Since God is Most Gracious and Most Merciful, why would God allow hardship for the believers?
The hardship that a believer experiences is for our own growth and development. Hardship can lead to growth or decline the choice is ours. God puts us in these situations so that we can grow, but if we don’t trust in God and abide by his advice it can lead to our demise.
It is easy for us to look at a situation and say that if it was up to me I would fix the situation and remove the hardship for the person.
It’s not about the moment it is about the outcome. If a person heard of the history of Joseph during the early years of his life they would have only seen a cross sections of his life and not realize that he was destined for greatness and he was learning the skills required for his promotion. From that glimpse they would of thought that why would God allow such hardship for an individual and opted to change his situation if they could. But if they were allowed to do that then they would have been keeping Jospeh from his God given promotion. Because Joseph needed to go through that hardship to learn the skills he needed to become the treasurer of Israel. To know how to be independent, to trust only in God, to run an operation (i.e. prison), to deal with all kinds of people. If Joseph wasn’t banished by his brothers, thrown into a well, left for dead, sold into slavery, thrown into prison, and stay even longer in prison because of a slip he would never have been able to reach the level that God expected from him.
A similar example is with a chick hatching from an egg. An outside observer may see this tiny little chick that isn’t even a day old struggling to break through his shell, and want to help the chick. But if that person was to do that the chick would lose out on the benefits that God created by having him enter this world through that struggle because during that process the chick is gaining strength with each peck, the chick is working its respiratory system, its wings, limbs, muscle and beak. And by going through this process it can now withstand the challenges of this world that if it was robbed of that hardship would never be able to survive.
Chick Hatching Time Lapse
How can we distinguish if the hardship we are going through is a punishment or for our growth?
If we experience hardship for our growth or as a punishment because we committed sin our response should be one and the same. First check ourselves: am I doing all my Contact Prayers on time, am I giving my Zakat, I am committing any sins knowingly? If there is something I need to fix then I should fix it, and if I don’t see anything I need to fix then I need to be steadfast and trust in God. God loves those who trust in Him.
We will sin, but if we work on ourselves God will help us through our mistakes.
[4:147] What will GOD gain from punishing you, if you became appreciative and believed? GOD is Appreciative, Omniscient.