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The Test of a Believer: Distinguishing Real Gold From Fake Gold

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ حَرْفٍ ۖ فَإِنْ أَصَابَهُ خَيْرٌ اطْمَأَنَّ بِهِ ۖ وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ فِتْنَةٌ انقَلَبَ عَلَىٰ وَجْهِهِ خَسِرَ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةَ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْخُسْرَانُ الْمُبِينُ

“And of the people is he who worships Allah on an edge. If he is touched by good, he is reassured by it; but if he is struck by trial (fitnah), he turns on his face [to the other direction]. He has lost [this] world and the Hereafter. That is what is the manifest loss.” [22:11]

In Arabic, the word ‘Fitnah’ which means ‘trials’ or ‘tests’, is derived from  the root word ‘Fatanah’, meaning ‘to test gold.’ It refers to gold that is heated, and if the gold is true gold then the act of heating will make it more pure by burning out all the impurities. On the other hand, fake “gold” will burn when exposed to heat/fire will erode, turn black and be destroyed.

Similarly, if you are tried with ‘Fitnah’ (tests or trials) then this same analogy applies to you. Allah is testing you in order to purify you, if you are a true believer then the test will only enhance your imaan and you will come out of it purer than before. This is only for a believer.

On the other hand, for a munafiq (hypocrite), tests only bring out their true colours and cause their imaan to drop or even perish and disappear.

مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَٰكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

…”Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favour upon you that you may be grateful.” [5:6]

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