A response to the specious argument that if Allah is not unjust, why do people vary so much and the provision of blessings that they have?

Question : 290009

13/06/2023

I have a question that comes to my mind often, and I cannot find any answer to it. What is the meaning of the hadith which says, “O My slaves, I have forbidden injustice to Myself”? If Allah, may He be exalted, has forbidden injustice to Himself, then why does He not share out provision among people justly? Why has He favoured one group over another? Why are there people who have wealth, knowledge, beauty and everything, and others who do not have anything? Why did Allah, may He be exalted, not give each person everything? In other words, what sin did those people commit to whom Allah, may He be exalted, did not give anything? I want a detailed answer, because doubts about Islam and about Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, keep coming to my mind. Also, is it permissible for me to pray against people who transgress against me in words, who have not reached puberty yet?

Answer

Firstly:

Allah is far above any injustice

Allah, may He be glorified, is far above any injustice . He is free of need and almighty, and has no need of His creation, as He, may He be glorified, says (interpretation of the meaning):

{O mankind, you are those in need of Allah, while Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy.

If He wills, He can do away with you and bring forth a new creation

And that is for Allah not difficult} [Fatir 35:15-17]

{Indeed, Allah does not do injustice, [even] as much as an atom's weight; while if there is a good deed, He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward} [an-Nisa’ 4:40].

In the famous hadith qudsi, it says: “O My slaves, I have forbidden injustice (zulm) to Myself and I have made it forbidden among you, so do not be unjust towards one another.” Narrated by Muslim (2577).

In relation to the greatest creations of Allah, such as the Throne, the Kursiy, the galaxies, the sun and moon, man is no more than a speck of dust or a grain of sand in a vast desert!

Allah is free of need and has no need whatsoever to be unjust and wrong this speck of dust whom He has blessed with life and granted him hearing and vision, and bestows upon him bounty from His stores.

How strange it is, then, that this created being, who is so insignificant, when he forgets his status and the Shaytan deceives him with an idea, would dispute with the Most Gracious about His actions and decree, or when it crosses his mind that Allah, the Most Great, the Most High, Who has bestowed everything upon him, could be unjust towards him.

First of all, you need to know that Allah is mighty, free of need, sovereign, bestower of blessings, most kind, bestower of bounty, most generous, most giving. Whatever good comes to a person, it is Allah Who bestowed it, beginning with the blessing of being brought into existence, and ending with admittance to Paradise and enjoying its delights.

{And whatever you have of favor - it is from Allah} [an-Nahl 16:53]

{And if you should count the favor of Allah , you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful} [Ibrahim 14:34].

Secondly, you should understand what injustice (zulm) is.

Injustice is taking from you what you own, or punishing you for no sin, or causing your good deeds to be in vain, or taking them from you and giving them to someone else, or requiting you for your good deeds with Hell.

Allah is far above all of that.

No human can attribute any such thing to Allah.

Allah has reassured His slaves and has told them that they will not be wronged in the slightest.

{But he who does of righteous deeds while he is a believer - he will neither fear injustice nor deprivation} [Ta-Ha 20:112]

{And fear a Day when you will be returned to Allah . Then every soul will be compensated for what it earned, and they will not be treated unjustly} [al-Baqarah 2:281]

{And they will confide regret when they see the punishment; and they will be judged in justice, and they will not be wronged} [Yunus 10:54]

{And for all there are degrees [of reward and punishment] for what they have done, and [it is] so that He may fully compensate them for their deeds, and they will not be wronged} [al-Ahqaf 46:19].

Thirdly: you should understand the difference between justice and blessings.

Justice means that Allah does not treat you unjustly or wrong you. As for blessings, He grants them to whomever He wills.

Thus Allah, may He be glorified, does not wrong His slaves in the slightest, but He is the Possessor of abundant bounty which He bestows upon whomever He wills, and He knows best who is deserving of His bounty, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

{But Allah selects for His mercy whom He wills, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty} [al-Baqarah 2:105]

{Say, “Indeed, [all] bounty is in the hand of Allah - He grants it to whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Wise.”

