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(2:155) The meaning of “We shall test you”

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Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere,

The following excerpt is taken from “Anwar ul Bayan” vol 1 pg. 163-164:

“This world is a place of trials. The creation of life and death is, in itself, aimed at testing the human, as Allah says in Surah Mulk, ‘Sanctified is that Being in whose control is sovereignty and Who is capable of all things; He who created death and life to test who amongst you carries our the best actions’ (verses 1 and 2)

Allah states in Surah Muhammad (S), “Most definitely We will examine you until it is ascertained who are the ones who truly strive in Allah’s path from amongst you; and who are the ones who endure; and that We may have knowledge of you.’ (verse 31)

In the verse under discussion, numerous methods of emphasis are employed in the for of the letters “Lam” and “Nun Thaqila.” These imply that the tests are inevitable. Sometimes they will occur in the form of fear, at times one will encounter hunger, while it may also happen that one’s wealth will decrease. Lives of friends, relatives, children or grandchildren may be lost, while sometimes produce and provisions may decrease. In this verse, all the main categories of calamities have been enumerated. Fear of enemies, droughts, floods, earthquakes, loss in trade, collapse of buildings, theft, misplacement of wealth, its destruction, closing down of factories, shut down of machinery, power failures, death of near and dear ones, spread of pestilence, deficiency in harvests, their destruction, their infestation by insects, plagues of locusts, etc. Inference is made to all these.

The Believer (Mumin) preserves through all of these. In the face of any adversity, he realises that it is a test from Allah and remains content with the decision of Allah, aspiring for the rewards promised for it. Tribulations also occur as an admonition for any sins committed, or as an atonement for any evil deeds. It may also be a test or a means of elevating a person’s rank. All these facts are clearly expounded in the Quran and Ahadith of the Holy Propet (S).”

In this context, Ghulam Ahmad Pervez comments (2:153-157):

But in establishing this system great obstacles and hardships will have to be faced (since vested interests would not allow it to be established easily). In facing these
difficulties, keep two things in mind: firstly –
do not lose your steadfastness or courage of conviction and secondly – no matter what way your opponents choose to follow, you should follow the path prescribed for you by Allah.  This  way you  will  be  greatly strengthened. During the struggle for the establishment of the divine system one should be prepared even to face death. If someone dies in this struggle, he should not be considered dead (3:168)  for he has attained eternal life even though it cannot be perceived through the senses.

This struggle will provide you with many opportunities to test your own mettle.  You  may  encounter  wars  and massacres and also be confronted with scarcity of food and loss of life and property or with devastation of fields and orchards. Such ordeals may take place but ultimately those who remain steadfast and do not waver in their commitment to establish Allah’s system, will be successful. They meet every challenge saying, We have dedicated ourselves to the establishment of the divine system and come what may we will continue to advance towards that goal.”

They are the people who are
considered to be eminently deserving of
blessings and laudation by their Creator and
Sustainer. They will certainly attain their

(Exposition of the Quran, pg. 69-70)

See also:

2:286 On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. – Islamic Web Library

Why does Allah test us? – Islamic Web Library


Madani, Muhammad. Anwar ul Bayan. (vol. 1 p. 163-164).

Pervez, Ahmad (2010). Exposition of the Quran. (p. 1189).

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