FAITH: Souls Cannot Be Purified Until They Are Put to The Test


Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said: The souls will not be purified and upright until they are put to test through afflictions.

Shaikhul Islaam ibn Taymiyyah [rahimahullaah] said: Allaah [The Most High] said:

الٓمٓ (١) أَحَسِبَ ٱلنَّاسُ أَن يُتۡرَكُوٓاْ أَن يَقُولُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا وَهُمۡ لَا يُفۡتَنُونَ (٢)وَلَقَدۡ فَتَنَّا ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡ‌ۖ فَلَيَعۡلَمَنَّ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ صَدَقُواْ وَلَيَعۡلَمَنَّ ٱلۡكَـٰذِبِينَ (٣) أَمۡ حَسِبَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَعۡمَلُونَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ أَن يَسۡبِقُونَا‌ۚ سَآءَ مَا يَحۡكُمُونَ (٤) مَن كَانَ يَرۡجُواْ لِقَآءَ ٱللَّهِ فَإِنَّ أَجَلَ ٱللَّهِ لَأَتٍ۬‌ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ (٥) وَمَن جَـٰهَدَ فَإِنَّمَا يُجَـٰهِدُ لِنَفۡسِهِۦۤ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَغَنِىٌّ عَنِ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ (٦) وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ لَنُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنۡهُمۡ سَيِّـَٔاتِهِمۡ وَلَنَجۡزِيَنَّهُمۡ أَحۡسَنَ ٱلَّذِى كَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ (٧) وَوَصَّيۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ بِوَٲلِدَيۡهِ حُسۡنً۬ا‌ۖ وَإِن جَـٰهَدَاكَ لِتُشۡرِكَ بِى مَا لَيۡسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلۡمٌ۬ فَلَا تُطِعۡهُمَآ‌ۚ إِلَىَّ مَرۡجِعُكُمۡ فَأُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُونَ (٨) وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ لَنُدۡخِلَنَّهُمۡ فِى ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ (٩) وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ ءَامَنَّا بِٱللَّهِ فَإِذَآ أُوذِىَ فِى ٱللَّهِ جَعَلَ فِتۡنَةَ ٱلنَّاسِ كَعَذَابِ ٱللَّهِ وَلَٮِٕن جَآءَ نَصۡرٌ۬ مِّن رَّبِّكَ لَيَقُولُنَّ إِنَّا ڪُنَّا مَعَكُمۡ‌ۚ أَوَلَيۡسَ ٱللَّهُ بِأَعۡلَمَ بِمَا فِى صُدُورِ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ (١٠) وَلَيَعۡلَمَنَّ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَلَيَعۡلَمَنَّ ٱلۡمُنَـٰفِقِينَ (١١)

Alif-Lam-Mim. 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; Or those who do evil deeds think that they can outstrip Us (i.e. escape Our Punishment)? Evil is that which they judge! Whoever hopes for the Meeting with Allah, then Allah’s Term is surely coming. and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. And whosoever strives, he strives only for himself. Verily, Allah is free of all wants from the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns, and all that exists).

Those who believe [in the Oneness of Allah (Monotheism) and in Messenger Muhammad, and do not apostate because of the harm they receive from the polytheists], and do righteous good deeds, surely, We shall remit from them their evil deeds and shall reward them according to the best of that which they used to do. And We have enjoined on man to be good and dutiful to his parents, but if they strive to make you join with Me (in worship) anything (as a partner) of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not. Unto Me is your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do. And for those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and other items of Faith) and do righteous good deeds, surely, We shall make them enter in (the entrance of) the righteous (i.e. in Paradise). Of mankind are some who say: “We believe in Allah,” but if they are made to suffer for the sake of Allah, they consider the trial of mankind as Allah’s punishment, and if victory comes from your Lord, (the hypocrites) will say: “Verily! We were with you (helping you).” Is not Allah Best Aware of what is in the breast of the ‘Alamin (mankind and jinns). Verily, Allah knows those who believe, and verily, He knows the hypocrites. [Surah Al-Ankaboot’ Aayaat 1-11]

