Verily, We created man from a drop of mingled sperm so that We may test him; and therefore We made him hearing and seeing. We have indeed showed him the way, now he be grateful or ungrateful. (76:3)
The Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) have shown the Muslim Ummah the difference between right and wrong, black and white. Life is filled with ups and downs, if today you are facing hardships, tomorrow He will give you ease.
Sometimes while going through something tough, we are unable to decode the meaning behind it. What’s important for individuals is to understand whether the hardships in life fit the criteria of an intehaam or an azaab from Allah. An imtehaam requires patience and azaab, it requires forgiveness from Allah.
When the Almighty puts someone through a test, it shows whether or not the individual is ready to be close to Him.
Verily, We shall put you to test with some fear and hunger, and with some loss of wealth, lives, and offspring. And (O Muhammad) convey good tidings to those who are patient, who say, when inflicted by hardship, “Verily we are of God and verily to Him shall we return;” upon them is the blessings of Allah and His mercy. (2:155)
If it a test from Allah, those suffering will go close to Him. They will cry more to Allah. They will plead for more to Allah. Be it Palestine, the Zaatari Camp or Somalia, the people going through the troubles grew close to Allah and cried for help.
Becoming Better Muslims
When a Muslim understands that this particular hardship is a test from the Almighty, they grow closer to Him, which makes them a better person. They have a gentler heart, they are filled with patience and they share empathy towards others.
When a hardship makes someone a better person, it is indeed a sign that this is a test from Allah, not a punishment.
Even When He Punishes Someone, It is A Blessing for Them
It is Allah’s way of telling the individual to repent of their mistakes and learn before it is too late. If an individual experiences difficulty and that difficulty changes you to a better person, spiritually and emotionally, that indeed is a blessing from Allah in disguise, not a punishment.
If Allah gives a blessing and it makes you proud and arrogant, that indeed was given to you as a blessing which as per your deeds became your own punishment.
May Allah guide us all to the right path and we make sure never to fall off it, Ameen!