All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Messenger, his household and companions.
Brothers in faith! The Messenger of Allah has informed us that among the signs of The Hour is the appearance of trials and they shall continue to appear until The Hour comes.
Among the companions of the Prophet, there was a particular companion who was much concerned about the Hadith that have to do with trials. That companion was Huthaifah Ibn Al-Yamaan. He used to say, ‘The companions of the Prophet used to ask him about good things, but I used to ask him about evil matters out of fear of being afflicted by them.’
Fellow Muslims! In these days we are afflicted by different kinds of trials and tribulations that subject people’s thoughts and conduct to changes; trials that come one after the other; waves of trials in these days do not only overwhelm people, but overwhelm them along with their thoughts and beliefs. And the waves of beliefs and realities are probably the essence of trials of this age and many are the victims of these trials.
Allah threatens Muslims with trials if they turn away from the religion of their Lord and His laws when He says,
“And let those who oppose the Messenger’s (Muhammad’s) commandments beware lest some trials befall them or a painful torment be inflicted upon them.”
The trial in this verse includes all kinds of punishments like killing, disasters, imposing of a tyrant ruler and disease. It is a general trial that when it occurs leaves none behind. Allah says,
“And fear the trial which affect not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong, (but it may afflict all the good and bad people).”
Brothers in faith! Trials are grave in consequences for they leave nothing undistorted. However, the gravest kind of all trials is the one that affects one’s religion; in which one is misled and becomes confused. Trials in religion lead some people to abject despair, make Satan play with their sense of reasoning, lead some to whimsical thoughts and blind others from seeing the truth.
Trials are a divine way in which Allah has decreed for His slaves great wisdom among which is to test the Muslims and distinguish between the faithful ones and the liars; between the sincere ones and the opportunists. It is by trials that realities become known and insincere ones are exposed and done away with.
During trials, some people maintain their manliness and bear all hardship that comes their way with courage and resoluteness.
A Muslim should therefore be on his guard as far as trials are concerned for the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has warned that,
‘There are going to be trials in which the condition of one who is sitting will be better than that of the one who is standing and the condition of the one who is standing will be better than that of the one who is walking and the condition of the one who is walking will be better than that of the one who is running. And whoever exposes himself to those trials will certainly fall into it.’
Let every Muslim therefore take precautions against the trials by holding fast onto the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet. Allah says,
“Then, whoever follows My Guidance shall neither go astray, nor fall into distress and misery.”
Muslims should therefore follow the guidance of Allah, take to the Sunnah of His Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and implement the injunctions of these two pure sources on every aspect of their lives.
Supplication is also one of the means of confronting trials for there is no power except with Allah. Let the Muslims supplicate to their Lord during trials. The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to say in his supplications, ‘O Allah, You are the One Who changes the hearts (of His slaves for good to evil, and visa versa), make my heart stead fast on Your religion.’ He also commanded his companions to seek refuge with Allah from trials by saying, ‘Seek refuge with Allah from all hidden and manifest trials.’
Muslims should endeavour to purify their hearts and reform them through good deeds for that strengthens the hearts during trials. Allah says,
“But if they had done what they were told, it would have been better for them and would have strengthened their faith.”
Perseverance and piety are also good protection against the trials. Allah says,
“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your own selves; and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who receive the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians) and from those who ascribe partners to Allah, but if you persevere patiently, and become pious, then verily, that will be a determining factor in all affairs and that is from the great matters.”
One is saved from tribulations by turning to Allah sincerely and invoking Him truthfully. Prophet Yoosuf (peace be upon him) was saved because of his sincerity and the people of the Cave were saved because of their truthfulness. Therefore Allah’s protection for us against trials will be in accordance with our own faith and servitude towards Him. Ibn al-Qayyim said, ‘Allah’s protection and defending of Muslims will be in accordance with their remembrance of Him. So whoever is more perfect in faith and remembrance will have greater protection and defense from Allah and whoever has less faith and remembrance gets less defense and protection.’
Fellow Muslims! Ramadan – the month of blessing – is now approaching. Let us use the opportunity of this month to do more good deeds and increase in acts of worship in order that Allah’s protection for us may be greater.
After a few days, Muslims will be rejoicing over the advent of this great month during which the doors of Hell are closed and the gates of Paradise are opened. Muslims are in need of this great month for purification of their souls and strengthening their resolve.
Ramadan is a month that should be received with clean souls, pure wealth and free hearts. The greatest acts to be done in this month are therefore reforming of the hearts for the heart that still indulges in sin will lose great bliss.
Let the month of Ramadan be an opportunity for freeing hearts from rancour and hatred. Let the holy month be used for settling disputes between one and his Muslim brothers; let it be an opportunity for being kind to parents and the kith and kin; an opportunity to play a positive role in the society.
Among the wisdom of Ramadan is that the Muslim should use the opportunity of the month to share the feelings of his brothers all over the world and let him increase in his endeavour to invoke Allah, the Almighty, Who says,
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by my knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me so that they may be led aright.”