You will be tested with good and evil

Everyone is going to taste death, and We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good, and to Us you will be returned.

[Qur’aan 21:35 – Translation Muhsin Khan]


This Verse is evidence that we are tested by both evil and good.



What evil are we tested by?


When we are put into a situation which we dislike, we are being tested by evil. Regarding this Verse Imaam Al-Tabari notes Ibn Zaid as saying:

نبلوهم بما يحبون وبما يكرهون

We will test them with that which they love and with that which they detest.



Things we dislike include, but are not limited to:


  • Death of a loved one
  • Loss of wealth
  • Fear
  • Illness
  • Hunger


Allaah says:


And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,

[Qur’aan 2:155 – Translation by Sahih International]




What good are we tested by?


When we are given something we love, then that is the good we are tested by. Reconsider what Imaam Al-Tabari quoted Ibn Zaid as saying:


نبلوهم بما يحبون وبما يكرهون

We will test them with that which they love and with that which they detest.



Other good things with which we may be given and tested by include, as Imaam Al-Tabari points out, are:


  • Hope
  • Good health
  • Lots of wealth
  • Permissible things
  • Obedience
  • Guidance



What is one to do when one is tested by evil?


Be patient.


Allaah says:


And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,

[Qur’aan 2:155]

Who, when disaster strikes them, say, "Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return."

[Qur’aan 2:156]

Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.

[Qur’aan 2:157]




What is one to do when one is tested by good?


The Verses in the Qur'aan explain others. Consider the case of Sulaimaan (peace be upon him):


Said one who had knowledge from the Scripture, "I will bring it to you before your glance returns to you." And when [Solomon] saw it placed before him, he said, "This is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed, my Lord is Free of need and Generous."

[Qur’aan 27:40]



When Allaah blesses you with something, you need to be grateful. You need to be thankful. That is why Imaam Al-Tabari quotes Ibn Zaid, in his Tafsiir, as saying:


نختبرهم بذلك لننظر كيف شكرهم فيما يحبون، وكيف صبرهم فيما يكرهون

We test them with that to see how they are thankful in regards to that which they love and how they show patience in regards to that which they dislike.


Ibn Kathiir writes in his Tafsiir:


نختبركم بالمصائب تارة ، وبالنعم أخرى ، لننظر من يشكر ومن يكفر

We test you with problems at times and with blessings at other times to see who is thankful and who disbelieves.



What happens when we are patient and thankful?


When you are patient you are rewarded without account. Allaah says:


Say, "O My servants who have believed, fear your Lord. For those who do good in this world is good, and the earth of Allah is spacious. Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account."

[Qur’aan 39:10]



And when you are thankful, Allaah increases His blessings:

And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.' "

[Qur’aan 14:7]


Imaam Al-Qurtubi writes in his Tafsiir:


والآية نص في أن الشكر سبب المزيد

The Verse is Nass in respect to the fact that being grateful is a cause for in crease [in blessings].



How does one show gratefulness and give thanks?



وشكر النعمة يكون بالقلب واللسان والجوارح، وبعدم صرفها فيما لا يرضي الله تعالى

Being thankful for a blessing is by means of the heart, tongue, limbs, and by not using it in a way which displeases Allaah.


Imaam Al-Qurtubi said:


وسئل بعض الصلحاء عن الشكر لله فقال: ألا تتقوى بنعمه على معاصيه

A pious was asked about being thankful to Allaah, thereupon he said: [Being thankful] means that you do not become strong and adamant, because of the blessing [you received], to indulge in disobedience. [End Quote]



Being thankful to Allaah means that one is thankful by means of the heart, tongue, and limbs.


Being thankful by the heart means that you believe that this blessing you received  was only because of the blessing of Allaah upon you.



As Allaah has said:


And whatever you have of favor – it is from Allah. Then when adversity touches you, to Him you cry for help.

[Qur’aan 16:53 – Translation Sahih International]


Being thankful by means of the tongue means that one mention the blessing which Allaah bestowed upon him for the purpose of annexing it with Him and not with the intention of being proud and haughty over others. Allaah says:


And as for the favor of your Lord, do announce (it).

[Qur’aan 93:11 – Translation Shaakir]


Being thankful by means of the limbs means that one uses the blessings he is blessed with in the obedience of Allaah as Allaah says:


"Work, O family of David, in gratitude."

[Qur’aan 34:13]


Similarly being thankful also entails spending this blessing in a manner which pleases Allaah.  

And by staying away from those things which Allaah has made impermissible.


As for how does one spend charity for the Face of Allaah, it is by means of taking out ones wealth and giving it to the poor and those in need seeking reward from Allaah. [Thanking by means of the heart, tongue, and limbs]




What if one fears jealousy when publicly speaking of the blessing one received?


If one fears the evil eye and the jealousy of the people, then he should speak in general terms about the blessings Allaah has bestowed upon him and not specifically mention the blessing.


Al-Manaawi said: The subject matter of this narration is so long as one does not fear the harm of jealousy on the blessing which he makes public mention of. And if one fears that if he mentions his blessing then it will be harmed by jealousy, then it is best he hides his blessing. [I want to mention the blessing of Allaah but I fear jealousy]




If you are not thankful then you disbelieve. What does this disbelief mean?


When one attributes the blessing he has received to anyone other than Allaah than he has indulged in disbelief.


It is reported on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that there was (once) a downpour during the life of the Apostle (may peace and blessings be upon him Upon this the Apostle (may peace and blessings be upon him) observed:

Some people entered the morning with gratitude [believerws] and some with ingratitude [kaafirs] (to Allah). Those who entered with gratitude said: This is the blessing of Allah, and those who entered with ingratitude said: Such and such asterism was right. It was upon this that the verse was revealed: "Then I swear by the setting of the stars" until the portion which reads " And instead (of thanking Allah) for the provision He gives you, on the contrary, you deny Him (by disbelief)."

[Sahih Muslim Hadith No. 73]

The word used in the Hadith is Kaafir. It has been translated as ingratitude.



أُطْلِق في الحديث لفظ الكفر على من نسب المطر إلى النجوم والأنواء ، وذلك في قوله : ( وأما من قال : مُطرْنا بنوء كذا وكذا فذلك كافر بي مؤمن بالكوكب ) ، والحكم بذلك يختلف بحسب قصد القائل واعتقاده ،

The Hadith has used the word Kaafir without restriction to refer to the one who attributes rain to the stars. The legislative ruling regarding such a person differs with the difference in the intent and belief of the person saying it.


  فإن كان يعتقد أن النجوم هي الفاعلة والمنزلة للمطر من دون الله عز وجل ، أو دعاها من دون الله طلباً للسقيا ، فهذا من الشرك الأكبر المخرج من الملَّة

If a person believes that the stars are the ones actually sending down the rain to the exclusion of Allaah or if one calls upon to them to the exclusion of Allaah seeking rain, then this is Major Shirk which puts one outside the fold of Islaam.


وإن كان يعتقد ويقر بأن الذي خلق المطر وأنزله هو الله عز وجل ، ولكنه جعل هذه الأنواء سبباً في نزوله ، فهذا من باب الكفر الأصغر الذي لا يخرج من الملَّة ، ومن كفر النعمة وعدم شكرها


But if one believes and attests that the One who created and sent down the rain is Allaah, and He made the means to send down the rain, then it would be minor kufr which does not take one out of the fold of Islaam and would come under the heading of disbelieving in the blessing of Allaah and not being thankful for it. [A slave of mine woke up a believer and one woke up a kaafir]