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The Problem of Evil – Why We Suffer Series

“Why We Suffer” is a series that explores why there is suffering in the world, and how we should respond to evil according to Allah’s teachings. In this segment, Shaykh Hamza Karmali speaks about the so-called “Problem of Evil.”

The so-called “”Problem of Evil, is the name given to a false dilemma about suffering: If God is kind and good, then why is there so much evil in the world?

The root of philosophy began with the Ancient Greeks. The philosophers of the time came up with the idea of humanism, which was the idea that “man is the measure of all things.”  This meant that the person themselves determines whether something is good is bad, right or wrong.

This idea was rediscovered in the Renaissance, where the corrupt church would demand indulgences, or monetary favours in exchange for lessening the donor’s suffering in the afterlife. The church also had the idea of the “absolute rule,” of the monarchy, which the peasants had to unconditionally follow.

The peasants’ natural response would be, “What about me? Why is this oppressive ruler sanctioned by God over me? Why can’t I use my mind?”

As Muslims, we agree so far. We believe that rulers should not oppress the people, and we know that we are encouraged many times in the Qur’an to use our minds. We do not object to using rational thought, but rather  seek to understand it in its proper context.

However, the difference begins. Philosophers believe that life is divided into pleasure and suffering, which means that anything that causes suffering is bad. Muslims believe that this life is a combination of pleasure and tribulation, while the afterlife is filed with pleasure only.

Here lies the core of our approach to suffering. As Muslims, we believe that Allah sends us trials and suffering in order to tests us. These test are only temporary, and will be compensated for in the Hereafter. Having this perspective allows us to look at suffering in a positive and hopeful light.

About the Series

Shaykh Hamza Karamali (Dean of Academics at SeekersHub Global) and our founder Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explain the Islamic understanding of why there are tests, trials, evil and suffering in this life. They address questions such as: What is the wisdom and purpose behind evil and suffering in this life? How should we respond to evil, suffering, tests, and trials? What are the spiritual teachings of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) to respond with trials?


Resources for Seekers

 

You Kafir! – The Rising Trend Of Declaring Muslims As Disbelievers

In recent times, the phenomenon of declaring other Muslims disbelievers (kafir) has spread among the Muslim community. But what does sound classical Islamic scholarship say about it?

Many people have adopted a very lax approach concerning the declaration of disbelief, such that hearing to the expression: “you disbeliever” has become the norm. Such laxity has caused the spread of tribulation, the audacity to shed blood, the violation of human dignity, disobedience towards parents and severing of family ties. Many such people have even taken to fighting, on the misconceived grounds that it is their obligation to correct ‘invalid’ Islamic doctrine. Many Muslims have fallen prey to this bizarre notion, due to widespread religious illiteracy, as well as tactful scheming by proponents of such ideas.

Find out more in Issue 2 [PDF] of the Sanad Network’s Misreadings of the Wayward series.

 

Further resources for seekers

Reviving the Sunnah of Being Optimistic, by Shaykh Ahmed Abdo

How did the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, remain optimistic throughout the years of trial and tribulation, which he, his family and companions endured?

Shaykh Ahmed Abdo presents an uplifting insight at this lecture held at Lakemba Mosque in Sydney, Australia.

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Resources for seekers

Fitna Will Come and Go, Knowledge Stays – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on Seeking Knowledge in Times of Fitna
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf emphasizes the importance of seeking sacred knowledge, even in times of fitna (tribulation), citing examples of great scholars like Shaykh Abdul-Wahid Ibn ‘Ashir and Mawlana Rumi, who lived through extreme times of fitna themselves.  Please watch the clip below, but also watch the full lecture and many more via the wonderful Deenstream service.
Want to learn more? Take an online course with reliable scholars at the SeekersHub Academy, where dozens of topics are covered each term.

Resources on seeking sacred knowledge in times of fitna:

Afraid to get groceries? Ustadha Anse Tamara Gray on being a Muslim woman in today’s turbulent climate

Each time a high profile act of violence is committed by a Muslim or in the name of Islam, the fear of reprisal attacks rises acutely in Muslim communities. It has become almost par for the course, and the statistics prove the threat is real. Often, women who are visibly Muslim find themselves the primary soft target. Ustadha Anse Tamara Gray has been inundated with concerned messages from many who are directly and indirectly affected. From being afraid to leave the home to do basic, every day errands to fearing for their lives – this has become the sad reality for many. Ustadha Anse has some much needed advice.

