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You Are Here: Knowledge Base Aqeedah (Pillars of Faith) Faith in Qadar (Predestination)

Allah's wisdom behind trying His servants with calamities and ordeals [Allamah Ibn Baaz]

From `Abdul `Aziz Bin `Abdullah Ibn Baz to all Muslims. May Allah help us do what pleases Him and safeguard us against what causes His wrath and punishment! Amen!

As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah's Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!)
Allah  has bestowed on us many blessings and countless graces. The most important of these graces and blessings is the blessing of Islam. This great blessing has no equal. Whoever understands it and thanks Allah  for it will be a winner in this world and the hereafter, if he strictly follows it in words and action.

Allah  says: "and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Verily, man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate who denies Allah's Blessings by disbelief, and by worshipping others besides Allah, and by disobeying Allah and His Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihe wasallam)." [Surah Ibrahim, 14: 34]

Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: "And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah. Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help." [Surah Al-Nahl, 16: 53]

Therefore, it is incumbent upon all Muslims to thank Allah (may He be Praised) for these bounties and to avoid being ungrateful. Allah  says while mentioning the bounties He bestows upon His servants: "And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah)." [Surah Al-Nahl, 16: 78]

Thanking Allah  for His bounties in general and in detail protects these bounties and increases them.
Allah  says: "And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: "If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings); but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily My punishment is indeed severe." [Surah Ibrahim, 14:7]

Allah  also says: "Nay! But worship Allah (Alone and none else), and be among the grateful." [Surah Al-Zumar, 39: 66]

Allah  also says: "Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying), I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless Favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me." [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 152]

Allah  also says: "Work you, O family of Dwd (David), with thanks!" But few of My slaves are grateful." Surah Saba', 34: 13

Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised Mu`adh Ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) to say this Du`a' (supplication) at the end of every Salah (Prayer): "O Allah, help me to mention, thank and worship You in the best manner."

Thanking Allah  for His bounties and using them in all that pleases Him make things much better and diminishes the effect of evils.

One of the best and noblest characteristics of the prophets and messengers of Allah and their followers is thanking Allah  for His bounties and asking for His support. Allah  says about His prophet Solomon (peace be upon him): "My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favours which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves." [Surah Al-Naml, 27: 19]

He also said when mentioning His bounties upon His prophet Noah (peace be upon him): "Verily, he was a grateful slave." [Surah Al-Isra', 17: 3]

One of the signs of thanking Allah  for His blessings is using these blessings in what pleases Him and avoiding what displeases Him. One of the signs of thankfulness is to acknowledge these bounties and attributing them to Allah  alone away from ostentation or pride especially before those who are deprived of these graces.

On the contrary, ingratitude to Allah's bounties and ungratefulness are some of the causes of removing His bounties. Moreover, doing so is considered to be oppression against one's soul.

Allah  says: "Indeed he succeeds who purifies his ownself (i.e. obeys and performs all that Allah ordered, by following the true Faith of Islmic Monotheism and by doing righteous good deeds). And indeed he fails who corrupts his ownself " [Surah Al-Shams, 91: 9]

It means that man disgraces himself by committing evil deeds.

Fearing Allah, obeying Him, following His commands and avoiding His prohibitions bring goodness, remove evils and keep Allah's bounties.

Allah  says: "And if the people of the towns had believed and had the Taqw (piety), certainly, We should have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they belied (the Messengers). So We took them (with punishment) for what they used to earn (polytheism and crimes)." [Surah Al-A`raf, 7: 96]

Allah  also says: "Verily, Allah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah). But when Allah wills a people's punishment, there can be no turning back of it, and they will find besides Him no protector." [Surah Al-Ra`d, 13: 11]

It is part of Allah's wisdom that He tries His servants with goodness and evil in order that the believer might increase in his belief, reliance and resorting to Allah (may He be Praised). Therefore, believers will exercise patience with what Allah  predestines in order that their reward might multiply. Trials also make Muslims fear the bad consequences of sins and therefore give them up.

Allah  says: "And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sbirn (the patient). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: "Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return. They are those on whom are the Salawt (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones." [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 155-156]

Allah  also says: "Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, "When (will come) the Help of Allah?" Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near! " [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 214]

Allah  also says: "Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His Cause) and (also) tests those who are As-Sbirn (the patient)?" [Surah Al-`Imran, 3: 142]

Allah  also says: "Alif-Lm-Mm. [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur'n, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings.] Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe," and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test)." [Surah Al-`Ankabut, 29: 1-3]

Allah  also says: "Verily, Allah knows those who believe, and verily, He knows the hypocrites [i.e. Allah will test the people with good and hard days to discriminate the good from the wicked, although Allah knows all that before putting them to test]." [Surah Al-`Ankabut, 29: 11]

Allah  also says: "and We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good. And to Us you will be returned." [Surah Al-Anbiya', 21: 35]

All these Ayahs (Qur'anic verses) point out that Allah (may He be Praised) tries His servants as He did with the preceding nations. If they exercise patience and repent and return to Him with regard to all that befalls them, they will receive His reward, forgiveness and satisfaction and they will be admitted to paradise and compensated with what is better than what they missed.