Allaah [The Most High] said:

أَمۡ حَسِبۡتُمۡ أَن تَدۡخُلُواْ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأۡتِكُم مَّثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ خَلَوۡاْ مِن قَبۡلِكُم‌ۖ مَّسَّتۡہُمُ ٱلۡبَأۡسَآءُ وَٱلضَّرَّآءُ وَزُلۡزِلُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ ٱلرَّسُولُ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَعَهُ ۥ مَتَىٰ نَصۡرُ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ أَلَآ إِنَّ نَصۡرَ ٱللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ۬

Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the Help of Allah?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near! [Surah Al-Baqarah’ Aayah 214]

Whenever a Messenger is sent to the people, they find themselves in two situations: either some of them say, “We believe” or they refrain from saying “We believe”; rather they persist upon evil deeds. Those who say, “We believe” face trials and tests from their Lord [The Mighty and Majestic] to make known those who are truthful in [their belief] and those who are liars. The one who did not say, “We believe” should not think that he will not be put to trial and test, for indeed no one can escape Allaah [The Most High].

This is the way of Allaah – [based on perfect justice, perfect knowledge and perfect wisdom, and free from all imperfections, shortcomings, faults etc]. He sends Messengers to the people, but they belie and harm them. Allaah [The Most High] said: [كَذَٲلِكَ مَآ أَتَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِم مِّن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا قَالُواْ سَاحِرٌ أَوۡ مَجۡنُونٌ – Likewise, no Messenger came to those before them, but they said: ‘’A sorcerer or a madman!’’ [Surah Adh-Dhaariyaat’ Aayah 52]

Those who believe in the Messengers and obey them are shown enmity and harmed [i.e. by those who belie the Messengers] and put to the test by way of what causes them pain; but those who do not believe in the Messengers will receive pain that is greater and more abiding. Therefore, every soul will encounter pain -whether it believes or disbelieves; but a believer encounters harm in the worldly life in the beginning [i.e. harmed by those who belie the Messengers due his or her firm belief in Allaah and worshipping Him alone, and adherence to the path of the Messengers]; then he [or she] receives praiseworthy outcomes [in this worldly life] and the Afterlife. [Ref 1]

As for the one who disbelieves [i.e. the person who disbelieves in Allaah and His Messengers, or disbelieves in some of the Messengers, or rejects the path of Allaah and His Messengers], he [or she] receives blessings at first and pain thereafter.

A man asked Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee [rahimahullaah] and said, ‘’What would be better – that one is granted strength and the authority to establish the path of Allaah and His Messengers without any hindrance from those who belie or oppose Allaah and His Messengers, or face trials [at first]?’’ So, Ash- Shaafi’ee said to him, ‘’One will not be given strength and the authority to follow the path of Allaah without any hindrance from those who belie or oppose Allaah and His Messengers until after facing trials; for indeed Allaah tried Nooh, Ibraaheem, Moosaa, Eesaa and Muhammad; so, after they exercised patience, they were granted authority and strength to establish the path of Allaah without hindrance.’’ Therefore, one should never think that he [or she] will escape pain. [Ref 2]

This is a great principle; therefore, it is obligated on a sane person to be acquainted with it. Everyone will face afflictions, for indeed a person is a social being who must live with [other] people; the people have wants [or desires, wishes etc] and perceptions, and will seek to make him agree with them. If he disagrees with them, they harm and punish him; but if he agrees with them, sometimes they harm him and at other times he is harmed by others.