Resources for seekers:

Finding Safety and Solace in the Sunnah

In the name of Allah the Most Merciful, The Most Compassionate. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon Sayyiduna Muhammad and His Folk and Companions.


In any matter that faces the believers, individually and communally, they would not find a better recourse than to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). 

Times of trial are reminders to hold fast to Allah and to find safety and solace in following the way of our beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him).  

It is related that when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) would exit his house he would say:

Finding-Solace-Iman-Badawi3

In the name of Allah, I trust in Allah; there is no might or power but in Allah. O Allah! I seek refuge in You lest I stray or be led astray, or slip or be made to slip, or cause injustice, or suffer injustice, or do wrong, or have wrong done to me.”

This supplication, as it appears here, is a combination of reports from the Sunnan of Abi Dawud, on the authority of Sayyida Umm Salama and Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be well-pleased with them all).  Imam an-Nawwawi, in his Adhkar, collected similar narrations from at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasaa`i, and Ibn Maajah.  

Ibn Allan, in his commentary on the Adhkar, entitled al-Futoohat ar-Rabbaniyya, explains that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught this supplication to his ummah to teach them how to seek refuge from all harm in their dealings with people, both outwardly and inwardly. This can only come about through humbly turning to Allah, Most High, and asking for steadfastness upon the straight path.

He quotes at-Teebi as saying, “One who exits from his home will engage with people, and so it is feared that he would swerve from the upright way; either 

  1. in matters of religion, by leading others astray or being led astray; or 
  1. in worldly matters, such that one might oppress another or be oppressed; or 
  1. in one’s mixing with others, such that one would act imprudently or be treated as such.”

Ibn Allan explains that each one of these is a foundation in itself, not redundant.

 


TRUST IN ALLAH

Dua-RainNewImage.png“In the name of Allah, I trust in Allah; there is no might and no power but in Allah.”

Through reliance upon Allah, the believer seeks to rise above every difficulty. This is sought by invoking the name of Allah with the intention of seeking His Assistance, Gentle Care, and Facilitation and that His Power protects one’s acts from deficiency and inconsistency.

Muslims often become exasperated by the default state of suspicion placed upon them in the wake of terrorist attacks.  While we must take every means to enjoin good and forbid evil and avert all forms of harm, it is not by our efforts that the truth prevails.  Rather, above all of that is the duty to trust in Allah.

 

MISGUIDANCE

“O Allah! I seek refuge in You lest I stray or be led astray, or slip or be made to slip

Guidance is to uphold the truth in belief and word and deed. Straying from guidance (dalaal) entails being distracted away from the high aims for which we were created.

Worldly events often cause a shift in this focus and lead to negligence in upholding Slavehood to Allah.  

The verb “zalla” means to slip from an elevated place. In this context it means falling from the lofty heights of adherence to the Straight Path to the low strata of following one’s caprice (hawa), or turning away from the dictates of God-consciousness (taqwa), or being consumed by the pursuit of worldly gains (dunya).  Misguidance is a willful turning from the truth, while slipping is an unintentional mistake resulting from weakness.  

Even as Muslims feel threatened or unsafe, we must not lose our resolve to adhere to the obedience of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) in all circumstances. This is the means to overcoming difficulty and the manifestation of true reliance upon Allah.

Thus, it has been reported on the authority of Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (may Allah be well-pleased with him) that Allah immediately answers and an angel declares, “You have been guided.” [Sunan Ibn Maajah, Book of Supplications]

 

OPPRESSION

“I seek refuge in You lest I….cause injustice, or suffer injustice”

Dhulm means to place something in other than it’s rightful place or to take the right of another.  

There can be no greater oppression than to take the words of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) out of their proper place to achieve the exact opposite of their aims. However, a believer is responsible for his or her own actions.  Thus, one will not be asked about the oppression of others before he is first asked about his own.

One who has been protected by Allah from oppression will have what our Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) promised, as the hadith continues to say:

“You have been sufficed.”, meaning, of every worldly and next-worldly concern by your reliance upon Allah. 

 

IGNORANCE

“I seek refuge in You lest I…. do wrong, or have wrong done to me.”

This entails being ignorant of what is obligatory upon one or to act in a way that is contrary to the character of a believer or to be treated with like imprudence.

