They Say Life is a Test: What Am I Being Tested For?

22 September, 2020
Q What is god actually testing me for?

They say hardship is a test, what is Allah testing me for? It's not a test to see if I can count to ten, or whether I know quantum physics questions.So what is this test god talks of? And why do I not get told exactly what tests I'm sitting for?

In school, you get told about what test you're sitting for and why. Yet nothing says what I'm going to sit for or why.

If I don't know beforehand what test I'm going to take, god wants me to sit for it. It's impossible to pass it.

I had high expectations that God would eventually remove everything from hell and then get rid of it. I have since learned that is not the case. So, I can't love God anymore.

Is there any chance that God may get everything out of hell and get rid hell forever? Even in the distant future? As I don't want to live anymore because my expectation and hope has been crushed.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

  • Tests from Allah are a form of His justice; they are a way to distinguish those who have a firm faith in Allah regardless of how well they are able to manage the test itself.
  • They are also a blessing in the form of purification and a sign of His mercy and love
  • Allah’s tests are not the same as an academic test. Allah’s tests are not related to knowledge as such in the way that worldly tests are. 
  • With Allah’s tests, there is nothing like pass or fail as such. Whether one copes well with the test or not, the reward from enduring the test is great.
  • Another difference between the common understanding of a test and Allah’s test is that Allah’s tests are not always in the form of hardships. Quite the contrary, a test from Allah can come in the form of an apparent blessing.

Assalamu alaikum sister, 

The questions you ask do make sense to some extent. It is also clear why these questions are causing you to have such doubts and have negative feelings towards Allah. However, with a little understanding you will see how your perspective will change as your doubts ease. 

Allah’s test is different from an academic test 

Having gone through school our understanding of what’s tested is very straightforward. Any test you sit tends to follow the same protocol with a result that ends in a simple pass or fail. The consequences of a pass or fail are solely related to worldly gain. This is a process that we are all familiar with from a young age.

It is only natural to expect that when we hear of Allah’s test to expect the same. This is an error that can lead to much misunderstanding. Allah’s tests are not the same as an academic test. Allah’s tests are not related to knowledge as such in the way that worldly tests are. 

They Say Life is a Test: What Am I Being Tested For? - About Islam

With Allah’s tests, there is nothing like pass or fail as such. Whether one copes well with the test or not, the reward from enduring the test is great. The way one deals with the test may contribute to a bigger or lesser reward, but for the one who endures the bigger test, the reward is greater

It was narrated from Anas bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allah loves a people He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 4031) 

Tests can also come in the form of blessings 

Another difference between the common understanding of a test and Allah’s test is that Allah’s tests are not always in the form of hardships. Quite the contrary, a test form Allah can come in the form of an apparent blessing.

Such as good health or abundance in wealth. Without deeper reflection one might wonder how such blessings could be a test. However, the person with good health or wealth will be questioned 

Allah’s tests are not about wisdom

Allah’s tests are not about testing how wise someone is. Instead, they serve a very different purpose. Allah’s tests serve many different purposes. They are a way to distinguish those who have a firm faith in Allah as well as the opportunity to prove one’s faith and purify oneself. So, as you can see, the purpose of Allah’s test is very different to the worldly types of tests that you are thinking about. 


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Tests from Allah are a sign of His Justice 

Tests from Allah are a way to distinguish those who have a firm faith in Allah regardless of how well they are able to manage the test itself.

Afterall, wouldn’t people question why they ended up in the Hellfire if there was no way to prove themselves to Allah? They would call Allah unjust. By putting people through tests in this life it makes it very clear to Allah and to man. Allah describes this very clearly in Surah Ankabut

Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried? But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars. Or do those who do evil deeds think they can outrun Us? Evil is what they judge. Whoever should hope for the meeting with Allah – indeed, the term decreed by Allah is coming. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing. And whoever strives only strives for [the benefit of] himself. Indeed, Allah is free from need of the world’s. And those who believe and do righteous deeds – We will surely remove from them their misdeeds and will surely reward them according to the best of what they used to do. (Qur’an, 29:2-7)

Tests from Allah are a sign of His Mercy 

Allah’s tests are very complex. Not only can they come in the form of blessings or hardships, as well as being a sign of being the Most Just, but they are also a blessing in the form of purification and a sign of His Mercy and love as we can learn from the following Hadith. 

Narrated `Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “No calamity befalls a Muslim but that Allah expiates some of his sins because of it, even though it were the prick he receives from a thorn.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 5640) 

Tests cause us to turn to Allah

When someone is living an easy life, they are more likely to forget Allah. However, when faced with a test they are more likely to turn to Allah. This in itself is a blessing. 

Opportunity for self-assessment, reflection and growth 

Furthermore, they provide the opportunity to take a step back in self-reflection to better oneself as a person. Without such tests in our lives, this cannot happen. Whilst facing a test, people will either make deep considerations during the test, or after. Tests help people to identify the blessings in their life and to learn from experience in order to make positive changes. 

Summary 

So, as you can see, the main thing to remember is that Allah’s tests are different to worldly tests in many ways. They are much more complex. Tests from Allah can come in the form or trials as well as blessings too. Allah’s tests are a means of showing His qualities of Justice and Mercy.

On the surface, they may seem like negative things, but in fact, they are an opportunity for self growth and development too so come with many benefits on the other side. 

May Allah guide you and make things easy for you. May He never test you beyond what you can bare and may you find comfort in remembering Him.

Salam,

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Hannah Morris
Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)