In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
Allah the Most High says:
وَمَن يُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ
“And whoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart ” (Surah at-Taghābun 64:11, i.e., Allah guides his heart to true faith with certainty; what has befallen him was already written for him by Allah from the Qadr).
ʿAlqamah (rahimahullah) said regarding the above verse: “This is a man who is struck by an affliction, and knows that it is from Allah, so he is pleased with it, and he submits to it.” (Reported by Ibn Jareer in his Tafseer, 23/421)
It is reported in Saheeh Muslim from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: “There are two among the people who have the traits of kufr (unbelief) with them: attacking the lineage [of others] and wailing over the dead.” (no. 67)
It is reported by Bukhāri and Muslim, from Ibn Masʿood and ascribed to the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam): “He is not from us who strikes the cheeks, who tears the clothes and he who cries out with the cries of ignorance.” (Reported by Bukhāri no. 1297, and Muslim no. 103. Meaning to a calamity or death.)
Anas (radiyallahu ʿanhu) narrated that the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: “When Allah wishes good for His servant, He hastens his punishment for him in this world. And if He wishes an evil end for His servant, He holds back [punishment] for his sins until he dies ― and then He gives him what he deserves on the Day of Resurrection.” (Reported by Tirmidhi, and declared hasan by Sheikh al-Albāni in Silsilatus-Saheehah, no. 1220)
The Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: “The greatness of the reward is according to the greatness of the trial ― and if Allah loves a people, He puts them to trial. So, whoever is pleased, he is shown pleasure, and whoever becomes angry, then he receives anger.” (Reported Tirmidhi, and graded saheeh by Sheikh al-Albāni in Silsilatus Saheehah no. 146)
The chapter starts with Imām Muhammad ibn ʿAbdul Wahhāb saying: ‘From Imān in Allah is to have patience with the Decree of Allah.’ To have patience with what Allah (the Most High) has decreed is from the signs of Imān in Allah. The intent here is that a Muslim is to have patience with those decrees which do not have a reason for coming about, meaning that the person himself is not the reason for which has happened.
This means that the decrees are divided into two categories:
ONE: Those decrees that are disliked (or painful) that Allah has decreed for the slave which the person himself did not bring about such as sickness, poverty or other afflictions that the servant is afflicted with. These are not due to any disobedience, so it is upon the servant to be patient with these.
Allah the Mighty and Majestic said:
مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَمَن يُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ
“No calamity occurs except by the Will of Allah, and whoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart…” (Surah at-Taghābun 64:11).
Also, the statement of Allah:
مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّبْرَأَهَا
“No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves, but it is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (al-Lawh al-Mahfoodh) before We bring it into existence.” (Surah al-Hadeed 57:22).
This proves that everything has already been decreed. So, drought and the withholding of rain are from the calamities; so are falling sick, deformities and disabilities in children, poverty, becoming needy and so on. It is, therefore, necessary for the servant to believe that these calamities are the pre-decrees from Allah and that Allah ordained them before the creation of the heavens and the earth by 50,000 years. It is obligatory to be patient with them, and one responds to them by praising Allah and being grateful to Him because He is the One who decreed them.
It is reported from the prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) that 50,000 years before the creation of the heavens and the earth Allah created the pen and He commanded the pen to write. The pen said, ‘What should I write?’ So, Allah commanded it to write down everything that will occur until the Day of Qiyāmah. So, the pen wrote all the Decrees (what is to occur) on a tablet that is preserved with Allah above His Throne. And nothing was left out of it.
TWO: Trials due to disobedience such as a person who is put to trial due to fornication, drinking wine or shedding blood. To use Qadar (Pre-Decree) as proof for these actions is not permitted. So a person cannot use Qadar as an excuse for committing these sins. Rather, it is upon the servant to repent to Allah for committing the sin and to throw the blame on himself and not blame it on Qadar.
The intent behind ‘patience’ in this chapter is patience upon that which is purely decreed such that the person did not bring it upon himself nor is he capable of repelling it. The Tafseer of the verse proves this as ʿAlqamah said, ‘It is a man who is struck by an affliction and he knows it is from Allah, so he is pleased with it and submits to it.’
