Trials and tribulations can cause the heart to change. Whether they are the trials of ease or of hardship, only those who have understanding and whose hearts are filled with faith can remain steadfast.
Among the different types of trials are:
The trial of wealth. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And of them are some who made a covenant with Allah (saying): ‘If He bestowed on us of His Bounty, we will verily give charity and will be certainly among those who are righteous. Then when He gave them of His Bounty, they became niggardly, and turned away, averse.”[Al-Qur’an 9: 75-76]
The trial of worldly power and authority. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And keep yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord morning and afternoon, seeking His Face, and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who follows his own lusts and whose affair (deeds) has been lost.”[Al-Qur’an 18:28]
Concerning the danger of these two types of trial, the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: “Two hungry wolves sent against the sheep could not do more damage to them than the damage done by a man’s eagerness for wealth and power to his religion.” [Reported by Imam Ahmad in Al-Musnaf, 3/460; see also Sahih Al-Jami’, 5496] The meaning is that a man’s desire for wealth and power will do more damage to his religion than the damage done by two hungry wolves to a flock of sheep.
The trial of one’s wife. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): ” … Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you (i.e., may stop you from the obedience of Allah), therefore beware of them!”[Al-Qur’an 64:14]
The trial of children. The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: “Children are the cause of cowardice, the cause of stinginess and the cause of grief.”[Reported by Abu Ya’la, 2/305 – it also has corroborating reports. See also Sahih Al-Jami’, 7037]
The trial of persecution, oppression and injustice. Allah has described this in the most evocative terms in the Qur’an (interpretation of the meaning): “Cursed were the people of the ditch, fire supplied (abdunantly) with fuel, when they sat by it (the fire), and they witnessed what they were doing against the believers (i.e., burning them). They had nothing against them, except that they believed in Allah, the All-Mighty, Worthy of all Praise! To Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth! And Allah is Witness over everything.”[Al-Qu’an 85: 4-9]
Al-Bukhari reported from Khabbab (RadhiAllahu Anhu) who said: “We complained to the Messenger of Allah (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) when he was reclining on his cloak in the shade of the Ka’bah. He (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:’Among the people who came before you, there was a man who was taken and put into a hole dug for him in the earth, then a saw was put on his head and he was cut into two pieces, and an iron comb was used to tear the flesh from his bones, but this still did not turn him away from his religion.’ “[Reported by Al-Bukhari, See Fath Al-Bari, 12/315]
The trial of the Dajjal (Antichrist), which is the greatest trial in this world. The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: “O people, there has never been any fitnah (trial) on the face of the earth since Allah created Adam greater than the trial of the Dajjal … O slaves of Allah, O people, stand firm, for I shall describe him to you in a way that no Prophet before me has described him … “[Reported by Ibn Majah, 2/1359; Sahih Al-Jami’, 7752]
With regard to the heart and the trials it is subjected to, the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“Hearts are exposed to trials one after the other. Any heart that succumbs to them is stained with a black spot, and any heart that resists them becomes pure white, until all hearts of one of these two types. The white heart is intensely white and will not be harmed by any trial so long as heaven and earth remain, and the black heart is intensely black and does not recognize good or forbid evil, except what suits its own whims and desires.”[Reported by Imam Ahmad, 5/386, and by Muslim, 1/128 – this version was narrated by Muslim]
O Allah, make our hearts pure white and count us among successful whom you save from the trials. O Allah, we ask you to make us adhere to Islam with determination and wisdom. And the end of our prayer is: praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.