All the signs that happen in this universe that arouse sympathy like thunderbolts, fierce wind, floods that destroy everything, earthquakes that cause great destruction to lofty buildings, great trees, properties and mankind, volcanoes that destroy all that surrounds them, solar and lunar eclipses and other things with which Allah  tries His servant, are but means of frightening and warning them to give up aggression.

This also may urge them to fear Allah  and return to Him. These signs also try their patience for what Allah  predestines. Moreover, the punishment of the hereafter is greater and the command of Allah  is superior.
When Quraysh belied the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), Allah told His Messenger (peace be upon him) that He had destroyed the nations who belied the previous messengers and prophets.

Allah says: "And how many a generation We have destroyed before them who were stronger in power than they. And (when Our Torment came), they ran for a refuge in the land! Could they find any place of refuge (for them to save themselves from destruction)?" [Surah Qaf, 50: 36]

Allah revealed after this Ayah His saying: "Verily, therein is indeed a reminder for him who has a heart or gives ear while he is heedful." [Surah Qaf, 50: 37]

Therefore, it is incumbent upon Muslims to fear Allah by following His commands and avoiding His prohibitions. If they are inflicted with any of these calamities, they have to repent and return to Allah, and to search in themselves for the causes of this trial.

Allah says: "And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much." [Surah Al-Shura, 42: 30]

They have also to repent to Allah because of their negligence of doing righteous deeds and their committing of sins. Tawbah (repentance to Allah) repels afflictions. They also have to exercise patience and seek Allah's reward for the calamities they suffered. Allah  says: "but give glad tidings to As-Sbirn (the patient). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: "Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return. They are those on whom are the Salawt (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones." [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 155]

Allah  also says: "No calamity befalls, but by the Leave [i.e. Decision and Qadar (Divine Preordainments)] of Allah, and whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart [to the true Faith with certainty, i.e. what has befallen him was already written for him by Allah from the Qadar (Divine Preordainments)]. And Allah is the All-Knower of everything." [Surah Al-Taghabun, 64: 11]

This means that whoever is afflicted with any of these calamities and believes that it is predestination of Allah and receives it with patience seeking His reward, Allah will guide his heart to certainty and belief. He also has to realize that what befell him was not to miss him and what missed him was not to befall him.

He also believes that Allah will compensate him with guidance in his heart and truthful certainty. Allah may also make up for him what is better than what he missed. Being known through scientific realities and calculations, solar and lunar eclipses or other signs occur by Allah's Might to make His servants fear Him. Therefore, He predestines these signs as He wills.

Allah says: "No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but it is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfz) before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allah. In order that you may not grieve at the things that you fail to get, nor rejoice over that which has been given to you. And Allah likes not prideful boasters." [Surah Al-Hadid, 57: 22-23]

When a solar eclipse happened during the life time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), he along with the Companions performed Salat-ul-Kusuf (Prayer on a solar eclipse).

Then, the Prophet (peace be upon him) delivered an eloquent speech telling his Companions that the sun and the moon are Allah's signs that do not eclipse because of the death or life of anyone. Allah sends these signs to make His servants fear Him.

Then, he asked them to perform Salah (Prayer), pay charity, pronounce Takbir (saying: "Allahu Akbar [Allah is the Greatest]"), Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah) and Istighfar (seeking forgiveness from Allah) and free slaves.

He said in his sermon: "O followers of Muhammad! By Allah! There is none who has more ghaira (self-respect) than Allah as He has forbidden that His slaves, male or female, commit illegal sexual intercourse. O followers of Muhammad! By Allah! If you knew that which I know you would laugh little and weep much..."

The real life of many Muslims in these days denotes negligence of Allah's rights and paying no attention to what is incumbent upon them with regard to obeying and fearing Allah.

He who ponders on this reality will find many penalties inflicted upon nations and people as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, famines and devastating wars that annihilate everything.

Allah (may He be Praised) points out in His Glorious Book some of the punishments He sends down upon those who disobey His commands and deviate from the right path from among the perished nations who belie Allah's messengers.

This is because people may receive admonition and beware of their deeds. Allah says: "So We punished each (of them) for his sins; of them were some on whom We sent Hsib (a violent wind with shower of stones) [as on the people of Lt (Lot)], and of them were some who were overtaken by As-Saihah [torment - awful cry. (as Thamd or Shu'aib's people)], and of them were some whom We caused the earth to swallow [as Qrn (Korah)], and of them were some whom We drowned [as the people of Nh (Noah), or Fir'aun (Pharaoh) and his people]. It was not Allah Who wronged them, but they wronged themselves." [Surah Al-`Ankabut, 29: 40]

Sins have bad effects on heart, body and society. They incur Allah's Wrath and Punishment in this world and in the hereafter. No body knows the details of these bad effects and punishment except Allah alone.

