About the Sufferings of the Pious in the World
Source: Ain-al-Hayat, By: Allama Muhammad Baqir Majlisi
It is narrated from Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) that the prophet of Islam (S) said: For great suffering, man gets equally rewarded by Allah. When Allah considers a person His friend, he puts him to severe test too. If the person confronts those hardships with patience and forbearance, he would receive Allah’s Help. If the person doesn’t resign to the Will of Allah, his suffering will be the more.
Abdallah bin Bakr asked Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as), “Can a pious Mu’min ever suffer from leprosy and other serious ailments?” The Imam (as) replied, “Hardships are only for testing the Mu’mins.” Then he added, “Allah has taken a promise from the Mu’mins that their wishes will not be granted in this world and their enemies will therefore not be punished here. The Mu’min may have to bear several indignities in his lifetime.” And said: A Mu’min will not be free of four things: First: He will always have a nagging neighbor. Second: The Satan will shadow the Mu’min at every step to misguide him. Third: The hypocrite will look to the chance of exposing the Mu’min’s faults. Fourth: The Mu’min will have jealous people around him. This will be the most difficult aspect of a Mu’min’s life. The jealous would make false allegations against him and the others in the society would accept those as true.
The prophet of Islam (S) has said, “Allah says, ‘If it was not that I would feel ashamed of the Mu’min, I wouldn’t have left even the tattered clothes on his body. When I see that a person has become perfect in piety, I involve him in weakness and economic hardship. If he gets disheartened, I give back what was taken away from him. But if he is patient and forbearing in his suffering, I boast about him to the angels!”
The Prophet of Islam (S) said, “O Abu Dharr! The world is hell for the Mu’min and heaven for the infidel!”
The higher the status of the Faith of a Mu’min, the more shall be his suffering and hardships.
Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as) said, “Those who had maximum hardship have been the Prophets (as). Then followed their Vicegerents. The hardships and sufferings have been so close to the Mu’mins as the rain is to the earth.” Then the Imam (as) added, “If a Mu’min locks himself in an invincible fort, Allah will create the instrument to cause hardship to him for the purpose of enhancing his rewards!”
Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (as) says that Allah sent two angels to the earth. They met each other halfway to the destination. One asked the other why Allah had sent him to the earth? The other asked the first, why he has been sent? The first angel said, “In Babel a sinner has wished to have fish. I have been ordered to snare the fish towards the net of the fisherman in the Babel Sea so that the wish of that cruel person is fulfilled and he gets his heart’s fill of whatever he wants in this world only.”
Then he asked the second angel, “what is your errand?” The second angel said, “I have been ordered to perform a very unusual task! A pious Mu’min keeps himself busy in prayer the whole night and fasts during the days. His piety is the subject of adulation amongst the inmates of the Firmament! At this moment he has put a pot on the fire to cook his broth for breaking the fast. I have to go and turn that pot over. The purpose is that the Mu’min gets closer to Allah from more hardship caused to him!”
Samaa Ravi narrates that a person went to Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) and complained of his penury and hardship. The Imam (as) said, “Be patient! Allah shall soon give you relief!” After a while it was known that the person was an inmate of the gaol at Kufa. He said, “I have been incarcerated in a very narrow and stinking cell. “The Imam (as) said, “The world for a Mu’min is like a gaol. Then why do you crave for comfort and happiness. There are also people in this world who Allah deprives of the comforts that He sends for them. Whatever hardship comes, it comes to them!” Then the Imam (as) added, “Ourselves, you and all our Shi’as are for facing hardships day and night!”
Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (as) said, “When Allah holds a person dear, gives him a plunge into the river of hardship. When he prays, Allah says, ‘O My creature! What you have asked for, I am Omnipotent to bestow on you! I can give you more than you have asked for! But the rewards and Bounties that I have in store for you are far better than all the pleasures of the world!’”
Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) says that a Mu’min doesn’t spend forty days when a new difficulty does not confront him. In fact, he is not a Mu’min who is free of all worldly difficulties!
The Imam (as) said: A person invited the Prophet (S) over a meal. When the fare was laid in the courtyard of the house, the Prophet (S) looked towards the wall of the house. He noticed a pigeon has laid an egg that was resting on the top of the wall. And thus was saved. He told to the host, “Your pigeon has laid an egg that is lying safely on the top of the wall!” The man said, “O Allah’s Prophet (S)! What is there to be surprised about that? I swear by the Creator, Allah, that in my entire life I have not suffered any loss!”
When the Prophet (S) heard this, he got up and said, “I cannot share a meal with a person who has never suffered any loss whatsoever during his entire life! I do this because you have no contact with Allah and you don’t possess any quality. A Mu’min, even if he is comparatively comfortable in the world, will be in difficulty when compared with the comforts he would enjoy in the Hereafter! Even if a Mu’min is given the entire world, the status that awaits him in the Hereafter is far superior to what is available to him in this life! In comparison this world is like the Hell for a Mu’min. Similarly if an infidel is involved in all the worldly hardships, his life here will be like living in the heaven when compared with the hardships that he would bear in the Hereafter.”
Imam Hasan (as), attired in expensive raiment, was riding along on a horse accompanied by his companions on steeds too! On the way an old Jewish woodcutter met him and said, “O son of the Prophet (S)! Your ancestor said that the world is Hell for the Mu’min and heaven for the kafir. I see that you are astride a grand Arab steed wearing expensive garments. You are enjoying comforts and I am living in sheer penury!” The Imam (as) replied, “If you witness my status and condition in the Hereafter, you will realize that this world is worst than a jail for me! If you witness your own position in the Hereafter, you would think that this life is like enjoying the comforts of the Heaven!”