Incidents that provoke anger, fear and hatred are easily reciprocated with their like.  In that is a victory for the true enemy.  

Thus the angel responds, “You have been guarded.”, meaning from the harm of your enemies, of devils and jinn, by your sincere consigning of all affairs to the Creator.

 

Concern For Others & Praying for the Good for all Believers

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was granted the most succinctly eloquent and vastly comprehensive speech.  In this short supplication, he teaches us to seek protection, both from these harms and from being the cause of leading others to them.  There is no harm to recite it in English for one who finds difficulty memorizing it in Arabic.

In the narration of at-Tirmidhi, the same supplication has been narrated in the plural, intending all the believers.  This is a general recommendation, as it is from wishing for one’s brother what one wishes for one’s self. [Sunan at Tirmidhi, Book of Supplications, on the authority of Sayyida Umm Salama from ash-Sha’bi]

 

Planting Prophetic Meanings

Most of the Sunnah is habitual guidance; a consistent way of approaching our dealings with our Creator and our dealings with the creation.  Good habits are best established early. Through teaching this supplication to our children, explaining its meanings and reciting it with them consistently, every time we leave our homes, we pray that it’s beautiful meanings are imparted to them.  

 

Modern Interactions

The reality of our modern world is that we now engage with people, to a great extent, through social media.  Thus, the harms from which we seek protection through this supplication are no longer limited to leaving one’s home.   As the aim of du’a` is sincere turning to Allah in neediness, it would be a good practice to recite this supplication or, at least, bring its meanings to mind in all human interactions.  

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

Allah, Most High, says:

O you who have believed, upon you is [responsibility for] yourselves. Those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided. To Allah is your return all together; then He will inform you of what you used to do. [Quran 5:105]

By Iman Badawi

 

Resources for seekers:

Arrows of Light Amidst Plight: Praying with Prophet Yunus (as): Surat al-Anbiyā’ (verse 87), Duas from the Qur’an Explained

You’re listening to a series of lessons on important duas found in the Qur’an, as explained by Shaykh Ahmed Sa’ad Al Azhari – a distinguished master of the Qur’an and scholar in residence at Seekershub Toronto during Ramadan 2015.

All SeekersHub programming during this blessed month is freely available at the Ramadan Hub. Your financial support is crucial to our #SpreadLight campaign, which seeks to provide truly excellent Islamic learning to at least 1,000,000 seekers of knowledge in the coming year! This will serve as an ongoing charity (sadaqa jariyah) so please donate today.

Power at Times of Tribulation, Surat al-Kahf (verse 10), Duas from the Qur’an Explained

You’re listening to a series of lessons on important duas found in the Qur’an, as explained by Shaykh Ahmed Sa’ad Al Azhari – a distinguished master of the Qur’an and scholar in residence at Seekershub Toronto during Ramadan 2015.

All SeekersHub programming during this blessed month is freely available at the Ramadan Hub. Your financial support is crucial to our #SpreadLight campaign, which seeks to provide truly excellent Islamic learning to at least 1,000,000 seekers of knowledge in the coming year! This will serve as an ongoing charity (sadaqa jariyah) so please donate today.

Prophetic Guidance in Times of Tribulations – Muwasala

Click here for the original link


In light of recent political events in Yemen and other countries, Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) clarifies the Prophetic perspective on how to deal with tribulations.

Habib Umar delivered the lecture in Dar al-Mustafa on 9th Jumada al-Akhirah 1436 / 29th March 2015 and it was attended by students of forty two nationalities. In it Habib Umar gave general guidelines as well as specific advice for those currently studying in Tarim. What follows is a summary of the main points.

[Introduction]

We must clarify to every individual, young and old, the methodology which we must follow and the foundations upon which it is built. We need to realise the true meaning of coming together in this blessed place under the banner of the Prophetic Call. 

This dictates that we realise our duty and responsibility and how we deal with events that take place on the earth.

[The Reality of Recent Tribulations]

Among those events are the attacks that several nations have launched against certain groups in Yemen. The majority of those involved in this conflict have power and worldly aims as their main motives and this is what has driven them to take up arms. The people who are involved in these struggles have no desire to make the Word of Allah transcendent. 