The servant is in two states when he is confronted with the Divine Pre-Decree (Al-Qadar): Being patient, and being pleased. And the latter is a higher level of Imān and is for those who are close to Allah. It is when the person knows that the trial is better for him and that the reward for the calamity that has befallen him is better for him than him being left alone untried.
An example of this would be if a person’s child dies, and he knows that the death of that child is better for him in terms of reward than that child surviving. So, Allah provides him with a child, and that child reaches the stage where he can be of service to him and then he is taken away from him by the Pre-Decree of Allah. If this person is pleased with Allah’s decree, then he has reached a stage where he receives a complete reward.
This does not mean that the afflicted person does not feel grief! When the Prophet’s (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) son Ibraheem died, he shed tears so the companions questioned him regarding that so he said: ‘The eyes shed tears, and the hearts grieve, but we will not say except that which pleases our Lord.’ So, grief is normal, but accepting the fact that it is from the Pre-Decree of Allah, and knowing that it is better for us, then this is a part of Imān―and the reward which is gathered for the one who is patient, content, satisfied and pleased with the Decree cannot be imagined.
There occurs in the hadeeth of Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) that he said: “When Allah takes the child of a servant (through death), He says to the angels, ‘Did you take the child of my servant?’ So, the angels reply ‘Yes.’ Then Allah says, ‘You took the fruit of his heart?’ So, they again respond by saying, ‘Yes.’ So, then Allah says to the angels, ‘And what did my servant say?’ So, they say, ‘He praised you and he said انا لله وانا اليه راجعون, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.’ So, then Allah says to His angels, ‘Build for my servant a house in Jannah and name it the House of Praise.” (Reported by at-Tirmidhi who declares it to be hasan-gharib and Imām Ahmad in Al-Musnad. Sheikh al-Albāni declared it to be hasan in As-Silsilah, no. 1408)
So, remember this hadeeth, the one who has been afflicted with the death of a child, such that if you had a choice between your child remaining, and him being returned to you in this short life, and between a house in Jannah, that you should choose the house that Allah has prepared for you in Paradise as a result of you being content and pleased with His decree. This is the state of the believer throughout all calamities.
The second state is the state of being patient. It is to restrain the soul due to pain that is caused by a calamity. Having this level of patience is lesser than being pleased with a trial―and from this, we see the purpose of placing the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah in this chapter: “There are two among the people who have the traits of kufr (unbelief) with them: attacking the lineage [of others] and wailing over the dead.” The relevance of this hadeeth to this chapter is that when a person wails and cries out loudly when someone dies is an indication of his anger towards the Decree of Allah, and the absence of being pleased with His Decree.
Likewise, the hadeeth of ʿAbdullah ibn Masʿood (radiyallahu ʿanhu) reported by Bukhāri and Muslim: “He is not from us who strikes the cheeks, tears the pockets of his garments and cries out with the cries of Jāhiliyyah.”
The one who is struck by a calamity: Either he is a believer and therefore he is pleased (with whatever strikes him of calamities) and submits to it because he knows it is from the decree of Allah. Or, he is weak in Imān, so he hits his face and tears his pockets. Striking the face in times of calamity is something that is known. As for the tearing of the pockets, then it is the pocket of a shirt or what is similar to it. And it can refer to the opening through which you put your head―so he tears it and rips it due to his anger and anguish at the calamity and the decree of Allah.
Calling out with the cries of Jāhiliyyah would be the saying, “Alas! My great mountain!” (وا جبلاه) Referring to the one who has died, or “Alas! O my support/helper!” (وا ناصراه) These terms are mentioned in some hadeeth where the people cry out with these words, and then the deceased is prodded in the grave by an angel who says to him, ‘Is this what you asked for? Is this what you were praised with?’ This proves that this is forbidden.
It is also reported that ʿAbdullah ibn Rawāha was suffering from an affliction, and he passed out. A member of his family called out with this term, so when he awoke, he said that he felt a prodding and it was said to him, ‘Is this what you regarded yourself to be?’ So we ask Allah for pardon and well-being. These types of words are uttered by the angry ones who are not content and pleased with the decree of Allah. The letter ‘waw (و)’ in وا جبلاه and in وا ناصراه is referred to by the people of the language as the waw of lamentation.
