The Test Allah has Created is very Easy
People who live far from religious morality determine certain goals for themselves throughout their lives. The common point between these goals is generally that they are geared towards worldly life. For example, most people's ideals are to be an expert doctor, a successful engineer, a good father, a wealthy businessman, an artist known worldwide, and things of this nature. People strive, work hard, and at times sacrifice various things in order to attain success, happiness, and a comfortable life in many areas other than thus previously mentioned and they try to reach a certain status by themselves. However, when they become absorbed in all these, they forget or ignore the real reason for their being in this world.
To rectify such a lapse everyone should ask himself certain questions by reflecting on his life and thinking that he will one day pass away. "Why am I in this world?" "What is the purpose in my being alive?" "Maybe I was a really successful architect, designed many buildings, became rich and wealthy, earned a title, became well-known, but what did all these achievements bring me? Which one of them will still have any value after death? What kind of benefits will any of the things I left behind in the world bring me in the Hereafter? Does my existence consist only of life in this world?" These are the principal questions people should ask themselves before they die.
At this point we should mention that obviously people will have a career, even desire to be extremely successful in their career and work hard at this. But, it is very important not to forget that all forms of employment are devices that should bring people closer to their ultimate aim. A great number of people however, forget or ignore their real purpose in life and devote their entire lives to such things, which are transient and, in fact, mere instruments.
There is a great reality that everyone can comprehend without giving it any way deep thought: Allah has created humans and the world with a purpose. As told to us in the Qur'an, the purpose of humans is solely to serve Allah. The purpose in the Creation of the universe is for it to serve as a testing ground, where the status of human beings in the Hereafter is determined. Allah informs us of this reality in the Qur'an:
He created death and life to test which of you is best in action. He is the Almighty, the Ever-Forgiving. (Surat al-Mulk: 2)
Allah has given numerous proofs for people to understand the ephemeral quality of this world and that their real abode where they will live forever is the Hereafter.
For example, there are hundreds of different types of illnesses; there is the microscopic virus's ability to threaten the life of a human being who is millions of times bigger than itself; there is the need for a person to constantly keep clean, eat, rest and sleep; the life of an individual is very short, on an average 60-70 years, time has a very wearying effect on a person, and every human being's end is death without exception; one has to leave behind all loved ones and all the wealth, property, and esteem one has acquired throughout one's life; last but not least, the human body enters a stage of decay when dead and buried. These and many other similar reasons are all enough for people to comprehend that their lives are short-lived, and full of imperfections, and as such, can never satisfy the human soul. All these are very important realities that will deter people from being attached to this world. In the Qur'an, Allah tells us that the world was not created aimlessly; it was made for a specific reason:
We did not create heaven and earth and everything in between them as a game. If We had desired to have some amusement, We could have found it near at hand. (Surat al-Anbiya': 16-17)
As a matter of fact, with just a little thought, one will easily understand that the world is not a place where one will stay forever; it is merely a testing ground. This life is not the last stop but actually a short stopover, and one will be held accountable for every moment one lives in this transient place. Most importantly, one has a responsibility towards Allah, Who has created everything from nothingness.
One who is capable of such thought should proceed a step further and think: Allah tests people with different types of events, both good and bad. All the incidents a person faces throughout the day are, in fact, composed of tests that determine what his eternal abode will be, after death. And Allah has made these tests easy for everyone and has informed him of the path he should take, that is, of what he should do:
We created man from a mingled drop to test him, and We made him with hearing and sight. We guided him on to the right path, whether he be thankful or oblivious of Our favors. (Surat al-Insan: 2-3)
As recorded in the verses, Allah has definitely shown people the right path for them in their lives and has enabled them to acquire knowledge about religion and good morals. Everyone knows through a means that the world is a transient place and, for the sake of his life in the Hereafter, he has to live in a way that will please Allah. Briefly, it is not a test that people are unaware of or don't know how to succeed at. By the messengers Allah sends in every era, the books He has sent in the past, and the conscience He has created in everyone, Allah shows people the right path and protects them from what is wrongful. For those who believe in Allah, who submits to Him totally, who see only Allah as their real friend and sole protector, and who turn to Allah in every situation and surrender to Him, every test Allah has created is very easy and pleasurable. There will be no hardships, difficulties, sadness, suffering, or complications in this world for those who know the secret of faith and who sincerely believe in Allah. Every situation turns into a blessing whereby one may come closer to Allah and may hope for Heaven even more.
