The way to get through hardships and difficult tests that we may be going through in life is to firstly internalize in our minds that this life is a test ground and we are in an examination but we do not know when this examination will end but whilst the examination is taking place we are being rigorously tested and at times we are tested until breaking point just to see whether or not we will turn towards Allah or go away from Him.
We must also internalize that Allah ONLY tests those who He wants close to him. Therefore the tests that we go through in our lives clearly show Allah is wanting us to turn towards Him and be closer to Him. This is in fact a great privilege. The greater the tests we go through the more Allah is wanting to raise our ranks in the hereafter.
Therefore if we really want to know the best way to approach huge trials and tests then we should simply realise that the bigger the tests we are going through then the higher Allah is wanting to raise our ranks in the hereafter. Trials are a truly blessing in disguise. All that Allah wants from us is for us to turn towards Him in meekness and humbleness and for us to be patient and to turn to Him in prayer and dua. Picture that fact that Allah loves it when His servant is in desperate need, crying to Him for help for Allah tends to those who cry and sob to Him immediately just as a mother tends to its baby promptly when it is crying.
We should also internalize the fact that tests actually differentiate us believers from one another in terms of ranking in the eyes of Allah and therefore we should know that those who are tested and are patient are forgiven of their sins as sins falls off a person who is patient through trials just. Therefore we should realise that us being tested with trials and tests will NEVER go unrewarded for Allah rewards how much He wants those who are patient through trials and those who turn towards Him in humility and meekness.
It may be that a person who has experienced great trials in the world faces Allah on the Day of Judgement with little or no sins. So tests are a way of Allah forgiving a person of their sins so that on the Day of Judgement they have a much lighter load. Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has called the Day of Judgement a “terrible” day and surely on this terrible day we would want as less sins as possible in our accounts if we are to be successful. Therefore these trials and tests are very important for us because they enable us to be forgiven for countless sins that would be a huge burden on us if it were in our accounts but due to the huge tests we faced with patience turning to Allah then it may be that we have very little or no sins at all on that day. The greater the trial the more sins fall off us. So know that even a prick of a thorn expiates one’s sins.
We should also approach hardships and tests as in that it is the decree of Allah so we should NEVER ask Allah “Why” has He given us such trials? For questioning Allah why He has decreed something will mean that not only have we gone through so much grief and torment from these trials but that we have actually added to our sins by questioning Allah and we will be accountable for that.
Patience is one of the greatest attributes a person can acquire and Allah is with those who are patient and the reward for Patience is Paradise!
If one is patient, and is among the ones described in the following manner in the Qur’an (Baqarah, 2: 256)
Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return”
Then here are the rewards Allah will give that person (2:157)
The Rewards of Patience are the folowing:
1. Blessings from Allah: The patient person is blessed by Allah.
2. Mercy of Allah: When Allah gives someone His Mercy, He will let him enter paradise with His Mercy.
3. Guidance of Allah: A patient person will be guided by Allah in this world until he meets Him on the Day of Judgment.
Referring to those who are tested and endure with Sabr or patience all of the above three rewards are mentioned by Allah Himself in the Qur’an in Surah Baqarah (2: 157):
“They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.”
In Surah Hud (11:11), Allah (S.W.T.) again promises to reward those who are patient in adversity.
Therefore let us realise that patience is the main thing Allah is looking for in us when we are going through trials and tests.
Here are two wonderful examples of patience through trials in the life of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) :
‘Ata ibn Rabah related that he heard Ibn ‘Abbas say: “Shall I show you a woman of Paradise?”I said: “Yes, indeed.” He said: “A black woman came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said: ‘I suffer from epileptic fits, and because of these, (at times) my body becomes uncovered. Would you invoke Allah, the Exalted One, to cure me of this disease? ‘ The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: ‘If you wish, you can be patient and you will attain Paradise (for this suffering). But if you prefer, I will pray to Allah, the Exalted, to cure you of it?’ The woman said: ‘I will be patient,’ then added: ‘I become uncovered (when I have fits), so invoke Allah for me that I do not become uncovered. ‘ So the Prophet, peace be upon him, prayed for her.” [Source: Fiqh-us-Sunnah, volume 4, #1a]
Story of ‘Urwah Ibn Al Zubair
‘Urwah Ibn Al Zubair had an operation, and the doctor amputated his leg. One friend came to visit him. ‘Urwah thought that the fried came to pacify him for the loss of his leg. So ‘Urwah told the visitor: If you came to give me condolence for the loss of my leg, I already submitted to Allah with patience to reward me for its loss. The guest told him, I came to inform you that your son fell down in a stable, and the animals stepped over him, and he died one hour ago. ‘Urwah said: O Allah! You took one child, and left me many…You took one organ from my body, and left me many organs…O Allah! You tested me with my body, and you were kind to leave me with good health. You tested me with the loss of my son, but you were kind in leaving me the rest of my children.
We should also approach tests as in we should look at those who have less than us. We have clean tap water and food on our plates everyday. We have clean clothes washed regularly and shelter from the harsh weather. Whereas there are those who walk miles just for a sip of water and even then it is dirty. There are those who have the same clothes for years and cannot even wash them. There are those who go days without proper food and even then they have scraps and end up being malnourished. There are those like in the flood disaster recently who have no shelter and are exposed to terrible diseases. Those who have little or no money to buy even basic things aswell as medication for their sick family members. Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) always told us to look at those who have less than us.
Sometimes when we go through great trials we get deceived into thinking that other people that we see around us must be living a life of happiness and contentment. We are wrong to think in this way for we do not know what goes on in people’s lives. There are many examples of those who seemed as though they have SO much and seemed so happy but when certain things were revealed then it was clear that those people were living miserable lives full of torment! We may look at a person with a smile on his face but he may be going through trials we can never imagine.
Therefore when we are going through difficult times and trials then we should not look at others and think they are happy and living fulfilled lives for we do not know what any person on the street is going through on a day-to-day basis.
Therefore whenever we are going through difficult times and trials then we should put our full trust, hopes, faith and reliance in Allah for He will NEVER let us down but is only testing us because He wants us to turn towards Him in humility, humbleness and meekness and He wants us to get much closer to Him. He tests a person because He wants good for them and wants to forgive them and raise their ranks in the hereafter.
In reality how lucky is a person who is being tested greatly and is still patient and turning towards Allah night and day. How high must Allah be raising his ranks and forgiving his sins on a daily basis until he is like a new-born who has little or no sins on him at all. So the way to approach this is to realise that a person who is being tested greatly is in fact lucky but shaitan is wanting one to think opposite.
Shaitan is our eternal sworn enemy and ONLY wants us to lose hope and faith and to go away from Allah. He wants us to become disillusioned and lose all hope so that we go away from Allah and our deen. But we should reject our enemy who only wants our destruction. We should disregard his evil whispers and know that they are only lies and deceit.
Shaitan will try to make us think that there is no way out of this and this is because he wants us to give in and lose hope. But we must realise that if we continuously strive and keep turning towards Allah and be patient then the final victory WILL be ours! We will taste the sweetness of victory but in order to taste this victory we need to fight and strive through the tests and trials that life throws at us!
If one who is going through great trials continues to turn towards Allah in humility, meekness and in humbleness then know that the reward one will gain will be unimaginable. On the Day of Judgement once we see the reward of being patient through great trials turning towards Allah in humility then we would want Allah to have tested us even more so that we could have reaped the rewards of being patient and turning towards Allah through trials and hardships. It is only on the Day of Judgement we will truly realise how much we have missed out on and how much more we wished we were tested by Allah so that our ranks were even higher.
And Allah knows best in all matter.