Are objection to and dissatisfaction with the decree of Allaah The Exalted considered acts of Kufr (disbelief)? If yes, what is the expiation for this?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.
It is obligatory for Muslims to endure the decrees of Allaah The Almighty, especially in unfavorable matters, with patience. A person must avoid expressing dissatisfaction with it through sayings (e.g., by wailing for the dead) or actions (e.g., by one’s tearing his clothes or tugging at his hair).
However, there are two opinions regarding the obligation of satisfaction from the depth’s of one’s heart that were explained by Ibn Al-Qayyim in the course of him speaking about deeds of the hearts. He said the whole Ummah (Muslim nation) agrees that showing patience is obligatory. Imaam Ahmad said that Allaah The Almighty mentioned patience about 90 times in the Quran. He also added that there are two types of patience:
1- Obligatory, i.e. must be shown; and
2- Recommended, i.e. if a person shows it Allaah The Almighty will reward him, but it is not obligatory.
However, scholars disagree about the obligation of showing satisfaction. This disagreement was mainly among the disciples of Imaam Ahmad. Those who consider satisfaction obligatory say that discontent is prohibited, and a person cannot get rid of it except by being truly satisfied. Thus satisfaction is obligatory, because whatever is essential for avoiding a prohibition becomes obligatory. The advocates of this opinion support it by referring to the tradition where Allaah The Almighty Says: "Whoever shows impatience in My trial (of him) and is dissatisfied with My decree, let him worship a lord other than Me" [At-Tabraani in Al-Kabeer, Ibn Hibbaan and Ash-Shawkaani: Dha‘eef (weak)]
Another opinion is that satisfaction is merely recommended. Advocates of this opinion argue that neither the Quran nor the Sunnah command us to show satisfaction, while the Quran repeatedly commands us to show patience. Indeed, all that the Quran says regarding satisfaction is confined to praising those who are satisfied with the decrees of Allaah The Almighty.
They also counter that this tradition is narrated from the Children of Israel, thus it is not adducible. They also use the Hadeeth in which the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that if anyone manages to have both satisfaction and certainty, then let him do so. If he cannot, then there is a great deal of good in showing patience in what the soul detests. [Some books of Sunan]
As for saying that one cannot get rid of discontentment except with satisfaction, this is not necessarily so - people react to the decrees of Allaah The Almighty in three ways:
1- Showing satisfaction: this is the highest rank of righteous people who spare no effort in seeking the pleasure of Allaah The Almighty;
2- Showing discontentment: this is the lowest rank of sinners;
3- Showing patience without satisfaction: this is the middle rank and is done by those who perform obligations and refrain from prohibitions.
Many people endure the decrees of Allaah The Almighty with patience without being satisfied at them, and thus satisfaction differs from patience. Some people are confused by being satisfied while agonizing, because they consider them as diametrically opposite. However this is not true, because the patient who takes disgusting medicine feels pain, yet he is satisfied, just like those who fast in Ramadan when the weather is very hot. Indeed such people feel pain but are satisfied and content. Another example is that of the stingy individual who agonizes over paying Zakah (obligatory charity), yet feels satisfied when he pays it.
Therefore, just as there is no contradiction between agonizing and patience, there is no contradiction between agonizing and satisfaction.
However, it should be clear that this disagreement is about satisfaction with the decrees of Allaah concerning fate in this life. Satisfaction with Allaah The Almighty as God and one’s Lord and satisfaction with His religious decrees are different and unanimously obligatory. Allaah’s slaves cannot be Muslims unless they achieve satisfaction, that is, satisfaction with Allaah The Almighty as Lord and God, and satisfaction with Islam as a religion and with Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as a Messenger.
And Allaah Knows best.
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