Test of Iman is for the Welfare of Believers
Iman that is accepted and practiced in life, as stated in previous chapters, will be tested. This test is a process of Allah for improving the quality of the believers, so that they can develop and manage the world efficiently as His Obedient Representative and live with happiness. Believers need to know the Guidance of Allah, accept Iman, and do everything according to His Guidance for discharging the responsibility of managing the world. Allah has introduced test, reward, and punishment as a system for believers so that they can qualify for their job in this world. It is like a person seeking a job. He needs to be tested prior to appointment to prove his qualifications for the job and to make sure that he can work efficiently after employment. Testing 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 the benefits of driving without passing a driving test.
Allah has given free will to human beings to accept or reject Iman. Those who accept Iman, they will face tests to prove the truthfulness of their Faith. Allah says:
“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 and trials are necessary to engage believers to improve their quality and perform better. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) explained this with a beautiful example. He said: “Whoever Allah wants good for him; He puts him to test. He puts him through difficulties. These tests, trials and difficulties are 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 the example above, we understand that a believer needs to polish his soul to free it from corruption like a diamond maker polishes stone or rock to remove impurities to make pure diamonds. He needs to tune his body and mind through difficult tests like a goldsmith who removes impurities through the heat treatment processes for making pure gold. Thus, the human body, mind and soul are prepared and made pure through tests for obeying the orders of Allah in any situation.
While working for the cause of Allah, doing good deeds and avoiding evil, a believer needs perseverance, tolerance, and patience for success at work. Consistent effort while doing good deeds, prepares a believer with these qualities.
“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 trial or difficulty of test or hardship is, the greater the reward” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah).
The Quran has recorded the history of the tests that the first nations faced; they were very severe. Allah says: “There the believers were tried, and they were shaken” (Quran 33:11).
From the time of our Prophet (PBUH) until today, Muslims are going through the same tests and this will continue until the end of the world. Allah says:
“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 test as came to those who died before you? They were affected with severe poverty, ailments and were shaken that even the Messengers and the believers with him said: ‘When will Allah send help?’ (They were assured) certainly, the help of Allah is near.” (Quran 2:214)
Success in these tests, as mentioned in the above verses is only possible if there is serious commitment, perseverance, tolerance, patience, and reliance on Allah. This means that achieving these qualities make up the syllabus of the test. If we continue to train ourselves to achieve these qualities and pass this test, then we will be fit to do the duties entrusted upon us as believers and will be rewarded in this world with a good life and with paradise after death. As mentioned earlier, Allah will examine our deeds. We are stating here a few examples of important tests that happens in the life of believers:
- Tests are for preparing the believers as obedient Representatives of Allah (Khalifa):
Human beings are created by Allah with an assignment to develop and manage the world, as His representatives. Representation of Allah on Earth means doing everything on Earth by obeying His orders. Allah says:
“Then we appointed you viceroy in the world after them so that We may see how you act” (Quran 10:14).
- To prepare for Sacrifice for the cause of Allah:
Allah has asked believers to work for His cause. He has entrusted on the believers the responsibility of calling people to Islam, establishing the Islamic way of life, and making Islam victorious over all other religions. He will test all believers to see their commitment for His cause.
Allah says: “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).
- Tests are for promoting good deeds:
Peace and prosperity in this world and in the afterlife depend on promoting good deeds. Stopping evil is also a form of good deed and important for peaceful living in society. Allah has included good deeds in the syllabus of test so that believers do good deeds for their own benefit: “He might test you and find out those among you who do good deeds” (Quran 11:7).
- Tests for preparing for patience:
Success comes with patience. Impatience brings destruction. Therefore, Allah wants to train believers for patience through the tests. In this process of testing, believers face difficulty like oppression, physical and mental torture, threat to life, poverty, hunger, sickness, etc. They face these difficulties with courage, tolerate hardship and thus achieve quality of patience. Prophet (PBUH) said:
“If Allah loves a person, then he afflicts with trial. Whoever is patient having the reward of patience, and whoever is impatient has the fault of impatience” (Musnad Ahmed).
- Tests for preparing for control of greed for wealth:
Greed for wealth causes economic injustice in the society. Greed sows the seeds of many socio-economic problems like taking the rights of others illegally, not fulfilling duty to the poor, poverty, hunger, unrest, etc. So, Islam made ‘greed for wealth’ a subject of tests and trials. Through them, Islam wants to train believers so that they restrain from greed for wealth. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Verily, every nation has trial, and the trial of my nation is wealth” (Tirmidhi).
We have stated above a few examples of the tests and their effects in life. In fact, the entire life and every action of a believer is under test. Allah says: “We shall also examine your deeds” (Quran 47:31).
So, a believer should always remain conscious about the tests from Allah at every work. This consciousness about the test helps believers to do every work by obeying the orders of Allah and saves them from disobedience of Allah. Thus, believers can maintain purity at work and avoid wrongdoing.
- How to succeed in the test of Iman?
- 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).
- To pass the test of Iman, believers need to follow the path of Allah in all activities. They should also practice the purest speech like the use of nice words while talking to people, telling the truth, calling people to Islam, and reciting the Quran. Righteous work and pure speech are the two essential resources that a believer must pursue to proceed on the path of Allah. 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)” (Quran 22:23-24).
- 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. All actions done without obeying Islamic Rules are rejected. Allah says: “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).
- Believers need patience and forgiveness for passing the test of Iman and prove their 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 mitigates enmity. This is how preparation for the test of Iman makes way to a prosperous and peaceful life for every individual and people of the community.
From the above discussions, we can conclude that the ‘Test of Iman’ is a good opportunity for preparation and living as a 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 a good result before the test. If we take up the ‘Test of Iman’ like an examination of a student, we will be doing everything according to the orders of Allah, Who is our examiner in the Test of Iman. If we do everything according to the orders of Allah, we succeed in the test of Iman at every work. This success contributes to bringing peace and prosperity in life by flourishing the world with good deeds and finally being rewarded with paradise after death.
(Summary of actions for Test of Iman)
Test of Iman
Purpose of test Syllabus of test Ways to success in test
*To Verify reality of * Acceptance of Islam *Understand syllabus of testimony of believers. as only way of life test from Quran, Hadith.
*To check level of * Commitment to follow * Preparation to act obedience to Allah Islam in everything according to syllabus. *To develop qualities * Obedience to order * Obey Order of Allah for living as Muslim of Allah in everything in everything. *To prepare as * Obedience to Prophet’s *Do what prophet orders, representative of Allah method of living. avoid what he forbids. *To check who works *Sacrifice wealth, time, * Invest wealth, time, for cause of Allah. energy for cause of Allah energy for cause of Allah. *To check who promotes * Promoting good deed *Engage in doing good good deed and stops evil. and stopping evil deed and stopping evil. *To test intention for *working for satisfaction *Work for satisfaction of doing anything of Allah in His way Allah by lawful means. *To see who adhere to *Adherence to obligatory *Do all obligatory duties obligatory duties duties and prohibitions and avoid prohibition. *To reward for sacrifice * Maximum effort for * Work hard to make for the cause of Allah the cause of Allah. Islam victorious. *To punish for not * Stick to Quran * Follow Quran for following Quran. in all matters everything in life. *To test patience against *patience during hardship * Keep patience during whisper by devil. and temptation temptation.
1.Understand purpose of test and syllabus of test first. Then plan actions for passing in the test.2.Pursue action consistently in all situation as stated above. Conscious habit will protect from any failure in the test.