He selects for His mercy whom He wills. And Allah is the possessor of great bounty} [Al ‘Imran 3:73-74]

{That is the bounty from Allah, and sufficient is Allah as Knower} [an-Nisa’ 4:70].

Allah, may He be glorified, sent His Messengers, sent down His Books, and explained His commands and prohibitions. Then whoever He willed believed and whoever He willed disbelieved, and whoever disbelieved, his ultimate fate will be the Fire, and this is His justice.

Allah, may He be glorified, bestows His bounty upon whomever He wills, so He opens his heart and helps him to be guided, and He makes him steadfast in adhering to the truth. This is His bounty and grace.

Allah, may He be glorified, enjoined His slaves to strive on earth and seek provision. Some of them work hard and strive, and they succeed and accumulate wealth and riches, and some of them are sluggish and lazy, and are content with poverty and weakness. This is justice.

Allah, may He be glorified, bestows His bounty on whomever He wills, so He blesses him, makes means available to him, and enables his trade to be profitable or his work to bear fruit. This is His bounty.

Fourthly: you should understand that Allah is the Lord, the All-Knowing, the Most Wise, who is not to be asked about what He does.

So it cannot be said to the Lord: Why did You give to So-and-so and not to So-and-so?

It cannot be said to the Lord: Why did you create this one beautiful and that one ugly?

If the Lord could be questioned, there would be no difference between the Lord and His slave!

But reflect on the wisdom of Allah, for He may grant beauty and wealth to someone, but that person then transgresses, so his ultimate fate will be Hell.

He may grant beauty and wealth to someone who does not give thanks to Him, so that is a cause of suffering and doom for him.

Or He may take away beauty and grant guidance, and instil contentment in that person’s heart, thus he becomes one of the happiest of people.

Or He may grant one person beauty, guidance and happiness, and this is His bounty that he bestows upon whomever He wills.

{And if Allah had extended [excessively] provision for His servants, they would have committed tyranny throughout the earth. But He sends [it] down in an amount which He wills. Indeed He is, of His servants, Acquainted and Seeing} [ash-Shura 42:27].

Fifthly: you should understand that the fact that Allah gives to certain people is not because of the high status, virtue or righteousness of the one to whom He gives.

And the fact that He withholds from some people is not because they are insignificant before Him, or because they are evil or corrupt people. Rather it is based on great wisdom which is known to the Most Kind, the All-Aware, and people cannot grasp its essence and secrets.

Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

{And as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favors him, he says, “My Lord has honored me.”

But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, “My Lord has humiliated me.”

No!} [al-Fajr 89:15-17].

“No!” means the matter is not as you say or as you think, that being blessed with wealth or provision is an honour and that being deprived of that is humiliation. Rather it is because of the great wisdom of the Most Wise, the All-Aware, Who tests thereby whomever He wills of His slaves.

Shaykh as-Sa‘di (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Here Allah (st) tells us of the nature of man as he really is; he is ignorant and a wrongdoer, who does not think of the consequences. He thinks that the situation he finds himself in will last and never change, and he thinks that the generosity of Allah in this world and the blessings that He bestows upon him indicate that he is dear to Allah and close to Him.

{But when He tries him and restricts his provision } and reduces it to what is just enough, with no surplus, he thinks that Allah is humiliating him thereby. But Allah refutes this notion by saying:

{ No!} that is, not everyone on whom I bestow abundance in this world is dear to Me, and not everyone whose provision I restrict is insignificant or worthless before Me.

Rather wealth and poverty, restriction and abundance, are a trial with which Allah tests His slaves to see who will give thanks and be patient, so that He may reward him generously for that, and who will not respond in that manner, and will therefore suffer a terrifying punishment.

