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Turning to the Qur’an in Times of Tribulation

The murder of a family member causes great unrest in one’s heart. And indeed the death of a small animal is sufficient for an individual to remember the return to their Lord. Upon the idea of the creation of mankind, the Angels were disturbed because of the potential level of injustice and the spilling of blood that we would cause.[1] Yet Allah, with His infinite wisdom created mankind, and informed them of their role as custodians of truth and justice in this world. With this in mind, we reflect on the current situation of the world, and the escalating legitimised removal of wealth, freedom and life.

The greatest crimes on a global scale are arguably those committed against Muslims and many find entertaining the regular action-packed news of the ‘progress’ being made to maintain safety and security. But the same ‘progress’ is at the expense of the freedom and lives of many Muslims who are often unable to fulfill their basic human necessities. Chilling is the image of another Muslim being killed and even more so, the mass murder that we witness regularly. Allah informs us that “the believers are nothing else than brothers,”[2]and His Messenger (peace be upon him) said that “the Muslim nation is like one body…if a single part hurts then the rest feels the suffering with fever, and cannot sleep.”3]

Throughout history trials and tribulations have faced those nations that affirmed the truth of Allah’s sovereignty and unity of worship. However, this nation, as in those who follow Muhammad (peace be upon him), has been given a special status coupled with a complete and comprehensive source of guidance to last till the Day of Resurrection.

“Thus We have made you the best nation, so that you be witnesses over mankind, and the Messenger (Muhammad) be a witness over you.”[4]

The Muslims must therefore appreciate and understand the position that they hold and turn to the guidance that they have been bestowed with.

Some individuals feel secure from such trials, and find themselves busy in their own affairs. Yet Allah warns us,

“Do people think they will be left alone because they say we believe, and will not be tested. And indeed We tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make known (the falsehood of) those who are liars.”[5]

All of mankind will therefore be tested and in addition, the same tests will affect both the sinners and pious among mankind due to their vastness. In another verse we are warned,

“And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial, etc.) which does not affect only those of you who do wrong (but it may afflict all the good and the bad people), and know that Allah is Severe in punishment.”6]

Also, the Messenger (peace be upon him) advised his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) and the believers to seek refuge from the evil, bad affects and misguidance in all kinds of tribulations.[7]

Usamah ibn Zayd reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said “Do you see what I can see? I see the places of tribulation amidst your homes just like the positions of raindrops as they fall (on the earth)”[8]. Imam An-Nawawi said that the analogy of raindrops is due to the tribulations being in large amounts and widespread. This is an indication of long-standing wars such as the incident of the Camel, Siffin,[9] and al-Harrah,[10] the killing of ‘Uthman and the killing of Al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with them both), as well as other incidents.

Tribulations and whatever else the Prophet (peace be upon him) informed us must surely take place. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Muslims to observe patience, prepare, and be cautious of them. In fact, we must take extra caution in our current times because we have drawn closer to the final hour. The nature of tribulations is that they spiral out of control and often confuse people so that one would assume something prohibited to be permissible or vice versa.[11]The 9/11 and 7/7 events are pertinent examples and the perpetrators are unable to control the plethora of consequences that result.

Due to the complexity of tribulations and their potential implications, many respond incorrectly and often go to extremes, despite knowing the Qur’an has been revealed to guide us in all of our affairs.[12] If a Muslim responds to a situation in accordance with the Qur’an then they will be elevated in status and rewarded, while if they do otherwise they will be lowered and face the consequences. Thus, we find guidance through correctly contemplating the verses and in particular stories of the Qur’an, and contrasting them with our own situations. Allah says,

“(This is) a Book which We have sent down to you full of blessings, so that they may ponder over its verses, and so that men of understanding may remember.”[13]

Many of the stories in the Qur’an provide exemplary responses which can be correlated to situations that we witness today. Stories of true leaders, who acquired great strength in their belief, were steadfast upon the truth, and endured physical, mental and emotional tests. Every Muslim who is granted wisdom must contemplate over the path that Allah chose for the best of the believers.

