Ways to prevent calamities and how to lessen their
The most effective remedy to prevent calamities is to truly believe in the Divine Decree (Qada and Qadar – the sixth pillar of Iman). It is a key factor in lessening the effects of calamities which may befall the believer. With this important belief, the believer would safeguard and protect himself from many psychological diseases and disorders which afflict many people. When the believer believes that nothing would harm him except that which has been preordained, he would be content with what Allah has preordained.
Allah says: (No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a register before We bring it into being – indeed that, for Allah, is easy. In order that you do not despair over what has eluded you and not exult [in pride] over what He has given you. And Allah does not like every self-deluded and boastful one.)
The Messenger of Allah (s) said: “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer; and in both there is goodness. Be keen on acquiring things which would benefit you, and seek the help of Allah, and do not become lazy in doing acts of worship. If something harms you, do not say: ‘Had I done this, this would not have happened’. But instead say: ‘Allah has willed, and whatever He wills will come to pass; indeed saying (the word) ‘if’ would open the doors to Satan.”
The believer must be content with what his Rubb has ordained in every instance; whether he is healthy or sick, rich or poor. The one who is content with his Rubb while he is healthy, rich and in a good state of affairs only, and displeased with Him while he is in a state of poverty or sickness; is described thus by Allah: (And of the people is he who worships Allah on an edge. If he is touched by good, he is reassured by it; but if he is struck by trial, he turns on his face [to the other direction]. He has lost [this] world and the Hereafter. That is what is the manifest loss.)
If the slave knows that all matters are in the hands of Allah alone, Who has no partner, and that He is the disposer of affairs in the dominion and of all the creatures therein. He only ordains that which is good and that which is in the best interest of His creation. We should know that Allah is the only One who extends benefit and causes harm, and the One who cures, and protects, the One Who gives and withholds. Allah says: (And if Allah should touch you with adversity, there is no remover of it except Him; and if He intends for you good, then there is no repeller of His bounty. He causes it to reach whom He wills of His slaves. And He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.)
If the slave knows this with certainty and strengthens his faith, depending solely upon Allah, and seeking refuge with Him while fearing His punishment, and hoping for His reward, and bounties and graces (in this life) while doing necessary (and appropriate) things to attain the bounties of Allah. Allah says: (And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.)
The slave is weak and does not know what holds goodness for him. Allah says: (But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows, while you know not.)
Seeking Allah’s reward for patience over that which Allah has ordained, whether calamities or afflictions in himself, his family or wealth. Allah says: (And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient. Who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we shall return.’ Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Rubb and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.)
The Messenger of Allah (s) said: “No slave says:
'In'naa lil'laahee wa in'naa ilai'hee ra'jioon. Allahum'ma-jurnee fee mo'seeba-tee wukh-luf'lee khairan 'minhaa when he is afflicted or hit with a calamity, except that Allah would reward him, and replace it (i.e. what he lost) with better.’
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, said: ‘This word is the most beneficial thing that an afflicted person can say, in this life and the hereafter, for it contains two great fundamentals. If a person knows and fulfills them he would be relieved from the affliction.
The first: The slave, his family, and his wealth belong to Allah, the Exalted. They are only under the slave’s possession as a loan, so if He takes them away from him, it is similar to the owner taking back his loaned items.
The second: The slave will finally return to Allah, and he would –without doubt- leave this world behind him. He would be brought forth before Allah alone, as he was created, without any family, money or supporters. He would stand before Allah with his good and bad deeds. Therefore, if this is the beginning of the slave and his end, how can one rejoice over something he attains, or despair over something he loses. When a person ponders his beginning and his end; this indeed is a great remedy for this affliction.
(Zad al-Ma'ad vol. 4, pg.188-195)
Performing Salah (i.e., prayers). Allah says: (And seek help through patience and prayer.)
Whenever a situation that concerned the Prophet (s) befell him, he would rush to perform prayers. He would say: ‘O Bilal call the Iqamah for prayer, and relieve us with it.’
- Thinking well of Allah, and not showing discontent. Abu Hurairah said that the Messenger of Allah (s) said: “Indeed Allah says: ‘I am capable of doing with my slave what he thinks of Me; if he wishes good, he would have that, and if he wishes bad, he would have that.’”
Remembering Allah excessively. By doing this, a person would be relieved from calamities and afflictions and it would strengthen his faith. Allah says: (Those who believe and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.)
