Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
Is it disbelief to angrily beseech Allah Most High for help?
No, angrily beseeching Allah Most High for help is not disbelief, nor is it necessarily discontentment with the Divine decree. It may however be a lack of etiquette depending on the exact intention in the heart.
There is a difference between complaining to Allah Most High and complaining about Allah.
Complaining to Allah Most High
This worldly life (Dunya) is inseparable from tribulations. And when there are tribulations, human beings will complain.
The difference between righteous servants Allah Most High and those who fall short in their relationship as servants to the Creator of All – is in the method of their complaints.
The Prophet Y’aqub (Jacob) – May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and upon our Prophet – was criticized by his sons for being so saddened by the loss of his son Yusuf (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him).
The following verse portrays the story:
Allah Most High says, “They said, “By Allah! You will not cease to remember Joseph until you lose your health or ˹even˺ your life.” He replied, “I complain of my anguish and sorrow only to Allah, and I know from Allah what you do not know.” [Quran; 12:85-6]
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) himself had a similar circumstance after fleeing from the people of Taif, bloodied and battered.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) pleaded to Allah with the following supplication:
“O Allah, I complain to You the weakness of my strength, the feebleness of my plan, and my lowliness in the eyes of the people. O Most Merciful of all. You are the Lord of the downtrodden and You are my Lord. To whom have You entrusted me: to a stranger who will scowl at me or to an enemy to whom You have given control of my affair. If You are not angry with me, then I care not. However, Your granting of ease is more expansive for me. I seek refuge in the Light of Your Countenance by which all darkness is illuminated and all worldly and next worldly affairs are made right – that Your anger ever descends upon me or Your wrath ever take me. For You is all repentance until You are pleased. There is no power or strength save with You.” [Bahjat al-Mahafil, ‘Amiri]
Complaining About Allah Most High
Complaining about Allah Most High can be either by speaking badly of one’s circumstances that occurred by the Decree of Allah or by blaming Allah Most High for one’s misfortune.
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The strong believer is more beloved to Allah than the weak believer. And in each of them is goodness. Be keen for what benefits you, seek help from Allah, and do not deem yourselves incapable. If something afflicts you, do not say, “If only I did such and such…” Rather say, “This is what Allah has decreed and He does as He wants.” For indeed, the words ‘If only…’ opens up the deeds of Satan.” [Muslim]
Imam Abdullah bin ‘Alawi al-Haddad (Allah be pleased with him) said in his famous poem:
لو ولم وكيف قول ذي الحمق
يعترض علي الله الذي خلق
If only, why, and how are the words of the fool
he objects to Allah who created (him).
قضى وقدَّر كل شيء بحق
يا قلبي تنبه واترك المجون
He has destined and decreed everything in truth
O heart of mine, wake up and leave aside all shamelessness
لا يكثر همك ما قدر يكون
Do not worry so much, what has been decreed will come to pass.
[Haddad, al-Durr al-Manzum]
If one hears words of complaint about Allah or signs of discontentment with Allah’s decree then one must tactfully try to encourage a better outlook of Allah Most High. We see within the Prophet’s biography a perfect example of this.
Anas bin Malik (Allah be pleased with him narrated saying, “The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) came upon a woman who was wailing over the death of her child. He said to her, ‘Be mindful of Allah and have patience.’ He replied, ‘What do you care of my tribulation!?’ When he walked off, she was told that it was the Messenger of Allah. She was overtaken as if by death. She came to his home and found no guard at his door. She said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I didn’t know it was you!’ He said, ‘Real patience is at the beginning of the affliction.” [Muslim]
Note that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) advised her but did not force her to acknowledge his opinion. Due to her overwhelming emotions it was more tactful and wise to leave her be.
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.