In the hadeeth of Anas (radiyallahu ʿanhu) where the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: “When Allah the Most High wishes good for His servant, He hastens his punishment in the world, and if He wants bad for His servant, then He holds back (punishment) for his sins until he dies, then Allah gives him what he deserves of recompense on the Day of Resurrection.” (Reported by Imām at-Tirmidhi and declared Hasan by Sheikh al-Albāni).
This hadeeth informs us that when a servant is struck by calamity and he is faced with disaster and misfortune, it is thought that this is due to Allah’s dislike of him, but this is not the case, rather it could be a sign of Allah’s love for him. It may be that Allah wished to try him with afflictions such that on the Day of Resurrection his accounting is lightened or removed from him.
As for the one to whom Allah withholds the punishment in this world and cloaks him in a garment of well-being and gives him wealth and children and prepares for him a high station in this world whilst that person is engaged in disobedience, then this may be proof of the fact that Allah wishes for him a bad ending. It could be that Allah has gathered severe punishment in the hereafter, and Allah’s refuge is sought from that.
The final hadeeth mentioned in the chapter: “The greatness of reward goes hand in hand with the greatness of the affliction,” then this means that abundant reward is for the one who is tried with afflictions and is patient. The greater the affliction, the greater the reward, as long as he is patient. Have you not heard your Lord the Most High when he said:
وَإِذِ ابْتَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا ۖ قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ
“And remember when Ibraheem’s Lord tried him with commands which he fulfilled. Allah said, ‘Verily I am going to make you a leader of mankind.’ Ibraheem said, ‘And of my descendants,’ Allah said, ‘But My covenant does not include the wrongdoers.’” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:124).
And Allah praised Ibraheem (ʿalaihis salām) in His saying:
وَإِبْرَاهِيمَ الَّذِي وَفَّىٰ
‘And Ibraheem fulfilled all that he was commanded with.’ (Surah an-Najm 53:37).
So, the first ayah mentioned that Ibraheem (ʿalaihis salām) was tried with many commands which he fulfilled, and the second mentioned that he (ʿalaihis salām) fulfilled all that he was commanded with because he was a true believer―so he broke the idols, and his people declared that he should be thrown into the fire. They made such a huge fire that it could be seen outside the town, and they threw him into it. However, Ibraheem (ʿalaihis salām) remained patient, and Allah made the fire cool and safe for him, and he came out of it with his head raised and with honour!
Then Allah tried him with separation from his parents and family. He loved his father as is reported in the hadeeth: that he will beseech Allah to pardon his father on the Day of Resurrection as Allah had promised not to disgrace Ibraheem. Due to this promise, Allah will cause his father to appear at his feet in the form of a dead ram. So with all of this, he remained patient. He made hijrah (migration), and he was patient; he was without children for a very long time, and he still remained patient. After this, Allah bestowed upon him Ismāʿeel whom he loved dearly but he was tried with having to leave him with his mother (Hājar) by the side of a mountain in a desert, barren land (Makkah), and yet still he remained patient.
Then, when his beloved son became an adult, Allah tried him again by commanding him to sacrifice his son, and he was patient and obeyed Allah―so, then Allah saved his son from being slaughtered, thus Ibraheem was successful in all of these trials. He remained patient throughout (sābir), and this was the way of the Prophets. The ones who were tried the most were the Prophets, then those who resemble them the most, and then those who resemble them the most. And Allah tries a person in accordance to the level of his Imān: the stronger his Imān, the more he is tried. So, such a person is tried constantly, until he walks upon the earth without carrying any sin.
We must pay attention to this when we are put to trial and affliction. We should strive to be patient with the Pre-Decrees of Allah―and this is an obligation upon the believers. Look at Prophet Ayoob (ʿalaihis salām): he was from the wealthiest of people and had numerous children in a town where he was honoured and respected. However, then he was afflicted with all types of illnesses, such that his skin would rot away from his bones, yet he remained steadfast and patient and so did his wife.
This is the way of the believers; when they are tried and afflicted, they remain patient. The weaker the Imān, the less that a person is tried, and the quicker he falls. The stronger the Imān, the greater the affliction, and the more resolute and successful they are. This was the way of Imām Ahmad bin Hanbal who was beaten and tortured for just one word, which he refused to utter: i.e., that the Qur’ān was created.
When the weak ones are tested, they fall into doubt, but the ones with strong Imān remain resolute and steadfast, just like Abu Bakr (radiyallahu ʿanhu) when he heard that the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) had said that he was taken to Jerusalem in one night and raised into the heavens. Abu Bakr stated: ‘If Muhammad said that, then I believe him!’ He had no doubts.
