A kind friend of mine who visited me at my home about a month ago gave me a book entitled "Bila Allah Menduga Kita" (When Allah Tests Us) by Syed Alwi Alatas, a very eye-opening book about trials and tribulations in life.
A highly recommended book for all.
Having read the book, I sat down, pondered, and found out yet another blessing in disguise in my encounter with cancer. A blessing I find very exemplary of Allah's mercy to His creation.
In the Quran, Allah mentions in many verses about testing the Believers with deficiencies, such as being afflicted with illness and poverty.
We will surely put you to trial by involving you in fear and hunger and by causing loss of property, life and earnings. [Al-Baqarah:155]
These deficiencies in health and poverty are not meant to burden His servants, rather they serve as a mean to differentiate between those who sincerely are Believers and those who are merely liars.
Do the people think that they will be left alone after they have once said, "We have believed," and they will not be tested? [Al-Ankabut:2]
The fact is that we have put to test all those who have gone before them. Surely, Allah has to see who are the truthful and who the liars. [Al-Ankabut:3]
*When one becomes ill, he seeks for Allah's help. When one becomes poor, she strives to be closer to Allah.
*If previously one prays only his 5 obligatory prayers in a day, he now adds on the rawatib prayers and qiamullail.
*If previously one only recites a page of the Quran in a day, the pages recited now doubles and she adds the recitation of al-Mathurat on top of her daily Quranic readings.
*If previously one supplicates to Allah without even understanding the words muttered, he now makes the effort to know the mafhum (meaning) of the du'a recited.
These are how trials via the form of loss of health and wealth can turn people into. Allah gives them illness and poverty, somehow as a catalyst to turn them into more pious and thankful servants of Him.
In simple terms, illness, poverty, loss of lives are what I see as so-called 'tangible trials' by Allah. I believe that every human being is actually being put by Allah into their respective trials. Only that some people's trials are 'intangible'.
If I'm being honest, I am more afraid of these 'intangible trials'. What do I mean by 'intangible trials'?
Wealth. Good health. Fame.
These are the sort of things I see as the so-called 'intangible trials'. They are still trials by Allah, only that we can't feel the 'hardship' nature of the test.
**How many people out there who were once very pious, yet when they become rich, they turn their backs against Allah and claims that all their wealth are due to their own makings?!
**Or those who are never bothered to take care of their obligatory prayers just because they are never ill and therefore don't feel the need to ask from Allah?!
Man is such that when a little affliction touches him, he calls upon Us, and when We bestow Our favor on him, he says, "I have been given this because of my knowledge!" Nay, it is a trial, but most of them do not know. [Az-Zumar:49]
I remind myself firstly, and others. Let us not emulate the Pharaoh and Qarun. Arrogant and mindless of their God's presence when Allah puts them into the intangible trials of wealth and good health.
That is why I sometimes thank Allah again and again for putting me in such trial, a tangible trial, a trial that I hope should lead me towards becoming a better servant of Him.
And that, is the blessing in disguise.