I have observed that pious people face the worst hardships. Why is that? What is the principle of trials and tribulations?
There is the general law of tribulation. According to this some face the trial of gratitude (by virtue of the blessings they have) whilst others the test of patience. Failures and successes punctuate life. Some move from rags to riches, and others lose everything. This is the general principle we constantly see in play.
A specific rule governs the people or nation chosen by God to illustrate the final reward and retribution after the emergence of a rasool in that nation. They face much severe trials. Likewise their rewards are greater as well. Allah's dealing with them reflects the manner of affairs on the Day of Judgement. Their trials are harsher, but the fruits of their toil are splendid. Further, they are rewarded in this world too. Their lives serve as a guide and an example for the rest of us. We, on the other hand, may not see our toils bear fruit or the ills of our sins in this world.
The pious people face trials on a different principle. Through their perseverance, Allah justifies their rewards and declares them an example for others. The common people are not subject to this rule. Sometimes the hardships are a consequence of our actions. All of us falter. This worldly life also is a world of consequences. Sometimes we do suffer the ills of our sins, whilst at other times we may not.
This question was answered by Mr Ghamidi in Deen-o-Danish, an online TV session hosted by Dr Muneer Ahmad aired on Dunay TV. The text has been rendered into English by Mr Dhu al-Nurain.