In fact, life is about a successive series of tests, and Allah Almighty monitors our deeds, statements, and attitudes concerning these tests. Based on that, all incidents in this life are but a test, namely acts of worship represent a test, dealings represent a test, the different situations we encounter are also a test, and in general all moments throughout our life represent a test.
Among these serious tests, there is a critical one, which I call “the worship of hope”.
It exists in the conviction of the believers in hope in Allah’s victory and that He (SWT) would inevitably back the believers. Numerously, in the Quran and Sunnah, Allah has promised to grant His victory upon the righteous Muslims, for example, Allah says: (Indeed, We will support Our messengers and those who believe during the life of this world and on the Day when the witnesses will stand), Ghafir, 51. In the Quranic verse, Allah declares that He not only renders victorious His Messengers, but the believers as well, and in the Hereafter along with this world life. Then, who believe in this verse? Who doubts its occurrence?
The question is a test
Whoever is sure of the Power of Allah, His Might, His encompassment to everything, and His marvelous planning for all incidents would decisively be sure of the occurrence of the promise in the Quranic verse. On the other hand, who doubts this Might would see the victory improbable.
Between the absolute certainty in victory and the absolute doubt in certainty lies hundreds and thousands of degrees of people’s faith. From this perspective, the trust in the victory of Allah is a thorny test encountering all people.
To make the test real, Allah Almighty removes the means of victory from the believers one by one, then He (SWT) retest their test in Him (SWT), because when the believers own the means of victory, they depend on them and are assured of them, therefore, the test of trust in Allah in incomplete. While on the other hand, if the means of victory are removed, and yet the believers still trusting in Allah to the same degree, then this means that the believers bear a real faith not shaken by calamities or misfortunes.
For this reason, we may grasp some of the unusual events in the Biography of the Prophet
Allah Almighty has backed our noble Messenger by his uncle Abu-Talib over ten years that his uncle used to protect him from the assaults of Quraish. Muslims were satisfied and assured for the presence of the uncle of the prophet beside his nephew, but Allah has caused him to die, and thus the Messenger was left powerless and without protection from the assaults of the offenders. As a result, the degree of testing the believers became more difficult.
Are you assured that Allah would grant victory upon His Messenger even if his uncle Abu-Talib was not present?
Yes, we are assured of that. Then, this is a sign of faith.
However, it may be an assurance based on our conviction that there are other powers in the Arabian Peninsula may help us and assist our issue. So, let’s head towards At-Taef, where the tribe of Thaqif, one of the powerful tribes in the Arabian Peninsula, and a peer in dignity to Quraish, may give a hand to us and perhaps it embraces Islam, and thus it constitutes a power balance in the region versus Quraish.
These thoughts may be the core of the politician’s considerations; however, these were not the considerations of the Prophet, because he wanted to convey the message of Islam overseas, regardless of the different political realities. In the end, this is a test for the believers.
The Messenger headed to At-Taef where its people received him as well known for all of us by refuse to his call of Islam and denial, rather they expelled him and threw stones at him and his companion Zaid ibn Harithah, and thus the misfortune doubled. The news would be spread to Mecca and its people would accuse the Messenger of seeking alliance with an alien tribe against them, especially the Messenger asked the assistance of At-Taef in frankness.
After that, Allah divested them of another means of victory the Messenger tried to cling to. The Messenger exerted a very hard effort walking more than one hundred kilometers on feet, and conveyed the call of Islam in the best manner to them, however, Allah willed to deprive Muslims from this means of help.
Let’s try to keep it secret lest Quraish knows that the Messenger determined to seek the assistance of Tahqif against it. The Messenger entered a garden near to At-Taef seeking guard from the fool who pursued him by stones and rest for a bit. The Messenger and his companion were stained by bloods and traces of fatigue and weariness were visible on them. The garden turned out to be owned to two prominent figures from Quraish, `Utbah ibn Rabi`ah and Shaibah ibn Rabi`ah who were present at the garden who saw the Messenger and knew the story in detail. They conveyed the news to Qurash faster than one may imagine.
Allah deprived them of the security means the Messenger sought.
Return to Mecca became impossible, as all doors are closed, and all supporters are not existent, and the Muslims became facing the polytheists alone.
This was a thorny test to trust in the victory of Allah. The Muslims are now with no material means to achieve victory, so this is the test in its peak.
By that time, Zaid ibn Harithah asked the Messenger a question on his safety and future: “how do you enter to Mecca while they drove you out?!”
The means of safety are all divested and the possibilities of being killed are more than those of deliverance. What is your opinion? What are you going to do? The Messenger replied: “O Zaid! Allah would make a way out of this trial we are in and would render His religion and Messenger victorious”
Allah is the greatest
This is what we mean by “Hope Worship”. The Messenger seeks Allah’s worship through trust in His victory. Allah Almighty tested us by believing in the Hereafter which is unseen for us, and tested us by believing in the fore Messengers who are not recognized in person for us, and tested us by believing in angels while we have not seen them, therefore He (SWT) tested us by believing in trust in His victory though not even one reason backs this trust, nevertheless we believe in what Allah has said and what His Messenger has conveyed to us.
This unlimited trust in Allah in the heart of the Messenger has not hindered him from going on other trials. The Messenger sent to Al-Akhnas ibn Shurayq asking for his guard from the assaults of Quraish offences, but he refused. The Messenger sent to Suhail ibn `Amr, but he refused. The Messenger sent to a third, Al-Mut`am ibn `Adi who accepted. If Al-Mut`am refused, the Messenger would send to many others. If they all refused, Allah would open a new door for victory for him.
Victory is happening inevitably, however, it is a test. When the believers are assured of the promise of Allah, victory of Allah would take place from Allah, but if they doubted and depended on the material means and believed that victory comes by the help of so and so, then victory would be delayed or may be lost altogether.
O believers! We are in critical test
Seriousness lies in the fact that most people fail passing by the test of “Hope Worship”, as Allah says: (And Allah is predominant over His affair, but most of the people do not know.), Yususf, 21. Most people do not know this fact, whenever Allah takes a means of victory; they thought that the victory of Allah became unrealistic, which is the source of the crisis. On the other hand, they should know for sure that they are in the depth of the test when deprived of the material means of victory, and therefore they should increase their trust level more and more, which would make the victory very close than one may imagine.
Allah Almighty says: (Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said,"When is the help of Allah ?" Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.), Al-Baqarah, 214.
I ask Allah to render victorious Islam and Muslims, Amen!