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Invocation of God and Tests

Invocation of God and Tests

Published in Arabic in July 25, 2016

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

Introduction:

 We have received this urgent email message from a young girl who has asked us to answer her question in an article form as her question is in the minds of most youths in the high-school stage and about to enter Egyptian universities. Let us quote her message below first and then our reply to her.

 

 (… Please Dr. Mansour answer my message as soon as you can … I have just finished high-school exams and received its certificate, and the results has shown that my grades are 95% but I do not feel happy with it; in fact, I am so sad and shocked … I kept asking myself, where is the mercy of God?! I implored Him in my daily prayers for months that I want to get grades high enough to make me enroll in the Faculty of Medicine, but God did not grant me this wish because I did not got the grades of this faculty, 97% ... Why did this happen to me?! Why God did not grant me my wish to please me as well as to please my ill mother?! He knows all about us and our lives and wishes … why am I deprived of such happiness of becoming a medical doctor?! I know that God knows what is best for me, but I am still very sad, depressed, desperate, and shocked ...)

 

This is our reply:

Firstly:

 Our dear daughter, may God please you and all your family members, and we implore and supplicate Him to grant you guidance in faith and a happy life and to heal your mother. As a father, we feel keenly tour suffering and disappointment, as you are in the prime of your youth, and within such a phase of life, an adolescent knows no patience at all. Because of lack of life experience, adolescents might fluctuate between true faith and doubts cast over their religious beliefs. We want here to tell you briefly about 1) life tests, trials, and tribulations as ordeals sent to test our fortitude and 2) invocation and supplication of God and how He answers them.

 

Tests:

1- Life is God's test for humanity, and life tests include both adversities and prosperity, or what we call or deem as evil and good: "Every soul will taste death. We burden you with adversity and prosperity-a test. And to Us you will be returned." (21:35). What we deem good might be bad and vice versa: "…it may be that you dislike something while it is good for you, and it may be that you like something while it is bad for you. God knows, and you do not know." (2:216). 

2- In life tests, stances of human beings differ as per their degrees of faith within their hearts. The vast majority of people are errant and misguided, and the Quranic expression for them is ''man'', and they assume wrongly that times of prosperity are signs indicating that God is satisfied with them, while adversities are God's way for insulting to them: "As for man, whenever his Lord tests him, and honors him, and prospers him, he says, "My Lord has honored me." But whenever He tests him, and restricts his livelihood for him, he says, "My Lord has insulted me."" (89:15-16). There are people who worship God conditionally; they implore Him to grant them their wishes, and if not granted, they disbelieve in God: "And among the people is he who worships God on edge. When something good comes his way, he is content with it. But when an ordeal strikes him, he makes a turnaround. He loses this world and the next. That is the obvious loss." (22:11). Most human beings feel arrogant about times of prosperity, and they collapse in times of adversity and lose faith: "Man never tires of praying for good things; but when adversity afflicts him, he despairs and loses hope. And when We let him taste a mercy from Us, after the adversity that had afflicted him, he will say, "This is mine, and I do not think that the Hour is coming; and even if I am returned to my Lord, I will have the very best with Him." We will inform those who disbelieve of what they did, and We will make them taste an awful punishment. When We provide comfort for man, he withdraws and distances himself; but when adversity befalls him, he starts lengthy prayers." (41:49-51). Those passing these tests of adversity successfully are the ones who choose faith and obeying God; see 70:19-35.

3- Adversities and tribulations are tests sent to as inevitable fate, and the divine inevitabilities ordained by God on humanity are birth, death, earnings, and ordeals; thus, many calamites are bound to happen to us without our interference, and they are ordained to occur to us before our birth, and we are not to feel overjoyed in times of prosperity nor overwhelmed with sorrow in times of adversity: "Say, "Nothing will happen to us except what God has ordained for us; He is our Protector." In God let the faithful put their trust." (9:51), "No calamity occurs on earth, or in your souls, but it is in a Book, even before We make it happen. That is easy for God. That you may not sorrow over what eludes you, nor exult over what He has given you. God does not love the proud snob." (57:22-23). We have no choice in preordained share of calamities bound to occur to us, but we are free to believe or disbelieve, to obey or disobey, to feel thankful to times of prosperity and to be patient in times of trials and ordeals, or to feel repulsed by calamities and lose faith in God and to feel ungrateful toward Him in times of prosperity. Here lies the individual responsibility and the basis of judgment in the Last Day, resulting in either Hell or Paradise. In a nutshell, if people would obey God's Quran commands by being patient and grateful, they will pass life tests successfully; if they would feel indignant and lose faith and belief in God, they will flunk life tests. Hence, believers must feel patient in times of adversity and grateful in times of prosperity to be among winners in the Hereafter in Paradise, while losers who become indignant and lose faith and belief in God will lose their souls in Hell for eternity. Such tests are inevitable to all people, with different results and stances of each individual.

