1. Alif Lam Mim.
2. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested.
3. 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, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test).
4. Or those who do evil deeds think that they can outstrip Us (i.e. escape Our Punishment)? Evil is that which they judge!
5 .Whoever hopes for the Meeting with Allah, then Allah’s Term is surely coming. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.
6. And whosoever strives, he strives only for himself. Verily, Allah is free of all wants from the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns, and all that exists).
7. Those who believe [in the Oneness of Allah (Monotheism) and in Messenger Muhammad, and do not apostate because of the harm they receive from the polytheists], and do righteous good deeds, surely, We shall remit from them their evil deeds and shall reward them according to the best of that which they used to do.
8. And We have enjoined on man to be good and dutiful to his parents, but if they strive to make you join with Me (in worship) anything (as a partner) of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not. Unto Me is your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.
9. And for those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and other items of Faith) and do righteous good deeds, surely, We shall make them enter in (the entrance of) the righteous (i.e. in
10. Of mankind are some who say: “We believe in Allah,” but if they are made to suffer for the sake of Allah, they consider the trial of mankind as Allah’s punishment, and if victory comes from your Lord, (the hypocrites) will say: “Verily! We were with you (helping you).” Is not Allah Best Aware of
what is in the breast of the ‘Alamin (mankind and jinns).
11. Verily, Allah knows those who believe, and verily, He knows the hypocrites [i.e. Allah will test the people with good and hard days to discriminate the good from the wicked (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test)].
(AI-‘Ankabut, 29 : 1-11)
And He, the Almighty says,
“Or think you that you will enter Paradise 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 and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the Help of Allah?” Yes!
Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:214)
And He, the Exalted says when He mentioned he who apostatizes and who is obliged,
“Whoever disbelieved in Allah after his belief.” (Surah An-Nahl, 16 : 106)
And then He, the Almighty says,
“Then, verily! Your Lord for those who emigrated after they had been put to trials and thereafter strove hard and fought (for the Cause of Allah) and were patient, verily, your Lord afterward is, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah An-Nahl 16 : 110)
People receive the Messengers of Allah in one of two ways:
Either to say: we believe, or refuse to say that and continue to do evil deeds.
Whoever among them says: “I believe”, Allah will test him and make him choose in order to expose him as a liar from the one who is truthful.
Whoever refuses to say “I believe”, should not think that he can defeat Allah, for there is no one, who can do that. This is His way, He sends Messengers to His creatures and then people accuse them of lying and harm them. Allah, the Almighty says,
“And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies – Shayatin (devils) among mankind and jinns.” (Surah Al- An’am, 6 : 112)
“Likewise, no Messenger came to those before them, but they said: “A sorcerer or a madman!” (Surah Adh-Dhariyat, 51 : 52)
“Nothing is said to you (O Messenger) except what was said to the Messengers before you.” (Surah Fussilat, 41 : 43)
Such evil people also harmed and showed enmity toward anyone who believed in the Messengers and obeyed them. They would afflict the believers with pain and if he did not believe in them, he would be punished and this would be the cause or more and more pain. No doubt, every soul will suffer pain whether they are believers or disbelievers. However the believer suffers pain during this Worldly life, and then he will gain the reward in the Hereafter, and the disbeliever gets to enjoy this worldly life but then in the Hereafter he must endure lasting pain.
The Opinion of Ash-Shafi’ concerning affliction and being given power
A man asked Ash-Shafi’1 , “O Abu ‘Abdullah! What is better for man – to be afflicted or to have power?” Ash-Shafi’ said, “He will not be given power until he has been afflicted; Allah afflicted Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), ‘Isa (Jesus), and Muhammad (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and because they were patient, Allah bestowed power upon them. No one should think that he can avoid pain forever.”
Whoever pleases Allah and displeases people
This is the great origin of power that the wise man should know. It is human nature that man tries to be civilized. He has to live with people and people have wills and imagination and demand him to agree with them in all matters and if he does not agree, they will harm and torture him and if he agrees with them, he will be tortured and harmed both by them and by others.
Whoever thinks about his situation and those of other people, would find several more situations like these. Every nation that wants to commit adultery, be unjust, and nullify religion, are guilty of committing some prohibited things that Allah has mentioned in the following verse,
“Say: (But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al-Fawahish (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.” (Surah Al-A’raf, 7 : 33)
If such people are gathered in one place for example, in a university, an inn, a school, a village, or a city that has others with them, what can they do? What do they want except approval of the others, or for the others to remain silent and not to oppose them openly. If the others remained peaceful they may not be harmed by their evil but they might insult and punish them to keep them down and in their places. He might be asked to commit perjury or talk falsely about religion or to help in committing adultery and unjust deeds. If he refuses, they will harm him and show enmity to him and if he answered
them they themselves will rule, harm, and insult him many times as much as they used to fear him before or he will be tortured.
