Seeking Protection of Allah
مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّبْرَأَهَا إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ
“Nothing occurs, either in the earth or in yourselves, without its being in a Book before We make it happen. That is something easy for Allah.” (al-Hadid, 57:22)
وَإِن يَمْسَسْكَ اللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ فَلَا كَاشِفَ لَهُ إِلَّا هُوَ وَإِن يُرِدْكَ بِخَيْرٍ فَلَا رَادَّ لِفَضْلِهِ يُصِيبُ بِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
“If Allah inflicts harm on you, no one can remove it but He, and if He intends good for you, no one can withhold His bounty; He grants His bounty to any of His servants whom He wills. He is the Most Forgiving, and the Most Merciful.” (Yunus, 10:107)
In a hadith in Sahih Muslim, we are informed that Allah recorded qadar or divine destiny of all creation fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth. Belief in qadar is one of Islam's six articles of faith, along with belief in the oneness of Allah, the Revealed Books, the Prophets, the Day of Resurrection and the Angels.
Qadar regarding occurrences can be broadly categorized into two categories: (1) occurrences not under our control wherein we have to surrender to the will of Allah, and (2) occurrences under our control, and these may be either negative or positive. Negative events can happen as a result of our recklessness, laziness, or carelessness, e.g., erratic driving or speeding that leads to an accident. Positive events on the other hand occur through our diligence, carefulness, and hard work, e.g., a student who studies well does well in his exam.
Generally speaking, we are responsible for whatever we do. Thus, we should act in a careful manner and to the best of our ability. We are also reminded of the importance of ihsan in our actions which generally leads to good results. We should always try to improve ourselves and constantly tell ourselves that we can do better. At the same time, we should not focus too much about future occurrences about which we have no knowledge of, or what is beyond our control. We should do the best we can and leave the rest to Allah.
Part of the appropriate understanding and belief of qadar is to stay away from things that are potentially harmful to us. Things like not wearing a seat-belt while driving or eating a diet very high in cholesterol may cause harm to us. We should be mindful to avoid things that are harmful for us, and not blame it on qadar if it happens out of our own recklessness or negligence. Seeking treatment for an illness does not contradict qadar. If we are faced with a problem, we should make every effort to solve it or to minimize it.
Many people tend to view qadar negatively because of their lack of insight and correct understanding of this topic. Qadar needs to be understood in a positive manner. The Prophet (SAW) commanded us to be proactive with regards to qadar by being diligent in doing good deeds, and not blaming qadar for our inactivity in doing good. Furthermore, we need to differentiate between things which we have control over versus things which we do not have control over. Instead of merely accepting whatever has occurred as qadar, we should accept responsibility for all that we do and the choices that we make. We should analyze the reasons for why things have occurred in our life. We should make the effort to improve the situation and think on how we can avoid pitfalls.
We should also remember that nothing occurs or exists except that it reflects Allah’s infinite wisdom, for He is “The All-Wise” (Al-Hakim). There is always the big picture, a larger context that we are unable to perceive with our short-sightedness. Allah is fully aware of how things unfold in the long run, and we must place our trust in Him, fully realizing that there is wisdom in His decisions. In this regard, our Prophet (SAW) advised us to maintain a good opinion of our Lord, for Allah says in a Hadith Qudsi, “I am in the opinion of My servant” or “I am as My servant thinks I am.” If we are convinced that Allah is looking out for our best interests when He decrees painful situations, and that He will replace what is lost with something much better for us in both this life and the next, then that is exactly how we will find Him, without a doubt.
أَقُولُ قَوْلِي هَذَا وَأَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ لِي وَلَكُمْ وَلِسَائِرِ المُسْلِمينَ وَالمُسْلِمَاتْ فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهْ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على سيد المرسلين وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين
Brothers and sisters! What transformation will take place when we internalize the guidance in this hadith? There is tremendous freedom from the hindrances of fear and loneliness when we rely only on Allah. Great acts of courage, patience, and independence become possible because a person senses the company of Allah by his or her side. This hadith teaches us the importance of complete reliance and awareness of Allah. Those who are mindful of Allah, find Him as their Protector and Helper.
وَاللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ
“Allah is the Protector of all who are mindful of Him.” (al-Jathiyah, 45:19)
وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ يُسْرًا
“Allah makes things easy for those who are mindful of Him.” (At-Talaq, 65:4)
Part of the proper mindfulness of Allah is to have rida and sabr in qadar. In addition to this realization, we still need to understand qadar in a positive manner. We need to be proactive and take responsibility for all our actions. We also should take proper precautions so that a negative result does not occur because of our own negligence.
Applying this hadith will lead us to a life in which we are content and stress-free. In this way, we will be mindful of Allah, fulfill His obligations, and fully trust and accept whatever He wills for us.