One needn’t look further than the lives of the Messengers of Allah (SWT) to appreciate and understand the magnitude and consequences of practising Islam and proclaiming Allah’s message to mankind.
Indeed, if Allah loves a people, He tests them – to see if they are true to what they claim to believe.
It has been reported upon the authority of Anas (RA) that the Messenger Muhammad (SAW) said: “Whenever Allah wills good for His slave, He hastens to punish him (or her) in this life; and when He wills evil for His slave, He withholds punishing him for his sins until he comes before Him on the Day of Judgement.”
None has been tested in the history of man quite like the Anbiyaa’ (Prophets), particularly the five with ‘firm determination’ (Ulil ‘Azm) – Nooh, Ibraheem, Moosa, ‘Eesa and Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them all). They were Allah’s most loved ones, yet He put them through such gruelling tests, that would have otherwise been unbearable for most others.
They were ridiculed and rejected by their community (disbelievers), attacked, boycotted, exiled, taunted, slandered, persecuted and vilified. Some were even imprisoned or worse, assassinated (by the Jews).
Nevertheless, Allah (SWT) made their lives a practical example for all people, and, in doing so, demonstrated what we ought to expect from the disbelievers if we follow and call to the Straight Path – rejection, ridicule and persecution.
Every Muslim is tested by Allah, so most certainly, throughout the course of your life, you may well be tested intermittently with hunger, bereavement, poverty and sickness. Allah (SWT) says:
“Or do you reckon that you will enter Jannah without such trials as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger (of Allah) and those who believed with him (Sahaabah) said, ‘When (will come) the Help of Allah?’ Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” (EMQ Al-Baqarah, 2:214)
However, it is important to bear in mind that since Muslims are of varying levels (as stated by Allah), their tests will also vary, in manner and intensity, depending on the strength of their Imaan. Accordingly, those who are tested most are the Anbiyaa’, and the ‘ulamaa (scholars) and du’aat (activists) who endeavour to continue their work – calling people to Tawheed, exposing the evil in society and fighting to make Allah’s Deen the highest.
They have sacrificed their wealth, careers, personal security, family, health and time in effort to establish Allah’s Deen on earth. And because their sacrifice is greater than the sacrifice of others’, their tests will be greater and more severe; and the greater the trial, the greater the reward (in the Hereafter). It has been reported by Imaam at-Tirmidhi that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
“The greatness of the reward is relative to the greatness (severity) of the trial. When Allah loves a people, He puts them to test. So whoever is pleased (acceptant) will have Allah’s pleasure, and whoever is displeased (with the test) will gain Allah’s displeasure.”
Unfortunately, however, those who are truly making an effort to imitate the Anbiyaa’ today – by striving to change society (implement Shari’ah) – are a small minority. And like the Anbiyaa’, they are being attacked by the Kuffar and Munaafiqeen (disbelievers and hypocrites), ridiculed, vilified and branded extremists, fanatics or even terrorists. Many have also been imprisoned, or killed while fighting in the way of Allah.
Nonetheless, the fitnah and balaa’ (tests) they are made to endure should never deter one from the righteous path of da’wah, working collectively in jamaa’ah (a group) and forbidding evil. On the contrary, their suffering enables us to recognise the haq (truth) and identify the thorny road to Jannah (Paradise), and should therefore encourage us to join the bandwagon.
You may claim to be Muslim, perform your prayers and fast in Ramadan, but how can you expect to enter Jannah without physically partaking in the collective obligation to establish the Islamic state (daarul-Islam), call mankind to live by and implement the laws of Allah, and command good and forbid evil in society?
Almighty Allah promises to test the believers and thereby distinguish the khabeeth (evil-doers) from the tayyib (good, practising Muslims). This is the Sunnah (tradition) of Allah, and the Sunnah of Allah will never change.
So do not let suffering, incarceration and tests of the believers make you waver, turn away from working to establish the Deen of Allah, or even cause you to become a bystander. The ibtilaa’ (tests) and tamhees (oppression and afflictions at the hands of the Kuffar) are prerequisites for Jannah. Allah (SWT) says:
“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say, ‘We believe’, and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make it known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make it known (the falsehood of) those who are liars.” (EMQ Al-Ankabut, 29:2-3)
Those who abandon their individual and collective duties will encounter many personal and family-related problems, and will not be able to deal with them. Moreover, unless we unite and establish the Shari’ah, there will continue to be widespread mischief and calamities on earth. Allah (SWT) says:
“And those who disbelieve are allies of one another, and if you (Muslims) do not do so (unite under one leader), there will be fitnah (calamities, wars) and oppression on the earth, and great mischief and corruption.” (EMQ Al-Anfal, 8:73)