The custom of the Lord is that whenever He goes strict with the servant and shows harshness in a verse, then, right after that or before it, He caresses the servant and gives him hope. Thus in this verse, He breaks the servant by mentioning those harsh things and varieties of trial. Then He gives good news, He caresses, and He says, “and give good news to the patient.” And, at the beginning of these verses, He says, “Surely God is with the patient” [2:153]. Glory be to Him! How gentle and how merciful He is to His servants!
He says, “We will test you, sometimes with fear, sometimes with dread, sometimes with poverty, sometimes with hunger, sometimes with outward affliction, sometimes with inward sorrow.” The outward trial and evident affliction are in fact easy work, for sometimes they are there and sometimes not, like the trial of Abraham and the trial of Job. The complete trial is inward sorrow, which does not leave its place for a moment. When someone is closer, more worthy of friendship, and more suitable for union, his sorrow is more. Such was Muṣṭafā’s sorrow. He had no capacity for it on the highest horizon, nor did he have any rest from it on the expanse of the earth.
2:155 And We will indeed try you with something of fear and hunger, and decrease of wealth, souls, and fruits; and give good news to the patient.
“Yes, everyone who seeks union with Me and wants proximity with Me has no escape from taking on the burden of tribulation and tasting the drink of sorrow.”
Āsiya, the wife of Pharaoh, sought for the Real’s neighborhood and asked for His proximity. She said, “My Lord, build for me a house with Thee in the Garden [66:11]. “Yes, it is beautiful, but its price is very expensive. Everything is sold for gold and silver, but this is sold for spirit and heart.” Āsiya said, “That’s nothing to fear. And if its price were a thousand spirits instead of one, there would be no holding back.”
Bishr Ḥāfī said, “I was passing through the bazaar in Baghdad. They were whipping someone with one thousand strokes, but he did not let out a sigh. Then they took him to prison.
I went in his tracks and asked him, ‘Why all those blows?’ He said, ‘Because I am entranced by passion.’
“I said, ‘Why did you not weep so that they might lighten them?’ He said, ‘Because my beloved was watching. I was so drowned in the contemplation of my beloved that I had no concern for weeping.’
“I said, ‘If you had been gazing on the Greatest Beloved, how would that have been?’ He cried out once, then he died.”
Yes, when passion is truly there, a trial takes on the color of blessing. This is great good fortune: the beauty of the Beloved gives you access to itself so that in contemplating Him, you will take all severity as gentleness.