The Arabic word for trial/test often used in the Qur’an is fitna. What does it mean?
Fitna means to burn something, e.g. in Surah 85:10, “Those who burned the believing men and believing women…”
Fitna also means to put precious metals into the fire to separate the bad from the good, according to the great linguist Raghib Al-Asfahani.
Allah describes the difficulties in life as a fitna because they burn away our sins, just like the fire burns objects. But more importantly, the tests of life are not a mere punishment – though for some it could feel that way.
We are like gold: precious and valuable. But impurities hold us back from our true potential. Tests are a way to bring out the best in us, just like the fire purifies gold.
When a test comes in life, that is an opportunity to return back to Allah. He’s not punishing, He’s treating you like gold.
The translations for the Ayaat are taken primarily from M. A. S. ABDEL HALEEM’s translation with some changes and noted exceptions.
Those who persevere patiently will be given their reward in full without measure.
Key to Victory/Success in Dunya
When they [the children of Israel] became steadfast and believed firmly in Our messages, We raised leaders among them, guiding them according to Our command.
We made those who had been oppressed succeed to both the east and the west of the land that We had blessed. Your Lord’s good promise to the Children of Israel was fulfilled, because of their patience, and We destroyed what Pharaoh and his people were making and what they were building.
They grieve at any good that befalls you [believers] and rejoice at your misfortunes. But if you are steadfast and conscious of God, their scheming will not harm you in the least: God encircles everything they do.
Key Reason for the Jazaa and Rewards of Jannah
Surely whoever is pious and (endures) patiently, then surely Allah does not waste the reward of the fair-doers [Dr.Ghali]
Today I have rewarded them for their patience: it is they who will succeed.
These servants will be rewarded with the highest place in Paradise for their steadfastness.
They will be given their rewards twice over because they are steadfast, repel evil with good, and give to others out of what We have provided for them.
and we reward them, for their steadfastness, with a Garden and silken robes.
The Reason for Peace/Safety and Congratulations from the Malaaikah
Can someone who knows that the revelation from your Lord is the Truth be equal to someone who is blind? Only those with understanding will take it to heart; those who fulfill the agreements they make in God’s name and do not break their pledges; who join together what God commands to be joined; who are in awe of their Lord and fear the harshness of the Reckoning; who remain steadfast through their desire for the face of their Lord; who keep up the prayer; who give secretly and openly from what We have provided for them; who repel evil with good. These will have the reward of the [true] home: they will enter perpetual Gardens, along with their righteous ancestors, spouses, and descendants; the angels will go in to them from every gate, ‘Peace be with you, because you have remained steadfast. What an excellent reward is this home of yours!’
A Small Price to Pay
From Ibn Rajab (Fadl ‘Ilm al-Salaf ‘Alaa al-Khalaf):
It is necessary that the believer have patience for a short while such that through it he will attain everlasting bliss. If he despairs and becomes impatient, he is as ibn al-Mubaarak said,
“Whoever is patient,then how little is he patient for. And whoever is impatient,then how little does he enjoy himself.”
Al-Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee used to recite the following lines of poetry,
O my soul! It is nothing but a few days of patience; It’s duration is like muddled/jumbled dreams. O my soul! Pass through the world quickly; And leave it alone, for the (true) life is certainly ahead of me.
Allah’s Common Surah Ending Command
so be patient, for God’s promise is true: do not let those with no firm beliefs discourage you.
Be steadfast [Muhammad], like those messengers of firm resolve. Do not seek to hasten the punishment for the disbelievers: on the Day they see what they had been warned about, it will seem to them that they lingered no more than a single hour of a single day [in this life]. This is a warning. Shall any be destroyed except the defiant?
You who believe, be steadfast, more steadfast than others; be ready; always be mindful of God, so that you may prosper.
And if whatever trees upon the earth were pens and the sea [was ink], replenished thereafter by seven [more] seas, the words of Allah would not be exhausted. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.
Your creation and your resurrection will not be but as that of a single soul. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing.
Do you not see that Allah causes the night to enter the day and causes the day to enter the night and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term, and that Allah, with whatever you do, is Acquainted?
There is some incredible things to learn from this set of ayaat. Watch the videos for more details:
This Ramadan, take a journey through the Qur’an, every day.
Journey Through the Qur’an – Daur-e-Qur’an, is a quick skim-through of the translation of the Qur’an. One juz (or 1/30th) of the Qur’an is covered daily, enabling the class to finish the translation of the Qur’an within the month of Ramadan.
