By Ishola Balogun
“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested. 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).” (Quran, 29:2-3)
Islam is submission to the will of Allah. For one who submits, a mere declaration or display of belief is not enough, his or her heart and soul will certainly be put to test.
Allah (swt) will test him to see whether the faith he displays is firmly rooted in his heart or is it merely on the surface and thus is knocked off by a slight wind; whether he will continue to have faith in Allah when in calamity as he does when in comfort; whether he will continue to follow His commandments or his own desires; whether he lives a righteous life or lives according to the dictates of his soul; whether he will continue to remember and worship Him if given bounties and comforts of life.
Allah (swt) will test him to see if his faith, trust, and love of Him is unconditional or is conditioned with good health, accident free and comfortable life free from stress and anxiety. Trials prepare the believers for spiritual development on earth, calamities provide an opportunity to think about one’s error and sins. Tribulation is a lesson in Tawheed, faith and trust in Allah.
It is crucial sometimes in the attainment of spiritual status. Calamities drive out self-admiration from our hearts and make us more humble before Allah, calamities strengthen people and remind them of their sins and bring them back to repentance. Calamities make people come to terms with the true nature of this world- its transience, and show us that true life is beyond the scenes and characters of this world.
Above all, it prepares us for paradise; Man will not yearn for Paradise unless he sees the bitterness of this world. As Muslims, we should understand that Allah (swt) may test us with various calamities. We sometimes feel depress and sad in these situations and wonder why Allah (swt) allowed them to happen. How can one explain a whole family whose kids were visiting the country for the first time and all wiped out in a crash, or how another parents sent their kids out moment before the plane crashed on them killing the parents and saving the kids.
How do you juxtapose the death of a guest when the host was out to get a drink for his guest. It shows we are weak slaves of Allah who have no control over situations that affect us. There is no power except with Allah. At that point, put your trust in Him, turn to Him with humility of a weak slave and one in need of His assistance, the Most Strong, the Almighty, may He be glorified.
The June 3 calamity calls for sober reflection. 153 people in one fell swoop! Dozens of residents and passers-by killed at the comfort of their homes. Earlier that day, not less than 10 innocent lives were blown off by the terrorist group in Bauchi. That same day, an auto crash also occurred along Ibadan Expressway killing scores of people. More deaths were also recorded on the same road the previous day caused by a tanker fire. Few days ago, several people were also killed in Jos with scores receiving treatment in hospitals.
It is a huge loss for a nation. It is indeed one of worst periods in the life of this nation. If you put all these together, not less than 200 died on that ill-fated day. Peoples’ lives have been shattered, the airspace is not regulated for safety, the roads are death traps, even when people choose not to go out, they are not even safe at their own homes.
Many children and youths have been orphaned, many have had their dreams shattered. May almighty Allah blessed the souls of the departed and give their families the strength to bear the loss. Allah, the supreme power knows why it happened. We certainly cannot question Him but to still submit to His will.
Trials and tribulations are part of life. According to the Quran, we are forewarned of trials. We should rather see what happened as a test of faith in Allah. Testing by Allah is not in order that it may add to His power or knowledge, it is not to make Him do what he would not want to do, He has the absolute power and knows all and capable of doing all things.
But it is in order to help us retrace our steps to see where we have faltered, to help us see subjectively the very essence of our living, (not to amass wealth, but to live for one another and look forward to inherit the hereafter) to mold our attitudes; refine our actions and purge us of bad acts and to put the question before us – Will you obey Him?
As human beings, it is difficult to exercise calmness at a time like this. Man was created very impatient and this manifests especially in the face of adversity, but we have to trust in God and continue to pray for the deceased. The Quran says: Truly man was created very impatient: fretful when evil touches him, and niggardly when good reaches him. (70:19-21) This verses explain the two categories of people when faced with challenges. It is meant to guide us in doing the right thing even in the face of challenges.
The first kind of people are those who desperately seek Allah’s help and forgiveness when in calamity. Then when Allah (swt) delivers them from their calamities, they forget Allah and go back to their usual life of disobedience to Allah. Allah (swt) says: When We make mankind taste of some mercy after adversity hath touched them, behold! they take to plotting against Our Signs! Say: “Swifter to plan is Allah!”
Verily, Our messengers record all the plots that ye make! (Quran 10:12)
The second kind are those who worship Allah and follow his commandments so long as they enjoy a comfortable or trouble-free life. When calamities strike them, they break down out of frustration and become disobedient to Allah and his ordinances.
These are people who only want a comfortable life in return for their worship of Allah (swt). About them, Allah says: Among men is he who worships Allah, while remaining on the borderline; if any good befalls him, he is satisfied; but if a trial afflicts him, he utterly turns away. He will incur loss both of this world and the Hereafter. That indeed is a clear loss.
Yet, when they felt Our Punishment (coming), behold, they (tried to) flee from it. Flee not, but return to the good things of this life which were given you, and to your homes in order that ye may be called to account. (Quran 21:12-13)
This is a warning from Allah that we should not fall into any of these categories.
A true believer is one who worships Allah (swt) come rain come shine. When in calamity, he remains patient and pleased with Allah, and when something good happens to him, he thanks Allah. Thus he always earns rewards and Allah’s pleasure while he lives.
O’ Allah this calamity is too great for us to bear, we humble ourselves before thee, if this is caused by our iniquities, forgive us, cleanse us and give us tranquility, let your blessings descend on us and remove from our land all the machinations of evil, grant the families of the deceased the serenity and fortitude to bear the loss and soften the hearts of the evil doers and bring them to repentance.
Make our leaders do what is right, let your light of guidance shine upon our leaders to lead us aright and make the followers accept your judgment. May Allah’s blessings continue to abide with our leader Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) his household and all his followers. Amin.