Tests help develop our souls
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Because human minds are far more developed now than say 1400 years ago, our tests are expected to be mostly mental (3:111,120,173). However, examples of physical tests could include injuries, difficulties, and health issues. We are given the example of Abraham (who never was an idol worshiper, 2:135), who was humbly hopeful of being forgiven for his sins by God. When he did get sick, he acknowledged that it was God who healed him (26:80). God provides the provisions for healing our bodies and souls (38:42; 16:69; 41:44, etc.).
God’s tests are never unreasonable and He never burdens any soul beyond its means (2:286). Nor does He impose on any soul more than He has given it. Instead, God provides ease after difficulty. God also diverts evil and sin from us and thus its consequences (12:24; 19:96; 65:2-5, 7). God directs us to glorify and commemorate Him to come ever closer and closer to Him (73:8). We are to compete in righteousness (2:148; 5:48), and eagerly race towards forgiveness and Paradise (3:133) whose width encompasses the heavens and the earth; it awaits the righteous. Let us compare this unimaginably beautiful and eternal reward with winning an Olympic medal. For a medal, humans invest years of tough efforts for physical development. Further, a gold medal and associated fame may create a tougher test with risks of pride and ego unconsciously becoming our god. In the Hereafter, the only value of a medal is how much we remembered and appreciated God or strove in His way due to that medal. In the long run, which is the more important race?
Our races towards righteousness, forgiveness and Paradise have to be only to please God, pursue His pleasure and observe all His commandments. It is not to impress or please even our
family of believers. God’s Mercy provides not just one gold, silver and bronze winner for each race! If one decides to enter the race and steadfastly stays in it with sincerity and absolute faith in God alone, then God takes over and starts training him or her. Everyone is a winner although there will be different levels or ranges of “winning”
God starts rewarding us in this world as we progress and pass the admission tests—the series of which conclude with a final test (24:55). This is a polishing process, and it takes a lot of work to get a polished gem. He blesses us with signs, mathematical and otherwise, that we are under His protection and training. God wants us to continuously improve, be toughened and be purified spiritually. God wants to redeem us—by our choosing Him as our only Lord and Master during our life-long chance (35:37, 46:20, etc.). We know specifically that God is compassionate towards His worshipers who dedicate and devote their lives to God and serving Him (2:207, 9:111, 6:162, 25:77, 51:56, etc.). We need to continue to reverence God and implore Him, and Ma Sha Allah—God responds (2:186), as He did for Joseph (12:23-24), Job (21:83-84), Jonah (21:87-88), and Zachariah (21:89-90).
God, in His infinite mercy, regards the righteous works of believers as “loans of righteousness” to Him that He multiplies manifold for a generous recompense (57:11). He showers us with His love. If we reverence God, and trust Him, He makes everything easy for us. (The words “reverence” / “reverent” occur over 100 times in the Quran.) Even through the polishing process of tests, we must never despair of God’s mercy (39:53). But we have to also remember that all our righteous works will be nullified if we try to hedge any of our stakes, reject faith or lose our priorities (5:5; 9:69; 11:15-6; 16:94,107; 17:18; 39:54, etc.).
Ahmed C. / India
Information on Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth lunar month in the Islamic calendar. Submitters (Muslims) all over the world fast each day of this month from dawn to the sunset.
Ramadan and Blessings
God revealed the Quran into Muhammad’s memory during the month of Ramadan in the Night of Power (17:1, 44:3, 97:1-5). It was then gradually released from his memory in accordance with God’s will and written down by him with the help of Gabriel over a period of 23 years. Therefore Ramadan is a very special month for Submitters.
Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. God wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify God for guiding you, and to express your appreciation. (2:185)
Although the Quran was revealed through Prophet Muhammad, fasting (and other practices of Islam) did not start with Muhammad. God teaches us in the Quran that they all started with Prophet Abraham. Muhammad was a follower of Abraham to whom God taught the religious duties the Submitters practice today (2:128). All the messengers and prophets who followed Abraham, including Moses and Jesus, observed these religious practices. They were also called Submitters. (2:132, 3:52, 5:111, 7:126, 10:84, 51:36, …)
The religious practices instituted by God are blessings from God. If we can practice our religious duties as we are supposed to, we get many benefits. Furthermore, these practices allow us to be more conscious of God in our lives. They essentially constitute the nourishment required
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