We all experience different levels of hardships in life. How do we know if Allah is punishing us, or if it's a good purification for me and Allah is testing me?
If the test or difficulty brings you closer to Allah, then it is not a punishment, it is a purification that will give you greater love for Him. But if the difficulty brings you farther away from Allah, then that is a punishment from Allah.
Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim further answers the question
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