a hadeeth from the Messenger of Allah -sallahu ‘alayhi wasallam- and I hope that you have some knowledge from Him (the Prophet -sallahu ‘alayhi wasallam-) about it. He said: And what is it? He said: Such and such. (Then) he said: Why do I see you dishoveled while you are the Leader of the land? He said: The Messenger of Allah -sallahu ‘alayhi wasallam- has forbidden us from indulging too much in the comforts of life. He said: Why don’t I see any shoes on you? He said: The Prophet -sallahu ‘alayhi wasallam- used to command us to go barefooted sometimes.

Collected in Abu Daawud (3629) and Sheikh Al-Albaani has authenticated it in As-Silsilah As-Saheehah (502).

Fawaa’id: Sheikh Al-Albaani -may Allah have mercy upon him- says in As-Silsilah As-Saheehah: ….This (hadeeth) is a reminder about an unknown sunnah in the minds of many of the people and it is the sunnah of Walking without shoes -sometimes-. It is a sunnah that many people are ignorant of save a few. And if some would try and implement this the people would see this as a strange affair. Perhaps they would even criticize them for this act of theirs. [Until he said]… So imitate your loved one and your Prophet -sallahu ‘alayhi wasallam- and walk barefooted sometimes and shoed at others….. As this has been authenticated on the Prophet -sallahu ‘alayhi wasallam- that He walked barefooted occasionally! Except that majority of the time He -sallahu ‘alayhi wasallam- was shoed.

Translator: Abu Fouzaan Qaasim

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You Will Never Have To Worry About Being Amongst The Sinners Again!!!

A man came to Ibrahim Ibn Adham (Rahimahullah), who was one of the scholars whose words were profound cures for the heart, and said:

“I have repeatedly transgressed against myself by commiting sin; give me something that will inhibit me from continuing like this?

So Ibrahim said: “If you have the capacity to practice five things, you will never have to worry about being amongst the sinners again.” The man was athirst for this admonition so he said: “Ibrahim give me these five things!” So he said:

“Firstly: If you want to disobey Allah, then don’t eat anything from the provisions He facilitated for mankind!” The man was amazed at this comment and asked: “How can you say this Ibrahim while all of the provisions are from Allah?!” So he said: “Well if you know this, then how do you have the audacity to eat from His provision while you are disobedient Him?!!” So the man said: “No, you’re right, we shouldn’t have! Give me the second one!”

So Ibrahim said: “Secondly: If you want to disobey Allah, then don’t live in His earth!” the man was amazed at this comment, more so than he was the first comment, so he said: “How can you say that Ibrahim when all of the earth belongs to Allah?!” So Ibrahim said: “If you know this, then how do you have the audacity to live in His earth while you are disobedient to Him?! The man said: “No, you’re right, we shouldn’t have! Give me the third one!”

So Ibrahim said: “Thirdly: If you want to disobey Allah, then choose a place to disobey Him, where He can’t see you!” The man said: “How can you say this Ibrahim, when Allah knows the secrets of the heart and what is hidden! He hears the crawling of an ant on a smooth boulder in the depths of the darkness of the night!” So Ibrahim said: “Well if you know this, then how can you have the audacity to disobey Him?!” He said “No, you’re right, we shouldn’t have! Give me the fourth one!”

So Ibrahim said: “Fourthly: If the angel of death comes to take your soul, say to him: “wait on taking my soul until a later time!”  So the man said: “How can you say this Ibrahim when Allah says:

“When their appointed time comes it will not be delayed nor will it be hastened before its time” (Surah Al A’raf 7:24)

So Ibrahim said: “Well if you know this, then how can you expect to be successful at the time of your death when you are disobeying Allah?!” The man said: “Yes, you’re right, give me the fifth one!” So Ibrahim said: “Fifthly: When the Zabaaniyah i.e. the angels who guard the Hell Fire, come to escort you to the Hell Fire, then don’t go with them!” The man couldn’t handle the fifth one and started crying while he was saying: “Enough Ibrahim! Enough! I seek Allah’s forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance!!!” He remained steadfast on obedience to Allah until his demise.  _

