It May Be That You Dislike A Thing Which Is Good For You And That You Like A Thing Which Is Bad For You, By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In The Name Of Allah, The Most Kind And The Most Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation. May Allah extol the mention of the Prophet in the highest company of Angels and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, his Companions and all those who follow him diligently till the Day of Judgement.
Dear Brothers and Sisters! Allah, the Almighty says:
“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” [AI-Baqarah, 2:216]
In this Qur’anic Verse, there are several judgments, meanings and benefits for the sincere servant of Allah. If the servant knows that misfortune can produce a desirable thing, and that the desirable thing can produce a misfortune, he would not feel secure against the harm that can come from delight, and he would not lose hope of delight to come from harm, for he does not know the outcomes of things. Verily, it is Allah Who knows about that which the servant does not know, and in this context the following issues must be noted:
Nothing is more beneficial for him than abiding by the judgments of Allah, even if it is difficult for him at the beginning, because all its outcomes are good, delightful, and pleasurable. In the same way, nothing is more harmful for him than committing what is forbidden, even if he loves it. All its outcomes are pain, grief, evil and misfortune.
Furthermore, the mind bears little pain in comparison to the great pleasure and abundant good that it will experience, and likewise man is expected to avoid little in exchange for great rewards and preventing great pain and long term evil.
In this way, we can see that the perception of the ignorant does not go beyond the basics of life; his perception does not reach the goals, but the intelligent person always keeps his eye on the goals behind his actions in life.
The intelligent person perceives forbidden things like delicious food, which contain fatal poison. Whenever its pleasure arouses his interest, the reality of the poison would push him away from it. Also, he perceives the orders of Allah as bitter medicine that leads to good health and recovery.
Whenever its bitterness urges him not to take it, the reality of its usefulness leads him to comply. This requires knowledge that is more than the rudiments of the religion in order to understand the essential goals. It also requires strong patience to adjust oneself to it, in order to bear the difficulties that will be encountered for the sake of the goal. So if he loses certainty and patience, it would be difficult to achieve the goal, and on the other hand if his certainty and patience is strong, every difficulty would be rendered easy for him for the sake of permanent good and eternal pleasure.
There are other meanings of this Qur’anic verse. It also requires the servant to leave all his affairs in the Hands of the One Who knows the outcomes of all things, and to be pleased with whatever He chooses for him.
Also, the meanings of the verse include the fact that he should not propose or choose for his Lord, and should not ask Him for that which he has no knowledge of, for his harm and ruin may be in it and yet he does not know. He should simply ask his Lord to choose good for him and make him pleased with His choice, for that indeed would be the best ending. Also when he leaves all his affairs to his Lord, and is satisfied with His choice for him, Allah will support him by providing him with ability, determination and patience. He, the Almighty would also keep him away from the evil that the servant would have encountered if he had chosen for himself. He would show him some of the positive outcomes of His Choice, which he would not have attained if he had chosen for himself.
Such thinking relieves him of the burdens of trying to choose for himself as Allah frees his heart from estimations and arrangements, which fluctuate in difficulty. And in spite of this, the servant would always be surrounded by what was initially preordained for him. If he is pleased with the Choice of Allah, the preordainment would grant him what is praiseworthy, worthy of thanks and worthy of Allah’s Mercy. Otherwise, the preordainment would incur on him all that is dispraised and unworthy of Allah’s Mercy, because it was his own choice. When he truly leaves his affairs to Allah and truly becomes pleased with that, he would be surrounded by kindness and care in the preordainment, and he would be under the care and kindness of Allah. His Kindness protects him from that which he fears and His Care makes it easy for him to bear that which He preordained.
When the pre-ordainment is implemented upon the servant, the greatest cause of its implementation would be his trying to avoid it. Therefore, there is nothing more beneficial for him than submission.
Respected Brothers and Sisters! Life is a beautiful sojourn of trials. So long as you have blood flowing in your veins, you will be tested?—?the good way, the bad way. No one has ever had it all the way positive in life. We sometimes fall ill, get broke or even heart-broken. The same way life can never be a 100% miserable, there will always be a time to smile. Real wisdom lies in a person knowing that misfortune can lead to a desirable thing. Either ways, that which is desirable can as well be a source of misfortune. This assertion helps man against the harm that can come from delight. Hence, he’d not lose hope of delight coming from harm. We know not the outcome of things accurately; for Allah Alone is the All-Knowing, the All-Aware.
