The people came to the king and said “Don’t you see, by Allah, your fear brought about the very thing you were afraid of.”
The king didn’t know what to do. So he had ditches dug at all the roads out of the city. People try to escape, BOOM into a ditch. He had people brought to the ditches and said “disbelieve and live or believe and in you go.” They believed, so he threw them in.
A woman arrived at the fire with her infant child, and hesitated (our of fear for its safety). But the child spoke, and said “O mother, have patience, for you are on the truth.” Allah blessed her child with speech, and it said “be patient if you are on the truth.”
There are two recitations of this. One is “fire full of fuel” and the other is “fire that stretches like a fountainhead”–birds fly over, and from the intense heat, die.
Why did the king do this? He had nothing against them, except that they believed in Allah, the mighty, the one worthy of all praise, whose dominion is the heavens and the Earth, the witness over all things.
Verily, tests to believers are like fire to gold–when you bring gold out of the ground, it’s full of impurities. When you bring fire, the impurities seperate.
So when a believer gets tests, he or she gets purified from pride, arrogance, etc. and becomes like the one the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) mentioned when he said “a muslim has tests until he leaves the world without any faults in him”.
May Allah protect us from such tests as the people before us endured, ameen.
And that concludes our series on the People of the Ditch!
Ibrahim Hindy. “People of the Ditch.” UTM MSA. University of Toronto At Mississauga, Mississauga.