21/01/2014 A.D. 20/03/1435 H.
By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Edited by: Manal Samhat
We were talking about the trial in the life of the person, and we said that the trial is not considered a Divine punishment, but rather it is an experience that the person goes through, throughout his life. When God creates life, He does not make one that is full of flowers without any thorns or thorns without flowers; on the contrary, life is full of thorns surrounded by flowers, happiness accompanied with sadness, and poverty accompanied with richness.
Life includes all of these conditions. Man does not attain pleasure without pain, happiness without sadness, and success without hard work. It is obvious that each of us, no matter how old or young he is, has experienced all these feelings. No one succeeds in school without exerting lots of efforts. Whoever wants to secure his sustenance would face and encounter lots of hardships; similarly, this happens in the general cases, political cases, cases of freedom and independence, and cases of struggle for power, for which a person exerts huge efforts and hardships. Therefore, God says to man that he must live all these problems if he wants to succeed in this life, simply because there is no enjoyment, unless it is mixed with troubles, and there is no success that is not a result of effort, and there is no profit if there is no loss.
Then, how would you go about in this life? Do you fail and lament your luck, or do you leave school if it is exhausting, and costs you nights of studying? Do you quit asking for sustenance, if it is very exhausting and costs you lots of hardships and travels, or would you be resilient and persevere to taste the good consequences of your efforts, later on? The Holy Quran emphasizes this point, when it mentions the trial identifying it with strife; a strife that shakes man's life and puts him at the edge of either failure or success: " Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, We believe, and not be tried? " (29:02)
Do you think that God accepts pronouncing your faith verbally, without proving it through deeds?! God aims at testing you in your faith. So, He exposes you to many troubles and ups and downs that might challenge your faith. You might encounter some challenges, some losses, and some temptations. Furthermore, many people may encounter the society's negligence as a kind of trial. For example, some merchants or businessmen might not prefer a committed person, simply because they are looking for an uncommitted one, or they might not like a woman with a scarf, because they are looking for someone without a scarf, who might please and seduce the customers by her outer appearance. This is considered a kind of a test by which God likes to test man. So, would a person stand up for his faith, or would he fail preferring the worldly life to the other life? Then, God comments saying: " And certainly We tried those before them – which means that we pushed them to a difficult trial – so Allah will certainly know those who are true and He will certainly know the liars ." (29:03). We have another verse saying: " And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient ." (02:155).
God tells us about what we would face in this life; He tells us about a lot of insecurities as in the case where a person sleeps and wakes up afraid of an aggression of a neighbouring enemy; or a person facing extreme poverty that he can find nothing to sustain himself. Also, a person might face losses in money and in souls; he might lose dear relatives, beloved ones, or he might be tried in the loss of the crops, if he was a farmer or a farm owner. God says that the person might face such disasters in his life. When some people are hit by either failure or fear, they might not be able to endure, so they lose balance. Such things might drive them to commit suicide; whether a physical suicide or a social suicide where they become mentally or socially ill. Here, God calls for patience: "and give good news to the patient". Such patience would open the road for the person to examine life and its history; this person would realize, then, that lots of people had previously lived the same experiences. This person would realize that lots of people, who were living in fear, had later on lived in safety; lots of poor people became rich later on; and lots of hungry people became satisfied. Therefore, when they face losses in money, souls, or crops, they would be compensated with lots of things as a reward for their endurance: " And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient, Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah's and to Him we shall surely return ." (02:155-156).
We have to admit that God possesses us, and we do not possess ourselves, because He created us and He is the One Who watches our existence and provides what sustains us. God created this life in two colours, not just one colour, for the person to manage his life. There is no sadness without happiness, no fear without safety, and no poverty without richness. In this way, life continues. This world we are living in is the limited world; man does not gain one thing without losing another. If he wants success, he must spend nights studying and working. In this sense, the poet says:
The harder you work,
The higher your positions become.
And whoever asks for the best spends his nights working.
Another verse says: "You love Laila, and you sleep!
By your life, is this a reasonable request?
Here, Laila means knowledge and success. Some poets say: If it were not for hard work, people would have spent their lives in poverty.
God wants us to know that we are his property and that He is our God Who created us and Who possesses us. We cannot possess ourselves; and to Him we eventually return. "Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah's and to Him we shall surely return." Most importantly, there is no immortal problem in this mortal life and man is going back to his Creator to be judged and rewarded for his patience. "Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah's and to Him we shall surely return." What is their reward? " Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course ." (02:157).
It means that God prays for man in the same way He prays for the Prophet, but God's prayer is not bowing or prostrating; it is mercy, forgiveness, and raising the levels of this person. Just as God prays for you, His angels do too. What could be more rewarding for the patient person than gaining from God what Prophet Muhammad (p.) had gained before?! " Surely Allah and His angels bless (pray for) the Prophet. O you who believe! Call for (Divine) blessings on him and salute him with a (becoming) salutation ." (33:56). Just as God prays for the Prophet (p.), He also prays for the patient people, meaning that He raises their levels in the after life and forgives them: " Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course ," (02:175). They also attain His mercy that covers all aspects of man's existence; it includes his sustenance, his health, his safety, and every goodness he gets. "And those are the followers of the right course."
This is the road to the right, meaning that man controls himself and that challenges and turmoil do not easily defeat him.