Allah Ta’ala tries human beings in many different ways. Sometimes the trial is in the form of difficulties, such as a person falling sick, and at other times, the trial is through good things, like someone who is given intelligence or is given knowledge.
Now, it may seem strange that good fortune and good things could also be considered tests, but there is certainly an element of test in these things. Two of the tests that blessings of Allah involve are these: First, does the person receiving the blessings thank Allah for these blessings or not. And second, does this person share this blessing with others and put it to good use or not.
A shining example of success in the face of both kinds of tests—comfort as well as pain—can be seen in the life of sayyidina Uthman ibn Affan, the third rightly-guided Khaleefah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Allah blessed Uthman (RA) with much wealth (and wealth indeed is a blessing from Allah; never think that you can earn money through your independent efforts). Uthman was a man who not only accepted Islam, but had accepted it in its early days, and had imbibed the sweetness of faith from long company of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and this made him recognize the right of others in this wealth.
He, therefore, understood clearly that this fortune was not given to him by Allah for amusement or to live lavishly, but it was a trial from Allah to see if he would share this blessings with others. And did he ever! He was so generous in helping the whole Muslim community in every hour of need that he earned the title “Ghani” (meaning generous), and he never felt the need to cling to his wealth or to just spend it on his own comfort. On one occasion, there was a need to provide water for the use of the community, and there was a very expensive well that belonged to some person in Madina. Uthman bought the well at a tremendous price and donated the well to the community.
Can you imagine how happy and pleased the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) must have been to see this great deed of generosity? He (PBUH) said at that occasion that nothing could harm Uthman after that (meaning any mistake or sins that Uthman would commit after that day would not be held against him in Allah’s court). Allahu Akbar! Stop and reflect a minute on how magnificent a promise that is, a true promise from no less a person than the chosen Messenger of Allah Himself!
We have said that Uthman is an example of success in the face of not just the test of blessings, but also an example of success in the test of difficulty and extreme pain. Here we will not discuss his test of adversity. We will leave that as a mini research project for our young readers, with the hint that it has to do with the events of the very last days of his life. The reader who sends in the best description of this test will win a very special prize.