Why Do Believers Suffer?

Allah chose the believers to earn Jannah because of their belief and their actions. And Allah chose the kuffar to earn hellfire because of their false belief and bad actions. So why are so many Muslims suffering all around the world?

Everyone has Problems

Believe it or not, but everyone suffers. Believers and disbelievers all suffer. Sometimes in similar ways, and other times in different ways. For example everyone loses family members, many people have trouble finding work, get sick, have anxiety and so on. 

Some differences are that Muslims go through religious trials, such as fulfilling their religious obligations, and completing their extra duties as well. These are extra trials that disbelievers do not face, but passing these trials helps ease the pain of the worldly trials Alhamdulilah.

We make mistakes

Some people have the misconception that life is about having fun. In which case trials get in the way of that, and would be disliked because of that. The reality is, this life is a testing grounds to decide who should be in paradise and who should be in hell.

“[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving -“

[Quran: Chapter 67, Verse 2]

All of us are sinners. We all make mistakes and Allah punishes us for it.

“And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much”

[Quran: Chapter 42, Verse 30]

Trials are not good or bad by themselves. It’s the outcome of the trials that tell us if it was good or bad. A person could lose his job, which causes him to pray to his Lord more. In this case the trial was good for him. Another man has the same trial of losing his job, and he curses God. Then this trial was bad for him, unless he seeks forgiveness and changes his way. It’s the outcome that matters.

Being tested can be an indicator, that you’re on the correct path. We are told that the prophets were tried the most.

Al-Tirmidhi (2398) narrated that Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I said: “O Messenger of Allaah, which of the people are most sorely tested?” He said: “The Prophets, then the next best and the next best. A man will be tested in accordance with his level of religious commitment. If his religious commitment is strong, he will be tested more severely, and if his religious commitment is weak, he will be tested in accordance with his religious commitment. Calamity will keep befalling a person until he walks on the earth with no sin on him.” Classed assaheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 143. 

It was narrated that Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:

“If Allah wills good for His slave, He hastens his punishment in this world, and if He wills bad for His slave, He withholds from him (the punishment for) his sin, until He requites him for it on the Day of Resurrection.” Narrated and classed as hasan by at-Tirmidhi (2396); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh at-Tirmidhi. 

Think about the story of our second father Nuh (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and how his test with his people all those centuries led to his victory. Allah answered his prayer and drowned the disbelievers of the earth, and after which all of mankind is descended from him. Allah gave Nuh (AS) an incredibly hard test, and rewarded him for his patience in this world and in the next.

“O descendants of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah. Indeed, he was a grateful servant.”

[Quran: Chapter 17, Verse 3]

Here are a few reasons why trials may come to people.

1) So that they can attain a high level in paradise.

Much like a test, the harder the test, the greater the achievement. If you want to have a PhD, then you must take many tests and do well on nearly all of them in order to attain that high level of honor.

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). 

2) So that the people will be patient.

When you witness the trials of others, and their trials are so much worse than what you’ve experienced, you gain gratitude for what Allah has given you. If that person could be patient with his tough trial, then you should be able to do the same with yours.

Abu Yahya Suhaib bin Sinan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him”.

3) So that the disbelievers earn their place in Hell.

Those that enter hell will do so because of their negligence. They were given many tests, just like the rest of mankind, but they chose to fail theirs on purpose and didn’t turn back to their Creator.

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.”

Believers and disbelievers both suffer. That is the life of this world. But for the first group that suffering will lead to a good end, whereas for the disbelievers it leads to an evil end. May Allah grant us all a good end.

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