They bring many kinds of corruption in the earth; in water, air, food, and houses. Allah  says: "Evil (sins and disobedience to Allah) has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned (by oppression and evil deeds), that He (Allah) may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return (by repenting to Allah, and begging His Pardon)." [Surah AlRum, 30: 41]

Allah also says: "And indeed We punished the people of Fir'aun (Pharaoh) with years of drought and shortness of fruits (crops), that they might remember (take heed)." [Surah Al-A`raf, 7: 130]

There is a lesson in these calamities for he whom Allah predestined to be a happy person. In general, the evils that occur in this world and the penalties that are carried out in the hereafter are the result of sins and evil deeds. One of the signs of the hardness and rudeness of the heart is hearing Ayahs negligently that talk about these lessons and examples of the perished nations that may cause mountains to humble themselves if they had minds.

However, the hard hearts continue with their aggression and sins because of being deceived by the delay of Allah's punishment. They devote themselves to their whims and desires and pay no attention to threat or warning. Allah says: "Woe to every sinful liar. Who hears the Verses of Allah (being) recited to him, yet persists with pride as if he heard them not. So announce to him a painful torment!" [Surah Al-Jathiyah, 45: 7-8]

Moreover, persisting on doing sins and evil deeds despite the occurrence of some punishments and penalties for it is a sign of weakness or lack of faith.

Allah says: "Truly! Those, against whom the Word (Wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment." [Surah Yunus, 10: 96-97]

Allah says: "Say: "Behold all that is in the heavens and the earth," but neither Ayt (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) nor warners benefit those who believe not." [Surah Yunus, 10: 101]

Allah also says: "Nay! But on their hearts is the Rn (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn. Nay! Surely they (evil-doers) will be veiled from seeing their Lord that Day. Then, verily, they will indeed enter (and taste) the burning flame of Hell. Then, it will be said to them: "This is what you used to deny!" [Surah Al-Mutaffifin, 83: 14-17]

Our brothers, we have recently watched a horrible catastrophe that has a lesson for he who wants to learn. It is incumbent upon Muslims to take lessons from what happens in this universe.

Allah says: "Then take admonition, O you with eyes (to see)." [Surah Al-Hashr, 59: 2]

We heard on broadcasts, read in newspapers and magazines and watched on televisions what people talk here and there about the earthquakes that happened in Northern Yemen that devastated many towns and villages. It caused the death of many people and destroyed many buildings and properties. Many people were wounded and many families lost their money, homes, offspring and wives.

Many women became widows and many children became orphans. All these calamities happened in a short time to denote Allah's Might and power. It also means that people are weak before Allah's Might regardless of the might and power they have attained.

It is obligatory upon all Muslims to learn the lessons from what happened. They also have to repent to Allah and return to Him and avoid all that brings His wrath and anger. We supplicate Allah to bestow His forgiveness and mercy upon those who died in Yemen because of that catastrophe and to grant people tranquility and consolation.
We ask Allah to make all the catastrophes they suffered a means of removing their sins, increasing their rewards and ranks and arousing their heedless hearts. We also have to offer them consolation through cooperation and kindness. Moreover, we should offer them charity to sustain them in their calamity and relieve the grave impact of this catastrophe.

Allah says: "And whatever good you send before you for yourselves, (i.e. Nawfil non-obligatory acts of worship: prayers, charity, fasting, Hajj and 'Umrah), you will certainly find it with Allah, better and greater in reward." [Surah Al-Muzzammil, 73: 20]

Allah also says: "and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah's Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers." [Surah Saba', 34: 39]

Allah also says: "and do good. Truly, Allah loves Al-Muhsinn (the good-doers)." [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 195]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "He who removes from a believer one of his difficulties of this world, Allah will remove one of his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and he who relieves a person in a crisis, Allah will make things easy for him on the Day of Resurrection; he who covers up (the faults and sins) of a Muslim, Allah will cover up (his faults and sins) in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah supports His slave as long as the slave is supportive of his brother..." [Reported by Muslim]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: [Whoever fulfills the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs".]
The Prophet (may Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him) also said: "A faithful believer to a faithful believer is like the bricks of a wall, enforcing each other." While saying so the Prophet (peace be upon him) clasped his hands, by interlacing his fingers."

He (peace be upon him) also said: "The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, and fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever."

This Hadith was reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Therefore, we have to support our brothers in Yemen and pay all the charity that we can to achieve the meaning of brotherhood in Islam that was mentioned by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in many Hadiths.

We also have to do so in order to obtain the great reward promised by Allah for those who spend their money in His cause. May Allah grant all Muslims in general and our brothers in Yemen in particular success in forbearance and seeking Allah's reward.

We ask Him also to multiply the reward for us and them. We also ask Him to grant those who are injured tranquility and the best consolation. We supplicate Him to grant all Muslims sincere repentance, strictness in following the truth and caution in avoiding all that brings His Wrath and Punishment. He is the guardian and the only One who is able to do this.

As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah's Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!)

General Chairman of General Chairman of the Departments of Scholarly Research, Ifta', Daw`ah, and Guidance the Departments of Scholarly Research, Ifta', Daw`ah, and Guidance

Ibn Baz Fatawa: Volume 9 > Allah‘s Wisdom behind trying His servants with calamities and ordeals such as earthquakes