- Supplicating Allah excessively. Allah says: (Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the earth? Is there a deity with Allah? Little do you remember.)
Allah says: (And your Rubb says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell humiliated.)
To believe that calamities are accompanied with relief, and that hardships are accompanied with ease. Allah says: (Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.)
A poet said: In a dire situation, everything closed in around me (Suddenly) I was relieved and I thought no relief would come to me.
Knowing the life in this world is only for a short-term. It is not everlasting, for everything will be destroyed. Allah says: (Whatsoever is on the earth will perish. And your Rubb full of Majesty and Honor will remain forever.)
Knowing the insignificance of this world. Sahl. Sa’d said that the Messenger of Allah (s) passed by Dhul-Hulaifah and saw a decaying bloated sheep whose leg was lifted up, and he (s) said: ‘Is this sheep worthless to its master?’ the Companions said: ‘Yes!’ He (s) then said: ‘By the One in Whose hands is my life, this world is more worthless to Allah than this animal to its master! Were the life of this world to equal even the wing of a mosquito, He would not have given the disbeliever even a drink of water.’
Knowing that man would not exit this world until he has completed the assigned term which Allah has assigned for him in this life. The Messenger of Allah (s) said: ‘Jibreel has just informed me that no soul would exit this world until it completes the assigned term Allah has assigned for it, and receive the provisions Allah has ordained for it. So seek an appropriate living. Let not a dire situation force you to seek it through unlawful means, for Allah would grant to an individual who obeys Him.’
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, mentioned some additional remedies, of which are:
- One should take heed from those upon whom trials have befallen. He should know that he is not the only person that is faced with a calamity. If he were to search in the world he would conclude that calamities occur due to, missing a beloved opportunity or befalling of a disliked thing. He should keep in mind that this world is a realm wherein one would be tried and tested. A place wherein one laughs a little and cries a lot; a place wherein one is happy at certain occasions and unhappy at others; a place wherein one has some fun and would be prevented from many other things. Allah says:
(Verily, We have created man in toil.)
Allah says: ( If a wound should touch you - there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it.)
Abdullah. Masood said: ‘There is a sad occasion for every happy occasion. There is never a home that is filled with joy at all times but rather is filled with sadness at another time.’
The Poet said: I know that no calamity befalls me Except that someone before me was also hit by it.
- One should ponder the calamity that has befallen him, and be grateful to Allah and praise Him that it was not greater than what it is, and that it was not in his Deen. Anything a man loses from the materialistic things in this life would not cause true harm, except if the calamity is in his Deen. He should also be grateful to Allah for all other graces he has been given.
The leg of Urwah. az-Zubair was amputated and his son was killed on the same day, and he said: ‘O Allah, all the praise belongs to You alone. If you have taken from Me (a thing), indeed You have given me, if You have afflicted me with a calamity, You certainly have healed me. You have granted me four limbs, and You have taken one away, and You have granted me four children and have taken one away.’
- One should know that despondency and showing dissatisfaction to the decree of Allah would anger Him, and please Satan and amuse the enemies and hurt friends. It would also nullify one’s reward, and weaken him. If he bears patiently and seeks the reward of Allah, he would please his Rubb, and humiliate Satan, and dismay his enemy and please his friend.
- He should consider the calamities that befall him an opportunity to accumulate good deeds, if he bears patiently and seeks the reward of Allah. Abu Musa al-Ash’ari said that the Messenger of Allah (s) said: ‘When the child of a believer dies, Allah would say to the angels: ‘You have taken the soul of My slave’s child?’ They would say: ‘Yes.’ Allah would say to them: ‘You have taken the love of his heart?’ They would say: ‘Yes.’ He would ask them: ‘What did My slave say?’ They would say: ‘He has indeed praised you and proclaimed that he belongs to You and that he will return to You.’ Allah would say to the angels: ‘Build for him a house in Jannah and call it the house of Praise.’
Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said that the Prophet (s) said: ‘No Muslim is afflicted with exhaustion, sickness, worry, sorrow, harm or pain; even a prick which harms him, except Allah would expiate his sins on account of that.’
He should know that bearing patiently and seeking the reward of Allah during calamities is indeed one of the characteristics of the believers and a cause with which one would enter Jannah. Allah says: (And certainly We shall try you until We distinguish those of you who strive hard (for the cause of Allah) and the steadfast, and till We test your record.)
