People come to Madinah for different reasons. Some come just to work and earn money. Others come to study Islam or to live in this sacred city where Rasool Allah (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) lived and is buried. Yet others come seeking the barakaat of prayers in Masjid an Nabawi or the security of this place from the Dajjal. So many readers yearn to come here, yet I wonder if they are seeking the biggest thing that Madinah has to offer for their aakhirah - purification and perfection.
There is a hadith from Sahih al Bukhari that is very striking:
Volume 3, Book 30, Number 107
A bedouin came to the Prophet and gave a pledge of allegiance for embracing Islam. The next day he came with fever and said (to the Prophet ), "Please cancel my pledge (of embracing Islam and of emigrating to Medina)." The Prophet refused (that request) three times and said, "Medina is like a furnace, it expels out the impurities (bad persons) and selects the good ones and makes them perfect."
Well, if you really want what Madinah has to offer, then prepare yourself to be tested - and know that it is nothing but blessing and benefit for your aakhirah.
People have car accidents, serious and fatal ones here. In fact, our good friends had a major accident just a few days ago, Qadr Allah mashaa fa'al. Several people we know have advanced cancer, fatal diseases, and chronic health problems. People face financial hardships, lose money, go through marital difficulties and divorce, and struggle to raise good Muslim children. Children drown, are electrocuted in seemingly harmless play areas or rented istarahas. But what does that mean in relation to Madinah?
Inshaa'Allah, it means that they are being purified, their sins are being expiated, and their religion is being improved and strengthened. Inshaa'Allah, it means that there is a beautiful hope of being moved closer to Ihsaan (perfection - as far as we mere humans can be perfected). The tests and trials faced here are to be embraced by the believer, with hopes and prayers that they are one of those selected by Allah to be purified and perfected in this blessed city
Some may think that Allah has blessed them with living in Madinah because they are good at heart...and inshaa'Allah they are. But human failings are great and multitudinous and purification doesn't come without its price.