May Allah enable us to deal more effectively with trials and hardships and be more patient for the pleasure of Allah and know that our reward is with him and he is with us as long as we are patient and steadfast. Ameen
Al-Hasan Al-Basree said:
“To endure short-lived difficulties that are followed by long lasting ease, is better than hurrying for a short-lived ease that is followed by ever-lasting hardship.”[Al-Hilyah, 2/134]
Do tests in life get easier? No and yes. Let me explain.
Why no (tests don’t get easier). Tests don’t get easier, otherwise they would not be considered a test. Tests need to challenge us so that we can grow from them. The school system which is full of tests is a powerful analogy in this area. For a year 1 student, a year 1 test is difficult. For a year 10 student, a year 1 test is like a game. Similarly as we grow and develop, the tests get more difficult, otherwise they will stop feeling like tests.
On this point, our Prophet was asked “who gets tested the most severely?” He responded by saying “They are the prophets, then the next best, then the next best.” (Tirmidhi) Depending on your spiritual level, the tests will get harder and harder, or they will become more nuanced, just like a year 10 test is much more nuanced, complex and requires higher skills than a year 1 test.
Why yes. Tests get easier if we develop the correct mindset through our faith and if we develop the correct skills set through our life experiences.
Mindset is critical. Know that you will be tested. Allah says in the Qur’an “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.” (Qur’an, 2:155) When you accept that your life will be filled with tests, it already gives you an upper hand. Imagine a student who walks into a classroom knowing they will have a quiz that day, compared to a student who had no idea. The mindset will be very different. Imagine if the latter student was expecting to walk into a class party but instead is faced with a quiz. They would be utterly shocked. Similarly, if we think this life is going to be just about pleasing our ego, we will be utterly shocked when the party ends and a test arises.
Skills set is the other critical point. While a year 10 test is much more difficult than a year 1 test, it would be hoped that schooling would have developed the knowledge and skills needed for a year 10 student to do a year 10 test. Isn’t life a school where we learn so much and develop so many skills? By the time we are faced with the more difficult tests, we will be better prepared for them. We should also keeping mind that “Allah does not burden a soul (with a test) greater than it can bear.” (Qur’an, 2:286). Therefore, he will not test us with a year 10 test when we are in year 1.
The take home message is:
1. Remember that we will be tested in this life and we will grow from them. Our faith reminds us of this important detail about life.
2. The past tests help us to grow so that when we face new challenges, we have developed the skills and mechanisms needed to deal with them.
3. BUT, a test is a test. That is, in any case, it will challenge us in some way otherwise it will not be a test. It needs to challenge us to ensure we grow from it.
May Allah enable us all to past the tests we are faced with. Ameen.
(The above does not explain all aspects of life events, but one that many of us could apply in our personal lives)