Moreover, if a person focuses only on what he himself wants, this is indicative of low aspirations. Therefore Allah criticises them for not paying attention to the situation of needy people… End quote from Tafsir as-Sa‘di (924).

For more information, please see the answer to question no. 178673 .

So ignore these intrusive thoughts, and learn how to love Allah and how to turn to Him, give thanks for His blessings, reflect on His gifts, expect His grace, hope for His His Paradise and long to see Him.

Give up this ingratitude, rebellious attitude and denial of his blessings, and think instead about the thousands of blessings that He has bestowed upon you, the greatest of which is that He has made you His female slave who prostrates to Him, and you raise your hands to Him [in supplication]. How many people are deprived of this blessing, for they turn to objects of worship other than Him and seek to draw close to deities other than Him.

You have been honoured, blessed and favoured over millions of other people, so say: Al-hamdu Lillah (praise be to Allah).

In this world, no matter how hard your life is, if you believe in Allah and He admits you to Paradise, you will not remember ever having gone through hardship, so praise Allah.

No matter how much you are tried and tested in this world in terms of your health, wealth, or looks, if you bear it with patience, Allah will compensate you for that with that which has never crossed your mind, because He is the Lord, the Most Generous, the Most Merciful. There is no act of worship that His slave does and nothing that he gives up for His sake, or does for His sake, but He will compensate him for that with a vastly multiplied reward.

So be steadfast in your faith, turn to your Creator, and keep your eye on the prize of eternal bliss which Allah has promised to His slaves in the hereafter, for the hereafter is true life, and the life of this world is but a temporary convenience.

Al-Bukhari (6571) and Muslim (186) narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Indeed I know the last of the people of Hell to be brought forth from it, and the last of the people of Paradise to be admitted to it. It will be a man who will emerge crawling from Hell, and Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, will say to him: ‘Go and enter Paradise.’ He will come to it and it will appear to him to be full. He will go back and say, ‘O Lord, I found it full.’  Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, will say to him: ‘Go and enter Paradise.’ He will go to it and it will appear to him to be full. He will go back and say, ‘O Lord, I found it full.’ Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, will say to him: ‘Go and enter Paradise, and you will have the equivalent of the whole world and ten times as much – or you will have ten times as much as the whole world –.’ He will say, ‘Are You mocking me – or laughing at me – when You are the Sovereign?’” He said: And I saw the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) smile so broadly that his eyeteeth appeared. And it was said: He will be the lowest of the people of Paradise in status.

And Muslim (2807) narrated that Anas ibn Maalik said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The most affluent of the people in this world, of those who will go to Hell, will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and dipped once in the Fire. Then it will be said: ‘O son of Adam, did you ever see anything good? Did you ever have any pleasure?’ He will say: ‘No, by Allah, O Lord.’

Then the most destitute of the people in this world, of those who will enter Paradise, will be brought and dipped once in Paradise, and it will be said to him: ‘O son of Adam, did you ever see anything bad? Did you ever experience any hardship?’ ‘He will say: No, by Allah, O Lord. I never saw anything bad and I never experienced any hardship.’”

We ask Allah to grant you reassurance, guide you, make your faith steadfast, and make you among the righteous women who are devout and give thanks.

Secondly:

Is it permissible to pray against an aggressor?

You should not pray against anyone, especially minors who have not yet reached the age of puberty. It is better to show them kindness and try to win them over, and to set a good example for them. Then if they cause you annoyance, be patient, as was the advice of Luqman:

{O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination} [Luqman 31:17].

Control your tongue and only speak good words. When you offer supplication, pray for them to be guided to righteousness, such as saying: May Allah guide you, may Allah rectify your condition.

As for praying against an aggressor, a person may overstep the mark and go beyond what is within his rights to say, in which case he himself will become an aggressor and wrongdoer.

His supplication may be answered, and something bad may happen to the one against whom he prayed, thus causing him pain and sorrow.

But if you must do that, then say: O Allah, suffice me against their evil; O Allah, avert their harm from me… and the like.

And Allah knows best.

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