They have no desire to establish the Sunnah of Muhammad. They are not motivated by mercy and compassion for the weak and for orphans. Their Lord knows best what their intentions are. None of those who threw themselves into these struggles in various places attained any good out of it. I believe that they would all say that had they seen what has now happened they would have acted differently. But most people have not looked carefully at the teachings of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him). Had they done so, they would have taken a different path from the beginning.

The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) informed us of the tribulations that would befall his Ummah at the end of time. The events we are now witnessing are like a link in a chain most of which has passed and only a little of which remains. These tribulations will take their course in the places and ways that have been decreed for them. They will not increase or decrease except in the case where Allah permits certain actions or supplications to have an effect. 

In reality the affair has been sealed – “the pens have been lifted and the ink has dried.”

He informed us that the most severe tribulations would come to pave the way for the victory that Allah will give him once again and for the raising of His banners. Relief will come from Allah and the triumph of truth and guidance in a way that people would not be able to imagine.

Those who will be harmed most by these tribulations will be those who deliberately get involved and throw themselves into the conflict and will thus have the greatest responsibility. They will be asked why they got involved, for whom, in what way and whether they have proof from Allah for what they are doing. As for those who suffer harm despite not deliberately getting involved they are potentially martyrs in Allah’s sight and will not have lost anything.

These days will pass and we await the days in which Allah pours His generosity upon us and upon the Muslims. This region (Hadramawt) will remain, with Allah’s permission, in a state of wellbeing, but we ask Allah to show His gentleness to our brethren in Sana`a, Aden, and all areas of Yemen and all areas of the world.

[Prophetic Guidance]

The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), the one entrusted with guiding mankind, told us how to deal with tribulations when they arise. He said that:

“The one who exposes himself to them will be caught up in them.”

He said that in these times the one lying on his side is better than the one sitting; the one sitting is better than the one standing; the one standing is better than the one walking and the one walking is better than the one running. 

Did he convey the message or not? 

He definitely conveyed the message (Peace and blessings be upon him). One of the Companions asked the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) which side he should take if the Muslims were divided into different groups. He said to him:

“Distance yourself from all these groups.”

[The People of Truthfulness]

In times of tribulation, Allah singles out truthful people who honour their covenant with Allah. They are not shaken by the events that take place. They are guided by the light of the Qur’an and the Sunnah and their hearts are filled with trust in Allah, reliance upon Him, hope in Him and fear of Him. 

Allah describes them as follows:

Those that convey Allah’s messages and fear Him and fear none other than Allah. Allah suffices as a Reckoner [1]

Those to whom men said: “The enemy have gathered against you, so fear them!” But this only increased their faith, and they said: “Allah is sufficient for us! He is the best Guardian!” So they returned with grace and bounty from Allah and no harm touched them. They attained the good pleasure of Allah and Allah possesses immense bounty [2]

Those who possess these attributes regardless of the time in which they live attain high stations and live in a state of safety and tranquillity. 

Allah says:

When the believers saw the Confederates they said: “This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us. Allah and His Messenger have spoken the truth.” It only increased them in faith and submission (to Allah). Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah. Some of them have died and some are waiting. They have never changed their determination in the least. Allah may then reward the truthful for their truthfulness and punish the hypocrites if He wills or relent toward them [3]

[Our Methodology]

We follow the path which the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) laid out for us and the way of the people of truthfulness. This has been the correct way throughout our history. It is not something which we have invented. 

This was the way of the Prophetic Household, the Companions, the Followers and all those that came after them. It was the way of Zayn al-`Abidin `Ali bin al-Husayn, Hasan al-Basri, Sa`id bin al-Musayyib, Sa`id bin Jubayr, al-Harith al-Muhasibi, Abu Talib al-Makki, Imam al-Ghazali, al-Junayd bin Muhammad and Imam `Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani. It was the way of al-Muhajir, Ahmad bin `Isa and all his forefathers. It was the way of al-Faqih al-Muqaddam Muhammad bin `Ali Ba `Alawi and it was the way of my father and my teachers. 

From them I took the path and from them I received the understanding of the Book and the Sunnah, the understanding of our duty in life, the purpose for which Allah created us and how we prepare to return to Him, our connection to Muhammad and our duty in dealing with every event that occurs.

The way of the people of truthfulness was to avoid tribulations. They fulfilled their obligations in doing that which is clearly good and avoided anything in which the Devil had a hand. This is the path they took and we follow in their footsteps by Allah’s permission.