Whoever examines his [or her] circumstances and that of the people will find that this does occur a lot. Take for example the case of a people who desire lewd conduct and wrong doing -who make false statements related to religion or utter shirk – and commit sins similar to that which Allaah stated in Surah Al- A’raaf Aayah 33 [Ref 3], whilst they are in a place- such as a campus, a convoy, a large block of public buildings with stores, workshops, [or a roofed market place, bazaar], a school, a hospice, a town, a narrow mountain pass [or path] or a city- with other people and are not able to commit [the evil] they desire, unless others either agree with them or refrain from rebuking them; therefore, they either seek the approval of others or ask them keep quiet; if they [i.e. those asked to agree with evil] agree or refrain from rebuking the [perpetrators], they are saved from their evil in the beginning; but then they are the ones responsible for giving the upper hand to the perpetrators, who will humiliate and punish them in a manner that is more severe than what they feared at first, such as asking them for a false testimony or to utter false statements about the religion or to aid them commit lewd conduct and oppression. If they reject the request [of the perpetrators], they are harmed and shown enmity; but if they agree, they are responsible for subduing themselves and thus are humiliated more than what they feared at first or they are punished by others. Therefore, that which is obligated [on a person] is what Aa’isha [radiyallaahu-anhaa] said to Mu’aawiyah [radiyallaahu-anhumaa]:

Indeed, whoever seeks the pleasure of the people at the expense of Allaah’s Pleasure will (earn) Allaah’s displeasure and Allah will cause the people to be displeased with him. And the praise of the people will become blame against him. And whoever seeks Allaah’s Pleasure at the expense of people’s pleasure, will (earn) Allaah’s Pleasure and Allah will cause the people to be pleased with him.”

This [i.e. seeking after the pleasure of the people at the expense of Allaah’s Pleasure] is perpetrated by those who aid the kings and leaders in their corrupt goals [Ref 4], as well as the people who aid those people of Bidah -who attribute themselves to knowledge and adherence to the religion- to commit their Bidah. As for the one whom Allaah guides and enables to follow guidance in affairs of the religion, he [or she] is prevented from committing haraam and exercises patience when harmed and shown enmity by [the perpetrators of evil]. And thereafter, he [or she] will receive a praiseworthy outcome in this worldly life and the Aakhirah, similar to what happened to the Messengers and their followers, such as the Muhaajiroon in this Ummah, the [upright] scholars, worshippers, merchants and leaders when they faced those who harmed them and showed them enmity.

Allaah [The Most High] stated in several Aayaat of the Qur’aan that the people will be put to trial through prosperity and adversity; therefore, a person is in need of exercising patience [i.e. in times of adversity] and being thankful to Allaah [i.e. in times of prosperity]. Allaah [The Most High] said:

[إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَا مَا عَلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ زِينَةً۬ لَّهَا لِنَبۡلُوَهُمۡ أَيُّہُمۡ أَحۡسَنُ عَمَلاً۬ – Verily! We have made that which is on earth as an adornment for it, in order that We may test them (mankind) as to which of them are best in deeds. [i.e. those who do good deeds in the most perfect manner, that means to do them (deeds) totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance to the legal ways of the Prophet] [Surah Al-Kahf’ Aayah 7] [Ref 5]

Allaah [The Most High] said:

أَمۡ حَسِبۡتُمۡ أَن تَدۡخُلُواْ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَعۡلَمِ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ جَـٰهَدُواْ مِنكُمۡ وَيَعۡلَمَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ

Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His Cause) and (also) tests those who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)? [Surah  Aal Imraan’ Aayah 142]

And in Surah Al-Baqarah Allaah [The Most High] said:

أَمۡ حَسِبۡتُمۡ أَن تَدۡخُلُواْ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأۡتِكُم مَّثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ خَلَوۡاْ مِن قَبۡلِكُم‌ۖ مَّسَّتۡہُمُ ٱلۡبَأۡسَآءُ وَٱلضَّرَّآءُ وَزُلۡزِلُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ ٱلرَّسُولُ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَعَهُ ۥ مَتَىٰ نَصۡرُ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ أَلَآ إِنَّ نَصۡرَ ٱللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ۬

Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the Help of Allah?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near! [Surah Al-Baqarah’ Aayah 214]

This is because the soul will not be purified and upright until it is put to test through afflictions, just as gold cannot acquire its pristine state until it is refined to separate it from other less precious metals.

