Admonition: [The Souls Will Not Be Purified And Upright Until They Are Put To The Test Through Afflictions]- By Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah]
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
The Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said: “My example and the example of the people is that of a man who made a fire, and when it lighted what was around it, moths and other insects started falling into the fire. The man tried (his best) to prevent them (from falling in the fire), but they overpowered him and rushed into the fire . Similarly, I take hold of the knots at your waist (belts) to prevent you from falling into the fire, but you insist on falling into it. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Number 6483].
The Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] likened us to moths, because of its ignorance [about the danger behind that light from the fire], impulsiveness and un-insightful behaviour [when it sees the light from the fire]. It is well known that a moth moves quickly [towards the light of the fire] due to being ignorant [of the consequences], and this why it is said that the one who follows another person who misguides him is befooled and misled. Allaah [The Most High] stated about Fir’awn: [فَٱسۡتَخَفَّ قَوۡمَهُ ۥ فَأَطَاعُوهُۚ – Thus he [Fir’aun (Pharaoh)] befooled and misled his people, and they obeyed him (Surah Az-Zukhruf’ Aayah 54]
[Likewise] Allaah [The Most High] said: [فَٱصۡبِرۡ إِنَّ وَعۡدَ ٱللَّهِ حَقٌّ۬ۖ وَلَا يَسۡتَخِفَّنَّكَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُوقِنُونَ – And let not those who have no certainty of faith, discourage you from conveying Allah’s Message (which you are obliged to convey)]. [Surah Rum’ Aayah 60]
Unlike the person upon certainty, the person who has no certainty in faith [or lacks certainty] does not remain firm, rather he [or she] acts carelessly, whereas certainty is that firm Eemaan in the heart based on [sound] knowledge and action. And it maybe that a person has sound knowledge but does not exercise patience during calamities; rather he [or she] is swayed by emotion. Al-Hasan Al-Basri [rahimahullaah] said: If you wish to see someone with insight but has no patience, you will see him; and if you wish to see someone who has patience but not insight, you will see him; but if you see a person who had insight as well as patience, then he [or she] is the one mentioned by Allaah in the Aayah: [وَجَعَلۡنَا مِنۡہُمۡ أَٮِٕمَّةً۬ يَہۡدُونَ بِأَمۡرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُواْۖ وَڪَانُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ – And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)]. [Surah As-Sajdah’ Aayah 24]
Al-Fawaa’id’ pages 299-300. abridged and slightly paraphrased