The Position of a Muslim in the Face of Calamities and Crises

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, Most Merciful

All praise is for Allah alone, and may peace and blessings be upon the one whom there is no Prophet after him, and upon his family and his companions.

To proceed:

When disasters and gloomy events occur, they make apparent peoples’ true selves, uncover their true nature, and separate between the good-natured and foul-natured among them, and between the decent and the wicked. Allah has far-reaching wisdom in this: to distinguish between the good and the wicked. This is from the wisdom of Allah testing His creation. He, the Exalted, said:

And We will surely test you until We make evident those who strive among you [for the cause of Allah] and the patient, and We will test your affairs.[1]

All of life is a place of trials and an abode of tests. The people with regard to these tests and trials are not equal. From them are:

…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 the manifest loss.[2]

Indeed, true and correct faith and pure belief have a great effect and play a huge part in overcoming disastrous events, troubles, calamities, and trials. This is because the one who has correct faith and pure belief has learnt some important things and great lessons from his religion, which help him to remain strong in all situations. And there is no change or power except through Allah.
From these things are what follows:

1. That the believer knows with certainty and without doubt or reservation, that the Creator of this universe and the One who brought it into existence and the One who controls its affairs is Allah alone, that He alone has control over it, and that nothing happens except what He wills; therefore critical situations are all in His hand.

2. That Allah has taken responsibility for supporting the people of faith and protecting the people of religion, and has promised to do so – and His promise is true; and He has informed us about this in His book, and His speech is truth and fact. Allah the Exalted said:

O you who have believed, if you support (the cause of) Allah, He will support you and plant firmly your feet.[3]

3. That Allah has promised in His book [that He – not His creation – will] bring shame on those who defile and oppress His religion, and make them a sign for those who take heed and a warning for those who take note, as He said:

Upon them is a misfortune of evil nature…[4]

4. That the believer knows that a person will not die until their time is fulfilled and their provision is completed. So, nobody will die before their allotted time or after it. Allah the Exalted says:

For every nation is a [specified] term. When their time has come, then they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede [it].[5]

5. That the believer, due to the strength of his resolve and the force of his certainty is not shaken by false rumours and is not scared by threats. Rather, if some of Allah’s creation try to frighten him, he is increased in faith and trust in Allah, relying and depending on Him, as were the companions:

Those to whom hypocrites said, “Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.” But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said, “Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.” So they returned with favour from Allah and bounty, no harm having touched them. And they pursued the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty.[6]

6. Trusting Allah, whilst making every effort to do the things which Allah has made causes for success. Allah the Exalted said:

And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.[7]

The Prophet (pbuh) was the leader of those who relied upon Allah, and yet he did those actions which lead to success. He appeared in armour on the day of ‘Uhud and he took a polytheist guide to guide him the way during his migration to Medina.

7. Repenting to Allah for what we – or some of us – have done, in terms of mistakes and disobedience in our religion and belief. Allah the Exalted says:

And fear a trial which will not strike those who have wronged among you exclusively, and know that Allah is severe in penalty.[8]

In the battle of Uhud, when some of the companions disobeyed the command of the Prophet, Allah caused the disbelievers to overcome the Muslims and a great catastrophe happened to the Muslims because of this disobedience. This is the way of Allah with His creation, so are we better than the companions of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)? Therefore we must take ourselves to account and repent to our Lord, so that we can remove that which is afflicting us.

8. Sticking firmly to the Book of Allah and the Sunna of His Messenger (pbuh), according to the understanding of the pious predecessors. Allah the Exalted said:

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided…[9]

The Prophet (pbuh) said:

Whoever lives long amongst you will see a great deal of differing. Stick to my sunna and the sunna of the rightly guided caliphs after me; cling to it and bite on to it with your molar teeth. Avoid newly invented matters [in the religion]. For every newly invented matter [in the religion] is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance.[10]

9. Being on guard against our enemies who want to turn us away from our religion. Allah, the Exalted, says:

O you who have believed, if you obey those who disbelieve, they will turn you back on your heels, and you will [then] become losers. But Allah is your protector, and He is the best of helpers.[11]

Allah also said:

And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion.[12]

10. Sticking to the main body of the Muslims, as well as hearing and obeying those in charge of the Muslims, as is authentically reported in the two Sahīhs from the hadīth of Hudhayfa t when the Prophet (pbuh) mentioned the appearance of trials and the existence of callers to the Hellfire; whoever obeys them are thrown into it, and describing them as being “a people of our race (i.e. Arabs), speaking in our tongue,” Hudhayfa said to him: “What do you order me to do if this reaches me?” He replied: “Stick to the Jamā‘a [main body] of the Muslims and their leader.”

11. Ordering the good and forbidding the evil, and remaining steadfast in performing the obligatory deeds and avoiding those which are forbidden. Allah the Exalted says:

They who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice – those will have security, and they are [rightly] guided.[13]

This āyah shows that tawhīd and being free from all forms of associating partners with Allah is a reason for the prevalence of security and the achievement of guidance. It has been authentically reported in Sahīh Muslim that the Prophet (pbuh) said:

Worship during [times of] difficulty is like migration to me.

This hadīth informs us of the great status of worship during times of trial. Allah the Exalted said:

And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah].[14]

and “If a matter troubled him, the Prophet would turn to prayer.”

