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 Affliction is an adornment for the believer and a mark of honour
 for the man of intellect, because facing it directly needs stead
 fastness and firm-footedness, both of which confirm belief. The
 Prophet said, 'We, the company of the prophets, are the people
 who have the hardest trials, then after us come the believers,
 then the others like them.'

 Whoever tastes the food of affliction while under God's protec-
 tion enjoys it more than he enjoys God's blessing. He yearns for
 it when it is not there, because the lights of blessing lie under
 the balance of affliction and trial, and the balance of affliction
 and trial lies under the lights of blessing. Many are delivered
 from affliction and then destroyed in blessing. God praised none
 of His bondsmen, from Adam up to Muhammad, until He had
 tested him and seen how he fulfilled the duty of worship while
 in affliction. God's marks of honour come, in fact, at the last
 stage, but the aSictions themselves come in the beginning.

 Whoever leaves the path of affliction is ignoring the lamp of
 the believers, the beacon of those near to God, and the guide for
 those on the right path. There is no good in a slave who complains
 of a single trial preceded by thousands of blessings and followed
 by thousands of comforts. Whoever does not show the patience
 required in affliction is deprived of thankfulness in the blessings
 he reccives. Similarly, whoever does not give the thankfulness
 owed for blessings is denied the patience owed in affliction. Who-
 ever is denied both of them is an outcast.

 Ayyub said in his supplication, 'O God, verily seventy comforts
 and ease did not come to me until You sent me seventy afflictions.'
 And Wahb ibn Munabbih said, 'Affliction to a believer is like a
 bit to a horse and a halter to a camel.' 'Ali said, 'Steadfastness
 in relation to belief is like the head to the body. The head of
 steadfastness is affliction, but only those who act righteously
 understand that.

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