1 – Allah the Most High said:
“Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed.” [Al-Qur’an 67:2]
Allah created the death, and created the life and whatever is in it from the afflictions and problems, to test us which one of us is better in deed than others.
2 – And the Most High said:
“Verily We have created man in toil.” [Al-Qur’an 90:4] (i.e. in tiredness, hardships, afflictions and difficulties)
3 – And the Most High said:
“Alif-Lam-Mim. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We have faith’, and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make known, those who are true, and will certainly make known those who are liars.” [Al-Qur’an 29:1-3]
Therefore, the fitnah (trial) is Allah’s test for the faithful ones, so that Allah will know the truthful ones and He will know the liars in hardships.
4 – And the Most High said:
“Or you think that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty, ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who had faith with him said, ‘When will the Help of Allah come?’ Yes! Indeed Allah’s help is close!” [Al-Qur’an 2:214]
Do not think that the entrance to Jannah is easy without Jihad, for those before you were afflicted with wars and diseases … and were shaken that, even the Messenger and those with him said when the help to them was delayed: “‘When will the help of Allah come?’ Yes! Indeed Allah’s help is close!”
5 – The Messenger of Allah (SAW), said:
“The world is the prison of the mu’min, and a Paradise for the kafir.” [Sahih Muslim, Kitabaz-Zuhdiwa’r-Raqa’iq (18/93) – Sharh an-Nawawi]
So the truthful mu’min has patience upon what afflicts him in the world so that it becomes for him the everlasting delights, and the kafir is delighted in the world as if it is his paradise, and it becomes his everlasting punishment on the day of reward.
The Types of Afflictions and Patience Upon Them
1 – Fear, hunger and murder. Allah the Most High said:
“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to as-sabirun (the patient ones).” [Al-Qur’an 2:155]
2 – War and Jihad. The Most High said:
“And surely, We shall try you till We know the mujahidin (those who fight in the way of Allah) from amongst you and as-sabirin (the patient ones).” [Al-Qur’an 47:31]
So the affliction with war is so that Allah will know the mujahidin and the patient ones.
3 – Disease. Sometimes, the affliction is caused by diseases so that Allah may test the patience of a person and listen to his supplication. Allah the Most High said:
“And (remember) Ayyub (Job), when he cried to his Lord: ‘Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.’ “[Al-Qur’an 21:83]
4 – Imprisonment. A type of test so that Allah may know (and single-out) the patient one from others, as it happened to Yusuf – peace be upon him – when he remained in prison for eight years, for an accusation which touched his dignity. Then he came out free (of what he had been accused of), dignified and became a minister.
5 – The trial of wealth and children. Allah the Most High said:
“Indeed, your wealth and children are a trial.” [Al-Qur’an 64:15]
The wealth and the children are a test from Allah to His slave, so that He may know his ability of (correct) upbringing of his children, and the payment of the zakah on his wealth. The Messenger of Allah said, “The best of wealth is the righteous for a righteous person.” [Narrated by Ahmad and it is sahih]
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “When a person dies, his action discontinues except for three: a continuing charity, or knowledge which proves to be of benefit, or a righteous son who supplicates for him.” [Narrated by Muslim – Sharh an-Nawawi (11/85)]
6 – The harm from people. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “The mu’min who mixes with people and remains patient on their harms, is better than the mu’min who does not mix with people nor does he remain patient on their harms.” [Narrated by IbnMajah and at-Tirmidhi and it is sahih]
Therefore, all of the Prophets, their people harmed them and disputed with them, disbelieved in them, tried to kill them, and exiled them from their countries. But they remained patient and so the victory was their ally. Allah the Most High said:
“(They were reprieved) until, when the Messengers gave up hope and thought that they were denied (by their people), then came to them Our Help, and whomsoever We willed were rescued.” [Al-Qur’an 12:110]
And He said concerning Luqman the Wise as he ordered his son:
“O my son! Establish as-salah , command the good and forbid the evil, and have patience on whatever befalls you. Verily, these are some of the important commandments (ordered by Allah with no exemption).” [Al-Qur’an 31:17]