 

Secondly: invocation and supplication of God:

1- There are those who invoke and supplicate saints and dead persons made holy after their death, including prophets, and this sin is mentioned by God: "If you pray to them, they cannot hear your prayer. And even if they heard, they would not answer you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will reject your partnership. None informs you like an Expert." (35:14). This applies to those invoking and supplicating the so-called 'holy' tombs of Prophet Muhammad, his son-in-law Ali, and his grandchild Hussein. This is polytheism, of course, committed by the misguided ones, as souls of the dead are in Barsakh and they never know anything about those living on earth. In the Last Day, such deified mortals will disown their worshippers: "Who is more wrong than him who invokes, besides God, those who will not answer him until the Day of Resurrection, and are heedless of their prayers? And when humanity is gathered, they will be enemies to them, and will renounce their worship of them." (46:5-6).

2- Of course, there are those who invoke and supplicate God alone, but He does not answer their prayers or grant their wishes. Of course, God tells us the following: "Your Lord has said, "Pray to Me, and I will respond to you. But those who are too proud to worship Me will enter Hell forcibly."" (40:60) "And when My servants ask you about Me, I Am near; I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me. So let them answer Me, and have faith in Me, that they may be rightly guided. " (2:186), but answering one's prayers by granting wishes has certain conditions: supplications and invocations must be in humbleness of spirit, in piety and fear of God, and in low whispers, not to turn prayers into loud songs, music, and dancing sessions like the manners and ways of errant Sufis. Loud prayers in loud voice are deemed by God as transgression against Him: "Call upon your Lord humbly and privately. He does not love the aggressors." (7:55). Acceptable supplications must be in piety and in the fear of God to attain His mercy: "…and pray to Him with fear and hope. God's mercy is close to the doers of good." (7:56). God answers prayers of those weeping and imploring in private in low voices in times of adversity and calamites: "…Who answers the one in need when he prays to Him, and relieves adversity…" (27:62). See also 39:8, 39:49, and 10:22.  God tells us in the Quran about examples of how prophets invoked and supplicated Him and how He answered them. Zachariah implored in whispers and God answered him: "A mention of the mercy of your Lord towards His servant Zachariah, when he called on his Lord, a call in seclusion." (19:2-3). "And Zachariah, when he called out to his Lord, "My Lord, do not leave me alone, even though you are the Best of heirs." So We answered him, and gave him John. And We cured his wife for him. They used to vie in doing righteous deeds, and used to call on Us in love and awe, and they used to humble themselves to Us." (21:89-90). Jonah implored His Lord using the least number of words in fear of Him: "…But then He implored in the darkness, "There is no God but You! Glory to You! I was one of the wrongdoers!" So We answered him, and saved him from the affliction. Thus We save the faithful." (21:87-88). We see here that prayers saved him and delivered him from this adversity. Let us remember the example of Job: "And Job, when he cried out to his Lord: "Great harm has afflicted me, and you are the Most Merciful of the merciful." So We answered him, lifted his suffering, and restored his family to him, and their like with them-a mercy from Us, and a reminder for the worshipers." (21:83-84).

3- God answers devour sincere prayers, supplications, and invocations as per His Omniscience as God knows what is best for us. For instance, a mother would pray her son would pass exams with good grades to enroll into a certain faculty, but God knows that the son's interest is not in such faculty, and He would not answer her prayers. Any mother implores God to grant prosperity for her progeny, but mothers do not know the unseen and the future as God knows them both, and finally God will do the best thing for the progeny of such mothers. Our dear daughter, we implore and supplicate God to grant us what we think it best for us, but we never know the future; what we ask for might not be good to us and God grants us something better for our good.

 

Lastly: our dear daughter:

1- Believers in their old age discover the fact that the best days of their lives were times of adversities that made them bearer to God while imploring and supplicating to Him while weeping and in fear and asking forgiveness and repentance. In many times of prosperity, some believers sometimes may forget God and use prosperity in committing injustices toward others, to eventually know that they have done injustices to themselves actually, as injustices made them lose prosperity and made them enter into Hell for eternity if they did not repent during their lifetime.

2- We advise you and all our readers that while imploring God humbly and in fear and piety, one must keep praying and stick to patience: "And seek help through patience and prayer. But it is difficult, except for the devout; those who know that they will meet their Lord, and that to Him they will return." (2:45-46) "O you who believe! Seek help through patience and prayers. God is with those who are patient." (2:153). This means that we are to stick to patience and prayers in all times of adversity; this is not passivity or surrender, but a positive type of patience while working hard to remove adversity while invoking Almighty God's help at the same time. 

3- We urge you, our dear daughter, to feel optimistic about your future life, with a stance of patience and faith: remember that God stands with those who are patient in times of life tests and calamities, and there is nothing better that to feel that God is with us.

4- If believers adhere to patience and prayers in humbleness, piety, and fear of God, they would be devout ones rewarded by God: "…And whoever fears God-He will make a way out for him. And will provide for him from where he never expected. Whoever relies on God-He will suffice him. God will accomplish His purpose. God has set a measure to all things." (65:2-3). The best discourse: "Say, "O My devotees who have believed, keep your duty to your Lord. For those who do good in this world, is goodness. And God's earth is vast. The steadfast will be paid their wages in full, without reckoning."" (39:10). God says nothing but the Truth.                 


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