Surah at-Taghaaboon starts with the ayah:
يُسَبِّحُ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۖ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ ۖ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
Whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth glorifies Allah. His is the dominion, and to Him belong all the praises and thanks, and He is Able to do all things.
Thus, the Surah begins by declaring the Majesty of Allah ‘azza wa jall, declaring His authority over all of creation, declaring His favour bestowed upon His creation and His unsurpassed abilities and control over all matters. Definitive and undeniable as this is, it sets the atmosphere for the rest of the Surah to be put forth. In this article, inshaAllah, we shall discuss some ayaat in light of this ‘scene’ that has been initiated in the mind of the heart seeking guidance and nourishment from the Quran.
Later in the Surah, Allah ta’ala says:
مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَمَن يُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
No affliction comes about but by Allah’s permission; and whoever believes in Allah, He guides aright his heart; and Allah is Cognizant of all things.
وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ ۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَإِنَّمَا عَلَىٰ رَسُولِنَا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ
Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger (Muhammad ﷺ ), but if you turn away, then the duty of Our Messenger is only to convey (the Message) clearly.
اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
Allah! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and in Allah (Alone), therefore, let the believers put their trust.
Firstly, we must remember that we cannot be disheartened and indulge in our sorrows.
Ali bin Abi Talib رضي الله عنه went to Ash’ath to console him upon the death of one of his sons. He said:
“If you are sad, then you are deserving of mercy, but if you are patient, then Allah gives you something in place of what was lost or destroyed. And know that if you are patient, everything that was described for you and preordained for you will occur and you will be rewarded. If you complain and are hopeless, then likewise all that was destined for you will occur, except that you will be blamed for your impatience at Allah’s will.”
[Gems and Jewels, Abdul Malik Mujahid]
In tafseer of the above ayaat from Surah at-Taghaaboon, we read the following:
“If a person does not believe in Allah and the Divine destination, he would not have any means of comforting himself when a calamity befalls him. He receives it with despair, and gropes for means of alleviating it. A believer, on the other hand, who reposes his faith in Divine will and destination is guided by Allah, and his heart is filled with peace and tranquility. Allah will guide his heart to certainty of faith. Therefore, he will know with certainty that whatever difficulty afflicts him could never have missed him, and whatever adversity has missed him could never have afflicted him. As a result of this belief, he is promised a reward in the Hereafter, which he keeps in view all the time. This strong belief in the promise of a reward in the Hereafter alleviates the worst calamity of this world. ”
In another tafseer:
“Before completing the call to them to believe, the Surah states one of the main elements of the Islamic faith, which is to believe in God’s will and the effect of belief in God on the human heart: “No calamity can ever befall anyone except by God’s leave. He will guide the heart of anyone who believes in Him. God has full knowledge of all things.” (Verse 11)
(…)It is a belief that attributes everything to God, and whatever good or bad takes place occurs only by God’s will. This is an essential fact without which faith is incomplete. It it indeed the basis of all feelings a believer may have when facing life events and situations, good and happy or bad and miserable. (…)Regardless of the exact situation, this fact represents an important aspect of the concept Islam implants in a believer’s consciousness. He thus feels God’s hand behind every event and ever move. He receives with a calm heart whatever happens to him, whether it brings him happiness or adversity. He expresses his gratitude in the first case and demonstrates patience in the second. Alternatively, he may rise to a higher level, expressing his thanks to God in both cases of happiness and adversity as a reminder for him or an occasion may bring him forgiveness of past sins or an increase in his reward. In an authentic hadith, the Prophet is quoting as saying: “Amazing is the believer’s situation: whatever God determines is good for him. Should he meet with adversity, he resorts to patience and this is good for him, while if he meets with what is pleasant, he expresses his gratitude to God, and this is good for him. This situation applies to no one other than a believer.” [Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim]
[Fee dhilaal al-Quran]
The instruction that Allah ta’ala gives us is here is to a) have faith and believe in Him, b) be steadfast in following His command and guidance and that of His Messenger ﷺ firmly, and c) turning to Allah alone and entrusting our affairs unto Him. Yes, sometimes we suffer hardship and difficulty, sometimes we feel that we have been forsaken by Allah ta’ala and that there is no way out of our struggle, sometimes we feel that we should just give up hope because things aren’t going to get better. But we forget that “with the difficulty, comes ease” [Surah al-Inshirah], that “indeed, Allah is the Guide of those who have believed to a straight path” [Surah al-Hajj], that “whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart” [Surah at-Taghaaboon].
The Muslim should take consolation from these ayaat. No difficulty comes about except by Allah ta’ala’s permission; He is All-Knowing and knows what you are going through. If the difficulty can only occur through His permission, then He it is who has full power to remove it. All that we need to do is ask Him for help and have full faith in Him, and Allah ta’ala himself assures us that our hearts will be guided. Furthermore, we should also remember His favours upon us, our times of happiness and ease, our success and achievements, our times of good health and wealth.
A brilliant example of this from the stories of the Quran is that of Sayyiduna Yusuf عليه السلام – a perfect example of someone who goes through much difficulty throughout his life, yet always kept his faith firm in Allah ta’ala, never doubting for a second that whatever He had done was for his benefit, and that he could not judge what was best for him as well as Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala could. He was bullied, kidnapped, abandoned, tempted, accused, imprisoned, and so on. Yet look at his level of tawakkul, how he left everything in his life in His hands. He knew that the One by whose permission everything happens is the One who is fully able to remove the difficulties should He will to do so and it is in Him that he sought refuge. It is these characteristics whereby we understand him to be such an honoured Prophet, by the challenges that he went through and how he responded with unshakable faith in His Lord, the Lord of all in existence.
I conclude with the hadeeth quoted in Fee dhilaal al-Quran above, as recorded in Riyaad as-Saaliheen:
وعن أبي يحيى صهيب بن سنان رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم “عجبا لأمر المؤمن إن أمره كله له خير، وليس ذلك لأحد إلا للمؤمن : إن أصابته سراء شكر فكان خيراً له، وإن أصابته ضراء صبر فكان خيراً له”
Abu Yahya Suhaib bin Sinan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him”.
[Riyaad as-Saliheen, from Saheeh Muslim]