Everyone suffers hardship and anxiety. Most people who live apart from the Qur’an’s moral teachings go through difficult times feeling discontented, sad, and anxious. They think they can pass through this earthly life without being tested, and do not believe in Allah or in the destiny that He created for them. Therefore, they regard whatever happens to them as having no meaning and suffer even deeper pain. Allah states in the Qur’an that He will test Muslims and distinguish between those who are good and those who are not:
Or did you imagine that you were going to enter the Garden without Allah knowing those among you who had struggled and knowing the steadfast? (Surah Al ‘Imran, 142)
Allah will only leave the believers in the position you now are in so that He can sift out the rotten from the good. Allah has not given you access to the Unseen. But Allah chooses those of His Messengers whom He wills. So believe in Allah and His Messengers. If you believe and guard against evil, you will have an immense reward. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 179)
In this regard, the Qur’an gives us the example of something that happened during our Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) lifetime:
What assailed you on the day the two armies met was by Allah’s permission, so that He would know the believers, and so that He would know the hypocrites. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 166-167)
Believers know that everything happens according to destiny and treat every event as an opportunity to show their faithfulness, attachment, and submission to Allah. As a result, He turns what appear to be evil or difficult events to the advantage of His sincere believers, for He wants them to follow the straight path and attain the endless rewards of Paradise. Thus, times of difficulty are very valuable times of which believers must take advantage.
Unbelievers do their best to avoid making mistakes, for such people are mocked by their own people, or may be denied an important opportunity. However, the Qur’anic morality teaches something quite different: Believers know that Allah creates everything for a good purpose and that everything is a grace from the All Merciful and Most Merciful; that believers do not judge others on the basis of their mistakes; that believers feel a sense of compassion and mercy, for they understand that whatever occurs is destined. Therefore, they will feel regret and do their best to reform themselves by repenting and then abandoning that particular sin completely. When they make a mistake, the sorrow that they feel also turns out to be for their good, for it contains the determination not to continue making this mistake. It is very important that believers show trust and submission in such times and that they act with the knowledge that everything happens in a way designed to bring them closer to Allah.
According to 216th verse of Surat al-Baqara, Allah can turn things that appear bad into good for human beings, and that people may like what is bad for them. One example of this is miserly rich people who do not believe. It is a great mistake for unbelievers to think that miserliness is something clever and that not using their wealth in His path will somehow benefit them. In fact, the Qur’an reveals that such wealth will be worse for its possessors and bring them great pain in the Afterlife:
Those who are miserly with the bounty that Allah has given them should not suppose that that is better for them. No indeed, it is worse for them! What they were miserly with will be hung around their necks on the Day of Rising. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 180)
Believers have a totally different understanding of wealth and possessions. First of all, it is not so important to have possessions, because believers devote themselves to earning His good pleasure by using what they have in His path, instead of amassing possessions for themselves, as the unbelievers do. Believers never pursue worldly gain, but always direct themselves toward whatever will earn them eternal life and an exalted status in Allah’s sight. Allah announces these good tidings to them in the Qur’an:
Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their wealth in return for the Garden. They fight in His Way, kill and are killed. It is a promise binding on Him in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur’an. And who is truer to his [or her] contract than Allah? Rejoice, then, in the bargain you have made. That is the great victory. (Surat at-Tawba, 111)
All prophets, messengers, and sincere believers who were aware of this truth acted with the knowledge that their possessions actually belonged to Allah, and so used them to earn His good pleasure. For example, the Qur’an says that believers who possess a moral character and mercy will give “…; those who honor their contracts when they make them, and are steadfast in poverty and illness and in battle” (Surat al-Baqara, 177). And, unlike some people, believers spend of their wealth not for show, but “spend their wealth, desiring the pleasure of Allah and strengthen their souls” (Surat al-Baqara, 265). Therefore, if they lose some of their possessions, they consider it a test from Allah and remain patient and optimistic:
Say: “O Allah! Master of the Kingdom! You give sovereignty to whoever You will and take sovereignty from whoever You will. You exalt whoever You will, and abase whoever You will. All good is in Your hands. You have power over all things.” (Surah Al ‘Imran, 26)