A prerequisite to sincere faith is to recognize Allah and be well acquainted with Him. The more clearly a person recognizes Allah and knows His power, the more pious and close to Allah he will be. For example, one who knows Allah's forgiveness will never become hopeless or pessimistic because of his faults or mistakes. One who believes that Allah is the provider doesn't become greedy about money. He knows that Allah provides sustenance: he works, makes an effort but knows that Allah determines the amount of blessings he will receive and that he himself cannot change that. As a result, for one who knows and recognizes Allah, the world is full of ease and blessings; that person lives his every moment by seeing Allah's revelations and the beauty in His Creation. In brief, for pious Muslims who have submitted to Allah, the test Allah has created for them is extremely easy and pleasurable.
Allah is Forgiving
Allah's infinite mercy and compassion are a great blessing for people. Because, humans are creatures who can be negligent, who can forget, and make mistakes. Allah, in His infinite compassion, has always given people the opportunity to ask for forgiveness and repent. Anyone who, going in fear of Allah, sincerely wishes his or her sins to be forgiven can hope for Allah's forgiveness. As is stated in the Qur'an: "Allah desires to turn towards you…" (Surat an-Nisa': 27) Allah informs us of this ever-forgiving attribute of His:
Anyone who does evil or wrongs himself and then asks Allah's forgiveness will find Allah Ever-Forgiving and Most Merciful. (Surat an-Nisa': 110)
Allah, in His forgiveness, continuously gives new opportunities to people throughout their lives. The only thing a person has to do is to admit his mistake in the hope of not repeating it and to repent by listening to his conscience before the time of death comes. Allah tells us in one of His verses that only insincere people's repentance will not be forgiven:
There is no forgiveness for people who persist in doing evil until death comes to them and who only then say, "Now I repent," nor for people who die while they are disbelievers. We have prepared for them a painful punishment. (Surat an-Nisa': 18)
Allah's forgiveness of people's mistakes, delaying of their punishment, and giving them another opportunity at every turn throughout their lives is a manifestation of His great kindness, mercy, and compassion. As Allah tells us, if people were to be punished for their sins immediately, there would be no living creature left on this earth:
If Allah were to punish people for their wrong actions, not a single creature would be left upon the earth, but He reprieves them till a predetermined time. When their appointed time arrives, they cannot delay it for a single hour nor can they bring it forward. (Surat an-Nahl: 61)
Consequently, whatever people's mistakes or sins, they are never too late to change themselves into the type of subjects Allah approves of. No matter how many mistakes a person has committed nor how far from religion he has lived in the past, he doesn't have to think about this as long as he repents sincerely and becomes a pious subject of Allah. His sins are merely memories, which provide an opportunity to learn a lesson so that he should neither repeat the same mistakes, nor commit similar ones in the future. Allah declares that He will not hold accountable for their past those pious Muslims, who have found the right way after they were warned:
Allah has pardoned all that took place in the past; but if anyone relapses into wrong doing Allah will take revenge on him. Allah is Almighty, Exactor of Revenge. (Surat al-Ma'ida: 95)
Say to those who do not believe that if they mend their ways, their past will be forgiven, but if they persist in sin, let them reflect upon the fate of previous peoples in the past. (Surat al-Anfal: 38)
Without a doubt, this is a great concession made by Allah in His religion.
Allah answers all prayers and is very close to everyone
In circles far from religious morality, prayer to Allah has been complicated by superstitions and false beliefs. People have determined set times when they can pray to Allah, even though they can do so at any time they wish, or they have put intermediaries between themselves and Allah. Allah warns people against these false notions:
To Allah alone is true worship due. As for those who take protectors besides Him, saying, "We only worship them so that they may bring us nearer to Allah"—Allah will judge between them regarding the things about which they differed. Allah does not guide the untruthful disbelievers. (Surat az-Zumar: 3)
Those who assert that one needs certain intermediaries to pray to Allah, are actually people who try to fool others by showing religion as a hardship. Because in the Surah Qaf: 16 of the Qur'an, Allah tells us: "We created man and We know what his own self whispers to him. We are nearer to him than his jugular vein", Allah is closer to people than anyone else. That is to say, the suppliant can turn toward Allah, can make his voice heard to Allah, and ask for help by prayer whenever he wants.
