( Foto : Onislam)
( Foto : Onislam)

by : Bilal Abdul Kareem*

Why do some resort to despair and even suicide when a calamity strikes?

You know the familiar scenario.

You had an idea to do something you’ve always wanted. You were determined to make it work as best as Allah would allow you. Some around you may have believed in you.

Whereas some may have told you to leave it alone and don’t even try. In the end, you put your trust in Allah and went forward. However this wasn’t going to be one of those storybook endings where the hero rides off into the sunset. You failed.

Miserably. The worst part about it is that everyone knows. Some feel sorry for you and some are even (not so secretly) laughing at your predicament. Then someone with a smirk on his or her face is bold enough to ask: “What do you have to say now”? And you give a voice to that which is in your heart and you say: “All praise be to Allah, thank you O’ Allah”.  The person looks at you in disbelief.

“Why should he thank Allah for failing?” the questioner silently asks himself while shaking his head. He doesn’t understand. We would like to answer this question today:

“Why do believing Muslims thank Allah when some trial or misfortune befall them”?

Why Do Calamities Befall the Muslims?

To understand this phenomenon we have to first look at the root causes of trial and misfortune. Every misfortune is either a punishment or a trial.  Both are a mercy from Allah. Let us look at what is mentioned regarding punishments in this worldly life. Allah says in the Quran:

 مَا أَصَابَكَ مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ فَمِنَ اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَا أَصَابَكَ مِنْ سَيِّئَةٍ فَمِنْ نَفْسِكَ ۚ وَأَرْسَلْنَاكَ لِلنَّاسِ رَسُولًا ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا

Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself. (QS: An-Nissa : 79 )

  And Allah also says:

وَمَا أَصَابَكُمْ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُو عَنْ كَثِيرٍ
 And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much. (QS: Ash-Shuraa : 30)

The Hereafter

It is with our own hands, our own deeds, our own carrying out of affairs that we know well we have no business carrying out that caused our hopes and dreams to fail. We are quick to blame others for our misfortunes, but deep down we know what Allah says is the absolute truth. I did it.  No one else. Sometimes the truth really hurts because we like to take comfort in the fact that our failures were caused by others. Allah says in the Quran what means,

 كَدَأْبِ آلِ فِرْعَوْنَ ۙ وَالَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ فَأَهْلَكْنَاهُمْ بِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَأَغْرَقْنَا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ ۚ وَكُلٌّ كَانُوا ظَالِمِينَ

(Theirs is) like the custom of the people of Pharaoh and of those before them. They denied the signs of their Lord, so We destroyed them for their sins, and We drowned the people of Pharaoh. And all (of them) were wrongdoers.

 However even if we swallow that bitter pill of responsibility it still doesn’t answer the question does it? “Why do believing Muslims thank Allah when some trial or misfortune befalls them”?

Love of Allah

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: ‏ “‏ مَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ بِهِ خَيْرًا يُصِبْ مِنْهُ ‏”‏‏.‏

“If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” (H.R. Al-Bukhari,5645)

As human beings we are created weak. We often like to know what we are going to get in return for our efforts. For example when you go to the grocery store to buy food, before you put your money on the counter you would like to know what is coming your way so you can gage whether it is worth the price or not.

We become very ambitious when the prize is advertised in front of us.  Our prize is the forgiveness of our misdeeds and possibly a place in the Gardens of Paradise for all eternity. We praise Allah at every turn even when we suffer some hardship because we know that Prophet Muhammad said:

“Trials will continue to befall the believing man or woman in himself, his children and his wealth until he meets Allah with no sin on him.” (H.R. At-Tirmidhi,2399)

وعن أبي سعيد وأبي هريرة رضي الله عنهما عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏:‏ ‏”‏ما يصيب المسلم من نصب ولا وصب ولا هم ولا حزن ولا أذى ولا غم، حتى الشوكة يشاكها إلا كفر الله بها من خطاياه‏”‏(‏متفق عليه‏)‏ ‏.‏

No misfortune or disease befalls a Muslim, no worry or grief or harm or distress, not even a thorn that pricks him, but Allah will expiate for some of his sins because of that.” (H.R. Al-Bukhari and Muslim, 37) 

 Do you not see? 

Allah has set the system of success at our feet!  Even misfortunes are a blessing and a means of elevation for the believing Muslim.

The Grass is Always Greener

As believing Muslims, we should not be blinded by the pomp and glitter of this world like non-Muslims.  We needn’t look at this worldly life as our “only chance” for happiness.

Therefore when we fail to be pleased with the fruits of our efforts depression sets in, envy takes over, and we start looking at what everyone else has.