However, if a person is [guilty of] wrongdoing, he [or she] is not visited by evil except as result of that behaviour. Allaah [The Most High] said:

مَّآ أَصَابَكَ مِنۡ حَسَنَةٍ۬ فَمِنَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ وَمَآ أَصَابَكَ مِن سَيِّئَةٍ۬ فَمِن نَّفۡسِكَ‌ۚ وَأَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ لِلنَّاسِ رَسُولاً۬‌ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ شَہِيدً۬ا

Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself. And We have sent you (O Muhammad ) as a Messenger to mankind, and Allah is Sufficient as a Witness.[Surah An-Nisaa’ Aayah 79]

Allaah [The Most High] said:

وَمَآ أَصَـٰبَڪُم مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍ۬ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتۡ أَيۡدِيكُمۡ وَيَعۡفُواْ عَن كَثِيرٍ۬

And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much. (See the Qur’an Verse 35:45). [Surah Ash-Shooraa’ Aayah 30]

Allaah [The Most High] said:

ذَٲلِكَ بِأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَمۡ يَكُ مُغَيِّرً۬ا نِّعۡمَةً أَنۡعَمَهَا عَلَىٰ قَوۡمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنفُسِہِمۡ‌ۙ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ۬

That is so because Allah will never change a grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in their ownselves. And verily, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. [Surah Al-Anfaal’ Aayah 53]

Indeed, Allaah [The Most High] mentioned the reason behind the punishment sent to the nations of the past and that which will happen to the people till the day of judgement because of their wrongdoing.  Our first parents – Aadam and Hawaa- were the first to acknowledge this fact. Allaah [The Most High] informed us that they said:

رَبَّنَا ظَلَمۡنَآ أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمۡ تَغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَتَرۡحَمۡنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ

They said: “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” [Surah Al-A’raaf’ Aayah 23]

Allaah [The Most High] informed us that Iblees said:

قَالَ رَبِّ بِمَآ أَغۡوَيۡتَنِى لَأُزَيِّنَنَّ لَهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَأُغۡوِيَنَّہُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ

إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنۡہُمُ ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ

[Iblis (Satan)] said: “O my Lord! Because you misled me, I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them (mankind) on the earth, and I shall mislead them all. “Except Your chosen, (guided) slaves among them.” [Surah Al-Hijr’ Aayaat 39-40]; Then Allaah [The Most High] said:

إِنَّ عِبَادِى لَيۡسَ لَكَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ سُلۡطَـٰنٌ إِلَّا مَنِ ٱتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ ٱلۡغَاوِينَ

“Certainly, you shall have no authority over My slaves, except those who follow you of the Ghawin (Mushrikun and those who go astray, criminals, polytheists, and evil doers, etc.). [Surah Al-Hijr’ Aayah 42]

And in a Hadeeth Qudsi reported by Abu Dhar [radiyallaahu-anhu], he said that the Messenger of Alaah [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said that Allaah said: O My Slaves!  It is only your deeds that I record for you and then recompense for you; so, whoever finds good, let him praise Allah, and whoever finds something else, then blame no one but himself.” [Saheeh Muslim 2577]

And it is reported in a Hadeeth about seeking forgiveness that a person [should say]:

 اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي لا إِلَهَ إِلا أَنْتَ خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ

أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَيَّ وَأَبُوءُ لَكَ بِذَنْبِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي فَإِنَّهُ لا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلا أَنْتَ

