Sufferings occur to teach us that we must adhere to Allah’s natural and moral laws. It is sometimes to punish those who violate Allah’s natural or moral laws. It is to test our faith in Allah and to test our commitment to human values and charity. Believers face the sufferings with prayers, repentance and good deeds. The non-believers face the sufferings with doubts and confusions. They blame Allah or make arguments against Him.
Sheikh Abdul Majeed Subh, a prominent Azharite scholar, states: “Perhaps your non-Muslim friends deem these sufferings to be evidence supporting the view that there is no God. If so, let them know that they are opposing the dictates of the nature, for the upright nature finds its way to Allah easily. However, if they truly believe in Allah, they are to bear in mind that Allah Almighty created three kinds of abodes as follows:
1. An abode wherein goodness is mixed with evil and richness is accompanied by poverty;
2. an abode of utter goodness and complete happiness;
3. and, finally, an abode wherein suffering only exists.
The first one is this worldly life in which man is tested with illness, poverty and hunger. Once man shows patience and exerts efforts but fails, he will get his full reward from Allah on the Day of Resurrection. All heavenly revealed religions assert the fact that Allah Almighty distributes richness and poverty among His servants according to His Will. It is Allah’s Wisdom to test human beings with different forms of sufferings and tribulations such as poverty, illness and ugliness. This does not mean that Allah Almighty hates the person afflicted with such trials.
Prophet Ayyub (Jacob) (peace and blessings be upon him) who suffered a great deal of agony due to abject poverty and illness, is a good example to the fact that Allah tests His sincere servants. After passing the litmus test successfully, Allah Almighty alleviated Ayyub’s suffering and he finally wallowed in luxury and bliss.
Paradise is Allah’s gift for the believers who have true faith irrespective of any other characteristics. Allah Almighty says: “Allah promiseth to the believers, men and women, Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide blessed dwellings in Gardens of Eden. And greater (far)! Acceptance from Allah. That is the supreme triumph.” (At-Tawbah: 72). Therefore, as regards life tribulations, people should keep in mind that if they keep patient and express gratitude to Allah, they will be granted great recompense and a high degree from Him. The following are some Qur’anic verses that confirm this:
“But give glad tidings to the steadfast.” (Al-Baqarah: 155); “Allah loveth the steadfast.” (Aal-`Imraan: 146); “Allah is with the steadfast.” (Al-Baqarah: 249); and “Verily the steadfast will be paid their wages without stint.” (Az-Zumar: 10)