There’s nothing more appealing and beneficial to the believer than abiding by Allah’s injunctions, even if it is difficult for him to implement. Reasons being that he believes in the Supremacy of Allah’s decree over his personal whims. In addition, he finds all outcomes as good, delightful, and pleasurable. He sees nothing more harmful for him other than transgressing the limits set by His Lord, even if he loves it dearly. Wisdom lies in knowing fully well that everything unlawful comes with grief, sorrow and misfortune. If we bear this in mind, it would be easier for us to go on with our daily pursuit without a “do or die” mentality.
Anas Ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“I am amazed by the believer. Verily, Allah does not decree anything for the believer except what is good for him.” —?[Musnad of Imam Ahmad]
* Destiny?—?A fundamental Belief
As Muslims, it is prerequisite to believe in the divine pre-ordainment. The concept of destiny entails a firm believe in “what will be, will be.” This was well depicted in the Hadith of Abu al-Abbas Abdullah Bin Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) as reported below:
“One day I was riding behind the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, when he said, ‘O Young man! I will teach you some words. Be mindful of Allah, and He will take care of you. Be mindful of Him, and you shall find Him at your side. If you ask, ask of Allah. If you need help, seek it from Allah. Know that if the whole world were to gather together in order to help you, they would not be able to help you except if Allah had written so. And if the whole world were to gather together in order to harm you, they would not harm you except if Allah had written so. The pens have been lifted, and the pages are dry.” ?[At-Tirmidhi]
A firm believe in destiny averts the whispering from shaitan, the feeling of remorse and the saying of ‘had I known…’ Man was created weak without the knowledge of the unknown for if he had known, he would have transgressed far beyond his limits.
* Istikhara to the Rescue
Istikhara prayer is a prayer of guidance performed at the time of indecision. This is as recommended by the noble Messenger of Allah. There’s really no one who does it the right way that doesn’t see light at the end of the tunnel. At worse, it would lead to an expression of gratitude.
The prayer doesn’t entail seeing something in your dreams after observing it. This is a popular belief which is not a sine qua non to acceptance. In addendum, you don’t have to consult someone to do it for you; it’s a Do It Yourself (DIY) thing. So, to save yourself the headache from worry and grief, just consult Allah on every important matter in your life. Then patiently wait to see what the outcome will be given birth to.
* Gratitude in All Ramifications
It was reported that whenever the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) saw anything he disliked, he would say:
“All praise is due to Allah in every circumstance.”
This is a statement of gratitude and glorification to the One Who is able to do all things. As followers of the messenger, we should also abide by this noble trait.
Imam Ash-Sha’abi reported that: Shuraih, May Allah be pleased with him, said:
“Verily, if I am afflicted with a calamity, then I praise Allah four times. I praise Him that it was not worse than it was. I praise Him when he provides me patience to bear it. I praise Him when he guides me to supplicate appropriately and hoping for reward, and I praise Him for not making it a calamity in my religion.” [See Siyar A’lam An-Nubalah, vol 4, page 105]
* May your Road be Rough?
Now you know for sure that there will be challenges and trials for the believer. Perhaps it is in difficulty that your strength and power will come shinning through. Hardship is never meant to break you. Even in the darkest moments, there will be unexpected light to see through. Try to strive hard and never give up?—?you’re not alone on your struggle, Allah is with you. Keep a ray of hope that victory comes with patience and after every hardship there’s ease. This is the Sunnah of Allah and let there be no change to His will. Allah the Most High said:
“We shall certainly test you with fear and hunger, and loss of property, lives, and crops. But give good news to those who are steadfast. Those who say, when afflicted with a calamity, ‘We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.’ These will be given blessings and Mercy from their Lord, and it is they who are rightly guided.” [Al-Baqarah, 155–157]
* Whatever Allah Does It Is For Your Best
Allah the Almighty said:
“And for Allah is the Highest example.” [Surah Nahl :60]
So when Allah the Most High, in His Infinite Wisdom, tests us with a situation that we think is difficult or takes away something that in our mind was good for us, we need to remember that perhaps it may not be so. Perhaps if we had continued in our way, it might have been harmful for us and whatever Allah decreed for us is actually better for us, for He is All-Wise and All-Knowing. Allah the Most High said:
“…And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” [Surah Baqarah: 216]
Imam Al-Hasan al-Basri said:
“Do not resent the calamities that come and the disasters that occur, for perhaps in something that you dislike will be your salvation, and perhaps in something that you prefer will be your doom.”
Remember that we are dealing with the One who is Ar-hamar Rahimin, the Most Merciful of all that show mercy. All the mercy that we have in this world from Adam (AS) to the Day of Judgment is only one hundredth of the Mercy of the Most Merciful, Allah. And He is Most Wise. He knows and we don’t know.