The individual does not need to look out for special times. He can pray to Allah any time, any minute. Otherwise, he would be fabricating new rules by himself. He can pray to Allah and tell Him what he wants, when he is going from place to place, when going down the stairs, when shopping, when preparing dinner, when watching television, in the elevator, when he is waiting somewhere, when he goes to bed at night, when he wakes up, when he is having breakfast, when he is driving, in short, anywhere and any time. To do this it is enough for him even to think about it briefly, because Allah knows everything, even what someone is hiding in his bosom.
Hence, whoever prays to Allah should know that Allah definitely answers all prayers. Allah tells us that He will simplify things for those who are in need and who turn towards Him:
Surely worthier is He Who responds to the oppressed when they cry out to Him and removes their distress. It is He Who has appointed you inheritors of the earth. Is there another god besides Allah? How little you pay heed! (Surat an-Naml: 62)
This unlimited opportunity Allah gives people is without a doubt a manifestation of Allah's infinite mercy. In numerous verses in the Quran, Allah states His closeness to human beings, that He will be a guardian for those who turn towards Him, and that He will definitely answer those that pray to Him. One of these verses is:
If My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me. They should therefore respond to Me and believe in Me so that hopefully they will be rightly guided. (Surat al-Baqara: 186)
Believers should think about this mercy and blessing of Allah once more and live in accordance with Allah's approval. Because, this clemency that Allah has shown us gives us a great and unlimited opportunity; Allah, Who is the Possessor and Owner of everything, promises to respond to everything that people desire. And Allah never fails to keep His promise.
Allah never burdens anyone with more than he can bear
The situations one faces in life, no matter how tough it seems at the moment, are all actually at an intensity that one can bear. Allah, the Creator of human beings, gives them their souls. He knows best how much they can tolerate and how much of a burden and difficulty they can bear.
Allah states in many verses that He would not afflict anyone with more than he could handle and that no one would face injustice:
Allah does not impose on any soul more than it can bear. It shall be requited for whatever good and whatever evil it has done. (Surat al-Baqara: 286)
As for those who believe and do right actions—We impose on no soul any more than it can bear—they are the Companions of the Garden, remaining in it timelessly, for ever. (Surat al-A'raf: 42)
Without a doubt, the events people will have to deal with and be patient with will be different. Most people are tried with many different contingencies. But, in the end, Allah tests people in relation to their strength. For example, some people lead a destitute life on this earth and hence their patience in a state of impoverishment is tested. Some people live in wealth and abundance and so it is their thankfulness to Allah, their morals and whether they cling on to the world with greed or not that are tested. But eventually, the rich and the poor live the life that is best for them. No matter how needy the poor person becomes, it is not a difficulty that he cannot handle. Likewise, no matter to what degree the rich person lives in abundance, this would not force him to be a spoiled and ungrateful person. In the end, these people's faithfulness to Allah and their fears regarding the Day of Judgment enable them to live by the morals of the Qur'an and become people who abide by the commandments of religion. Such people submit to Allah in every event they encounter. They seek only His help and His approval. They never show disappointment in the face of difficulties and never stray from religion, even if their trial is extremely hard. For people who resign themselves to Allah and trust in Him, Allah makes things, even the hardest seeming things, easy for them as a sign of His mercy and compassion. This point is clarified in Surat al-Kahf, verse 88: "But as for him who believes and acts rightly, he will receive the best of rewards and We will issue a command, making things easy for him." Allah draws attention to this truth in other verses as well:
As for him who gives in charity and guards against evil and confirms the Good, We will pave his way to ease. (Surat al-Layl: 5-7)
Those who do not submit to or trust in Allah will regard even easy things as hard. As a result of their ungratefulness, their denial of religion, and their distance from the morals of the Qur'an, Allah causes them hardship in this world:
But as for him who is miserly and self-satisfied, and denies the Good, We will pave his way to difficulty. His wealth will not help him when he plummets to the depths. Assuredly, it is for Us to give guidance. (Surat al-Layl: 8-12)
Allah grants ease with every hardship
Allah has given us the good news that, by His grace, He will create ease with every hardship when testing people in this world. Allah tells us this good news in the following verses:
For truly, with hardship comes ease; truly, with hardship comes ease. (Surat al-Inshirah: 5-6)
When we look at the Prophet's (saas) and pious people's lives in the Qur'an, we find it striking that, in every seemingly hard situation they encounter, Allah creates ease. Allah, with his attribute "The Conqueror," opens up and simplifies all paths.
