Test and trail is a process of Allah for improving quality of the people so that they can develop and manage the world efficiently. To discharge the responsibility of managing the world in the way of Allah; believers need to know the Guidance of Allah, accept Iman and do everything according to His Guidance. Allah has introduced test, award and punishment system for believers so that they can qualify for their job in this world. It is as if a person seeking a job has to appear a test to proof his qualification for the job prior to appointment and work efficiently after employment for remuneration. Otherwise, he may lose the job. Test is a natural process for reward and remuneration in every society throughout human history. Even a driving license is not issued without a test and one cannot get benefit of driving without passing driving test.
Allah has given free will to human beings to accept or reject Iman.
Those who accept Iman, they will face test to proof the truthfulness of their Faith. Allah has said:
“Verily We always put people to test” (Quran 23:30).
“Do the people think that they will not be tested because they say, we have faith? We had certainly tried those who lived before them to make sure, who were faithful in their faith and who were liars”
(Quran 29: 2-3).
Tests Improve the Quality of Believers
Test and trail is necessary to engage believers to improve their quality and perform better. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) explained this by a beautiful example. He said: “Whoever Allah wants good for him, He puts him to test. He puts him through difficulties. This tests, trails and difficulties is like a diamond or some metal that has to be burnt and then impurities are removed so that you have that which is the pure diamond or the pure gold or whatever” (Bukhari, Muslim ).
From above example, we understand that believers need to polish their soul to free it from corruption like a diamond maker polish stone/rock to remove impurities and make pure diamond. They need to tune their body and mind through difficult test like a goldsmith who removes impurities through heat treatment process to make pure gold. Thus, human body, mind and soul is prepared and made pure through test for obeying order of Allah in any situation. During hard test perseverance, tolerance and patience are needed for success and reward from Allah.
Allah has said:
“We shall certainly test you until we know those who strive hard for the cause of Allah, and those who are patient. We will also examine your deeds” (Quran 47:31).
Prophet (PBUH) said: “The greater the trail or difficulty of test or hardship is then the greater the reward”(Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah).
Severity of Test
Quran has recorded the history of test that the first nations faced. It was very severe.
Allah said: “There the believers were tried and they were shaken “(Quran 33:11).
From the time of our Prophet (PBUH) until today, Muslim nation is going through the same test and this will continue until the end of the world. Allah has said:
“You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves” (Quran 3: 186).
“Verily, We shall test you through fear, hunger, loss of life, wealth and crops. But give good news to the patient” (Quran 2: 155).
“Do you think that you shall enter paradise without such trail as came to those who passed away before you? They were affected with severe poverty, ailments and were shaken that even the Messengers and the believers with him said: when shall help from Allah arrive? Yes certainly, the help of Allah is near“(Quran 2: 214).
Passing in the test as mentioned in above verses is only possible if there is serious commitment, perseverance, tolerance, patience and reliance on Allah. This means achieving these qualities is the syllabus of the test.If we continue to train ourselves to achieve these qualities and pass in this test then we will be fit to do duties entrusted upon us as believer and will be rewarded in this world with good life and with paradise after death.
Example of Tests and their Objectives
As mentioned earlier Allah will examine our deeds. Here we are stating few important test in the life of believers:
1. Test is to prepare believers as representative of Allah(Khalifa):
Human being is created to develop and manage the world, as the representative of Allah. He is obliged to do this by obeying Allah. Allah has said: “Then we appointed you viceroy in the world after them so that We may see how you act “(Quran 10:14).
2. Sacrifice for the cause of Allah:
Allah has asked believers to work hard for the cause of Allah. He entrusted responsibility to call people to Islam, establish Islamic way of life and make Islam victorious upon all believers. He will test all believers for their commitment for His cause:“ We shall certainly test you until We know those who strive hard for the cause of Allah and those who are patient. We shall also examine your deeds” (Quran 47:31).
3. Test for promoting good deed:
Peace and prosperity in this world and in afterlife depends on promoting good work. Stopping evil is also a form of good work and important for peaceful living in the society. Allah has included good work in the syllabus of test so that believers do good work for their own benefit.
“He might test you and find out those among you who do good deeds” (Quran 11:7).
4. Test for patience:
Success comes with patience. Impatience brings destruction. Therefore, Allah wants to train believers for patience through test. In this process of test, believers face difficulty like oppression, physical/mental torture, threat to life, poverty, hunger, sickness etc. They face these difficulties with courage and achieve quality of patience. Prophet (PBUH) said:
“If Allah loves a person, then he afflicts with trail. Whoever is patient has the reward of patience, and whoever is impatient has the fault of impatience “(Musnad Ahmed).
5. Test on greed for wealth:
Greed for wealth causes economic injustice in the society. Greed sows the seeds of many socio-economic problems like taking other’s right illegally, not fulfilling duty to poor, poverty, hunger and unrest. So Islam made ‘greed for wealth’ a subject of test and trail. Through this, test and trail Islam wants to train believers so that they restrain from greed for wealth.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“Verily, every nation has trail and the trail of my nation is wealth” (Tirmidhi).
We have stated above few examples of test and their effect in life. In fact, entire life and every action in the life of a believer is under test. Allah said:
“We shall also examine your deeds” (Quran 47:3). So a believer always remains prepared for test at every work. This preparation helps believers to do every work by obeying order of Allah and saves believers from disobedience of Allah at any work. This is the way believers are able to maintain purity at work.
How to succeed in the test of Iman ?
1. A believer is required to do more and more good deeds as a preparation for the test of Iman.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said : “ The great beauty of Iman is that the more actions you take, the more you will build strong Iman and increase in all the positive emotions that come with it “ ( Bukhari, Muslim ).
2. To pass in the test of Iman believers need to follow the path of Allah in all activities. They should also practice the purest speech like use of nice word while talking with people, tell the truth, call the people to Islam, and recite Quran. This is referred in the Quran as follows:
“Allah will admit those believers who do righteous deeds to Paradise beneath which rivers flow. They shall be adorned there with gold, pearls and garments of silk. And (in this world) they are guided to the purest speech and guided to the path of the praiseworthy (Allah)”
3. Believers should remain careful that their actions do not contradict with Iman. They should always avoid deeds that are harmful to Iman.Punishment for losing Iman shall be taken seriously.
Allah has said: “The deeds of those of you who give up their religion and die as disbelievers will be made void in this world and in the hereafter. These people will be the dwellers of Hell wherein they will remain forever” ( Quran 2 : 217).
4. Believers need patience and forgiveness for passing in the test of Iman and prove the truthfulness of Iman. Prophet (PBUH) said :
“ Iman is patience and forgiveness” (Tirmidhi).
If there is any difficulty in life; believers should face it with patience. They should continue all work with patience until the work is successfully completed. If others hurt them, they should settle this with forgiveness. Thus Patience brings success at work and forgiveness mitigate enmity. This is how preparation for the test of Iman makes way to prosperous and peaceful life for every individual and people of the community.
Above discussion leads to conclusion that ‘Test of Iman’ is a good opportunity for preparation and living as true believer. It helps to do everything according to Iman. It is like a student who is set for a test and continues to prepare for good result before the test. If we take up ‘Test of Iman’ like a student, we will be doing everything according to the order of Allah, Who is our examiner in the Test of Iman. If we do everything according to the order of Allah, we succeed in the test of Iman at every work. This success contributes to bring peace and prosperity in life by flourishing the world with good work and finally rewarded with paradise after death.