Apr 12, 2012

Life Is A Preparation

By Ni'mah Ali 


Those who have gone to school know that when the teacher says ‘we have an exam next week,’ any student who cares about his/her grade will prepare for that exam. Usually you will see students worrying about the exam and skipping sleep just so they can study and prepare for their exam, why? Because they want to do well—a good student’s goal is to get the best possible grade on that exam so she studies, prepares, and finally on the day of the exam she is well-prepared and ready to take the test. Just like we are tested in school to see if we are prepared for the next level, in our lives too we are tested. We are all students in this life. Allah’s sunna (way) is always the same as He told us in the Quran—believers will be tested in various ways. Paradise is not easy to get in to; you have to work for it. Simply saying ‘I am Muslim’ will not be enough. You have to prove you’re dedicated to Allah and to His religion and to prove that, of course there will be tests in life that are or will be difficult. This is exactly why Allah says in the Quran,

“Do the people think they will be left to say “We believe” and they will not be tried”  (Surah Al-Ankabut 29 :2) 

Every person in this world has or will go through many tests in life. Allah tests some of us with sickness, and some with poverty, and some with disability, and some with infertility etc.;

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of and lives and fruits wealth, but give good tidings to the patient." (Surah Al- Baqara 2:155)

Everything in life is a test, and if you pass this life’s tests, InshaAllah you will pass on the day of Judgment and lucky is the one who will pass that day and will be given his/her book on the right hand. People think those who are not going through hardships in life are not being tested; this is far from the truth. Those who are not going through hardships and obvious tests, obvious being the key word here are in fact being tested and they may not be aware of it. Our wealth, health, children, and all other blessings in our lives are tests; how are these blessings a test? When Allah gives us wealth and health, a spouse, children, and peaceful homes, we are being tested to see if we will be thankful and satisfied. Unfortunately some people are never satisfied and always want more. They forget to see how much Allah has blessed them and they always ask for more without realizing how ungrateful they are to Allah.

Since we all know we will have tests in life, the main question is how do we prepare for these tests? How do prepare for something as shocking as a death of a loved one, loss of health, loss of wealth, loss of freedom etc.? How do prepare ourselves so that when a calamity strikes we don’t go crazy or behave desperately like some people due by committing suicide thinking they will escape their misery? Things in this life are always changing. You might be healthy today, but tomorrow you might get into an accident which causes you an injury that disables you. You might be surrounded by loving parents and family and loose them all suddenly in a disastrous hurricane or earthquake. Absolutely nothing is guaranteed to always stay the same in this life. So preparations for these types of calamities are necessary to survive and most importantly to prove you have eeman (faith).

As Muslims we have to know and understand that this life on earth is temporary. We cannot invest in it whole-heartily. As the Prophet Muhammad salalaahu alayhi wasalam, said “be in this world as a stranger or wayfarer (narrated by Ibn Umar).” In this hadith the Prophet has given us the best advice for preparing ourselves when a calamity strikes—we know that this life is only temporary and we will leave so we should endure whatever challenges we are going through. We should prepare ourselves by remembering Allah; we should prepare by reading and understanding the Quran. We should prepare by studying the lives of the Prophets especially Prophet Muhammad, salalahu alayhi wasallam. We should prepare by studying the lives of the sahaba, and reading the stories of other generations of people described in the Quran. And most importantly, we should prepare ourselves by having yaqeen (certainty) that we will definitely be tested.

When you have certainty that there will be tests, you will not be completely shocked when that test arrives; you will not act like a fool and start wailing, saying ‘why me’? Instead you will be one of the best people Allah has described in the Quran who are slaves of Allah first and foremost no matter what the situation is, good or bad.

“Who, when a misfortune overtakes them, say: 'Surely we belong to God and to Him shall we return'." (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:156)

So when something tragic and painful happens to you, you will say inaalilaahi wa inaa ileyhi raji’un because you have trained yourself already by having certainty that tests in life are inescapable.


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