The wisdom behind afflictions that befall children
Fatwa No: 276046

Question

As a Muslim we believe in Kala & Qadr from Allah. Also we believe Natural disasters such as Volcanoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc are from Allah to punish wrong doers as mentioned in the Qur'an 29:40. One Muslim family in Sri Lanka became atheist after 2004 Tsunami. the reason they give is Allah is punishing wrong doers is OK, but how cum He kill innocent people, Children, just borne babies, disable people who cant escape such as blind, cripples from an adversities and women speciallyA feeding mothers, so on. HOW YOU CAN EXPLAIN THESE ACUSATIONS AND JUSTIFY ALLAH IS WRIGHT.

Answer

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.

Belief in Allaah, The Exalted, entails believing that He is the true Master of the universe and the Disposer of its affairs. All His actions reflect His all-encompassing knowledge and great wisdom, and He is Just and never does injustice to any of His Creation. He says (what means): {Have they not seen that We set upon the land, reducing it from its borders? And Allaah decides; there is no adjuster of His decision. And He is swift in account.} [Quran 13:41] No one can adjust His decision regarding fate or judgments. Allaah says (what means): {And your Lord does injustice to no one.} [Quran 18:49] This is due to the perfection of His justice.

The wisdom behind the decrees of Allaah may be evident to us and may be not. If a Muslim recognizes the wisdom behind the decrees of his Lord, then this strengthens his certitude and reassures his heart. And if he does not recognize it, then he should submissively surrender to his Lord, placing his trust in Him, and he should not yield to the whisperings of the devils from among Jinn or mankind. Verily, such devils attempt to take control of the person’s heart to delude him into losing his religion and the reward of his worldly life. If the Muslim’s heart yields to such devilish whisperings, he will cause his own destruction. Therefore, it is incumbent on the Muslim to repel such whisperings; Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {And do not eat of that upon which the name of Allaah has not been mentioned, for indeed, it is grave disobedience. And indeed do the devils inspire their allies [among men] to dispute with you. And if you were to obey them, indeed, you would be associators [of others with Him].} [Quran 6:121]

Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Satan comes to one of you and says, ‘Who created such-and-such?’ until he says, ‘Who created your Lord?’ If you reach this extent, seek refuge with Allaah and put an end to such thoughts.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Imaam An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, “It means that whenever the person experiences such whisperings, he should seek refuge with Allaah to repel them and know that they come from the devil (who seeks) to corrupt his faith and lure him; so he should stop listening to the whisperings of the devil and preoccupy himself with something else.

But that the Muslim hastens to accuse his Lord of injustice and turn atheist because of that, this is a grave matter that does not harm Allaah in the least but only harms the person himself. Apostasy is utter loss in this worldly life and the next; Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {And they will continue to fight you until they turn you back from your religion if they are able. And whoever of you reverts from his religion [to disbelief] and dies while he is a disbeliever – for those, their deeds have become worthless in this world and the Hereafter, and those are the companions of the Fire, they will abide therein eternally.} [Quran 2:217]

Nevertheless, there is no harm in a Muslim seeking to learn the wisdom behind the actions and decrees of his Lord to increase his faith, not to make it a condition for the affirmation or absence of one’s faith. The divine wisdom entails that calamities befall the young and weak so that people realize the evil consequences of sins and that the divine punishment befalls all people (not only the sinners). Therefore, a Muslim will avoid sins and avoid keeping the company of sinners and try to set them right and call them to the straight path. Zaynab bint Jahsh  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, came out one day terrified and he said: “La ilaaha illa Allaah (i.e. None is truly worthy of worship but Allaah). Woe to the Arabs from of an imminent evil. Today an opening of this size has been made in the barrier restraining Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj (Gog and Magog).” And he, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, made a circle with his thumb and index finger. Zaynab said, “O Messenger of Allaah, will we perish while there are righteous people among us?” He replied: “Yes, when wickedness prevails.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Scholars mentioned that part of the wisdom behind young children being afflicted with pain is that they will be compensated for that in the afterlife. Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his Tafseer (interpretation of the Quran): “Just as (Allaah) bought from the adult believers who are of age of responsibility (their selves and their wealth), so has He also bought (those things) from children; their pain and sickness are for the best of their interest and as a trial for the adult believers to reflect and learn lessons. The adult believers are most righteous and least corrupt when afflictions befall their children. The parents are rewarded for the pain and worries they experience as well as for their striving in raising and taking care of their children. Moreover, Allaah, The Exalted, compensates those afflicted children in the Hereafter. This can be likened to hiring a worker to construct a building and carry dust. This tiring labour causes him physical harm and pain; however, this is permissible because of the benefits reaped by his work and the reward he earns” [End of quote]

The same may be said about the wisdom behind the afflictions that befall any person. This is part of the apparent rationale; and the wisdom of Allaah is too great to be comprehended by human beings. Needless to say, a Muslim must submissively submit to the decrees of his Lord whether he realizes the divine wisdom behind them or not.

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 270832.

Allaah Knows best.

Related Fatwa