We consider the work which we are involved a form of jihad to which no-one may raise any objection. It consists of working with truthfulness and sincerity towards attaining the three objectives of attaining knowledge, acting upon it and calling people to Allah on an individual level, a family level and a community level in whatever time, place or situation we find ourselves. 

Our leader in this is the soul of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), his clear Sunnah and the way of his Companions and those who follow them in excellence. We have chosen this form of jihad in the way of Allah. We refuse to get involved in any affair unless it is completely good and completely clear and only if we will be free from being subordinate to any group and safe from the meddling of the Devil. 

If we have any doubt then we return to the advice of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him):

“Leave that which causes you doubt in favour of that that which does not cause you doubt.”

This is our advice to those who will listen. As for those who do not wish to listen we will not declare anyone a disbeliever (kafir), someone who associates partners with Allah (mushrik) or an innovator. We will not struggle against anyone, abuse anyone, or look for support from anyone. We do not fear evil from anyone. Let them busy themselves with the conclusions which their intellects have caused them to arrive at. 

We are concerned with conveying the message of Allah and His Messenger and fulfilling our responsibility in the way that Allah loves. 

Allah says to our Master (Peace and blessings be upon him):

So remind, for you are but a reminder – you are not their controller… for to Us will be their return; then it will be for Us to call them to account [4]your duty is only to convey the message [5].

We have been taught to respond to our Most Generous Lord by saying:

If You punish them, they are Your slaves and if You forgive them You are the Mighty, the Wise [6]

He who follows me is of me; while he who disobeys me.. You are Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful [7].

These are the teachings we have inherited from the previous Prophets.

Praise be to Allah for the fact that you have no Muslim blood on your hands. May He also cleanse your hearts and your minds so that you are not taken to account for any blood that has been spilt, or any person whose honour has been violated or for putting fear in the heart of any believer. 

Likewise guard your tongues. You have not physically entered any battle but you may be taken to account for what you say. Someone may say: “So and so deserved to be killed,” and he may then be taken to account for his part in killing him.

Allah knows best what people’s intentions are. We cannot judge people’s intentions. Our role is only to teach people and not to control them.

Our leader did not control anyone so how can we? 

Allah says:

You are not their controller.

The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) taught us to say in the morning and evening:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الَّذِي لا يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَيءٌ في الأَرْضِ ولا فِي السَّمَاءِ وهْوَ السَّميعُ العَلِيمُ
“In the Name of Allah. Nothing in the heavens and earth may harm the one who mentions His name. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.”

“Nothing in the heavens and earth..” 

Do you know what that means? 

You read this in the morning and evening. 

Are you a believer or a disbeliever? 

Are you sincere or are you a hypocrite?

Allah shows us what our methodology should be in the face of adversity:

If you have steadfastness (sabr) and taqwa their schemes will never harm you.[8]

091223_fatehpur_sikri_jama_masjid_courtyard_muslim_men_praying_travel_photography_MG_7951Say: “Nothing will befall us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Protector. In Allah let the believers place their trust.” Say: “Are you waiting for anything to befall us except one of two glorious things?” [9]

All praise be to Allah – everything that is awaiting us is good for us.

Every Muslim has the ability to give advice, teach others and help those in need so they should do what they can sincerely for Allah’s sake. This is their duty regarding their concern for the affairs of the Muslims. They are thus safe from being part of the problems confronting the Ummah or causing more problems.

[Specific Advice for those Living and Studying in Tarim]

Many of you in this place knew nothing about what was going on until a family member from outside Tarim contacted you after seeing what has been happening on the news or when some of your governments requested that their citizens return home. It is fitting that you have only heard about it from outside Tarim because naturally people outside Tarim are affected by the media, whose mission is to shake and scare people and spread false rumours and in doing so serve the Devil. People have become completely captivated by the media.

May Allah reward those countries that wish to protect their citizens. This is what they believe to be correct and it is natural that they be worried. The whole arena in which they operate is based upon fear and worry and they only have a small portion of faith and tranquillity. If they feel that it is in the interests of their citizens to return home and if they have provided means of transport, may Allah reward them. 

Families are naturally affected by these events and this is excusable. They are not excused, however, from doing their duty.