What should be done is what is mentioned in the hadith that was narrated by A’ishah, which she sent to Mu’awiyah. It was narrated as Mawquf (discontinued) and Marfu’ (traceable) – “Whoever pleases Allah through displeasing people, Allah will save him from asking people.” (Tirmidhi – book of asceticism, hadith 2414.)
And in another narration – “Allah will be pleased with him and will make people pleased with him and whoever pleases people by displeasing Allah, they will never save him from Allah.”
And in another narration – “Whoever praises him from among people will dispraise him.”
This applies to whoever supports kings and leaders with their evil aims and whoever supports the people of innovations in their novelties who are supposed to belong to the people of knowledge and religion. Whoever Allah guides and shows him the way, he will never commit prohibited acts and will bear their harm and enmity and then he will receive the reward for his efforts in the Hereafter. As it happened to the Messengers and their followers with those who harmed them and showed them enmity, like the emigrants of this nation and the scientists, worshipers, merchants, and supporters, who were afflicted.
Affliction is Inevitable
On certain occasions, it is lawful to show approval and hide one’s denial like in the case of he who is forced to say words of disbelief. What is meant here is that it is inevitable that everyone will face affliction and harm. There is no way to be saved from affliction.
That is why Allah, the Exalted mentioned this point in several places saying that people have to be afflicted and that affliction can be by means of happiness and misfortune. Man will be afflicted with what pleases and harms him, so he needs to be patient and praise Allah. Allah, the Almighty says,
“Verily! We have made that which is on earth as an adornment for it, in order that We may test them (mankind) as to which of them are best in deeds. [I.e. those who do good deeds in the most perfect manner, that means to do them (deeds) totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance to the legal ways of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam)].” (Surah Al-Kahf, 18 : 7)
“We tried them with good (blessings) and evil (calamities) in order that they might turn (to Allah’s Obedience).” (Surah Al-A’raf, 7 : 168)
“Then if there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My Guidance shall neither go astray, nor fall into distress and misery. But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’an nor acts on its orders, etc.) verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall
raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.” (Surah Ta-ha, 20 : 123-124)
“Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His Cause) and (also) tests those who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)?” (Surah Al-‘Imran, 3 : 142)
This verse is in Al-‘lmran and He, the Almighty says before that in chapter Al-Baqarah,
“Or think you that you will enter Paradise 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 and those who believed along with him said, ‘When (will come) the Help of Allah?’ Yes!
Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2 : 214)
The soul will never become pious and purified except through undergoing afflictions. It is the same as gold that can never be pure except after removing all the base metals in it. The soul is ignorant and unjust and this is the origin of the evil that confronts the servant. Allah, the Almighty says,
“Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself.” (Surah An-Nisa 4 : 79)
“(What is the matter with you?) When a single disaster smites you, although you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, you say: ‘From where does this come to us?’ Say (to them), ‘It is from yourselves (because of your evil deeds).’ ” (Surah Al-‘lmran, 3 : 165)
“And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons
much.” (Surah Ash-Shura, 42 : 30)
“That is so because Allah will never change a grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in their ownselves.” (Surah Al-Anfal, 8 : 53)
“But when Allah wills a people’s punishment, there can be no turning back of it, and they will find besides Him no protector.” (Surah Ar-Ra’d, 13 : 11)
And Allah mentions the punishments of all the nations from the time of Adam (peace be upon him) until late in time. And during all that He mentioned how they wronged themselves and Allah was not unjust to them. The first to confess that is our parents; Allah says that they said,
“Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” (Surah Al-A’raf, 7 : 23)
And Allah says to Satan,
“That I will fill Hell with you [Iblis (Satan)] and those of them (mankind) that follow you, together.” (Surah Saad, 38 : 85)
And Allah says that Satan said,
“O my Lord! Because you misled me, I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them (mankind) on the earth, and I shall mislead them all. Except Your chosen, (guided) slaves among them.” (Surah Al-Hijr, 15 : 39-40)
And Allah, the Almighty says,
“Certainly, you shall have no authority over My slaves, except those who follow you of the Ghawin (Mushrikun and those who go astray, criminals, polytheists, and evil-doers etc.).” (Surah Al-Hijr, 15 : 42)
Our pious predecessors acknowledge this fact like the sayings of Abu Bakr, Umar, and Ibn Mas’ud – “I will say my opinion concerning this matter, if it is right, it is granted by Allah and if it is wrong it is from me.”
And in the divine hadith, Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said that Allah said, “My servants, these for you I shall reward you for them, so he whose deeds of yours which I am recording finds good, should praise Allah and he who does not find that should not blame anyone but his own self.” (Muslim – book of Virtue, good manners and joining the ties of kinship.)
By – Imam Ibnul Qayyim, From his book – Al Fawaid