Translator’s Note: This narration is taken from a book called Hilyat ul Awliyaa by Abu Nu’aim Al Asbahani (Rahimahullah) and it is a book filled with narrations about amazing events during the time of the Salaf. Some of these narrations may not be authentic or we may not know the authenticity of them, however the scholars use them in the realm of what is called At Targheeb wat Tarheeb (i.e. encouragement (to be obedient to Allah) and discouragement (from disobedience to Allah) and they have stipulated 4 conditions for using these narrations and I will provide them below for the reader’s clarification:

The First: The narration can not be used to establish and/or substantiate a legislative Islamic ruling. As the Islamic rulings in Islam are established and/or supported by authentic unequivocal and concrete texts from the Qur’an, Authentic Sunnah and the Ijma’a (i.e. Consensus) of the Sahabah and the Salaf us Salih (i.e. Righteous Predecessors)

The Second: The narration can not be attributed to the Prophet (Sallahu alaihi wa salam) or the narrator unless the Isnad (i.e. chain of narrators) is affirmed by those scholars who are proficient in that respective field. So that is why the scholars will say when narrating these types of narrations “It was reported….” Or “it was mentioned about…” but they will never say such and such said.

The Third: The class of the narration has to be clarified when quoted so as not to mislead the reader and/or listener to believe that it is authentic if it is not authentic.

The Fourth: It can only be used in the realm of what the scholars call At Targheeb wat Tarheeb, as it was mentioned before.

Translated by Abu Az Zubayr Shadeed Muhammad on Tuesday December 29, 2009
1431H./1/12 in the city of Riyadh, the Capital of Saudi Arabia

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Author: Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahuAllah) , Source: ‘Ilaam Al Mawqi’een

Translator: Abu ‘Abdis Salaam Siddiq Al Juyaanee

“Say: (But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al Fawahish (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.” (Al-A’raf: 33)

So thus the four haram (aforementioned) things are on different levels (of severity).

  • It was started out by mentioning the least of them which was Al Fawaahish (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.), and then
  • secondly there was mentioned that which is more haram than it (i.e. Al Fawaahish), which is sins (of all kinds) and unrighteous oppression, then
  • thirdly it was mentioned that which was more haram (than the first two) which is to make shirk with Allah The Most Glorious.
  • Then it was mentioned fourthly, that which is more severe than everything that preceded; which is to speak about Allah The Most Glorious without knowledge. This is general whether one is speaking about Allah The Most Glorious without knowledge with regards to His Names and Attributes, or with regards to His Actions; as well as speaking about His religion and legislation (without knowledge) [1].

Allah says, “And say not concerning that which your tongues put forth falsely: “This is lawful and this is forbidden,” so as to invent lies against Allah. Verily, those who invent lies against Allah will never prosper. A passing brief enjoyment (will be theirs), but they will have a painful torment.” (An-Nahl: 116-117)

So Allah threatened them with a severe punishment, (meaning) the one who lies about Allah with regards to His regulations. (For example), with regards to that which is not haraam (because in reality it is halaal) their statement, “This thing is haraam (forbidden)”, likewise with regards to that which is not halaal (because it is in fact haraam) their statement, “This thing is lawful” (and so on). So Allah The Most Glorious has clearly explained that it is NOT permissible for a slave to say that this is halaal or that is haraam except that he has to have knowledge that Allah has (in fact) made that thing halaal or that other thing haraam (before he utters such statements). Some of the Salaf used to say, “So let one of you fear Allah when saying, “Allah has made permissible this thing or He has made prohibited that thing;” lest Allah says to you, “You have lied. I haven’t made this thing permissible nor have I made that thing prohibited.”

[1] TN: Sheikh Rabee and many others from the Ulema, in commenting on this verse, explain the reason for speaking about Allah without knowledge being greater than shirk is due to the fact that shirk results and emanates from speaking about Allah without knowledge. Thus, it is not proper to say about that which you have no knowledge of (this is halaal or that is haraam), when the revelation has come down clearly explaining and illustrating the halaal and the haraam. (So beware of saying) Allah has made this lawful and that prohibited while only relying on blind following and false interpretations.

