Most of us can claim that in this chaotic life, one of the only things that stay stable is family — most of us. Because after all the twists and turns in life, we find that it’s family that have the patience to wait at the end of the tunnel. Allah (swt) by his Mercy and Grace has made family an aid, a light, and a source of love and hope. We are bound first by blood, and thereafter, it’s the love that runs in the blood that keeps us close. It can, therefore, be safely said that to be tested by family is one of the ultimate tests. One that I, personally, seek refuge in Allah from.
It’s no wonder that the Prophets were (mostly) tested with family. This points not only to the struggles that the Prophets faced, but also to the level of their faith. God tests those He loves. Some of the stories I’ve recently reflected on include:
Ibrahim (as) — his father disbelieved, yet still, with hope, he asked his Lord to pardon him.
“the saying of Abraham to his father, “I will surely ask forgiveness for you,” [Chapter 60, Verse 4]
Again, Ibrahim was tested with family. He was ordered to take his wife Hajar, and his son, to a land he knew nothing of, and then to depart. After some time, he was tested again in that same son he was told to leave; this time, he was to slaughter him. Ibrahim stayed strong and firm, not wavering for a second. He had submitted wholeheartedly to his Lord, and trusted Him.
Nuh (as) — Yet again, we witness the heartbreaking story of a son and a father. The father, Nuh (as) believed, and asked his son to believe as well. The son resisted claiming that he would escape God’s punishment by climbing a mountain. And when the wrath of his Lord overtook him, his Father grieved saying:
“My Lord, indeed my son is of my family; and indeed, Your promise is true; and You are the most just of judges!” [Chapter 11, Verse 45]
Allah (swt) replied: “O Noah, indeed he is not of your family; indeed, he is [one whose] work was other than righteous, so ask Me not for that about which you have no knowledge. Indeed, I advise you, lest you be among the ignorant.”
And so Noah learned, through loss and a gaining of faith, that, although we think that blood binds us, it’s through God and believing in Him that we become and remain family.
Zakariya (as) — He remained childless most of his life, but never did he lose hope in His Lord. Still, as a human he was shocked when His Lord revealed to him that:
“O Zechariah, indeed We give you good tidings of a boy whose name will be John. We have not assigned to any before [this] name.” [Chapter 19, Verse 7]
He was tested, but he and his wife remained patient. And Allah (swt) rewarded him. Indeed, Allah (swt) never wastes an act of goodness. And for patience, Allah (swt) promises a great reward.
Sarah (rA) — She was Ibrahim’s first wife, and his first companion. When the dwellers of the entire earth had disbelieved in Allah (swt), she, alongside her husband, remained steadfast. And she, too, was tested. When she, after many years, had still not given birth, she suggested that Ibrahim (as) marry Hajar; her maid. Shortly afterwards, Hajar (rA) gave birth to a son – Ismail. As you can imagine Sarah got jealous, but deeper down, there was another layer of emotion hidden under that jealousy – she was sad.
“And his Wife was standing, and she smiled. Then We gave her good tidings of Isaac and after Isaac, Jacob.” [Chapter 11, Verse 71]
Again, Allah (swt) comforted his slave with glad tidings, a gracious reward.
I can speak on and on (and I’m tempted to) about the many believers, Prophets and Messengers that proceeded before us and how they were tested with family. There are countless stories. Still, the ending of each story I assure you is:
“For them who have done good is the best [reward] and extra.” [Chapter 10. Verse 26]