Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
I listened to a video answer by Sh. Abdur-Rahim Reasat about being tested beyond what one can handle.
If a person suffers such a test, would they be accountable for what they say or do? I’m asking because several people I know have suffered horribly (loss of loved ones, abuse, miscarriages/infertility, etc.).
So I’m getting this doubt: if it’s beyond a person’s God-given ability to be patient, does God also punish them for not being patient? Wouldn’t that be setting a person up for failure?
I pray you are well.
Allah does not set anyone up for failure. Allah sets us up for success. Always. Everything that happens to us has great wisdom behind it. All trials have their benefits too.
If someone could not be patient in a test, they would still have their bad deeds wiped away. Some scholars have said that just living through a trial is a means of getting rewarded.
Sometimes, people are pushed beyond what they can handle, and they are overwhelmed to the point that they cannot show strength and fortitude at that moment. Perhaps making them feel like they are at their lowest before Allah raises them and changes matters entirely for them.
For example, Maryam was at her lowest when giving birth due to the combination of the difficulty of childbirth with the emotional pain of the situation and the anxiety of what would be said about her. She wished for death. Yet, she ended up being one of the most blessed beings in existence: the mother of one of the greatest of the Prophets (peace and blessings be on them all), along with her virtues.
Allah is the All-Merciful
Allah would not punish someone for not being able to bear a trial. We, Believers, have the best opinion of Allah, and that is that He is highly merciful to His servants.
Only sins are deserving of punishment. An example of this would be accusing Allah of having done something wrong to you (We ask Allah’s refuge from that). That is a sin (Birgivi, al Tariqa al Muhammadiyya).
This is very different from someone being temporarily placed in a situation they cannot handle. Most of the tests we face are situations we can handle because through our responses and choices, we draw closer to Allah.
Everything You Experience Is What’s Best For You
The tests of life are aimed at bringing out your best qualities and manifesting your highest potential. They are not a means to make people slip so they can be punished. It’s not like a trick question.
This is what the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) indicated when he said, “[I am truly] amazed at the affair of the Believer. Everything that happens to him is the best, and that is not the case for anyone but the Believer. If good times come to him, he is grateful, and that is better for him. If hard times come to him, he is patient, and that is better for him. (Muslim)
May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History, he moved to Damascus in 2007, where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital. He was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.