The great grandson of Ibrahim, Yusuf (may peace be upon them both) was thrown into a well by his own brothers due to their envy for him. He was purchased as a slave for a small price. He was enticed to fornicate by his master’s wife, thrown in prison for refusing, where he remained without trial. Yet he had hope in Allah and was patient through these trials until he was saved by Allah after which he supplicated,

“My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me sovereignty, and taught me the interpretation of dreams; (You are) The Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Protector and Helper in this world and the Hereafter, cause me to die as a Muslim, and join me with the righteous.”[14]

Allah favoured us with a full chapter of the Qur’an to take lessons from this story.

The people of Musa (may peace be upon him) were subjugated, violated and enslaved. The tyrannical ruler at the time had their sons killed and left their daughters to live. A distraught mother threw her son into the river Nile so not to witness his cruel murder. Yet, by the mercy of Allah, he grew up in the fortress of the same oppressing ruler until he was exiled, with no food, shelter or any companion. After years had passed, he returned to Egypt, and was commanded by Allah to be a guide for mankind. He was rejected by people even after they witnessed so many miracles. He then rescued his people, even though they were unwilling, and was chased by an army until they reached the edge of the sea. His people blamed him and despaired that they would be overtaken, yet with firm conviction in his Lord, his faith did not waver. He said “No way! With me is my Lord, and He will surely guide me.”[15]

Allah divided the sea to let Musa (peace be upon him) and his people pass through safely, and drowned his pursuers in utter humiliation. This story is described in over twenty chapters of the Qur’an.

Before the birth of Muhammad (peace be upon him) there lived another oppressing ruler who used magic to overpower his people. He had a young intelligent boy trained as a skilled magician to replace his ageing counterpart. The boy met a monk who taught him about Allah, and soon the boy’s belief was exposed to his people. He witnessed men sawed into two for refusing to renounce their faith, and arrangements were made for his own murder, but he supplicated to Allah and the plots were foiled. The king was unable to kill the boy until he fired an arrow taking the name of Allah. As the people watched the young martyr fall, their belief was established and could never be shaken. A ditch was dug and a fuelled fire was set ablaze into which the believers were thrown along with their children for refusing to renounce their faith.[16]Allah informs us,

“They had nothing against them, except that they believed in Allah, the All-Mighty, Worthy of all Praise, and to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth! And Allah is Witness over everything. Verily, those who torture the believing men and believing women, and then do not turn in repentance, will have the torment of Hell, and punishment of the burning Fire. Verily, those who believe and do righteous good deeds, for them will be gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise). That is the great success.”[17]

Thus Muslims will always be tortured and killed for the fact that they believe. If they remain firm in their faith and deeds, they will soon be rewarded, while the perpetrators will receive their punishment, and this is how people are divided.[18]

Allah says regarding the believers who persevered their tribulations,

“Indeed in their stories there is a lesson for men of understanding. It (the Qur’an) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of the Allah’s existing Books and a detailed explanation of everything, and a guide and a Mercy for the people who believe.”[19]

Patience and firmness upon the religion of Allah, while seeking the reward in the next life, is perhaps the most common lesson that can be taken from the stories in the Qur’an. The knowledge and wisdom in these stories is abundant and a fundamental source of insight into these stories is authentic exegesis.[20] The Qur’an is the source of guidance, honour, and strength for the Muslims. We must all build a relationship with the Qur’an, study its meaning and understanding, contemplate its verses, and remember Allah through them. Allah says,

“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.”[21]


Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.
[1] Surah Al-Baqarah 02:30
[2] Surah Al-Hujarat 49:10
[3] Reported in Al-Bukhari & Muslim
[4] Surah Al-Baqarah 02:143
[5] Surah Al-Ankabut 29:2-3
[6] Surah Al-Anfal 08:25
[7] Bakr ibn Abdillaah Abu Zayd, Durrulfitnah-‘an ahlissunnah
[8] Reported in Al-Bukhari and Muslim
[9] The fitnah between Ali and Mu’awiyah (may Allah be pleased with them both)
[10] The battle led by Abdullah ibn Az-Zubair (may Allah be pleased with him) against the armies of Yazeed ibn Mu’awiyah
[11] Dr Muhammad Ismail Al-Muqaddam, Basaair-fil-fitan
[12] Surah Al-Baqarah 2:2
[13] Surah Saad 38:29
[14] Surah Yusuf 12:101
[15] Surah Ash-Shu’ara 26:62
[16] Reported by Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, An-Nisa’ee
[17] Surah Al-Burooj 85:8-11
[18]Rifa’i Surur, The People of the Ditch
[19]Surah Yusuf 12:111
[20]Compilations explaining the verses of the Qur’an (e.g. Tafsir Al-Qur’an Al-‘Adhim Ibn Kathir)
[21]Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:28


About Dr Uthman Khan

Dr Uthman Khan is an Academic and student of knowledge. He was born and brought up in London, where he completed a Masters in Engineering. He has studied Arabic, Quran, various Islamic Sciences and other topics with scholars from the UK, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He also completed a PhD in Applied Science by devising a novel approach for engineering design. Uthman remains active in research and is dedicated to sharing knowledge and ideas.


  1. Great Lessons for The Present and Future
    Asalamu alaikum. Jazakum Allahu khair for this amazing article. It is very important that we should learn from these live tribulations we are witnessing in the Muslim lands and around the world. It will not be long before it is our turn to face our fitnah. These events have been steadily building up and the signs of the end of time are becoming more and more evident. Let us do plenty of good works and emulate the Prophets in their patience so that we may be of the Successful in this life, the Hereafter, and for the sake of the ummah as a whole. The strength of the ummah will be formed because of brave, ambitious individuals who are willing to stand up for the Islamic values in times of corruption so let us always be strong in faith and perseverance.

  2. jazakallahu khayrun for this most beneficial article, a reminder of how we must always turn to our Lord, the Most high, in times of tribulation. May Allah swt continue to prosper your knowledge and reward you immensley for your good deeds.

  3. abd al arashid cayongcat

    Comments/Suggested Topics
    All the praises and thanks belong to Allah!
    I’m impressed with the timely and meaningful contributions of your writers in sharing their God-given knowledge in Islam. My suggestions: I hope one of your competent writers knowlegeable about international affairs affecting Islam and the ummah will write an article urging the OIC and the Arab League of Nations to form a commission to investigate and henceforth make their findings known to the world the Muslim detainees/innocents Muslims who who are victims of Western conspiracy, colonialism and imperialism. Why they remain so quiet until now? If the Gitmo detainees were Westerners the whole Western World will respond militarily, economically and politically or perhaps like in Japan they will not hesitate to throw nuclear bombs over any Muslim territories for retaliation. Finally, why can’t they too investigate the past and present activities in the Muslim World of the Western spy agencies? They always say Oh the Muslims do these things, the Al-Qaeda do these things. All these Al-Qaeda talking in the media is the handiwork of their intelligence agencies. Why can’t they?

  4. beautiful and eloquent mashaAllaah
    JazakAllaahu khayrun for your time taken to write this beneficial article.

  5. Excellent detailed article
    “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:28

    What a beautiful (verse) way to end the article! Truly there is no doubt that real happiness lies in the remembrance of Allah, the Most Merciful.

  6. reminder
    really good article masha’Allah =]

  7. The death of Muslims
    But the truth is that more Muslims are being killed by fellow Muslims than by anyone else.
    Christians very seldom kill Muslims.
    Israelis tend to kill Mislims in retaliation for an attack on them (whether deemed justified or not).
    In the west there are isolated attacks on various minority groups but elsewhere Muslims are carrying out suicide attacks in mosques, Muslim markets etc etc.

  8. mashallah a well written article .

  9. Beneficial reminder…
    JazakAllahu khairan for this reminder

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