What does "to maintain belief will be like grasping a hot coal" mean?

The Details of the Question
What does "to maintain belief will be like grasping a hot coal" mean?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Abu Umayyah ash-Sha'bani narrates: I asked Abu Tha'labah: What is your opinion about the following verse:

"O ye who believe! Guard your own souls: if ye follow (right) guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who stray..."(al-Maida, 5/105).

He said: I swear by Allah, I asked the one who was well informed about it; I asked the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) about it. He said:

"Enjoin one another to do what is good and forbid one another to do what is evil. But when you see niggardliness being obeyed, passion being followed, worldly interests being preferred, everyone being charmed with his opinion, then care for yourself and leave alone what people in general are doing. For, ahead of you are days which will require endurance, in which showing endurance will be like grasping a hot coal. The one who acts rightly during that period will have the reward of fifty men who act as he does."[Abu Dawud, Malahim 17, (4341); Tirmidhi, Tafsir, al-Maida, (3060); Ibn Majah, Fitan 21, (4014)]

People will live in such an era that to practice (maintain) one's religion will be as difficult as grasping a hot coal because a believer will be insulted so much that he will be more debased than his sheep. Many people will not be able to resist this pressure. The weak ones will surrender and they will sell their religion and holy things for a little amount of money. During the course of time, there will be so hard times that somebody will say, "Who will sell his religion to us for a fistful of money?" This question is not in vain: "Many people sell their religion for a small amount of money."

The Prophet (pbuh) states that practicing one's religion under such hard circumstances is more valuable than the other times:

"To worship Allah at times of anarchy, sedition, mischief and chaos is a means of getting rewards like hijrah (migration) to me."

In another narration, Hz. Prophet (pbuh) addresses his Companions as follows to express the hardship of the state at the time of sedition:

"You live at such a time that if any of you abandons one tenth of what he is ordered, he will be destroyed. There will come such a time that a person will attain salvation if he does one tenth of what he is ordered."

Those who can protect their religious persistence are promised fifty times more rewards than worshipping at normal times. When Hz. Prophet (pbuh) was asked a question about the verse,

"Guard your own souls..."

He ended his explanation to Abu Tha'labah as follows:

"...For, ahead of you are days which will require endurance, in which showing endurance will be like grasping a hot coal. The one who acts rightly during that period will have the reward of fifty men who act as he does..."When somebody asked, 'the reward of fifty of them?' the Prophet (pbuh) replied: 'The reward of fifty of you.'

(Prof.Dr. İbrahim CANAN, Kütüb-ü Sitte,  XIII/458-459)

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