This same resoluteness is found in the scholars of our times. When Sheikh Rabeeʿ refuted the innovator Sayyid Qutb he was almost on his own. The Hizbis and Qutubis knew that the refutations gathered by Sheikh Rabeeʿ Al-Madkhali had not yet reached Sheikh Ibn Bāz, so they tried to cause fitnah between him and the scholars of Madinah. Sheikh Bakr Abu Zaid, who was from the Permanent Committee, wrote to Sheikh Rabeeʿ regarding this and so Sheikh Rabeeʿ refuted him in a treatise because the truth is more beloved and important than anything else.
When Sheikh Ahmad Ibn Yahya an-Najmi wrote a refutation of Sayyid Qutb, Ibn Jibreen warned against this refutation saying that it should not be published, so Sheikh Ahmad wrote a refutation of Ibn Jibreen. This is the way of the Imāms of the Sunnah: defending and propagating the Truth against falsehood and innovation.
It is upon us to learn the Straight Path and then cling to it, and to the people of the Sunnah and the scholars. The Salaf would test a person according to their love of the people of Sunnah, so they would say, ‘If the people of Shām come to you, question them about Awzā’ee,’ meaning, that if he loved Imām al-Awzā’ee, then he was a person of Sunnah.
So, when Allah (the Most High) tries a person, then he may get angry and not be able to be patient with the trials of his Lord, so say: O Allah! Make us of those who are patient upon being tried and afflicted and make us grateful for the blessings that you bestow upon us.
The Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: “When Allah loves a person, he puts him to trial,” so Allah tests their patience. He (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) continued, “And whoever is pleased, then he receives pleasure, and whoever is angry, then he receives anger.” This means that whoever is pleased with Allah’s decree, then Allah is pleased with him, and whoever is angered by Allah’s decree, then Allah is angry with him, and we seek refuge with Allah from His anger.
The ʿAqeedah of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamāʿah is that both good and evil are Decrees of Allah, and both are created by Him, but we do not ascribe evil to Allah. It is a must to speak of evil in the third person passive form, as is stated by Allah (the Most High):
وَأَنَّا لَا نَدْرِي أَشَرٌّ أُرِيدَ بِمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ أَمْ أَرَادَ بِهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ رَشَدًا
“And we know not whether evil is intended for those on earth, or whether their Lord intends for them a right path.” (Surah al-Jinn 72:10).
So, this verse clearly states about evil that they do not know if evil ‘is intended’. So evil is not ascribed to Allah, however the good of being shown the right path is ascribed to Allah in His saying, ‘or whether their Lord intends for them the right path.’ The evil here is mentioned in the third person passive form in order to free and disassociate Allah from any connection to evil.
In other cases, evil is ascribed to the person himself, as in the saying of Allah the Mighty and Majestic:
مَّا أَصَابَكَ مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ فَمِنَ اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَا أَصَابَكَ مِن سَيِّئَةٍ فَمِن نَّفْسِكَ
“Whatever of good reaches you, it is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, it is from yourself…” (Surah an-Nisā 4:79).
This means that evil comes about due to what you yourself have earned, so you are the reason behind it, just as Allah has said:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ النَّاسَ شَيْئًا وَلَٰكِنَّ النَّاسَ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ
“Indeed, Allah does not wrong mankind in anything, but mankind wrong themselves.” (Surah Yunus 10:44).
Also, in the hadeeth of the Talbiyyah in Hajj and ʿUmrah, there occurs in a wording the statement, “And evil is not ascribed to You.” (Muslim, no. 771) This statement frees Allah from any ascription to evil due to Him―evil is an illustration and a proof of punishment for the servant as mentioned in hadeeth, that when Allah ‘intends evil for a person’, He withholds punishment from him until he dies, and then Allah recompenses him on the Day of Judgement for his sins.
From Shaikh Ahmad Ibn Yahyā An-Najmi’s (rahimahullāh) explanation with added notes from Abu Khadeejah.
الحمد لله رب العالمين وصلى الله على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم
This article was transcribed by Umm Maryam (may Allah reward her) from the classes of Abu Khadeejah (SalafiSounds.com). Please share it with others.