As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 4


Saying, 'If only such and such…' when some adversity befalls is forbidden

It is part of a Muslim belief in al-Qada wal-Qadar (the Pre-Decree) that 'whatever occurred (to you) could not have missed (you).' Nothing takes place except that Allah had inscribed it in al-Lawh al-Mahfoodh, or 'the Preserved Tablet,' 'Allah had written the ordained measures (and due proportions) of the creation, fifty-thousand years before the creation of the Heavens and the Earth...' [Saheeh Muslim] This inscription includes every calamity that befalls the slave. Allah says in the Qur'aan, 'No disaster strikes upon the earth or within yourselves but was recorded in a Book (al-Lawh al-Mahfoodh) before We bring it into existence. Verily, this is easy for Allah…' [(57): 22-23]

Allah states the reason behind the pre-ordainment (in the next verses of Soorah Hadid) that the slave should not despair if some calamity afflicts, nor become proud and haughty on achieving some good, because every calamity that befell him was previously designated for him and all blessings are from Allah Alone. Thus, whatever reached him could not have missed him and whatever missed him could not have reached him.

'…many people reject the decree in respect to their actions. They think that if they had done something (different), the situation would change. Yet, Allah had decreed the deed and its result, so everything is according to His Wisdom.' [Ghayatul-Murid fi-Sharh Kitab at-Tawheed by Shaikh Salih Ibn Abdul-Aziz ibn Muhammad Ibn Ibraheem Aali Shaikh]

Therefore, the slave should refrain from over speculation and conjecture, like saying, 'if I had done such and such… the result would have been different…' or '…I would have been saved from this calamity...' etc. It is narrated in Saheeh Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, 'Seek carefully what benefits you (in the Hereafter) and seek help only from Allah and neither lose heart. If any diversity (misfortune) comes to you, do not say, 'If I had only acted in such and such way, it would have been such and such, but instead say, 'Allah has decreed it and what He willed is done.' Verily, 'if' opens the way for the work of Shaytan.'

'…if one uses it (i.e., the statement, 'if only…'), it will weaken his heart and dissuade it. The forbiddance refers to the usage of the term, 'if only,' and 'if only, I wish' and whatever expressions are similar to them in regretting what has past. However, using the term, 'if only,' in the future tense, if it is regarding something good, with hope for what Allah has, and seeking help by means of goodness, then this is permissible. But if it is in a manner of haughtiness and arrogance, then it is not permissible, because it contains a form of making oneself the judge or decide over the Decree.' [Ghayatul-Murid fi-Sharh Kitab at-Tawheed by Shaikh Salih Ibn Abdul-Aziz ibn Muhammad Ibn Ibraheem Aali Shaikh]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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