Latent characteristics are not the only scale for Godâ€™s reward and punishment scales; an individual cannot be punished or rewarded for his latent characteristics as long as good or bad characteristics of man have not emerged, and these characteristics are revealed through actions. Therefore actions will not reveal themselves as long as person is not tested. So God puts people through trials so that they would reveal their actions and could be rewarded or punished accordingly.
Qurâ€™an describes hardships and worldly difficulties as the reason for punishing the past nations and says â€œAnd We have already sent [messengers] to nations before you, [O Muhammad]; then We seized them with poverty and hardship that perhaps they might humble themselves [to Us].â€â€Œ (Al-Anam: 42), â€œAnd We certainly seized the people of Pharaoh with years of famine and a deficiency in fruits that perhaps they would be reminded.â€â€Œ (Al-Araf: 130).
Imam Reza says, â€œFor believers sickness is purging and a blessing and for infidel cause of suffering and execration, sickness afflicts the believer until no sin remains in his body.â€â€Œ
These trials are like the punishment meted out by father or a teacher that intends to prevent the repletion of sin and ultimately guide and reform the child.
If we say our prayers on time, a prayer that â€œprohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do,â€â€Œ it would affect us and prevent us from committing sin.
To say prayers on time is a great trial. A believer is mindful of Godâ€™s satisfaction, and God loves timely prayer. Imam Reza says, â€œAlways say your prayers on time.â€â€Œ
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