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by Shaykh Dr. Saalih As-Saalih رحمه الله
Delivered on May 20th, 2006

CONCLUSION

If the calamity befalls us and we pass it in reality (by observing the proper manners) then we have learnt the lessons. The Salaf رحمهم الله were in a much better state than us regarding (their handling of) tests and trials. We have in them magnificent examples of patience, perseverance and anticipation of reward from Allaah سبحانه وتعالى.

It is reported from `Umar رضي الله عنه that he used to praise Allaah سبحانه وتعالى for tests and trials and when asked about it he said, “I was not touched by testing except that Allaah bestowed on me four favours: that it wasn’t a test in my Deen, that it was not greater than me, that it was not greater than what befell me, and that I was not deprived of being contented and patient, and that I hope for the reward from Allaah.”

We should not forget that in the test there is a reward and that this cannot be attained except with patience, and patience cannot be attained except with a strong will and faith. We should not forget to remember Allaah and be thankful for His favours and be patient upon His tests and trials. Let this be a sincere and hidden matter between us and our Rabb (Lord) سبحانه وتعالى because He Knows and He Sees and He is more Merciful to us than we and all mankind are to ourselves, so we should turn our affair to Him.

As a poet said, “If you complain to the son of Adam it is as if you are complaining to the one who has no mercy towards you.” We should remember that if we are touched by a calamity we should be thankful to Allaah that He did not touch us with something more intense, and far greater, and that whatever befalls us was not going to miss us and whatever missed us was not going to befall us.

The magnitude of the reward is proportional to the magnitude of the test. To Allaah سبحانه وتعالى is that which He gives and to Him is that which He takes. The complaints and discontent are not going to help you. Rather, it will magnify your calamity and will cause you to miss the reward and subject you to being held as sinful.

Let each of us remember that no matter how great the magnitude of the calamity that may befall us, it will never reach the intensity of the calamity which touched the entire Ummah – the loss of the beloved one, Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, who reminded us by saying, “If anyone of you is touched by a calamity let him remember the calamity that befell him concerning me, for indeed it is the greatest calamity.”[13] It is reported by al-Bayhaqi and authenticated by Sheikh al-Albaanee رحمه الله.

When touched by a calamity we should remember to say:

إنّا لِلَّهِ وإنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ؛ اللَّهُمَّ أجُرْنِي فِي مُصِيبَتي وأخْلِفْ لي خَيْراً مِنْها
Verily we belong to Allaah and to Him we shall return. O Allaah help me in my calamity and bring me something better in return. [14]

We should not despair of the Mercy of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى no matter what calamity befalls us, no matter what its magnitude or how intense it is because Allaah سبحانه وتعالى stated in Surah ash-Sharh, verses 5–6:

فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْراً {5} إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْراً
{Verily, along with every hardship is relief. Verily, along with every hardship is relief (i.e. there is one hardship with two reliefs,
so one hardship cannot overcome two reliefs).}
[Ash-Sharh 94:5–6]

Verily with hardship there is relief and “one hardship cannot beat two reliefs” as `Umar رضي الله عنه stated.

We should not forget the favour of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى if He restores to you your state of wellbeing and soundness, lest we become from those whom Allaah mentioned in surah az-Zumar, verse 8:

وَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنسَانَ ضُرٌّ دَعَا رَبَّهُ مُنِيبًا إِلَيْهِ ثُمَّ إِذَا خَوَّلَهُ نِعْمَةً مِّنْهُ نَسِيَ مَا كَانَ يَدْعُو إِلَيْهِ مِن قَبْلُ وَجَعَلَ لِلَّهِ أَندَادًا لِّيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ قُلْ تَمَتَّعْ بِكُفْرِكَ قَلِيلًا إِنَّكَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ
{And when some hurt touches man, he cries to his Lord (Allaah Alone), turning to Him in repentance. But when He bestows a favour upon him from Himself, he forgets that for which he cried for before, and he sets up rivals to Allaah, in order to mislead others from His path. Say: “Take pleasure in your disbelief for a while, surely, you are (one) of the dwellers of the Fire!”} [az-Zumar 39:8]

