Islam and the Quran

Why would two people in different circumstances be subject to same tests?

Question: I really don't get why two people who were not born in the same circumstances be subject to same tests. How come a newborn baby whose mother is a prostitute and another one who opens his eyes to a sweet home with loving parents are offered same rewards and punishments? Why are there a lot of different tests with same results?

We should take a look at Quran in order to reply your question. Allah the Almighty explains the meaning of life with these verses:

“We will surely test you with fear, hunger and losses of wealth and lives and earnings. Give good tidings to the patient! When a disaster strikes them, they say: Indeed, we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return. Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And those are the ones who are rightly guided.” (Al-Baqarah/ The Cow, 2:155-157)

“Do you think that you will enter Paradise without undergoing such trials as were experienced by the believers before you? They met with adversity and affliction and were so shaken by trials that the Messenger of the time and his followers cried out: When will the aid of Allah come? Know that the aid of Allah is near.” (Al-Baqarah/ The Cow, 2:214)

“He created death and life for that He may test you as to which of you is better in deed. He is the Most Mighty, the Most Forgiving.” (Al-Mulk/ The Sovereignty, 67:2)

“Every living being shall taste death. We shall subject you to ill and good by a way of trial, and to Us shall all of you be eventually sent back.” (Al-Anbiya/ The Prophets, 21:35)

“I created the jinn and mankind for nothing else except that they may serve Me.” (Adh-Dhariyat/ The Winnowing Winds, 51:56)

“We shall certainly test you until We know those of you who truly strive and remain steadfast. And We shall certainly test your words.” (Muhammad, 47/31)

“(Through trial) Allah will surely know those who are truthful and He will surely know the liars.” (Al-Ankaboot/ The Spider, 29:2-3)

There are lots of similar verses. It is clear that the world is not a place to rest but a place for test. It is not the creatures who make the test but the CREATOR. Our duty is to follow the rules, make our best in the conditions given to us.

It is a fact that no human being has the same opportunities with another, such as no finger has the same features with another. No one’s situation is like the other’s. Everyone is tested in different conditions. And this brings the point of your query. Everyone takes an exam but it is not the same. Consider above verses from this aspect. Some of them are dealing with hunger, some other are dealing with shortage or illness or righteousness. The test is not the same for the healthy and the patient, the poor and the rich. Think about two people; one of them was born in a Muslim family while the other was born in a Non-Muslim family. Two of them are in the same world, being subject to tests. Their tests are not the same and their responsibilities are not the same. They are answering different problems. The tests change depending on their capacity, environment, families and physical abilities given by birth (ex. healthy-disabled).

These differences were not happened by coincidence. Diversities in creation bring along different responsibilities. For instance, Allah has assigned men to be responsible for the well-being of their families by commanding “Men are guardians over women because Allah has made some of them excel others, and because they spend of their wealth…” (4:34) This is not a privilege given to men but a task, a responsibility. We can understand that the tests of men and women are not the same. In the same way, wealth seems like a privilege granted to the rich, but it is actually a difficult test indeed. Many rich people wish for being poor from time to time. Poverty seems like a very bad thing in the first time, but when we think about Hereafter and the Day of Reckoning, it can be considered as a real blessing after all. So try to consider life from this perspective.

It is also important to always remember that humans have nothing besides their efforts. What a man owns without an effort won’t do any good to him. Because Allah the Almighty commands:

“There is nothing for man except his efforts. And the result of his efforts shall be seen.” (An-Najm/ The Star, 53:39-40)

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