Thus if someone wishes to leave, we will not prevent them and if someone wishes to stay, we will not prevent them. However, these days of tribulation will pass and meanwhile we will be amongst the safest of people on the face of the earth. We will be in a state of complete tranquillity due to the fact that we receive special protection and care from Allah. Neither our food supply, nor our safety nor our tranquillity will be affected.

Had we known that any harm would come to any one of you in your religion or your worldly affairs, we would order you and request you to leave. This, however, will not happen by Allah’s will. Even if some harm were to befall us and we told people to leave then those who are completely truthful would say:

“I do not prefer myself over you.”

Let each one of you decide how we deal with these events and how he speaks to his relatives at home. He cannot, however, change his path in fulfilling his obligation in this life due to these events. 

We must convince our relatives that our path is correct, but we are not content for a student, a teacher or a worker to remain here if his parents are not content with that. We must give each person the rights that are due to them. 

The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) turned away someone who wished to perform jihad with him due to the fact that his parents were not content for him to do so. 

He said to him:

“Your struggle is with them.”

If someone is truthful, Allah will enable him to convince his parents to allow him to stay.

Your concern for the affairs of the Muslims should be expressed in your supplications and pleading with Allah and your presence of heart when you remember Him. Do not waste your time following events in the news. 

You have a role to perform. 

Your focus should be on the Qur’an and the Sunnah and your studies: whether it be fiqh, tafsir, hadith or grammar. Let your hearts be present in your studies for this is your provision for your meeting with Allah. This is what you are involved in now. None of you are in government and are thus responsible for the decisions governments makes.

[Closing Supplications]

O Lord, it is Muslim houses, Muslim airports and Muslim property that are being destroyed! 

It is Muslim honour that is being violated! 

It is Muslim blood that is being spilt! 

It is Muslim women and children that are being frightened! 

What is the cause of this? 

O Allah, save the Muslims and remove the tribulations that have befallen them. 

Your enemy and his followers have divided the Muslims so unite them, O Lord, by Your power and the station of Your Beloved Muhammad.

Let us and our loved ones be with Your Beloved in this life, at death, in the Barzakh, on the Day of Judgement and in the Abode of Honour. 

Allow them to see him, to kiss his hand, to be with him, to be in the same row as him, to follow him and to receive his care and compassion. 

I take refuge in the light of Your countenance that anyone who is connected to us, has attended our gatherings or received knowledge from us be separated from him (Peace and blessings be upon him). 

Let us gaze at his face and let he be the one who gives us to drink from the Pool along with `Ali and may Fatimah be pleased by this. 

The raising of voices in supplication in places of worship causes tribulations to be lifted. 

This gathering is more effective than whole squadrons of fighter planes. 

May Allah save the Muslims whatever school or group they belong to. 

May He guide everyone that says la ilaha ill’Allah.

Go forth with Allah’s protection, with your path illuminated and complete tranquillity. Be truthful with your Lord and work together for His sake. 

May we be among those who are accepted by Him.
All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

 ——

[1] Al-Ahzab, 33.39

[2] Al `Imran, 3:174-4

[3] Al-Ahzab, 33.22-24

[4] Al-Ghashiyah, 88:21-22/25-26

[5] Al-Shura, 42.48

[6] Al-Ma’idah, 5:118

[7] Ibrahim, 14:36

[8] Al `Imran, 3:120

[9] Al-Tawbah, 9:51-52

Relevant resources:

Clarity in Crisis: How Believers Look at Trials and How they Respond, Guided by Prophetic Light – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Trials are a blessing, and blessings are a trial – Faraz Rabbani

A Time to Build: How Believers Respond To Trials and Tests – Faraz Rabbani Eid Khutba at SeekersHub Toronto

The Believer’s Clarity When Tested: The Power of Patience and Prayer in Responding to Tests and Trials – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Daily Qur’an Reflections: (10) Anfal 41-75 to Tawba 1-93: Highest Love, Trials and Trust, Mercy and Belief, Qualities of Believers

Daily Qur’an Reflections: (18) Successful Believers, Knowing the Prophet, Allah’s Generosity, and Patience in Trials – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mandela: A Lesson in Patience – Imam Zaid Shakir

Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Habib Umar on Dhikr in Times of Hardship « Interpreter’s Path

Asking Allah for Well-Being: The Sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)

Answered by Sidi Waseem Hussain

Question: I was wondering do you know if there’s a hadith about a companion who was really sick and the Prophet prayed for his good health and then and told him never to pray for calamities because I think he had prayed for hardship. The thing is I have a friend who has been praying for tribulations and hardships. The first time she told me she had made this du`a in Makkah. She says it’s because she knows so many people who have suffered in life and she has life too easy. She says Allah tests people He loves and she thinks she’s a bad Muslim therefore being punished will help her feel good. Recently what’s come up is symptoms which the doctor has indicated could be cancer. Now she’s making du`a she gets cancer. I’m just very worried and tried explaining it to her, but if I can get a hadith I know she’ll take it to heart.

