Exhibiting Good Moral Qualities at Times of Difficulty and Frustration

Everyone experiences many things during the day: feelings of tiredness, hunger, weakness, and so on. This is all very natural. However, Allah says that Muslims can be chosen to suffer trials that are much harder than these as a test. The moral character revealed by believers and unbelievers in these situations is quite different.

For example, such frustration leads unbelievers to rebel, be intimidated, become aggressive, and lose hope and integrity. Since they do not believe in an afterlife, they think that everything they do is relevant only for this world:

They say: “There is nothing but our existence in this world. We die and we live, and nothing destroys us except for time.” They have no knowledge of that. They are only conjecturing. (Surat al-Jathiyya, 24)

According to them, everything will end when the world comes to an end. Therefore, they want to experience comfort, peace of mind, reward for their labors, and all other good things in this world. This desire makes difficulties and frustration very painful for them. They are neither patient nor trusting, cannot forgive or give of themselves, cannot treat others humanely, or have any sense of compassion or mercy. Believing that there is no reward or profit in such things, they fall into the hopelessness of thinking that difficulties bring only loss.

But such ideas are totally wrong, because a person’s real and eternal life begins only after death. On the Day of Judgment, everyone will account totally for what they have done and will receive their just reward. Those who have exhibited good moral qualities will not suffer loss; on the contrary, their gain will be great. In fact, they will receive the reward for every good word they have spoken, every pious deed they have done, and each instance of self-sacrifice, faithfulness, loyalty, and humanity they have shown. Indeed, believers remember our Prophet’s (saas) hadith: “Bad conduct destroys divine service, just as condiment destroys honey”10 and meticulously avoid bad conduct.

But people far removed from religion are not aware of this reality. They are intimidated in the face of difficult situations, because they deny that everything they are experiencing is a test. Here is a point of which we must take careful note: “If you feel pain, they too are feeling it just as you are. But you hope for something from Allah, for which they cannot hope” (Surat an-Nisa’, 104). As this verse says, both believers and unbelievers are struck by the same kinds of difficulties and frustrations. But because unbelievers have no faith in Allah and do not consider that every event has been created by Him, they do not expect to receive from Allah what believers hope to receive. So, the basic difference is that they remain oblivious of life’s true meaning. In other words, the believers’ belief in Allah totally separates them from the unbelievers in the afterlife.

For example, Allah tells us that people will be tried by hunger and poverty. While hunger is a major difficulty and frustration for unbelievers, for Muslims it is a trial in which they can show the quality of their moral character and a good opportunity that they should not miss. In such times, submission to Allah, trust, and patience gain great importance, and the fact that they do not lose hope but rather see the good in what is happening are indications that they are passing the test.

Unbelievers consider their own advantage and comfort first; however, the believers’ moral quality always gives precedence to the other person. Believers freely give to other believers the best seat, the best food, and the best clothing. When it is cold, sincere Muslims will always take care of their fellow Muslims by offering them blankets and hot drinks, even when they themselves are cold. They take joy in ensuring their friend’s health, safety, comfort, and happiness, for they know that the pleasure derived from these acts of self-sacrifice cannot be compared with the pleasure of drinking the hot drink themselves.

People can exhibit fine moral qualities if everything is going well amid an abundance of blessings, if their health is good and their needs are being met. But showing exemplary moral quality in times of difficulty, or displaying good treatment toward others while being shunned, slandered, or vilified by harsh words, is to respond to evil with good. Another sign of good moral character is when a person who is not hungry gives food to another and a person who is warm gives clothing to someone who is cold. Both people are very valuable in Allah’s sight, but showing moral excellence in the face of difficulty and bad treatment is very important and valuable, for it displays the strength and sincerity of an individual’s faith, devoutness, and superior virtue.

In addition, those who live a virtuous life listening to their conscience may hear their lower self constantly urging them toward evil, suggesting that they will find it hard to be virtuous, and trying everything to prevent them from being so. This voice makes people fear that they will be cold if they give away a sweater or that they will be hungry if they give away their food. This is one of Satan’s tactics, for he uses the fear of poverty in an attempt to prevent believers from helping the poor:

O you who believe. Give away some of the good things you have earned and some of what the ground produces for you. Do not have recourse to bad things when you give, things you would only take with your eyes tight shut! Know that Allah is Rich Beyond Need, Praiseworthy. Satan promises you poverty and commands you to avarice. Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and abundance. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing. (Surat al-Baqara, 267-68)

This passage goes on to say that Allah foils this weak trick of Satan and announces to human beings the good news of His good pleasure. In return for their high moral character, Allah allows them to experience a spiritual delight that cannot be compared with any earthly pleasure. There is no limit to the joy that comes from self-sacrifice, patience, faithfulness, generosity, humanity, and loyalty. In one verse, Allah praises the superior moral character of those believers who eagerly and happily open their houses to other Muslims who migrated to their country, providing everything they need despite the fact that they are needy themselves:

Those who were already settled in the abode and in faith before they came love those who have migrated to them, do not find in their hearts any need for what they have been given, and prefer them to themselves even if they themselves are needy. It is the people who are safe-guarded from the avarice of their own selves who are successful. (Surat al-Hashr, 9)

Allah also describes the rewards granted after the trial of thirst, fatigue, and hunger to those who work in His way:

It was not for the people of Madinah and the desert Arabs around them to remain behind the Messenger of Allah, nor to prefer themselves to him. That is because no thirst or weariness or hunger will afflict them in the Way of Allah. Nor will they take a single step to infuriate the unbelievers or secure any gain from the enemy without a right action being written down for them because of it. Allah does not let the wage of the good-doers go to waste. (Surat at-Tawba, 120)

As this verse says, every frustration that a Muslim experiences on the way of Allah is, in fact, a good deed. Given that all people were created to serve Allah and do good deeds, they will receive the perfect reward for their patience and moral character, and will suffer no injustice.

The same is true of illness, and other frustrations. Believers know that only Allah will reward them and that this world is only temporary. Therefore, they are always discerning, decisive, and firm because they have read in the Qur’an that He will give spiritual strength and support to those believers who work for Him. To know the secret of this world’s trials causes a great feeling of ease in the face of difficulty. People who know that whatever happens to them is a test can neither become unhappy, frustrated, or depressed nor lose hope and be overwhelmed by fear and anxiety.

Source : The Secret behind Trials by Harun Yahya

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