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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Is Allah Pleased with Me? by Sheikh Sâlih al-Zahrânî

It should be known that obedience to Allah is one of the chief reasons for attaining Allah’s pleasure, while disobedience to Him is a reason for being subject to His wrath. This point is emphasized repeatedly in the Qur’ân and Sunnah.

Allah says: “And He is pleased with Islam for you as a religion.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 3]

He says: “And He is not pleased with ingratitude in His servants; and if you are grateful, He is pleased with this in you.” [Sûrah al-Zumar: 7]

Allah is pleased with those who are truthful. Allah says: “Allah will say: This is the day when their truth shall benefit the truthful ones; they shall have gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide therein for ever: Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Allah; this is the mighty achievement.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 119]

He is pleased with the believers. Allah says: “Their reward with their Lord is gardens of perpetuity beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein for ever; Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him; that is for those who fear their Lord.” [Sûrah al-Bayyinah: 8].

Allah is pleased with the soul that is firm on faith. Such a soul will be addressed in the Hereafter by the words: “Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (to Him)” [Sûrah al-Fajr: 28]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah’s being pleased is in the parent’s pleasure, and His displeasure is in the parent’s displeasure.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (1899)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said about the person being pleased with Allah’s decree: “Whoever is pleased, He will be pleased with him; and whoever is displeased, His displeasure will be upon him.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2396)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “The mostly hated among men to Allah is the one who is severe, facing others with enmity.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2457) and Sahîh Muslim (2668)]

Allah is pleased with belief, with Islam, and with our acts of obedience. He likes the believers who obey Him and is pleased with them.

Allah hates and condemns unbelief, hypocrisy and all other forms of disobedience. He is displeased with the unbelievers and hypocrites in all of their guises.

This is the overarching principle with respect to Allah being pleased or displeased with us. However, we should not think it is easy to use this principle to make assessments about actual people.

We cannot describe an individual by saying that Allah is pleased with him or displeased with him on the basis of our assessment of that person’s obedience or disobedience. Such a statement cannot be made about someone without direct evidence from the Islamic sources. By making such an audacious statement about someone without direct evidence from the Qur’ân and Sunnah, we are making a claim about the Unseen and giving a ruling from ourselves that is only for Allah to give.

A person may do what appears to the people to be good, but he may face an evil end. In this case Allah is not pleased with him. Another person may do what appears to the people to be evil, but he may face a good end. Then Allah will be pleased with him.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “By Him besides whom there is no god, one of you will act like the people of Paradise until between him and Paradise there remains but the distance of a cubit, when what is written overtakes him and he begins to act like the denizens of Hell and thus enters Hell. And another amongst will act in the way of the denizens of Hell, until there remains between him and Hell a distance of a cubit, then what is written overtakes him and then he begins to act like the people of Paradise and enters Paradise.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (3208) and Sahîh Muslim (2643)]

We cannot make any declaration about the fate of someone in particular. However, we hope for the person whom we see performing good deeds and obeying Allah that Allah is pleased with him. Likewise, we fear for the person whom we see committing evil deeds and acts of disobedience that he is earning Allah’s displeasure.

It is worth saying that works alone are not sufficient to earn Allah’s pleasure. Works need to be accompanied by true belief and faith in Allah.

Allah says about the deeds of the unbelievers: “And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did (in the worldly life), and We shall make such deeds as floating dust scattered about.” [Sûrah al-Furqân: 23]

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked about one of the polytheists who died on unbelief, whether or not his good deeds and the help he gave to poor and needy will be of any benefit to him before Allah, he replied: “No. He had never said ‘Allah is my Lord’.”

A person should never be proud of his acts and think that Allah is pleased with him and has accepted his good deeds. Our deeds are assessed in the final outcome.

The Pious Predecessors used to fear that Allah would be displeased with them and would not accept their good works. One of them said: “If Allah accepts my work, I would like to die, because Allah says: ‘Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil)’.” (The verse he quoted was to Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 27.)

Likewise, we should not give a decision on behalf of Allah and decide for ourselves that Allah is displeased with a particular person or that He will not forgive that person.

The exception to this is where we have direct textual evidence attesting to Allah’s pleasure or displeasure at a certain individual.

For instance, we have clear evidence that Allah is pleased with the Companions. Allah says: “And (as for) the foremost, the first of the Muhâjirîn and the Ansâr, and those who followed them in goodness, Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them for ever; that is the mighty achievement.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 100]

The same applies particularly to the Companions who participated in the oath of Ridwân under the tree at Hudaybiyah. Allah says: “Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility on them and rewarded them with a near victory.” [Sûrah al-Fath: 18]

Allah declares that he is pleased with His Prophet Ishmael (peace be upon him). Allah says: “And he enjoined on his family prayer and almsgiving, and was one in whom his Lord was well pleased” [Sûrah Maryam: 55]

And some of those whom Allah is displeased with and whom He has openly cursed are: Satan, Pharaoh, Hâmân, Qârûn and Abû Lahab.

We ask refuge with Allah from displeasing Him and beseech Him to guide us aright and bless us to attain his pleasure.

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