Why Allaah punishes some and gives others respite
Fatwa No: 286012

  • Fatwa Date:6-4-2015 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 17, 1436
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Question

AsalamualaykumI have a question - When does Allah intervene or cause miracles to happen or accept prayers. The Quran says that if Allah punished the wrong doers on the earth, there would be nothing left on it, but it then says that Allah destroys people and cities, how come Allah performs miracles in some situations and not in others, why does he intervene sometimes and not others, for what goal? Also, if everything is written and Allah allows things for certain reasons to occur (such as he allows people to suffer hardships etc for a good reason) then why do we pray to take it away or pray against things, shouldnt we just accept what Allah has decreed?I am very confused about the issue.May Allah guide me and you

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.

What Allaah does with His creations occurs according to His Will and His Wisdom; He is the Lord of the worlds. Allaah says (what means): {[All] praise is [due] to Allaah, Lord of the worlds.} [Quran 1:2]

The Lord means the Master, the Sovereign, Who administers and arranges the affairs of His creatures, as He wills and whenever He wills. Nothing can turn back His decision or compromise His judgment. Allaah says (what means): {He is not questioned about what He does, but they will be questioned.} [Quran 21:23] Allaah also says (what means): {And Allaah decides; there is no adjuster of His decision. And He is swift in account.} [Quran 13:41]

Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “His Lordship of the world entails His disposal within it, His controlling of it, the coming to pass of His command at every time in it, His being with it every hour in its affairs – He creates and provides, gives death and life, lowers and raises, gives and withholds, honors and humbles and handles matters by His Will and Volition, and to deny this is to deny His Lordship, Godship and Sovereignty.” [End of quote]

The wisdom of His actions may be known to or hidden from people, and therefore it is necessary in all cases to completely submit oneself to Him; Allaah says (what means): {But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission.} [Quran 4:65]

As regards the verse in Soorah Faatir, in which Allaah says (what means): {And if Allaah were to punish men for that which they earned, He would not leave a moving (living) creature on the surface of the earth; but He gives them respite to an appointed term. And when their time comes, then indeed Allaah has ever been, of His servants, Seeing.} [Quran 35:45]; the Tafseer scholars differed in opinion about its meaning. The most correct of their statements about it is that Allaah does not hold innocent people accountable for the actions of the guilty, otherwise He would cause everything in the world to perish, including animals and all other creatures, so they interpret this verse according to its general sense, and Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him considered this to be the strongest opinion. Other scholars said that what is meant by it is jinn and humans in particular, because they are the ones who are accountable for their actions.

In any case, the wisdom of Allaah in causing some people from among enemies to perish and leaving others is that this is a sign of His Will in the creation, and it is evidence of His Lordship as Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in the above statement.

Another aspect of His Wisdom is that He gives His creation lessons and admonitions; it is for this reason that Allaah concludes each story from the stories of the Prophets in Surat Ash-Shu‘araa’ by saying (what means): {Indeed in that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers. And indeed, your Lord – He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.} [Quran 26:8-9] In mentioning Might and Mercy is an indication that shows the meanings of His High Names and Attributes; Allaah shows His Compassion when He gives His slaves respite and He does not punish them in advance, although they associate partners with Him and are ungrateful for His bounties. It is He Who creates, but people worship things besides Him, and it is He Who gives blessings, but people are grateful to things besides Him. His good descends to His slaves while the latter returns the favors by doing evil deeds, and Allaah gives them respite, but when He seizes them, He seizes them with Might, showing His Power and Omnipotence.

It also demonstrates that His Mercy prevails against His Anger; Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “The mystery of the matter consists in the fact that the (divine) names associated with mercy and benefaction are more prevalent than the (divine) names associated with vengeance; and the (divine) acts of mercy are more abundant than the acts of vengeance; and the overtness of the effects of mercy is greater than the overtness of the effects of retribution; and mercy is more loved to Him than vengeance; with mercy He created His creatures, and for it He created them; it precedes His anger and overcomes it; He made it His duty and it extends to all things.” [End of quote]

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 83577.

As regards your second question, the answer is that supplication is predetermined, and the believer wards off the Predetermination of Allaah by something that He predetermined. Please refer to Fatwa 9466.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that it is better for a Muslim to ask about matters that lead to doing good deeds, and he should be concerned about matters that benefit him in his worldly life and his religion.

Allaah Knows best.

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