12. Returning to the firmly grounded scholars, taking from them, and asking them about things which are problematic. Allah the Exalted said:

So ask the people of the remembrance if you do not know.[15]

The people of the message are the firmly grounded scholars. Allah the Exalted said:

And when there comes to them information about [public] security or fear, they spread it around. But if they had referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority among them, then the ones who [can] draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it…[16]

13. Striving to deal with others with kindness, care, and patience. It is authentically reported from the Prophet (pbuh) in the Sahīh that he said:

Kindness was never found in something except that it beautified it, and it was never removed from something except that it made it ugly.

He also said to Ashajj bin Qays:

Indeed, you have two characteristics which Allah and His Messenger love: patience and deliberation.

Therefore, patience and deliberation are required in correcting affairs, as well as not being hasty and controlling oneself. Allah criticised mankind for hastiness. As such, the Prophet (pbuh) was not a hasty person.

14. Not ruling about something until it is fully understood, in light of the principle: “Ruling about something is an offshoot of understanding it.” Allah the Exalted said:

And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge.[17]

A person must understand the matter at hand completely and must know the ruling of Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) in the exact same matter. In this way he should be well grounded in these matters, only relating from reliable people.

15. Precision in speech and action. Not every saying which appears to you to be good should be publicised and not every action which appears to you to be good should be repeated, since at times of trial your speech and action have many consequences. Abu Hurayra said:

I memorised from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) two vessels [meaning a lot]; as for the first, I made it known, as for the other, if I were to make it known this throat would have been cut.[18]

He means that Abu Hurayra concealed ahādīth during the trials which occurred at that time, fearing that they would result in a further trial amongst the people. Ibn Mas’ud said, in what Muslim narrated from him in his Sahīh:

You will not relate to a people a hadīth which doesn’t reach their intellect except that it will be a trial for some of them.

16. Supplicating and calling upon Allah in humility is from the causes of removing sorrow and distress. Allah the Exalted said:

And We sent to no city a prophet [who was denied] except that We seized its people with poverty and hardship that they might humble themselves [to Allah].[19]

17. Avoiding believing rumours upon hearing them the first time, striving to spread it and make it known amongst the people or publishing rulings based upon these rumours.

18. Taking a lesson from and looking into previous crises which have affected the umma and how they were resolved. Allah the Exalted said:

Say, [O Muhammad], “Travel through the land and observe how was the end of the criminals.”[20]

19. Warning the community in general, and specifically the youth against destructive ideologies and deviant methodologies, as well as refuting the doubts they present, in order to guard the community from these ideologies and protect it against the methodologies of misguidance.

20. Calling the umma to be zealous in their seeking beneficial knowledge which leads to good deeds and taking knowledge from the scholars of the Sunna. For as long as a person remains upon knowledge, they remain upon a light from Allah and clarity. Allah the Exalted said:

The bedouins are stronger in disbelief and hypocrisy and more likely not to know the limits of what [laws] Allah has revealed to His Messenger…[21]

Shaykh as-Sa‘adi said in his explanation of the Quran:

[It indicates] the status of knowledge and that the one who lacks it is closer to evil than the one who knows it, because Allah criticised the Bedouins and described them as being stronger in disbelief and hypocrisy. He mentioned the reason which necessitates this and that they are more likely not to know the limits of what laws Allah has revealed to His Messenger.

Allah the Exalted said:

O you who have believed, if you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion and will remove from you your misdeeds and forgive you. And Allah is the possessor of great bounty.[22]

Shaykh as-Sa‘adi said:

Whoever fears Allah has four things, every one of them is better than the world and whatever is in it: First, the criterion and it is the knowledge and guidance which distinguishes between guidance and misguidance and between truth and falsehood and between the permissible and the impermissible and between the people of happiness and the people of torment…

For that reason, knowledge recognizes a crisis when it approaches and ignorance recognizes it once it is over.
And peace and blessings be upon our leader Muhammad, and upon his family and his companions.

1 The Quran, Sura Muhammad [47]:31.

2 The Quran, Sura al-Hajj [22]:11.

3 The Quran, Sura Muhammad [47]:7.

4 The Quran, Sura al-Fath [48]:6.

5 The Quran, Sura Yunus [10]:49.

6 The Quran, Sura Āl ‘Imrān [3]:173-4.

7 The Quran, Sura at-Talāq [65]:3.

8 The Quran, Sura al-Anfāl [8]:25.

9 The Quran, Sura Āl ‘Imrān [3]:103.

10 Narrated by Abu Dāwūd and at-Tirmidhi from the hadīth of al-‘Irbād bin Sāriya.

11 The Quran, Sura Āl-‘Imrān [3]:149-50.

12 The Quran, Sura al-Baqara [2]:120.

13 The Quran, Sura al-An‘ām [6]:82.

14 The Quran, Sura al-Baqara [2]:45.

15 The Quran, Sura an-Nahl [16]:43.

16 The Quran, Sura an-Nisā’ [4]:83.

17 The Quran, Sura al-Isrā’ [17]:36.

18 Sahīh al-Bukhāri.

19 The Quran, Sura al-A‘rāf [7]:94.

20 The Quran, Sura an-Naml [27]:69.

21 The Quran, Sura at-Tawba [9]:97.

22 The Quran, Sura al-Anfāl [8]:29.