Ibn Abbas said that he said to some of his companions: ‘Shall I not show you a woman from the women of Jannah?’ They said: ‘Certainly!’ He said: ‘This black woman came to the Prophet (s) and said to him: ‘I have epileptic seizures, and I may become uncovered on account of it. So supplicate Allah for me (i.e. to relieve me from this disease).’
The Prophet (s) said: ‘If you wish, bear patiently, and you would be granted Jannah. And if you wish, I will supplicate Allah (to relieve you from this disease).’ She then said: ‘I will bear patiently, but I would become uncovered, so supplicate Allah that I do not become uncovered (on account of epileptic seizures).’ So the Messenger of Allah (s) supplicated Allah for her.’
Suhaib said that the Messenger of Allah (s) said: ‘Amazing is the matter of the believer! Everything is beneficial and rewarding to him, and this is only for the believer! If he is graced with a mercy, he would be grateful to Allah, and it would be (rewarding) for him. If he is hit with a calamity, he would bear patiently and it would be better for him.’
- One should keep in mind that even if despondency overcomes him, he will have to bear patiently anyways. This type of patience is not praiseworthy, and its bearer would not be rewarded on account of it.
Mahmoud. Labeed reported that the Messenger of Allah (s) said: ‘If Allah loves a people, He would test them. Whoever is patient would be rewarded on account of his patience, and whoever is despondent would be chastised on account of it.’
- He should keep in mind that the One Who is testing and afflicting him is the Most Merciful. He did not cause the affliction to befall him in order to destroy him, nor to punish Him; rather, He is testing his patience, happiness in obeying Allah, and belief in Him. He also wants to hear His slave call unto Him, and seek His help and beseech Him.
Umar. al-Khattab approached the Prophet (s) while the booty from a battle was brought forth, and among them was a woman who was breast-feeding her child. The Prophet (s) said: ‘Do you think that this woman will toss her child into the fire?’ The companions said: ‘How can she, when she cannot let go of him?’ The Prophet (s) said: ‘Indeed Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child.’
- He should keep in mind that the misery in this life, would in fact lead him to living a life of happiness in the Hereafter. And Happiness in this life would lead him to misery in the Hereafter. Therefore to move from a stage of temporary misery to a permanent state of joy and happiness is better than the opposite.
The Prophet (s) said: ‘Jannah (heavenly abode) has been surrounded by hardships, and Hell-Fire has been surrounded by lusts and desires.’
This does not mean that man should be like an inanimate being who does not have feelings, and that he does not show some of his natural emotions. What is prohibited is that one become despondent, angry and unsatisfied with the decrees of Allah. Anas. Malik said: ‘We entered with the Messenger of Allah (s) upon Abu Saif, the blacksmith, whose wife was the milk mother of Ibraheem –the son of the Prophet- so the Prophet (s) held Ibraheem, kissed him and smelled him. Thereafter we entered upon him while he was dying, and the Messenger of Allah (s) wept. Abdurrahman. Auf said: ‘And you O Messenger of Allah (cry as well)?’ The Messenger of Allah said: ‘O Ibn Auf, this is a mercy, and I further say, Indeed tears come out of the eye, and the heart is saddened, yet we only say that which pleases our Rubb. Indeed we are saddened by your departure O Ibraheem.’
Usaamah. Zaid said: ‘The daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s) asked the Messenger of Allah (s) to come to her, since one of her sons was dying. So the Messenger of Allah (s) sent a messenger to convey his salam and to say to her: ‘Indeed to Allah belongs what he has given and what He has taken, and everything has a set time, so have patience and seek the reward of Allah.’
She then made an oath and insisted that he come, so he went while he was accompanied by Sa’d. Ubaadah, Mu’aadth. Jabal, Ubai. Ka’b, Zaid. Thabit, and other men y. When they arrived, the child was given to the Prophet (s) while he was moving slightly and the Prophet (s) wept. Sa’d then said: ‘O Messenger of Allah what is this (referring to his tears)? He said: ‘This is a mercy which Allah has placed in the hearts of His slaves… Indeed Allah has mercy on His merciful slaves.’
A poet said: Let the days pass by as they please. Be happy with fate and the decree Once something happens which has been decreed. There is no way of stopping it.