Our life in this world is ephemeral. That is no news to us Muslims. It is also known to us that our ephemeral beingness on the surface of the earth has a purpose which is to worship Allah as He تبارك وتعالى said in Adh-Dhariyat verse 56 “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship.”
Just as Allah created to worship, He has put in place tests to determine our worth for Jannah. In the second verse of Al-Mulk, Allah said: “[He] who created death and life to test you which of you is best indeed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving.”
He سبحانه وتعالى also said in Al-Baqarah 2:214 “Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger, and those who believed with him said, “When is the help of Allah?” Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.”
Allah also said in Al-Baqarah 2:155 “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits but give good tidings to the patient.”
From the above verses, a notion that life in Dunya is not meant to be roses and strawberries (it is also not intended to be another way around but somewhere in between) is made. We also have an idea of ways in which these tests come; fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives or food. As a result of this notion, we prepare ourselves for these types of experiments but sometimes forget the tests that are beyond them.
In this article, I would like to highlight two from amongst the greatest of tests we tend to neglect and let overtake us. The first is a bit milder for a lot of people than the second. They are the fitnah of money and the fitnah of the opposite gender. These are two trails that are easy to afflict one, easy to let aggravate but very difficult to repel. If necessary, steps are not taken, they delude man and cause him to forget his primary purpose in life. That is why it is vital to beware of them.
Allah says in Aal-e-Imran verse 14 “Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.”
Regarding wealth, the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Every ummah has its fitnah (trial or temptation), and the fitnah of my ummah is wealth.” (Jamii at-Tirmidhi; 2336).
Love for wealth has caused people to make a lot of unworthy compromises that earn the wrath of Allah and eventually led many astray. It is incumbent on us to remember that our provisions have been written before our birth and no amount of voodoo or black magic can help anyone get from them except that it has also been written and it is the same for a loss. It is high time we feared Allah and stick to halal provisions.
For the fitnah of the opposite gender, it’s beginning in most cases is the gaze. Lowering the gaze has more importance than we accord to it. Ibn Al Qayyim said, “Abstaining from lowering one’s gaze engraves the images in the heart.” (Al-Fawa’id, page 106). When the picture gets engraved in one’s mind, they occupied with thoughts and images of the person and from there, it advances. May Allah save us from Zina and its muqadimaat (things that lead to it).
It is natural to harbour feelings for the opposite gender, and that is why Islam has made marriage extremely easy if only everyone would understand and leave it so. If marriage is impossible, one should stick to fasting while making dua. It is indeed not easy to implement many of these rules. Still, we must return to the verses at the beginning of the article and remember that this life is not Jannah. May Allah ease and rectify our affairs and grant us the Jannah we seek.