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  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Every Situation is a Test

Comforts and Hardships

A common phenomenon observed when Muslims get their cherished homes built for themselves is the display of words put up in frame outside their home: “This is by the grace of my Lord.” These words are part of a much larger Quranic verse. Apparently, the owner means that the house he possesses is a blessing bestowed on him from God or a gift given to him by God. But this is not the correct or implied meaning of these words.

The phrase “this is by the grace of my Lord” has appeared in the Quran in Chapter al-Naml. These are the words spoken by the Prophet Solomon. The context given in the Quran is that when the Queen Sheba entered Solomon’s royal court, he demanded the jinns of his kingdom to bring to him her crown all the way from Ma’rib in Yemen to Jerusalem in Palestine. One of the jinns who was under Solomon’s command accomplished this feat in the twinkling of an eye. When Solomon saw this extraordinary feat of the Queen’s crown being so swiftly placed before him, he exclaimed: “This is by the grace of my Lord, to test whether I am grateful or ungrateful.” (27: 40)

If we keep all of Solomon’s words before us, we will realize that he had taken God’s “grace” as a means of putting him to the test. According to him, this special blessing of God upon him was to test if he would acknowledge His bounties and humble himself before God, or if he would become arrogant and haughty.

In truth, believers will receive God’s gift in the world Hereafter. Whatever a person gets in this world is only meant to test him. Its real purpose is to test a person and not to bestow anything upon him. From this perspective, the comforts and luxuries of this world are, in essence, the same as the difficulties and hardships—both situations are meant to examine a person. One is required to be grateful to God when he enjoys well-being and to exhibit patience when he experiences problems. A person should develop the ability to express gratitude to God when in comfort, and to remain patient when faced with troubles. This approach is the real gift of God to human beings in this world.

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