What is the Meaning of “Good” and “Bad” in Believing in Destiny?

Answered by Shaykh Khalid al-Kharsa


Our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) emphasized the importance of believing in destiny, both its good and evil aspects. What is meant by “good” and “bad” in this context?


Belief in destiny is one of the six pillars of faith, without which a servant’s faith is not complete. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to Gabriel (peace be upon him) when asked about faith: “Faith is to believe in Allah (Most High) and His angels, His Books, His messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in divine destiny, its good and evil” [Muslim].

In another narration, it’s stated: “Its good and evil, its sweet and bitter are from Allah (Most High).”

Allah (Most High) has explained His wisdom in this, saying:

“No calamity (or blessing) occurs on earth or in yourselves without being (written) in a Record before We bring it into being. This is certainly easy for Allah.” [Quran, 57:22]

A believer believes that everything happening in this world, be it happiness or misery, ease or hardship, is by the decree of Allah (Most High), and nothing escapes His will and power, as He says:

“Indeed, We have created everything perfectly preordained.” [Quran, 54:49]

Imam ‘Ayni (Allah have mercy on him) said: “The position of the people of truth is that all matters including faith, disbelief, good, evil, benefit, and harm are by the decree and predestination of Allah, and nothing occurs in His kingdom except what He has decreed.” [‘Ayni, ‘Umdat al-Qari]

Scholars have divided destiny into four categories, following the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and give him peace) saying: “Its good and evil, its sweet and bitter are from Allah (Most High)”:

1. Good and Sweet Destiny

This is what Allah helps His servants to achieve in terms of obedience. This destiny is good as it leads them to Allah’s pleasure and Paradise and averts His punishment and wrath. It’s sweet as it aligns with what they desire.

2. Good and Bitter Destiny

These are the trials with which Allah tests His believing servants. They are good for them, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

“How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it, and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” [Muslim]

Every ailment and trial befalling a believer is from the good and bitter destiny.

3. Evil and Sweet Destiny

This is what Allah gives to the disbelievers, the wicked, and the sinners in terms of pleasures, desires, and abundance in wealth and provisions, which they use in disobedience to Allah. This is evil for them as it leads them closer to Allah’s wrath and distances them from His mercy. It’s sweet as it aligns with their desires and what they lust for.

4. Evil and Bitter Destiny

Also known as “the masters of destiny,” this refers to the calamities and disasters that Allah inflicts on His enemies, hastening their punishment. This is evil for them as it brings them closer to Hell and Allah’s wrath. It is bitter as it goes against their desires.

These are the four categories of destiny. May Allah increase us and you in success and understanding of religious matters and make us among those who are content with His decree and destiny. He is indeed All-Hearing, Ever Near.


Scholars have stated that even though destiny, its good and evil, is from Allah (Most High), it is respectful only to attribute good to Him and to attribute evil to ourselves. As Allah (Most High) says, informing about our master Abraham (peace be upon him):

“(He is) the One Who provides me with food and drink.” [Quran, 26:79]

He attributed guidance, feeding, and giving drink to Allah (Most High) for its magnificence, then said:

“And He (alone) heals me when I am sick.” [Quran, 26:80]

He attributed illness to himself and did not say, “He makes me ill” out of respect with Allah (Most High), even though everything is from Him, glorified and exalted be He. This is very common in the Quran. [Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid]

May Allah guide us and you to understand His words and the words of His Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and make us among those who are content with His decree and destiny. He is indeed All-Hearing, Ever Near.

[Shaykh] Khalid al-Kharsa

Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Khalid al-Kharsa is a distinguished scholar from Syria, born in Damascus in 1960. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Da‘wa Islamiyya in Tripoli, a higher diploma in Comparative Fiqh from the University of Omdurman in 1998, a master’s degree in Comparative Fiqh from the Faculty of Shari‘a and Law at the University of Omdurman in 2002, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Fiqh from the same institution in 2010.

He acquired knowledge and spiritual guidance from Shaykh Muhammad Salih al-Farfur, Shaykh Abdul Razzaq al-Halabi, Shaykh Muhammad Adib al-Kallas, and Shaykh Abdul Rahman al-Shaghouri, may Allah have mercy on them all.

He received Ijazas from several scholars, including Shaykh Muhammad Amin Siraj, Shaykh Abdul Ghani al-Daqar, Shaykh Muhammad Sa‘id al-Kahil, Shaykh Malik bin al-Arabi bin Ahmad al-Sharif al-Sanusi, Shaykh Muhammad Usman Bilal, the Mufti of Aleppo, and others.

Shaykh Khalid lived in Damascus for 52 years, where he engaged extensively in educational and social activities before being displaced from there. He moved to Istanbul at the end of 2015 and co-established “Markaz Jami‘at al-‘Ilm Wa al-Hidaya” within two months of his arrival. In Istanbul, he is active in educational roles. He serves as the director and teacher at the Sheikh Abdul Razzaq al-Halabi Institute, a lecturer at Dar al-Fuqaha, and a teacher at the Dar al-Funun Waqf.

His scholarly works and research include his tahqiq on “al-Rasa li al-Salihat min al-Nisa” by Hafiz Yusuf bin Abdul Hadi, “Adab al-Murta‘i in the Science of Dua (Supplication),” “al-Isti‘ana bi al-Fatiha,” “Rashat al-Aqlam – Explanation of Kifayat al-Ghulam” by Shaykh Abdul Ghani al-Nabulsi in Hanafi Fiqh, “al-Hada’iq al-Wardiyya fi Ajla al-Naqshbandiyya” by Khani, and “al-Arba‘in al-Tusiyya” by Muhammad bin Aslam. May Allah preserve him and make his contributions beneficial.