The class is a must-attend for all Muslims so that they can spend their Ramadan with the Qur’an, trying to understand its meaning.
Preparation for Ramadan (which is coming in about 6 months) begins now. Too often we put it off to the very end and the result is a mediocre Ramadan year after year. Ramadan contains the 10 best nights of the year – including the biggest and most blessed night of the year (Laytul Qadr), rewards are multiplied many-fold during this blessed month, the gates of paradise are opened and the devils are chained. All of this makes worship easy and tremendously rewarding. So it is critical that we prepare for Ramadan to extract the maximum benefit out of it.
The most important aspect of a successful, fruitful Ramadan is the Qur’an. This is because Allah says, “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion between right and wrong” (2:185, translation from the Noble Qur’an). The guidance for mankind was revealed by the Lord of mankind in Ramadan. What’s the connection between the Qur’an, Ramadan and the guidance from the Qur’an? The answer – and Allah only knows best – is that the guidance of the Qur’an is best received in Ramadan. Thus, in Ramadan, it is essential that we ponder over the Qur’an as we listen to it, reflect over it, recite it and memorize it so that we can receive its guidance and the furqan (the criterion between right and wrong).
To achieve this in the up-coming Ramadan, here are a few tried-and-tested suggestions from yours truly:
1) Understanding. If you don’t understand the Qur’an without a translation, then you must begin a course/curriculum* today that will enable you to do so within the next 2-3 years. Then you’ll notice how much benefit you get out of taraweeh and qiyam prayers each successive Ramadan. Understanding the Qur’an in its original text without the crutch of a translation is the key to pondering over the Qur’an and reflecting over it.
2) Recitation. If you are not used to reading the Qur’an, come Ramadan time you will get tired of it very quickly. So, you must start reciting a page or two daily from today so when Ramadan comes, you are ready to read the Qur’an for longer periods of time. Moreover, this consistency will, insha Allah, carry over after Ramadan and become a beautiful habit.
These two are essential. The next two are important but not as important as the above two.
3) Memorization. There is a special sweetness in long prayers during Ramadan. Thus, aim to memorize something significant before Ramadan comes in (e.g. Surah Baqarah) so you can enjoy your prayers more.
4) Arrangements. Make logistical arrangements (e.g. building up a vacation, booking time-off, etc.) for i’tikaaf so you can benefit to the max in the last ten days.
It is famously quoted that our predecessors in faith used to pray to Allah 6 months to accept their previous Ramadan, and 6 months to see the next one. This preparation for Ramadan is a legacy of our predecessors in faith and upholding it will allow us to see results in Ramadan like never before. The crux, core of this preparation in getting ready to understand the Qur’an. Without it, the next Ramadan will be another run-of-the-mill Ramadan.
Everyone fasts and prays during Ramadan, most people give charity, but how few cry in prayers, over-whelmed by the Qur’an. Allah says, “The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Quran) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone)” (8:2, translation from the Noble Qur’an).
We ask Allah to make us of those mentioned above, ameen.
And certainly We have explained in this Quran every kind of example, and man is most of all given to contention. (54)
Tasreef is to diversify and repeat. Tasreef is used for winds, because winds come from all directions and come again and again. Allah has presented different way, styles, and every kind of example that is necessary for them so that man can understand. Allah ta’ala mentions parables, warnings, glad tidings to convey the message to mankind.
We learn from this that Allah ta’ala, out of His complete Mercy, has set forth everything we need in the Qur’an. He azza wa jal gave us many examples to explain the Deen so that we may comprehend it. In surah Kahf alone, we’ve covered more than one example of the life of this world and of the Qur’an.
Even though this is the case, Allah ta’ala says:
وَكَانَ الْإِنسَانُ أَكْثَرَ شَيْءٍ جَدَلًا and man is most of all given to contention. Jidaal is an argument in which two parties try to overcome each other. Jidaal is not an ordinary debate but it is a severe argument; none of the parties are willing to give up. If there is one thing mankind is good at, it is arguing.
Instead of understanding and taking a lesson, man argues concerning these ayaat. In surah Baqarah, the first example Allah ta’ala mentions is the mosquito and He ta’ala mentions the objection of those who hear this example, that why would Allah use a mosquito to strike a parable. The objective behind an example is to make the concept easier for understanding, and is not meant for dispute.
We can end arguments and disputes by remaining silent. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam promised a house in the middle of Jannah for the person who leaves an argument even if they are in the right.