Answer: Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullah

We always ask Allah for forgiveness and wellbeing. This is clearly stressed in many hadith.

There is a story quite close to the one mentioned that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) visited a person from amongst the Muslims, in order to inquire about his health, who had become weak like a small bird. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said, “Did you supplicate for anything or ask Allah for something?” The man said, “Yes. I used to say: “Oh Allah, what you are going to punish me with in the Hereafter then hasten it for me in this life”. Thereupon, Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said, “Glory be to Allah, you don’t have the ability to take it [the burden of His Punishment] upon yourself. Why did you not say, Oh Allah, grant us good in the world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the torment of Fire?” The Prophet (may peace be upon him) made this supplication for him and he became well. [Muslim 2688, Tirmidhi 3487]

There are many other hadith, that stress the importance of always asking for wellbeing. Below are a few examples demonstrating this:

1. The Prophet (may Allahs peace and blessings be upon him) overheard a man asking for patience, so The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said to him, “You have asked Allah for a trial [to be patient in], rather ask for wellbeing.” [Tirmidhi 3527]

2. A man came to The Prophet (may peace be upon him) and asked him, “What supplication (du`a) is the best?” The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, “To ask for wellbeing and cure in this world and the next”

The man came the next day and asked, “What supplication is the best?” The Prophet (may peace be upon him) answered the same as before. The man came the next day and asked the same thing. The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, “If you are given wellbeing in this world and the next then you have succeeded.” [Tirmidhi 3512]

3. The Prophet (may Allahs peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Allah is not asked for anything more beloved to him than [being asked about] wellbeing” [Tirmidhi 3515]

4. The Prophet (may peace be upon him) ascended the mimbar crying and said, “Ask Allah for forgiveness and wellbeing, since no one has been given anything better than wellbeing after being given belief [in Islam].” [Tirmidhi 3588]

The above are examples of the sunna of the Prophet (may Allahs peace and blessings be upon him) and what he advised us to do. As it can be seen then we are not advised to supplicate for trials, tribulations and calamities upon ourselves. Rather we are advised to ask Allah to protect us and never to allow these aspects to befall us, and only when they befall us do we ask Allah to help us through them.

May Allah accept our prayers and grant you and your friend wellbeing in this world and the next,

Wassalam,

Waseem Hussain

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

عن أنس أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عاد رجلا من المسلمين قد خفت فصار مثل الفرخ فقال له رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم هل كنت تدعو بشيء أو تسأله إياه ؟ قال نعم كنت أقول اللهم ما كنت معاقبي به في الآخرة فعجله لي في الدنيا فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم سبحان الله لا تطيقه – أو لا تستطيعه – أفلا قلت اللهم آتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الآخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار؟ قال فدعا الله له فشفا

عن معاذ بن جبل سمع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم رجلا وهو يقول اللهم إني أسألك الصبر فقال سألت الله البلاء فسله العافية

عن أنس بن مالك: أن رجلا جاء إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال يا رسول الله أي الدعاء أفضل ؟ قال سل ربك العافية والمعافاة في الدنيا والآخرة ثم أتاه في اليوم الثاني فقال يا رسول الله أي الدعاء أفضل ؟ فقال له مثل ذلك ثم أتاه في اليوم الثالث فقال له مثل ذلك قال فإذا أعطيت العافية في الدنيا وأعطيتها في الآخرة فقد أفلحت

عن ابن عمر قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ما سئل الله شيئا أحب إليه من أن يسأل العافية

قام أبو بكر الصديق على المنبر ثم بكى فقال قام رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عام الأول على المنبر ثم بكى فقال اسألوا الله العفو و العافية فإن أحد لم يعط بعد اليقين خيرا من العافية