In the Qur'an, Allah gives examples of believers who had to leave their homes, that is, they had to emigrate, because of the reactions and abuse they experienced when they were struggling in the name of Allah. These people had to leave their jobs, houses, gardens, and belongings and emigrate to strange lands where they knew no one. When looked at from the outside, this seems like a hard situation. But, in Surat an-Nisa' Allah informs us that He made the situations of the believers who had to emigrate easier and that He blessed them:
Those who migrate for the cause of Allah will find many places of refuge in the land and ample sustenance. If anyone leaves his home, as a refugee for Allah's and His Messenger's sake, and he is overtaken by death, it is Allah Who will reward him. Allah is Ever-Forgiving and Most Merciful. (Surat an-Nisa': 100)
Consequently, Allah proved His promise to the believers living in our Prophet's (saas) time. The Companions of the Prophet (saas), who didn't give importance to worldly goods and who selflessly undertook any hardships in the name of Allah, were given means of sustenance and sheltered in the best possible way by Allah. Allah made their work much easier compared to other people's work. The ease and mercy the companions received are told in the Qur'an:
When you were few and oppressed in the land, and afraid of your enemies' onslaught, He gave you refuge and supported you with His help and bestowed great benefits upon you, so that hopefully you would be thankful. (Surat al-Anfal: 26)
Other experiences in the lives of the other prophets are clear example of making life easy for the believers.
For example, this alleviation of hardship is obvious in many incidents in the life of the Prophet Joseph (as). After being thrown into a well by his brothers, the Prophet Joseph (as) was found by a caravan. The people who found Joseph (as) sold him to a vizier, (minister), as a slave. Shortly afterwards, Joseph (as) was accused of wrongdoing and thrown into jail, even though he had not done anything wrong. The turn of events in the Prophet Joseph's (as) life may at first sight seem very difficult. But, Allah rewarded him for his demonstration of good morals and gratefulness, and showed that He willed ease along with hardship. The Prophet Joseph (as), through seemingly negative events, was placed at the head of the treasury and became an important minister.
Allah supports the believers by alleviating the hardship the Prophet Moses (as) experienced. The Prophet Moses (as), in his struggle against one of the most ferocious people who ever lived, Pharaoh, gains superiority with Allah's help and support. When Moses (as) prays to Allah to give him his brother Aaron (as) as a helper, Allah answers his prayers. Besides this, by equipping Moses (as) with miraculous powers, Allah enables him to defeat Pharaoh's sorcerers. And the Prophet Moses (as), even in the most trying times, doesn't forget that Allah's help is with the believers. When being followed by Pharaoh's army and the Red Sea blocking their way ahead, Moses (as) reminds his companions that Allah's help is always with them and that Allah will show them a way out:
He said, "Never! My Lord is with me and He will guide me." So We bade Moses: "Strike the sea with your staff." And it split in two, each part like a towering cliff. And We brought the others right up to it. We rescued Moses and all those who were with him. Then We drowned the rest. (Surat ash-Shu'ara': 62-66)
Another illustration from the life of the Prophet (saas) is the occasion when the Prophet Muhammad (saas) is being pursued by the unbelievers and he hides in a cave along with a believer. There being a believer who supports the Prophet Muhammad (saas) when he is under the threat of unbelievers, is one of the examples of the easing of hardship that Allah provided.
