Pushing Away or Pulling Closer?

Which problem is a test from Allah or a punishment due to sins?

Hakeem-ul-Ummah Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) once mentioned,

“That difficulty or restraint which causes the difficulty to increase or intensify is surely a punishment from Allah brought upon due to sinning.  However if it promotes the development of a deeper connection with Allah, contentment in the heart, and peace of mind, then in reality that is not a difficulty, problem or restraint.  Even though it may appear to be problematic, things which may appear to trials and tribulations externally are in reality a means of causing one’s rank to elevate and test to prove one’s love.”

– Ma’athir Hakeem-ul-Ummat, page 390

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3 Comments on “Pushing Away or Pulling Closer?”

  1. Maripat Says:

    Dear Adil,
    The saying of Hakeem-ul-Ummah (RA) mentioned above has another fascinating aspect. By habit and nature we are used to look for external signs of Allah (Exalted is He)’s pleasure or displeasure. Here the signs that Hakeem-ul-Ummah (RA) has described are both internal-an exquisite observation that is also remarkable for its depth.

    To know whether a particular difficulty is a punishment or a reward in disguise too requires little bit of work. If you sit down and ponder a little over unanswered supplications, hardships faced in career, pain felt in dealing with near and dear ones and people in general then it will result either in fear of Allah or a sense of happiness and pleasure because of the fact that you are indulging in a relation with Allah Most Exalted. In either case it is a reward.

    And this reward started with the Taufeeq He gave you to think about these matters.


  2. Adil Says:

    Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, jazak-Allh for this, it doesn’t seem to mention who wrote this post but I am thinking it is Shaykh Nabeel Khan (hafidhahullah).

    If possible, I would like to get clarification on the part where it says “That difficulty or restraint which causes the difficulty to increase or intensify is surely a punishment from Allah brought upon due to sinning.” I wasn’t sure fully with the part about increase or intensify. In my life I think I get difficulties so many times but I don’t know if I am getting closer to Allah. For example, being away from home and going to school in a far away place (trying to get a better life), financial difficulties and constriction, problems with family members and being away from them, many duas not being manifested. Over the years maybe some have changed to a worse state. Would those count as punishment? If some difficulties don’t change to a worse state but I don’t feel closer to Allah, is that also a punishment?

    • Bismihi Ta’ala,
      Dear Brother Adil,

      You are correct, Shaykh Nabeel Khan (hafidhahullah) was indeed the poster.

      The essence of the matter is simply that the trials and tribulations that a person undergoes in this world, based on their outcomes, are of two types. If they become a means for one to be despondent of Allah Ta’ala and/or be ungrateful of His favors, then they are surely a punishment from Allah Ta’ala brought about due to one’s sins. If on the other hand, they lead one closer to Him and/or cause a person to be grateful to Him, then they are not difficulties at all but are mere tests from Allah Ta’ala that are a means of elevating one’s rank.

      As for the difficulties in your life, as long as you remain grateful to Alla Ta’ala then they will not be considered punishments. This is regardless of whether you “feel” closer to Allah Ta’ala or not, because the ultimate goal is to adhere to the commandments of the Qur’an and Sunnah, not to “feel” closer to Allah Ta’ala. A person’s feelings can and will fluctuate.

      May Allah Ta’ala make us amongst the Sabireen and the Shakireen.


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