So have faith in Him and trust in Him and although, sometimes we may not understand the reason behind certain things, know that as long as you obey Him, whatever He will do for you is, in fact for your betterment.
So if Allah didn’t give you that party ticket, that big house, or that nice car you wanted or that big raise you were hoping for, know in your mind and believe in your heart that it is actually better for you. Who knows…..maybe that party ticket, that big house, that car or that money would have become a source of ‘fitnah’ (test) for you….Perhaps you would have become arrogant and conceited because of it, and Allah saved you from it. Because, you know that the Prophet (Peace be Upon him) said:
“Any one in whose heart is even a mustard seed’s worth of pride will not enter Paradise.” [Muslim]
And if you have been sick and suffering, sure it is not easy. But again, know in your mind and believe in your heart that it is indeed better for you. For, if you bear patiently, it will be a means of expiation (Kaffarah) for your sins and a source of great reward. The Prophet (Peace be Upon him) said:
“There is nothing that befalls a believer, not even a thorn that pricks him, but Allah will record one good deed for him and will remove one bad deed from him.” [Muslim]
“On the Day of Resurrection, when people who had suffered affliction are given their reward, those who were healthy will wish their skins had been cut to pieces with scissors when they were in the world (when they see the immense rewards for the afflictions they suffered).” [Tirmidhi, Sahih by al-Albani]
If Allah took away a dear, loved one, believe, from the bottom of your heart, that surely this was better. For, you never know, had the one who passed away lived longer, may be his life would have been one of sins and disobedience and Allah, out of His Mercy, took him before that….in a state of Iman.
And if life has been difficult, worries surround you and calamities after calamities befall you, hear the good news from the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him):
“Trials will continue to befall the believing man and woman, with regard to themselves, their children and their wealth, until they meet Allah with no sin on them.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih by Shaykh al-Albani)
Subhanallah! No sin?! And what is it from this world that you wouldn’t give up, just to meet Allah with no sin??!!
Remember that the One Who is testing you is the Most Wise, the Most Merciful and the Most Loving…..and that He did not send this calamity in order to destroy you….or cause you pain or finish you off. Rather, He is checking on you, testing your patience, acceptance and faith; it is so that He may hear your Du’a and supplication, so that He may see you standing before Him….seeking His protection….filled with humility and complaining to Him, alone. The difficulties you face is a reminder for you to return to Allah and ask for forgiveness from Him. Who knows… if He didn’t give you the difficulty, maybe you would have strayed from Him far, far away….
Imam Ibn Taimiyah said:
“A calamity that makes you turn to Allah is better for you than a blessing which makes you forget the remembrance of Allah.”
Thus in your times of trouble, when you go through pain and suffering and in your times of loss, you need to trust Allah. You need to keep in mind that as long as you fear Him and try your best to obey Him, He will never do you wrong. He will protect you and guide you and do the best for you, no matter what the situation apparently looks like. Allah Almighty says in a Hadith Qudsi:
“I am as my slave thinks of me and I am with him whenever he remembers me.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
It is actually a sign of our weakness and shortsightedness, that we tend to focus on the calamities themselves, without paying much attention to the benefits that they may bring. We also forget to look at all other innumerable blessings that we enjoy and see around us.
Our minds, our logic and our senses cannot even begin to fathom the Wisdom, the Knowledge and the Hikmah behind Allah’s decisions and verdicts. It is He who is the Wise….it is He who is the Just and it is He who is the Knower of the unseen. If we trust in Allah, He will suffice and it is He who will grant us goodness in any situation and under any circumstances. Allah the Most High said:
“And when someone puts all his trust in Allah, He will be enough for him.” [Surah at-Talaq:3]
The Prophet (Peace be Upon him] said:
“If you put your trust completely in Allah, He will arrange for your sustenance in the same way as He provides for the birds. They go out in the morning with their stomachs empty and return filled in the evening.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]
So trust Him….for, there is much reward in trusting Him…..it is Jannah (Paradise). And there is sin in distrusting Him. Calamities and disasters are a test, and they are a sign of Allah’s love for a person. They are like medicine: even though it is bitter, yet, in spite of its bitterness you still give it to the one whom you love…. The Prophet (Peace be Upon him said:
“The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allah loves a people He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath.'” [Sahih al-Tirmidhi]
May the blessings and peace of Allah be upon Muhammad and all his family and Companions.
Your Brother: Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, writes from Okene, Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached through: email@example.com or +2348038289761.