Situations where steadfastness is required
There are many such situations, which need to be discussed in detail, but we can only list them in brief here.
Times of trial and tribulation
Trials and tribulations can cause the heart to change. Whether they are the trials of ease or of hardship, only those who have understanding and whose hearts are filled with faith can remain steadfast.
Among the different types of trials are:
- The trial of wealth. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And of them are some who made a covenant with Allaah (saying): ‘If He bestowed on us of His Bounty, we will verily give charity and will be certainly among those who are righteous. Then when He gave them of His Bounty, they became niggardly, and turned away, averse.” [al-Tawbah 9:75-76]
- The trial of worldly power and authority. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And keep yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord morning and afternoon, seeking His Face, and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who follows his own lusts and whose affair (deeds) has been lost.” [al-Kahf 18:28].
Concerning the danger of these two types of trial, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Two hungry wolves sent against the sheep could not do more damage to them than the damage done by a man’s eagerness for wealth and power to his religion.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 3/460; see also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5496). The meaning is that a man’s desire for wealth and power will do more damage to his religion than the damage done by two hungry wolves to a flock of sheep.
- The trial of one's wife. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you (i.e., may stop you from the obedience of Allaah), therefore beware of them!…” [al-Taghaabun 64:14]
- The trial of children. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Children are the cause of cowardice, the cause of stinginess and the cause of grief.” (Reported by Abu Ya’laa, 2/305 – it also has corroborating reports. See also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7037).
- The trial of persecution, oppression and injustice. Allaah has described this in the most evocative terms in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): “Cursed were the people of the ditch, fire supplied (abdunantly) with fuel, when they sat by it (the fire), and they witnessed what they were doing against the believers (i.e., burning them). They had nothing against them, except that they believed in Allaah, the All-Mighty, Worthy of all Praise! To Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth! And Allaah is Witness over everything.” [al-Burooj 85:4-9]
Al-Bukhaari reported from Khabbaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: “We complained to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he was reclining on his cloak in the shade of the Ka’bah. He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Among the people who came before you, there was a man who was taken and put into a hole dug for him in the earth, then a saw was put on his head and he was cut into two pieces, and an iron comb was used to tear the flesh from his bones, but this still did not turn him away from his religion.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see Fath al-Baari, 12/315).
- The trial of the Dajjaal (“antichrist”), which is the greatest trial in this world. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O people, there has never been any fitnah (trial) on the face of the earth since Allaah created Adam greater than the trial of the Dajjaal… O slaves of Allaah, O people, stand firm, for I shall describe him to you in a way that no Prophet before me has described him…” (Reported by Ibn Maajah, 2/1359; see Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7752).