We should not forget that the tests, calamities and trials remind us of an Hour that is surely coming and of a time which will end. This life is not an endless abode and therefore we must work for our Hereafter. In the end, the reminder and the glad tidings are found in the same verse which we first spoke about:

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوفْ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الأَمَوَالِ وَالأنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ {155} الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُواْ إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ {156} أُولَـئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَأُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ
{And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Saabiroon (the patient). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly, to Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones.} [Al-Baqarah 2:155–157]

We ask Allaah سبحانه وتعالى to make us of those who when afflicted with a calamity truly remember and manifest the saying of Allaah: Innaa lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji`oon. asking Him to help us in our calamities, tests and trials, to be able to persevere patiently, to overcome, and to ask His reward and anticipate the reward from Him سبحانه وتعالى, and to compensate us with that which is better.

All Praise is due to Allaah, and may the salaah and salaam be on Prophet Muhammad, his household, the noble Companions and those who follow them until the Day of Resurrection.

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Author: Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbalee
Source: Jaami’ Al-‘Uloom wal-Hikam, hadeeth no. 47

On the authority of Al-Miqdaam ibn Maadiy-Karib who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah saying:

“No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Aadam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath.” [Ahmad, At-Tirmidhee, An-Nasaa’ee, Ibn Maajah – hadeeth saheeh.]

1. Ibn Masaweh, a Muslim doctor, said after reading this hadeeth:

“If the people only used these words, they would avoid all diseases and maladies and the clinics and pharmacies would be idle.”

2. Another doctor, Al-Harith ibn Kalada said:

“That which has killed mankind is the introduction of food on top of food before it has been digested.”

3. As for spiritual benefits: humbleness of heart, strength of understanding, lessening of lower desires, lessening of personal opinions and anger, while overeating induces the opposites of all of those. Al-Hasan Al-Basree said:

“O, son of Adam, eat with one third of your stomach and drink with one third and leave one third of your stomach to breathe so that you may think.”

4. Ibn Umar: A man said to Ibn Umar:

“Shouldn’t I bring you some jawarish?” Ibn Umar said: “What is that?” He said: “Something which aids in digesting your food after you eat.” Ibn Umar said: “I have not eaten to being full for four months. That is not because I am not able to do so, but I was with a group of people who were hungry more than they were full.”

5. Not reaching your goals: Muhammad ibn Wasi said:

“Whoever eats little will understand and make others understand and will be clear and humble. Overeating weighs a person down and keeps him from much of what he wants [to accomplish].”

6. Al-Hasan Al-Basree:

“The test of Aadam, alayhis-salaam, was food and it is your test until Qiyama.”

And, it used to be said:

“Whoever takes control of his stomach gets control of all good deeds.”

And:

“Wisdom does not reside in a full stomach.”

One day, Al-Hasan offered some food to his companion who said: “I have eaten until I am no longer able to eat.” To which Al-Hasan said:

“SubhaanAllaah! Does a Muslim eat until he is no longer able to eat?”

7. Allaah grants this world to those whom He loves and those He does not love but only grants hunger to those whom he loves.

8. Ash-Shaafi’ee said:

“I have not filled myself in sixteen years because filling oneself makes the body heavy, removes clear understanding, induces sleep and makes one weak for worship.”

9. In Bukhaaree and Muslim:

“The believer eats with one stomach while the kafir eats with seven stomachs.”

Meaning: The believer eats with the manners of Islam and in moderation, while the kafir eats based on desires and gluttony and so he eats with seven stomachs.

10. Also:

“Food for one is enough for two and food for two is enough for three and food for three is enough for four.”

11. Also: From Aa’ishah:

“The family of Muhammad (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) never filled themselves with wheat bread three days in a row from the time he came to Madeenah until he passed away.”

12. A Muslim should not merely follow his appetites. Allaah said:

“Then, they were followed by generations who neglected the prayer and followed their appetites. They will encounter a pit of fire except for those who repent…” [Maryam 59-60]

13. The best generations did not:

“The best generation is my generation, followed by the one after them then the one after them. Then will come a people who bear witness but are not asked to bear witness, who swear oaths but do not fulfill them and fatness will appear among them.” [Bukhaaree and Muslim]

14. From Abee Barza that the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:

“My greatest fear for you is the appetites of transgression with regard to your stomachs and your privates and the inclinations which lead astray.” [Ahmad and others and its narrators are people of saheeh]

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by Shaykh Dr. Saalih As-Saalih رحمه الله
Delivered on May 20th, 2006

IN TESTS AND TRIALS THERE ARE LESSONS

Tests and trials contain many lessons.

