Allah says in the Holy Quran:
It is He who enables you to travel on land and sea until, when you are in ships and they sail with them by a good wind and they rejoice therein, there comes a storm wind and the waves come upon them from everywhere and they assume that they are surrounded, supplicating Allah , sincere to Him in religion, “If You should save us from this, we will surely be among the thankful.” (Surah younus : 22)
How often are we guilty of this?
I myself am guilty of this in almost same situation. I was in the flight from Jeddah to Hyderabad with my mother. We had flown several times and they were all smooth journeys Alhumdulillah. But this time, there was weather turbulence, the plane was shaking vigorously and we were strictly asked to remain seated and not move at all. The crew looked scared and the jolts were really terrifying. Recently we had heard of an Air crash, so our fears were escalated.
We both started praying, making dua to Allah to deliver us safe. Our family was waiting for us back home. All the things that could go wrong started flashing before my eyes. What if the plane crashed? What if we land in water? What if we have to make emergency landing? What if we get injured? What if we die? And all these made me scared to death and as the Ayah said I started calling to Allah with a sincere heart, with fear and hope, asking forgiveness and made a secret resolve that I will be better after this trial. Alhumdulillah, the ordeal lasted only 15 minutes but my whole life flashed before my eyes during that time. I thanked Allah profusely, became more religious for a few days, prayed my salahs on time but slowly I forgot about the whole incident as mentioned in the ayah and reverted to my old self.
This has happened to me two other times as well. Whenever we or our loved ones are in trouble we make our faith sincere, we cry and beg Allah to save us, bring us out from the situation, heal us, make us safe, promise Allah we will be better, repent to him but when he “lands us safely”, we start taking His favors for granted. We believe it was our efforts which saved us, or a particular person or doctor saved us. We thank him but little and return to our old ungrateful ways.
But Alhumdulillah, there have been times when such tests have really opened my eyes, taught me worthwhile lessons, made me wiser and humbler. And yes, made me a better muslim. And that is the reason why Allah gives us tests and trials. To better us, to give us a wake up call, to bring us back to the straight path, to forgive our sins, to clear our distorted vision and to make our faith sincere.
Aaisha(may Allah be pleased with her), reported that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Nothing befalls a believer, a (prick of a) thorn or more than that, but Allaah will raise him one degree in status thereby, or erase a bad deed.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5641) and Muslim (2573)
But the question is, are we making full use of our tests? Are we learning from our experiences? Are we improving our religion or are we becoming weaker, ungrateful, resorting to shirk and kufr to get rid of our problems? Are we complaining to Allah or are we being thankful to him for testing us and thereby increasing our status in Jannah?
Are we trying to understand the wisdom behind our trials? Are we trying to correlate our sins and punishments? Are we leaving sins that bring the wrath of Allah? Are we becoming more patient and strong? Is the pain making us more sensitive to people’s pain? Are we becoming more understanding, caring and helpful? Or are we still heedless, heartless and selfish? Are we realizing the might of Allah, the truth about this life, the transient nature of it? Or are we still lost in its deceitful charms and temptations? Have we become more mindful of Allah? Are we praying more and sinning less?
Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “…but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself” [an-Nisa’ 4:79]. The commentators said: i.e., because of your sin.
Are we giving more sadaqah and rushing to do good deeds? Has Allah’s fear penetrated our hearts yet or not? Have our eyes opened or are we still blind? These are the questions that we must ask ourselves after each test and take a complete account of our ways and habits. We must learn lessons and apply them immediately in our lives. Only this approach will enable us to be thankful to Allah for the tests that He puts us through.
It was narrated from Anas ibn Maalik(may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Great reward comes with great trials. When Allah loves a people, He tests them, and whoever accepts it attains His pleasure, whereas whoever shows discontent with it incurs His wrath.”
Narrated and classed as hasan by at-Tirmidhi (2396); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Silsilah as-Saheehah, no. 14
This hadith shows that we must accept our tests gracefully and not complain. Therefore, Alhumdulillah, for all the tests that bring us closer to Allah, open our eyes and strengthen our faith. Alhumdulillah ala kulli haal.