Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih al-Uthaymin:
Anas ibn Malik narrates that the Prophet [may the peace and salutations of Allah be upon him] said:
“When Allah wants good for his servant He hastens for him punishment in the worldly life, and when Allah wants bad for him He withholds (the punishment) from him until He meets him on the Day of Judgment”.
All affairs are in the hand of Allah [the Majestic] and (happen) by way of His will as Allah says about Himself:
“Doer of whatsoever He intends (or wills)”. [Surah al-Buruj 85:16] and
“Verily! Allâh does what He wills.” [Suarh al-Hajj 22:18]
Therefore, all affairs are in the hand of Allah. Mankind is not free from error, sins, or falling short in performing (Islamic) obligations, and as such when Allah wants good for His servant He hastens for him punishment in the worldly life, either in his wealth or family or in his self or someone whom he has ties with; the crucial point is the punishment is hastened for him, because punishments expiate bad deeds.
So if punishment is hastened and Allah expiates by way of that the servant’s bad deeds, then certainly he will meet Allah free of any sin, for indeed the calamities and tribulations (he endured) purified him. It may even be the case that an individual’s death would be difficult (for him) due to a remaining sin or two in order for the servant to leave the dunyah pure from sin. (And) This is a blessing due to the fact that punishment in the dunyah is lighter than the punishment in the hereafter.
However, if Allah wants bad for his servant He gives him respite and lures him and overwhelms him with a life of ease and prosperity and protects him from adversity, such that he (the servant) becomes arrogant – Allah’s refuge is sought- and rejoices disgracefully for what Allah [the Majestic] blessed him with; and then meets his Lord submerged in his sins and is therefore punished for them in the hereafter -we ask Allah for protection-
So if you see a person defiantly disobedient to Allah, and Allah shelters him from adversity and overwhelms him with prosperity then know that certainly Allah wants bad for him. Why?! Because Allah delayed the punishment upon him until He meets him on the Day of Judgment.
He then went on to mention in this hadith that the magnitude of the reward is determined by the magnitude of the adversity; Meaning the greater the adversity, the greater the reward.
Therefore, the easy adversity has a lighter reward, and severe adversity has a large reward because Allah [the Majestic]– bestows great bounty on mankind. When he test them with adversity He gives them due to it abundant reward, and when the calamity is minor then such is the reward.
Verily when Allah loves a people He tests them; so whoever is content, then for him is contentment (reward), and whoever is discontent then for him is discontentment (as a result).
This is also glad tidings for the believer, when he is tested with a calamity he should not think that Allah – The One free and above all imperfections – hates him, rather this could well be a sign of Allah’s love for His servant.Allah [the Majestic] tests him with calamities, and if he is content (with Allah’s decree), patient and anticipates a reward, then for him is contentment (reward). And if he is discontent then for him is discontentment.
In this (hadith) is an encouragement for one to be patient upon the calamities so that it can be written that he is from those whom Allah [the Majestic] is pleased.