All that matter in this life is our relationship with Allah SWT. All other things are unworthy or of secondary importance. That being said, it implies no matter what happens in life, as long as our relationship with Allah SWT remains intact, then we are good. For me this is important, having endured some unfavorable moments recently. All praise to Allah SWT that strengthens to go through it well.
As human being, we dislike test. Many kids dislike exam. It is something that we are nervous about. On top of that, the difficulty of the exam is increasing once we pass the previous level. Thus, it is not that we are done after passing an exam, but rather, we are just being readied for another exam, with higher difficulty, to arrive. Simple resemblance to daily life: after mid-semester test, there will be final semester test, which of course has higher level of difficulty. After first year test, there will be second year test, with of course higher difficulty, and so on.
So again, as we human being naturally dislike test, I personally was a bit disappointed that actually life itself by definition is a test. Allah SWT said in Qur’an (underline added), “Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the dominion, and He is Able to do all things. Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving” (Q.S. Al-Mulk: 1-2). All of us also dislike sadness. But as life is full of test, the test itself can be in form of sadness. Allah SWT said, “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.” (Q.S. Al-Baqoroh: 155-156). Furthermore, I find it very surprising what the people of paradise said when they realized the ni’mah (bounty) that they have in paradise. Allah SWT mentioned in the Qur’an (underline added): “‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens) will they enter, therein will they be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls, and their garments there will be of silk (i.e. in Paradise). And they will say, “Praise to Allah, who has removed from us [all] sorrow. Indeed, our Lord is Forgiving and Appreciative -He who has settled us in the home of duration out of His bounty. There touches us not in it any fatigue, and there touches us not in it weariness [of mind].” (Q.S. Fathir: 33-35). I find it very interesting. The people of paradise could have said many things, but here the first thing they are being grateful to Allah for is that because Allah SWT has removed sorrow from them.
At first, I found the fact we are always going to be tested with an increasing difficulty as a bit depressing, but then I realized that Allah SWT actually gave us the tools or hints to overcome all of these tests, no matter how hard they are. The tools are shabr (patience/perseverance) and du’a (prayer). Allah SWT said, “O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (Q.S. Al-Baqoroh: 153). Allah SWT also said, “And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah], who are certain that they will meet their Lord and that they will return to Him.” (Q.S. Al-Baqoroh: 45-46). From these verses, shabr and prayer are very central for our life to finish all the tests well. It is then very important for all of us to always strengthen our shabr. Indeed, this is what Allah SWT told us to do, “O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful.” (Q.S. Ali-Imran: 200).
Finally, I would like to remind myself that that all of these should not make us live this life full with nervousness, sadness and without happiness. In fact, Rasulullah SAW never do that. He is a person with life contentment. And the reason, I believe is because he knows that all that matter in this life is our relationship with Allah SWT. As long as the relationship is strong, then no matter what happened in life, it does not matter. It also means that we should not place in our heart any other things than Allah SWT. If we place this world in our heart, then surely disappointment and sadness with come because this world is not everlasting. The only one everlasting is Allah SWT, thus it should be the only one inside our heart. May Allah SWT strengthens our shabr to pass all of the tests until we finally meet Him in paradise. Wallahu’alam bisshawab.