As believing Muslims we are excited to know that Allah sees our hurt, our hardship, and will forgive us of our sins so we meet Him on the last day in the best possible condition because the next life is as Allah mentioned:

وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ

And the hereafter is better and longer lasting. (QS: AL-A’la : 17)

Non-Believers crave all of their enjoyment NOW! They feel that they must have it right away before it is too late! At times even the Muslim can unsuspectingly fall into this satanic trap. Watching television shows that advertise the lifestyles of the rich and famous can dazzle even Muslim eyes at times.

However they know that rising above their passing desires will put them in a position of happiness and contentment both in this world and in the next. They will also be able to look at the treasures in the hands of the non-Muslims in a clearer view because they know that Allah said:

 وَيَوْمَ يُعْرَضُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا عَلَى النَّارِ أَذْهَبْتُمْ طَيِّبَاتِكُمْ فِي حَيَاتِكُمُ الدُّنْيَا وَاسْتَمْتَعْتُمْ بِهَا فَالْيَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ عَذَابَ الْهُونِ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَسْتَكْبِرُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَبِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَفْسُقُونَ

And On the Day when those who disbelieve will be exposed to the Fire (it will be said): “You received your good things in the life of the world, and you took your pleasure therein. Now this Day you shall be recompensed with a torment of humiliation, because you were arrogant in the land without a right, and because you used to rebel against Allah’s Command.  ( QS:Al-Ahqaf :20)

Allah also says:

وَإِذَا أَرَدْنَا أَنْ نُهْلِكَ قَرْيَةً أَمَرْنَا مُتْرَفِيهَا فَفَسَقُوا فِيهَا فَحَقَّ عَلَيْهَا الْقَوْلُ فَدَمَّرْنَاهَا تَدْمِيرًا

 And when We decide to destroy a town, We (first) send a definite order to those among them who lead a life of luxury. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word (of torment) is justified against them. Then We destroy it with complete destruction. QS: Al-Isra : 16) 


There is no successful person at any thing or on any level except that they have a list of failures to their credit as well.  Failure is a way to increase us in humility and give us valuable experience in trying to reach our goals both in this life and the next.  Allah says what means:

 وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَىٰ أُمَمٍ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ فَأَخَذْنَاهُمْ بِالْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَضَرَّعُونَ

 Verily, We sent (Messengers) to many nations before you (O Muhammad). And We seized them with extreme poverty and loss in health so that they might humble themselves. (QS: Al- An’am: 42) 

Allah also says:

 ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُمْ بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

 Evil (sins and disobedience to Allah) has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned, that He (Allah) may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return (by repenting to Allah, and begging His Pardon) (QS: Ar-Rum : 41)

 The believers know that time in this worldly life is very short and Allah will reward us immensely for our efforts and patience so there is no need to feel down or sad when a calamity strikes.  All that is needed to be said is: “Alhamdulillah!” time and time again.  The believers remember in difficult times that Allah said in the Quran:

 وَلَـنَبۡلُوَنَّكُمۡ بِشَىۡءٍ مِّنَ الۡخَـوۡفِ وَالۡجُـوۡعِ وَنَقۡصٍ مِّنَ الۡاَمۡوَالِ وَالۡاَنۡفُسِ وَالثَّمَرٰتِؕ وَبَشِّرِ الصّٰبِرِيۡنَۙ‏

And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to the patient.  (QS: Al-Baqorah : 155)

الَّذِيۡنَ اِذَآ اَصَابَتۡهُمۡ مُّصِيۡبَةٌ  ۙ قَالُوۡٓا اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّـآ اِلَيۡهِ رٰجِعُوۡنَؕ  

Those who when any affliction smites them, they say: “Verily, we belong to Allah, and it is to Him that we are destined to return.” (QS:  Al-Baqorah : 156)

اُولٰٓٮِٕكَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ صَلَوٰتٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّهِمۡ وَرَحۡمَةٌ​ وَاُولٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ الۡمُهۡتَدُوۡنَ

Upon them will be the blessings and mercy of their Lord, and it is they who are rightly guided. (QS:  Al-Baqorah : 157)

And Allah also says:

 فَاِنَّ مَعَ الۡعُسۡرِ يُسۡرًا

For indeed, with hardship (will be) ease. (QS: Ash-Sharh :5)

اِنَّ مَعَ الۡعُسۡرِ يُسۡرًا ؕ

Indeed, with hardship (will be) ease.

So even if we are uncomfortable with that which is plaguing our Muslim nation, or that which is in our own individual lives, the believing Muslim knows with clear certainty that the absolute best is yet to come.( T/Imt/R04)

*This article published at 

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)


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