If you do not help him, Allah will help him as He did when the unbelievers drove him out and there were two of them in the Cave. He said to his companion, "Do not be despondent, Allah is with us." Then Allah sent down His serenity upon him and sent to his aid invisible warriors, so that he routed the unbelievers and exalted the word of Allah. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. (Surat at-Tawba: 40)
Actually, when a person looks at the inner meaning of things, he can see how Allah facilitates everything at every moment of his life. But, people who can see this reality are those who fear Allah, who put their trust in Allah, who know that whenever they face a difficulty it is in their destiny, and who have faith in Allah as their only real friend and guardian. In His verses, Allah informs us that He will bless these kinds of people when they least expect it and make their tasks easier:
… This is admonishment for all who believe Allah and the Last Day. Whoever has fear of Allah—He will give him a means of salvation out and provide for him from where he does not expect. Whoever puts his trust in Allah—He will be all-sufficient for him. Allah will surely bring about what He decrees. Allah has appointed a measure for all things. (Surat at-Talaq: 2-3)
He who has plenty should spend according to his wealth, and the poor man should spend from what Allah has given him. Allah does not demand from any man more than He has given him. Allah, after difficulty, will bring ease. (Surat at-Talaq: 7)
As Allah tells us in His verses, He simplifies things for those who sincerely abide by His commands. Those who believe in this, never show any weakness in the face of hardships.
In Surat al-Inshirah, Allah gives us the good news that there is ease with every suffering again, and that it is He Who lifts the burdens from people:
Did We not lift up your heart and relieve you of the burden which weighed down your back? Did We not give you high renown? For truly, with hardship comes ease; truly, with hardship comes ease. (Surat al-Inshirah: 1-6)
Allah grants believers ease and support by means, which cannot be seen or sensed
As we mentioned in the beginning, the world is created as a place of trial where everyone's belief in Allah and the Hereafter is tested. As one of the necessities of this testing ground, when looked at from the outside, those who do good deeds and those who do bad deeds seem to be living by the same standards. However, the life believers lead is very different from the life led by people who deny Allah. As we mentioned in the previous pages, Allah always makes things easier for those who believe in Him; even in really difficult situations He always gives them a way out. This is clearly Allah's help.
The news that Allah will help his subjects in ways that are imperceptible and that He will help them and bring them ease in unexpected ways is given. We list here some of the forms of assistance mentioned in the Qur'an under a few sub-headings.
Allah sends believers help through His angels
Allah's help to believers is manifested in certain different ways. One form of Allah's help is to send angels to believers at their time of need. Allah informs us of this help in the Qur'an by giving an example of an incident experienced in the time of our Prophet (saas):
You said to the believers, "Is it not enough that your Lord reinforced you with three thousand angels specially sent down?" Yes indeed! But if you are steadfast and guard against evil and they suddenly, attack you your Lord will help you with five thousand angels, making a terrific onslaught. Allah designed this as good news for you and so that your hearts might be set at rest. (Victory comes from no one but Allah, the Almighty, the All-Wise) (Surah Al 'Imran: 124-126)
In another one of His verses, Allah clarifies that He helps believers with armies they cannot see:
You who believe! Remember Allah's blessing to you when forces came against you and We sent a wind against them and other forces you could not see. Allah sees what you do. (Surat al-Ahzab: 9)
Allah letting us know that believers will always be victorious is a very comforting and encouraging promise for believers. But there is another point that needs to be drawn attention to here: all support is from Allah and He is without a doubt the Possessor of all power. Believers know that real victory and help are actually in Allah's hands. They never forget that the angels supporting them is Allah's good news for them, and that the help and support of Allah are manifested through His angels. Our Creator tells this reality in His verses:
Remember when you called on your Lord for help and He responded to you: "I will reinforce you with a thousand angels riding rank after rank." Allah only did this to give you good news and to set your hearts at rest. Victory comes from no one but Allah. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. (Surat al-Anfal: 9-10)
Believers who know that Allah helps whomever He wills and in whichever way He wills, never lose their trust and keep their serenity even in really difficult situations. In this state of mind they lead the most beautiful life in spiritual terms.
