Tests from Allah SWT is life reality. It is then very important to have a proper mindset when dealing with it. I found the lecture below by Syaikh Hamza Yusuf is a good one. (Update 5/20/2020: it seems the video was removed from YouTube. luckily I wrote the transcript.) The lecture’s transcript is below. Salam,
You have to realize everything that is happening is from Allah. You don’t get depressed. People, if you forget about Allah, you end up getting depressed. You think that things are black and gloomy and doom… No! We don’t believe this. We believe in happy ending. The root of western civilization is tragedy. If you look at the major masterpieces of western literature, they’re all tragic. They have horrible endings; everybody dies. That’s not the Muslim-view. Our stories in the Qur’an, they are all good endings. If you look in the Qur’an, they are good endings. The good guy, the good people win. No matter how bleak it looks out there, it’s dunya (worldly life). Dunya means the lowest place. Ad-dunya. We are on the bottom, there is only up from here. Really, there is only up. This place, Wallahi (by Allah).
All of you, I give you sincere advice and myself. This place is designed to break your heart. It was designed that way. If you’re looking to be happy in the dunya, you’re in the wrong place. If Allah gave you a horrible spouse, you can get out of it; and He might give you another horrible spouse. Of you don’t find a spouse and then you’re lonely and you wish you were with your horrible spouse because at least being with him or her there was somebody to talk to. And then he might make you happy. But you look, how many wealthy people do you know that have a lot of wealth who have children that are in tribulation, who have sons that are completely wayward? Really, look out there. People are in tribulation. You think you are looking at him because he has a big house, he a nice Mercedes. If you were in his shoes you might say, “I want to be back in my old shoes, even though they have holes in them. Because at least I can sleep at night. In his shoes I have to take all these pills to go to sleep.”
Everybody has their tribulations and it’s very rare that people have a happy and wonderful life. Those people are rare and they are an ayat min ayatillah (sign from God signs). Ibnu Abbas RA said, the foundation of dunya is tribulation. So if you are in ni’mah (blessings), it’s easier in some ways and in some ways it is not. Because it’s easier to forget Allah when things go well. It’s much more difficult to forget Allah when things are difficult. That’s why the Sahaba (companions) said “when things are easy, they are always followed by hard times; whereas when things are hard they are always followed by easy times.” So they prefer to be waiting for the ease than to be waiting for the hardship. Because there’s a hadits (saying of Prophet) and it’s hasan (sound): “The best worship is waiting for the ease from Allah to come when you are in hardship”. So if Muslims would just have that perspective, they would realize that if I’m patient here with all these tribulations, I’m in ‘ibadah (worship). You could just be sitting in your house and if you’re muhtasib with Allah, you’re in ‘ibadah. But if you’re there complaining and ask why always me; and everything’s horrible and it’s doom and gloom and it’s all black and it’s all dark, Allah will give you more things to complain about. And He’ll give you some real things to complain about, because there’s hadits, if you complain about small calamities, Allah gives you great calamities. And that’s why Ibn Abbas RA said that in every ni’mah, there are three ni’mah. In every tribulation there are three blessings.
The first one is that it could be worse than it is. Second, that it’s in your worldly matters and not in your deen (religion). Like if you lose money; it’s money. But if you lose deen, you lost everything. So that’s a ni’mah. There is a prayer that Prophet teaches us: “O Allah, please don’t make our calamities be in our deen”. If you think about it; he didn’t say “O Allah, please don’t give us calamities”. Do you see the du’a (supplication)? He didn’t say, don’t give us any calamities. He said, don’t give us calamities in our deen. We’re going to get tribulation and we know that. Because that’s the nature of dunya (so that Allah can test you, QS 2:155). So we’re going to get tribulation, but we ask don’t make it in deen; make it in dunya. So it’s a ni’mah. If you lost your job, say Alhamdulillah (all praise to Allah) that I didn’t miss my prayers. Alhamdulillah, I didn’t lose my imaan (faith). Alhamdulillah there’s wudhu (ablution) and a place to pray. Because jobs come and go. But deen once it’s gone; Allahu’alam (Allah knows best) if you’ll ever get it back. And then the final one it’s in this world, in dunya and not in akhirah. As long as the musibah (difficulty) is in this world, it’s a ni’mah. Because the real musibah is the musibah in the next world. So if you look at that and realize; we’re in blessing. Wallahi (by Allah), the whole lot of us. Some may be more than others outwardly, more observable, but the whole ummah is in blessing, Wallahi. The whole thing: Palestine, Kashmir, Shihan, everywhere. We’re in ni’mah and you have to see it; you have to see it. Because we have Allah. The people of kuffar (non-believers), they have no Lord. We have Allah SWT and as long as you have Allah, they can’t take anything away from you. Everything you desire exist with Allah SWT. So if you have Allah, you have everything you desire. If you don’t have Allah, nothing can make you happy. Nothing! It will all bring you misery. Wallahi, and that’s the truth. It’s not a lie.