‘’O Allaah, You are my Lord! There is no one who has the right to be worshipped except you. You created me and I am your slave, and I am (sincere) to my covenant and promise (to You) as much as I am able. I seek refuge with You from the evil I have done. I acknowledge in your presence all the blessings You have granted me, and I confess to You my sins. So forgive me, for indeed none is able to forgive (a slave his) sins, except You.’’ [Bukhaari Hadeeth Number:Number: 6323] [Ref 6]

And the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] used to say in his sermons: All praises and thanks belong to Allaah; we seek His Aid and Assistance; and we seek Allaah’s refuge from the evils of ourselves and the evil consequences of our deeds. [Saheeh Muslim’ Number 868]

The Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said: “My example and the example of the people is that of a man who made a fire, and when it lighted what was around it, moths and other insects started falling into the fire. The man tried (his best) to prevent them (from falling in the fire), but they overpowered him and rushed into the fire . Similarly, I take hold of the knots at your waist (belts) to prevent you from falling into the fire, but you insist on falling into it. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Number 6483].

The Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] likened us to moths, because of its ignorance [about the danger behind that light from the fire], impulsiveness and un-insightful behaviour [when it sees the light from the fire]. It is well known that a moth moves quickly [towards the light of the fire] due to being ignorant [of the consequences], and this why it is said that the one who follows another person who misguides him is befooled and misled. Allaah [The Most High] stated about Fir’awn: [فَٱسۡتَخَفَّ قَوۡمَهُ ۥ فَأَطَاعُوهُ‌ۚ – Thus he [Fir’aun (Pharaoh)] be fooled and misled his people, and they obeyed him (Surah Az-Zukhruf’ Aayah 54]

[Likewise] Allaah [The Most High] said: [فَٱصۡبِرۡ إِنَّ وَعۡدَ ٱللَّهِ حَقٌّ۬‌ۖ وَلَا يَسۡتَخِفَّنَّكَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُوقِنُونَ – And let not those who have no certainty of faith, discourage you from conveying Allah’s Message (which you are obliged to convey)]. [Surah Rum’ Aayah 60]

Unlike the person upon certainty, the person who has no certainty in faith [or lacks certainty] does not remain firm, rather he [or she] acts carelessly, whereas certainty is that firm Eemaan in the heart based on [sound] knowledge and action. And it maybe that a person has sound knowledge but does not exercise patience during calamities; rather he [or she] is swayed by emotion.  Al-Hasan Al-Basri [rahimahullaah] said: If you wish to see someone with insight but has no patience, you will see him; and if you wish to see someone who has patience but not insight, you will see him; but if you see a person who had insight as well as patience, then he [or she] is the one mentioned by Allaah in the Aayah:

[وَجَعَلۡنَا مِنۡہُمۡ أَٮِٕمَّةً۬ يَہۡدُونَ بِأَمۡرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُواْ‌ۖ وَڪَانُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ  – And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)]. [Surah As-Sajdah’ Aayah 24]

[Source: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Fawaa’id’ pages 293-300. slightly paraphrased]


Ref1: Further reading, see link:


Ref 3:[قُلۡ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّىَ ٱلۡفَوَٲحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنۡہَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَٱلۡإِثۡمَ وَٱلۡبَغۡىَ بِغَيۡرِ ٱلۡحَقِّ وَأَن تُشۡرِكُواْ بِٱللَّهِ مَا لَمۡ يُنَزِّلۡ بِهِۦ سُلۡطَـٰنً۬ا وَأَن تَقُولُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ – say (O Muhammad): “(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al-Fawahish (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.” [Surah Al-A’raaf’ Aayah 33]




Share post:



Top 10 Finest Cuisines across the Globe

Food is a universal language that transcends borders, cultures,...

Join the Custom GPTs Hackathon: Crafting Tailored AI Solutions in 48 Hours

Delaware —, an initiative by New Native aimed...

Ambani’s Reliance partners Sephora for India in latest beauty push

Bengaluru(Reuters) - Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance is tying up...

Saudi Ulema: Supplication, Not Protests, for Palestine

He regards demonstrations as the work of the enemy,...