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Why Difficult Times? 7 Verses Tell the Answer

2. {When is the victory and the support of Allah?…} (Al-Baqarah 2:214)

This statement was made by a group of believers and their messenger when they were touched by difficulty and they were shaken on their path to Allah.

Allah said to His Messenger, to the believers, and to all humanity that the path to Allah is full of these tough times:

{Or do you think that you would enter the garden while yet the state of those who have passed away before you has not come upon you; distress and affliction befell them and they were shaken violently, so that the Messenger and those who believed with him said: When will the help of Allah come? Now surely the help of Allah is near!} (Al-Baqarah 2:214)

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As the verse reiterates that it is inevitable to face difficulty, it brings the readers’ attention to three important beliefs:

1) Victory belongs to Allah,

2) It is very near,

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3) Call upon Him to bring it about.

Difficulties help attach the believers to Allah in a comprehensive way. Their hearts will be attached to Him and their hopes will only be in Him. Difficult times nurture tawhid in the hearts of the believers in ways not possible at the times of ease.

3. {And to help purge the believers…} (Aal `Imran 3:141) 

After the battle of Uhud when a partial defeat happened to the Muslim army, verses came down on the believers to comfort them, correct their mistakes, analyze the event, and explain what happened.

It was really a tough time that Allah described it by the word mosibah (calamity). While explaining the reason for Allah to allow such a calamity to happen to His beloved Prophet and his companions, He said {And to help purge the believers …}

The believers needed it and it indeed did purge them. It purged each individual from all impurities. It purged them from the love of this dunia, the main reason for their defeat. It purged them from the thought of turning away from supporting the truth. It purged them from the sins they possessed prior to the difficulty.

Allah calls those trials fitnah. The linguistic meaning of the word implies the use of fire. Fitnah is tough as fire is. Fire can’t damage gold. It only purifies it and makes it more beautiful. Similarly, Fitnah can’t damage the believers. It only purifies them.

Another important aspect of this ‘purging’ is when the believers ask about the reason for calamities. Allah brings their attention to the most important reason: {It has come about by your own selves} (Aal `Imran 3:165).

This helps the believers to look into themselves, improve their performance, and fix their mistakes.

4. {And to know those who are hypocrites …} (Aal `Imran 3:167) 

In addition to the individual level, the other form of purging is on the group level. Allah said, also while talking about the battle of Uhud,

{And what happened to you when the two armies met is by the Will of Allah and to know the believers. And to know those who are hypocrites…} (Aal `Imran 3:166-167)

Hypocrites exist in almost every society. They claim to side with the truth and they work so hard to deceive people. When the battle of Badr happened and Allah granted a great victory to His Messenger, a group of hypocrites emerged. The presence of such a group in any society can damage it. They look for worldly benefits and have no interest in supporting the truth. Often times, they actually side against the truth and fight it from within.

The times after the battle of Badr reminds us with the times after the Arab revolutions happened and gained partial success. Everyone sided with the revolution including those who aggressively opposed it. However, when the revolutions started facing difficulties and it became obvious that no worldly gain is going to be achieved, many people went back to opposing it. Hypocrisy is not necessarily in faith. It is also in character. Difficult times disclose all types of hypocrites and protect the society from their harm.

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