1. The first lesson – From the benefit of tests and trials is the influence it has on one’s tawheed (worship of Allaah), eemaan (faith) and tawakkul – reliance upon Allaah. It makes you examine the reality that man is a weak creation without any power or strength, except in your Lord. Therefore you resort to Him and depend on Him. Thereupon arrogance, false pride and negligence will be removed and you will come to know that you are really poor and in need of your Creator, the Almighty, the Most Perfect, and so you resort to Him.

2. The second lesson – Tests unravel the reality of this life. It is clarified to be a temporal stay for enjoyment, and the perfect life is the one which follows, wherein there is no toil, worry, fatigue or disease. Allaah سبحانه وتعالى stated this in Surah al-Ankaboot, verse 64.

وَإِنَّ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ لَهِيَ الْحَيَوَانُ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُون

{And this life of the world is only amusement and play! Verily, the home of the Hereafter – that is the life indeed (i.e. the eternal life that will never end), if they but knew.} [al-Ankaboot 29:64]

Even with this amusement and play there is also toil and fatigue. This is the reality of this life – one day life is smiling at you, and the other day it is turning its back on you. This is the nature of life, but man forgets that. The trials and tests come and they serve to remind man of the nature of this life and that he should not become attached to it.

3. The third lesson – The tests and trials remind the person of the favours bestowed upon him by Allaah. It is also a reminder that this life is transitional.

4. The fourth lesson – We are reminded to avoid being in a state of joy such that we feel arrogance and likewise to avoid a state of sadness and grief such that one feels despair. Allaah سبحانه وتعالى sates this in Surah al-Hadeed, verses 22-23:

مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّبْرَأَهَا إِنَّ ذَلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ {22} لِكَيْلَا تَأْسَوْا عَلَى مَا فَاتَكُمْ وَلَا تَفْرَحُوا بِمَا آتَاكُمْ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ

{No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but it is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfooz) before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allaah. In order that you may not grieve at the things over that you fail to get, nor rejoice over that which has been given to you. And Allaah likes not every prideful boaster.} [al-Hadeed 57:22-23]

5. The fifth lesson – Trials and tests remind the person of his shortcomings and diseases (of the heart and actions) so that he can take preventive measures against them. Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says in Surah an-Nisaa’ verse79:

مَّا أَصَابَكَ مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ فَمِنَ اللّهِ وَمَا أَصَابَكَ مِن سَيِّئَةٍ فَمِن نَّفْسِكَ وَأَرْسَلْنَاكَ لِلنَّاسِ رَسُولاً وَكَفَى بِاللّهِ شَهِيدًا

{Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allaah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself. And We have sent you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) as a Messenger to mankind, and Allaah is Sufficient as a Witness.} [an-Nisaa’ 4:79]

And Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says in Surah as-Shooraa, verse 30:

وَمَا أَصَابَكُم مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُو عَن كَثِيرٍ

{And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much.} [ash-Shooraa 42:30]

There is a chance for repentance before the greater torment occurs. Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says in Surah as-Sajdah, verse 21:

وَلَنُذِيقَنَّهُمْ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَدْنَى دُونَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَكْبَرِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

{And verily, We will make them taste of the near torment (i.e. the torment in the life of this world, i.e. disasters, calamities) prior to the supreme torment (in the Hereafter), in order that they may (repent and) return (i.e. accept Islaam).} [as-Sajdah 32:21]

This lesser torment is in this life which is full of calamities, disasters and hardships.

