Praise be to Allaah.
Yes, there is great wisdom behind calamities, including the
1 – To attain true submission and servitude (‘uboodiyyah) to
Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds.
Many people are slaves to their whims and desires and are not
true slaves of Allaah. They say that they are slaves of Allaah, but when
they are tested they turn on their heels and lose out in this world and in
the Hereafter, and that is an evident loss. Allaah says (interpretation of
“And among mankind is he who worships Allaah as it were
upon the edge (i.e. in doubt): if good befalls him, he is content therewith;
but if a trial befalls him he turns back on his face (i.e. reverts to
disbelief after embracing Islam). He loses both this world and the
Hereafter. That is the evident loss”
2 – Trials prepare the believers to prevail on earth
It was said to Imam al-Shaafa’i (may Allaah have mercy on
him): Which is better, patience or tests or prevailing? He said: Prevailing
is the level attained by the Prophets, and there can be no prevailing except
after trials. If a person is tried he will become patient, and if he remains
patient he will prevail.
3 – Expiation of sins
al-Tirmidhi (2399) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be
pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) said: “Trials will continue to befall the believing man or woman
in himself, his child and his wealth until he meets Allaah with no sin on
him.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2399), classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in
al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 2280.
It was narrated that Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him)
said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) “When Allaah wills good for His slave, He hastens the punishment for
him in this world, and when Allaah wills ill for His slave, he withholds the
punishment for his sins from him his sin until he comes with all his sins on
the Day of Resurrection.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2396); classed as saheeh
by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (1220).
4 – Attainment of reward and a rise in status
Muslim (2572) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased
with her) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him) said: “The believer is not harmed by a thorn or anything
greater, but Allaah will raise him in status thereby, or erase a sin
5 – Calamities provide an opportunity to think about one's
faults and shortcomings and past mistakes.
Because if it is a punishment, what was the sin?
6 – Calamity is a lesson in Tawheed, faith and trust in
It shows you in a practical sense what you really are, so you
will realize that you are a weak slave, and you have no strength and no
power except with your Lord, then you will put your trust in Him in a true
sense, and will turn to Him in a true sense, and put aside your position,
pride, arrogance, self-admiration and heedlessness, and you will understand
that you are poor and in need of your Lord, and you are weak and need to
turn to the Most Strong, the Almighty, may He be glorified.
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
Were it not that Allaah treats His slaves with the remedy of
trials and calamities, they would transgress and overstep the mark. When
Allaah wills good for His slaves, He gives him the medicine of calamities
and trials according to his situation, so as to cure him from all fatal
illnesses and diseases, until He purifies and cleanses him, and then makes
him qualified for the most honourable position in this world, which is that
of being a true slave of Allaah (‘uboodiyyah), and for the greatest reward
in the Hereafter, which is that of seeing Him and being close to Him. End
Zaad al-Ma’aad, 4/195
7 – Calamities drive out self-admiration from our hearts and
bring them closer to Allaah
Ibn Hajr said: Yoonus ibn Bukayr narrated in Ziyaadaat
al-Maghaazi that al-Rabee’ ibn Anas said: A man said on the day of
Hunayn: “We will never be defeated today for lack of numbers.” That upset
the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and then they
Ibn al-Qayyim said in Zaad al-Ma’aad (3/477):
In His wisdom, Allaah decreed that the Muslims should first
taste the bitterness of defeat, despite their great numbers and adequate
equipment and strength, so as to humble some people who felt proud as a
result of the conquest of Makkah and who had not entered His land and His
sanctuary as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) had entered it, bending his head whilst riding his horse to the
extent that his chin almost touched the saddle, out of humbleness before his
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And that Allaah may test (or purify) the believers (from
sins) and destroy the disbelievers”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:141]
al-Qaasimi (4/239) said:
i.e., to cleanse them and purify them of sin and of pride and
arrogance. He also cleanses them of the hypocrites, and make them stand out
distinct from them… then He mentions another reason, which is “to destroy
the disbelievers”, for if they prevail they will transgress and overstep
the mark, which will be the cause of their downfall and destruction. The
laws of Allaah dictate that when He wants to destroy His enemies and erase
them, he makes available to them the means which will lead to their doom and
eradication, among the greatest of which, after their kufr, is their
transgression and tyranny in persecuting, opposing and fighting His close
friends… Allaah destroyed those who waged war against the Messenger of
Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) on the day of Uhud
and persisted in kufr. End quote.
8 – To demonstrate the true nature of people, for there are
people whose virtue is unknown until calamity strikes
al-Fudayl ibn ‘Iyaad said: As long as people are doing fine,
their true nature is concealed, but when calamity strikes, their true
natures are revealed, so the believer resorts to his faith and the hypocrite
resorts to his hypocrisy.
Al-Bayhaqi narrated in al-Dalaa’il that Abu Salamah
said: Many people were confused – i.e., after the Isra’ – and some people
came to Abu Bakr and told him. He said: “I bear witness that he is telling
the truth.” They said: “Do you believe that he went to Syria in one night
then came back to Makkah?” He said: “Yes, and I believe him in more than
that, I believe what he says of the Revelation that comes to him from
heaven.” And because of that he was named al-Siddeeq.
9 – Calamities strengthen people’s resolve
Allaah chose for His Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) a hard life filled with all kinds of hardship from a
young age, in order to prepare him for the great mission that awaited him,
which none could bear but the strongest of men, who have gone through
hardship and who are tested with calamities and bear them with patience.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
was born an orphan, then it was not long before his mother died too.
Allaah reminded the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) of that when He said (interpretation of the meaning):
“Did He not find you O Muhammad) an orphan and give you a
It is as if Allaah wanted to prepare the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to bear responsibility and endure
hardship from an early age.
10 – Another reason behind calamities and hardship is that a
person becomes able to distinguish between true friends and friends who only
have their own interests at heart.
11 – Calamities remind you of your sins so that you can
repent from them.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Whatever of good
reaches you, is from Allaah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from
“And whatever of
misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He
Calamities offer an opportunity to repent before the greater
punishment comes on the Day of Resurrection. Allaah says (interpretation of
“And verily, We will
make them taste of the near torment (i.e. the torment in the life of this
world, i.e. disasters, calamities) prior to the supreme torment (in the
Hereafter), in order that they may (repent and) return (i.e. accept Islam)”
The “near torment” is hardship in this world and bad things
that happen to a person.
If life continues to be easy, a person may become conceited
and arrogant, and think that he has no need of Allaah, so by His mercy He
tests people so that they may return to Him.
12 – Calamities show you the true nature of this world and
its transience, and that it is temporary conveniences, and shows us that
true life is that which is beyond this world, in a life in which there is no
sickness or exhaustion.
“Verily, the home of the Hereafter
that is the life indeed (i.e. the eternal life that will never end), if they
But this life is just hardship and exhaustion.
“Verily, We have created man in toil”
13 – Calamities remind you of the great blessings of good
health and ease.
This calamity shows you in the clearest way the meaning of
health and ease that you enjoyed for many years, but did not taste their
sweetness or appreciate them fully.
Calamities remind you of blessings and the One Who bestows
them, and cause you to thank and praise Allaah for His blessings.
14 – Longing for Paradise
You will never long for Paradise until you taste the
bitterness of this world. How can you long for Paradise when you are content
with this world?
This is some of the wisdom behind calamities, and the
interests attained by them, and the wisdom of Allaah is great indeed.
And Allaah knows best.