Short Answer: Yes, God does test those people whom He loves most. Prophets, those nearest to God, always had very difficult lives. But don’t look at everything which is painful or difficult as a test, and don’t look at happy, easy things in life as a blessing. Allah may test you with ease as much as he tests you with hardship. Be patient and think of how God intends to bless you through your hardship, and in that way, even the most difficult situation can be a gift from God if you have the right attitude.
Asalamu Alaikum Amy,
Thank you for contacting Ask About Islam with your question.
First of all, we are sorry to learn of your knee pain. May Allah cure you from this pain and make all matters easy for you. Ameen.
Praying for others is a recommended deed in Islam, and is guaranteed to be answered.
When you pray for someone else, you also get a similar benefit.
But that does not mean you should not pray for yourself, you should do both.
A Statement of Belief Must Be Tested
Understanding the issue of God’s tests takes a while to figure out, but the main rule is true.
If you read about the lives of all of God’s Prophets, you will find that they all went through very difficult hardships.
It is one of God’s consistent and universal laws that when God loves someone, He will test him/her with trials in this world. God says:
Do people think that on their mere claiming, “We have attained to faith,” they will be left to themselves, and will not be put to a test? (Quran 29:2)
A claim of belief has to be tested.
And most certainly shall We try you by means of danger, and hunger, and loss of worldly goods, of lives and of labour’s fruits. But give glad tidings unto those who are patient in adversity. (Quran 2:155)
So, if He deprives a person of this worldly life or part of it and guides him to repentance and bestows on him His mercy and Paradise instead, then this is, in fact, a great gift!
The Correct Response: Patience
Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him-PBUH) said:
The most severely tested people are the prophets, then the next best, then the next best. A man will be tested in accordance with his level of commitment to God.
For this reason, if life is full of difficulties and challenges, one should not be surprised or ask why.
And accepting the nature of this worldly life helps the servant acquire virtue and take a very important step in his or her journey to God: Patience with tests.
Patience is a characteristic that delivers the servant into God’s presence:
God is with those who are patient in adversity (al-Baqarah 2:153)
And if we are in God’s presence, then we need not worry!
Blessings are Also a Test!
And even when the test goes away and God starts to give you what you perceive as “blessings” and “luxuries”, the test is not over!
But as for a human, whenever his Sustainer tries him by His generosity and by letting him enjoy a life of ease, he says, “My Sustainer has been generous towards me”; whereas, whenever He tries him by tightening his means of livelihood, he says, “My Sustainer has disgraced me!” But nay. (Quran 89:15-17)
“Nay” here means that this is not a correct understanding of having “a life of ease” or “tight means.”
Here God says that when He tries us by tightening our means of livelihood, this does not mean that He is disgracing us.
And when He tries us by letting us enjoy a life of ease for a while, this is not necessarily good.
When God Takes, He Gives Back
This is how we judge: If God deprives us and we lose some of our wealth, opportunity, health, or family, but at the same time, He opens the doors of understanding, then this is not deprivation.
In this case, the trial is a gift.
God might take comfort or a dear one from me, but gives me the ability to understand, a spiritual feeling, or closeness to Him.
Thus, my loss becomes, actually, a gift. Blessings don’t always come as luxury and comfort.
For example, a person might earn a large amount of money, but isn’t thankful to God.
This might continue and he might waste his money in evil ways.
Then, God may even give this person more wealth and opportunities to return to Him. God says:
Then, when they had forgotten all that they had been told to take to heart, We threw open to them the gates of all good things until even as they were rejoicing in what they had been granted. We suddenly took them to task: and lo! they were broken in spirit […] (Quran 6:44–45).
Seek Gratitude to Allah For All Your Tests
If God does not open the doors of providence for you or does not grant you a request, He is calling upon you to understand.
Reflect upon the wisdom and the good meaning behind this giving, and be cautious about the trial it might involve.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.
If we are thankful to God for the good things that happen, this is good for us.
If we are patient when bad things happen to us, this is also good for us. And God always chooses what is best for people.
Prayers may be answered immediately and may be answered later. The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said:
A servant will be rewarded on the Day of Judgment for supplications to God, even the ones that have not been answered, the reward will be great such that he wishes that his supplication was never answered. (Imam Malik)
When God does not answer your prayers immediately, be certain that God is choosing the best for you. God has always been choosing the best for you.
I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)