Allah portrays believers to their enemies in greater numbers than they actually are
By Allah's will, believers have been lesser in number in every period than unbelievers. However, the winning side has always been the believers, not the ones in greater numbers. Believers, with their Allah-given qualities of wisdom, sagacity, discernment, and good morals have always been successful against unbelievers. Moreover, Allah has chosen to present believers in greater numbers than they actually are, and consequently this has led the unbelievers to feel intimidated and fearful. In His verses Allah relates this with an example from the Prophet's (saas) era:
Remember when Allah made you see them as few when you met them, and also made you seem few in their eyes. This was so that Allah could settle a matter whose result was preordained. All matters return to Allah. You who believe! When you meet their army, stand firm and remember Allah repeatedly so that hopefully you will be successful. (Surat al-Anfal: 44-45)
It is definitely a miracle of Allah for the unbelievers to perceive the small army of believers as a mighty through, and at the same time greatly eased the minds of the believers. With this, Allah has enabled the believers to succeed.
Also in His other verses, Allah informs the Prophet Muhammad (saas) that He will increase the power of the believers many times over whenever He wills. He promises believers that He will bestow upon them greater powers and make them victorious in return for their patience
O Prophet! Spur on the believers to fight. If there are twenty of you who are steadfast, they will overcome two hundred; and if there are a hundred of you, they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are people who do not understand. Now Allah has lightened your burden, knowing that you are weak. If there are a hundred of you who are steadfast, they will overcome two hundred; and if there are a thousand of you, they will overcome two thousand with Allah's permission. Allah is with the steadfast. (Surat al-Anfal: 65-66)
As presented in the verses above, Allah has supported believers when they were at war in the time of the Prophet (saas) by portraying them as being stronger in number and strength in the eyes of the unbelievers. This is because Allah is always believers' friend and helper. No matter how vast the unbelievers are in number and strength, in the end Allah is the Possessor of all strength. Allah can do whatever He wills by just ordaining, "Be." Those who lean toward Allah and trust Him, and who appreciate His infinite strength are always solaced by this.
Allah imbues the hearts of believers with feelings of trust and solace
In Surat al-Anfal, Allah informs us of the spiritual support He provided the believers when they were experiencing a difficult situation, again in the Prophet's (saas) era:
He overcame you with sleep, making you feel secure, and sent you down water from heaven to purify you and remove the taint of satan from you, and to fortify your hearts and make your feet firm. (Surat al-Anfal:11)
The phrase "overcome with sleep" in the verse points to a spiritual sleep, without a doubt. Allah engendered such a state in those who were sincere in their time of need and as a result of this spiritual support, the believers experienced feelings of peace, trust, and determination.
Actually, this feeling of peace and trust is apparent in all aspects of a believer's life. People who have faith in Allah and the Hereafter, do not panic and become sad or worried about anything because they know that Allah is the sole possessor of everything. They know that Allah creates everything in the most beneficial way for them and in the most advantageous way for their life in the Hereafter. "If Allah helps you, no one can vanquish you. If He forsakes you, who then can help you? So the believers should put their trust in Allah." (Surah Al 'Imran: 160) According to this verse, the believers clearly have faith and lead their lives in the comfort of resigning themselves to Allah. No matter the magnitude of the hardship they encounter, they know that it is transient. They bear in mind that compared to the infinite Hereafter, this worldly life has indeed a very short time frame. A difficulty experienced in this world, even if it lasts a lifetime, ends in 50-60 years. A life of 50-60 years lived in resignation to Allah and with good morals being rewarded with infinite life in the Hereafter will surely be unparalleled. Believers will never experience worries, sadness, destitution, boredom, or hardships; on the contrary, they will attain what their hearts desire in the midst of infinite beauty.
So, being aware of this reality enables a believer to resign himself to Allah in a determined and steady way in the face of any situation. The spiritual comfort and joy of knowing this is one of the greatest kinds of ease in the world.
It should be borne in mind, that all hearts and all strength are in Allah's hands. Allah can create any situation He wills, in whatever way He wills it, and whenever He wills it. One looking for repose and trust cannot succeed without Allah's will. The ease that living according to religious morality brings to people, is knowing that everything is under Allah's control. Turning to Allah in everything one does and expecting the rewards for one's toils only from Allah will enable one to find Allah's help and support in a variety of ways.
Allah is your Protector. And He is the best of helpers. (Surah Al 'Imran: 150)