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The Difference Between Punishment and Trials

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN

PUNISHMENTS AND TRIALS

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Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid

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Punishments are what happen to
people in return for their evil deeds.
Trials are tests which are sent to
try people, and people may be tested
by good things or by bad.
Concerning punishments,
Allah says
(interpretation of the meaning):

“Whatever of good reaches you,
is from ALLAAH, but whatever of
evil befalls you, is from yourself…�

[Al-Nisa’ 4:79]
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Concerning the phrase
“is from yourself�, Qutaadah said:
“[It means] the punishment
is for you, O son of Adam, because
of your sin.�
Abu Saalih said that “whatever of evil
befalls you, is from yourself� means
“because of your sin, and I [Allah] am

The One Who decreed it for you.�


(Tafseer Ibn Katheer).
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Allah also says
(interpretation of the meaning):
“And whatever of
misfortune befalls you, it is because
of what your hands have earned.
And HE pardons much.�

[Al-Shoora 42:30]
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Ibn Katheer, may Allah have
mercy on him, said:“[It means]
whatever misfortune happens
to you, O people, is because of
evil deeds that you have already
done, and ‘HE pardons much’
refers to evil deeds – HE does not
punish you for them but
HE pardons them.
‘And if ALLAAH were to punish men
for that which they earned, he would
not leave a moving (living) creature
on the surface of the earth…’


[Faatir 35:45-

interpretation of the meaning].�

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Concerning trials, the Prophet
(PBUH) said:
“If Allah loves a people, HE
tries them and whoever has patience
will have patience and whoever is
anxious will be anxious.�

(Reported by Imaam Ahmad;
Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1706).
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The Prophet (PBUH) also said:
“The extent of the reward will be in
accordance with the extent of the trial.
If Allah loves a people,
HE tries them, and whoever is
content will have contentment, and
whoever is angry will have anger.�


(Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 2320;
Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2210).
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The following outlines how one may tell
whether a given event is a punishment
or a trial:
If the misfortune results from doing
an act of obedience to Allah,
such as being wounded in jihaad,
or losing money when migrating for
the sake of Allah.
or losing a job because of becoming
Muslim
or increasing one’s commitment to
Islam,then this is a trial.
Whoever bears it with patience

will be rewarded, but if one reacts angrily

then one will earn the wrath of Allah.

If the misfortune results from sin,
such as sexually-transmitte d diseases
or illnesses caused by drinking alcohol
and taking drugs, and so on, then this is
the kind of punishment that comes in
this world (as opposed to being deferred
until the Hereafter).

If the misfortune is connected neither
to a good deed nor a sin – such as other
kinds of disease and sickness,
losing a child, or failing in business
then it depends on the person’s
situation.
If he is good and devout,it is a trial,
and if he is sinful, it is a punishment.

The misfortune may be a punishment
to atone for sins, or it may be a trial
aimed at raising a person’s status
and increasing his hasanaat
(good deeds/rewards)
this may be determined by whether
a person is obedient or disobedient.

A person should not praise himself,
rather he should criticize himself for
his shortcomings and strive to attain

perfection.
He will benefit from misfortunes in
any case, if he has patience and
hopes for reward.
And Allah knows best.

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"MAY ALLAH BLESS US ALWAYS AND
KEEP OUR IMAN STRONG AND FIRM
AND MAY WE
FACE DEATH IN KHUSNUL KHATIMAH.
AAMMEEN, AAMEEN YA RABBAL
'ALAMEEN".

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