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Sadness, grief, misery and sorrow are feelings which are a part and parcel of this life. When we look around us we see poverty and suffering, death and catastrophes and even in personal lives there is grief and sadness and setbacks and failures, loss of loved ones and heartache. In short this life is full of problems and is not as perfect as we want it to be.
These problems, tests and trials of this world may lead someone to think that God is unkind. People usually say what kind of a God lets people die in a tsunami or why God did this to us when we don’t like this and that.
However this is not the case at all. God is not unkind. This world is like an exam for each one of us. Just like we give exams in schools and colleges – we may find the exam hard and difficult but that does not mean that the examiner is unkind. The exam is just to test our skills and abilities to award us accordingly. We need to pass many exams to become successful in this world and to have a good career and a job. Similarly, this entire life is a test- so we will have to work really hard just like we work hard to pass our school exams or to get any degree and we will have to be patient as Allah says in the Quran:
“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,” (Quran 2:155)
Even the wealth and possessions given to a person are a trial for him or her. If some one is rich that does not at all mean that Allah is happy with such a person and therefore has bestowed him with wealth.
Allah Subhana Watala informs us:
“And know that your possessions and your children are a test…” Quran 8:28
Also even our friends and family and people around us may be a test for us. Their injustice or hatered or their bad behaviour towards us may be a test for us as well to see if we are steadfast and patient.
Allah subhanawata says:
“And we have appointed some of you a test for others. Will you be patient?” (Quran 25:20)
Similarly while giving the exam we are not awarded immediately for our correct answers and we are not punished for our wrong answers there and then. We need to wait for the exam to be over and for the papers to be checked and the result to be announced. In the same fashion, this life is an exam – but we don’t know when the exam will get over. As soon as we die our exam would be over and we will have to wait for the result which will be announced on the day of Judgement.
“Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial. To Us must ye return.”(Quran 21:35)
When we are faced with difficulties, problems, sorrow and grief in this world we should realize that this is only a temporary passing phase where Allah is testing us to see if we still are thankful to Him and if we still obey Him. This does not mean that Allah is unkind. We must remember that He is our examiner. If we do not like the questions in our college exam – does that mean we should give up and leave the paper and start hating the examiner? NO not at all. We should persevere and be patient and continue asking for Allah’s help and mercy and do our best to solve that difficult question. Allah says that those who when faced with difficulties and problems lose heart and quit will be the worst losers in this world as well as the hereafter.
“There are among men some who serve Allah, as it were, on the verge: if good befalls them, they are, therewith, well content; but if a trial comes to them, they turn on their faces: they lose both this world and the Hereafter: that is loss for all to see!” (Quran 22:11)