6. The sixth lesson – Tests and trials serve as great teaching processes through which one learns patience. We cannot be firm upon truth and obedience except with patience; and we cannot stay away from falsehood and disobedience except with patience and perseverance. We cannot walk the paths of this life except with patience regarding the pre-ordinance of Allaah. The outcome is jannat al-qulb war-ridwaan – the endless bliss in Paradise and the Pleasure of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى. Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says in Surah Fussilat, verse 35:

وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍ عَظِيمٍ

{But none is granted it except those who are patient – and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter, i.e., Paradise, and of a high moral character) in this world.} [Fussilat 41:35]

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THE REWARD ASSOCIATED WITH TESTS/TRIALS

Certainly testing is a station for a while (i.e. it is temporary). It erases the sins just as the leaves fall from a tree, as mentioned in the ahaadeeth narrated by Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri and Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنهما that the Prophet 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 Allaah expiates some of his sins for that.”[4] Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه also narrated that the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “If Allaah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” [5]

In a hadeeth narrated by Abdullah ibn `Umar رضي الله عنهما, he said “I visited the Prophet during his ailments and he was suffering from a high fever. I said, “You have a high fever. Is it because you will have a double reward for it?” He said, “Yes, for no Muslim is afflicted with any harm except that Allaah will remove his sins as the leaves fall from a tree.”[6]

Hence, the reward is affirmed regarding every type of harm or hurt, tangible or intangible, if the believer patiently perseveres and anticipates the reward. As Anas bin Maalik رضي الله عنه reported: I heard Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم saying, “Allaah said, ‘If I deprive my slave of his two beloved things (i.e. his eyes) and he remains patient, I will let him enter Paradise in compensation for them.'”[7]

Tests and trials are a means to removing sins (from the believers) and all the children of Adam commit sins. Tests and trials may also raise one’s degree enabling one to move on to a higher level in Paradise as in the hadeeth where Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says to His angels when they take the soul of a person’s child, ‘You took the fruit of his heart.’ They (the angels) say, ‘Yes.’ Then Allaah says, ‘What did My slave say (upon that)?’ They say, ‘He praised you and made istirjaa’ (meaning he said, Innaa lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji`oon’ – To Allaah we belong and to Him we shall return). So Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says, ‘Build for My slave a house in Paradise and name it The House of Praise’.”[8] This is reported by Imaam Ahmad and Shaykh al-Albaanee graded it Hasan.

In another hadeeth reported in Saheeh Muslim: Any Muslim who is hurt by a thorn or greater than that, Allaah سبحانه وتعالى will remove a sin from him and elevates him a degree (raise his status) because of that.[9] So (he is raised) degree above degrees, until he reaches his final degree in Paradise which comes due to his patience and above that, due to the Favour of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى, as He سبحانه وتعالى says in Surah az-Zumar, verse 10:
 

    إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُم بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ
    {Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning.} [Az-Zumar 39:10]


 
Thus calamities, trials and tests are signs of love from Allaah for the believers. They are comparable to a cure; although it may be bitter, you accept it because it is from the one whom you love; and to Allaah belongs the best example. As comes in the hadeeth, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “The magnitude of the reward is proportional to the magnitude of the affliction. When Allaah سبحانه وتعالى loves some people, He tests them. He who is content (with Allaah’s decree) will receive the Pleasure (of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى); and he who is discontent will attain the wrath (of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى).”[10] Related by at-Tirmidhi and Sheikh al-Albaanee رحمه الله graded it Saheeh.

Imam ibn Al Qayyim said: The ibtilaa’ (testing) of the believer is like medicine for him. It cures him from illness. Had the illness remained it would destroy him or diminish his reward and level (in the hereafter). The tests and the trials extract these illnesses from him and prepare him for the perfect reward and the highest of degrees (in the life to come).”[11] Certainly the affliction of tests and trials is better to the believer than the punishment of the hereafter. Certainly it is a cause for the elevation of one’s rank and expiation for his sins, and therefore it is better.

In the hadeeth, Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “If Allaah intends good for the Believer He hastens his punishment in this life and if He intends otherwise, He withholds his punishment for his sin until he re-compensates him for it on the Day of Resurrection.”[12] Reported by at-Tirmidhi and Sheikh al-Albaanee رحمه الله authenticated it. The People of Knowledge made it clear that this is in reference to the one who is a hypocrite. Allaah سبحانه وتعالى withholds the punishment from him in this life to give him his full account on the Day of Resurrection; and we seek refuge in Allaah from such.

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