Why Allah Takes Away Or Withholds

Why Allah Takes Away Or Withholds

Why Allah Takes Away Or Withholds by Omar Suleiman

Why does Allah take things away from people that He loves, why does Allah take something away from you out of love for you and that's a really difficult concept to grasp with a really difficult question to grasp with. But to build up to that there's the narration from the Prophet (SAW) which is the most extensive in terms of how we understand or process hardship in which the Prophet (SAW) said,

"When Allah wants good for his servants then he hastens his hardships for him in this world and when Allah wants bad for his servants then He withholds the consequences of his bad or the consequences of his sins until he appears before Him on The Day of Judgment"

The prophets (SAW) continued and he says,

"The greater reward comes with the greater the trial"

So the greater the hardship is, the greater the potential of reward, because it's not assumed that you're going to be rewarded just because you are tested, some people are tested with very little and they do absolutely nothing with it except for distancing themselves further from Allah (SWT), some people are tested with great hardships and with every hardship that comes to them, no matter what the severity of that hardship is they find a way to turn that into a means of closeness to Allah (SWT) they convert the hardship, the difficulty, into that closeness with Allah (SWT).

The Prophet (SAW) continually said,

"If Allah loves a people, He tests them"

This is beautiful because it talks about the nature of your relationship with Allah, whoever shows contentment will receive The Pleasure of Allah (SWT), whoever shows contentment with the tests that come to them then they will receive that Pleasure or that contentment from Allah (SWT), and whoever shows discontentment or displeasure will have displeasure returned to him as well. This is a very comprehensive 'Hadith' and it's actually not the main narration that I want to focus on with my 'Khutbah' but I figured it's a good one to start with.

Are there exceptions to the 'Hadith'? Number one, yes, sometimes out of love for you Allah (SWT) gives you more. So the nature of the relationship of Allah with every single person does not just speak to this general rule but instead it speaks to what's good for the person or what gives that person the greatest potential to wake up and recognize the purpose of their lives, what is going to bring about the best qualities in a person, and this is really what it speaks to. Some people are humble and actually most people are more humble when their means are also reflective of that humility, when their 'Rizq', when their sustenance, when their careers, whatever it may be, when the means are also humble, then they too are likely to have those qualities. And some people as they are increased in goodness, in terms of their wealth and in terms of whatever it is that Allah is giving them of this material world that leads to certain qualities coming out of generosity and benevolence, that most people would not have once they actually get there, a lot of people think that if I had this then I would do that, but the reality is when you get there you become what you hate, and instead of developing qualities of benevolence and generosity, you develop more pride, more arrogance, and stinginess, and you become a different person and those qualities that you would have had, had you not been given what you were asking for are the qualities that would have gotten you to paradise, would have gotten you to 'Jannah', but because of your inability to handle the test of ease that Allah gave you, you became an unrecognizable person, you became arrogant, and you became prideful, and you became everything that you hated when you didn't have what you asked for.

And so Allah (SWT) deals with every individual as an individual, but the general rule it's just like the general rule that the majority of the people that enter paradise are poor people, vulnerable people, the oppressed, that doesn't mean you seek to be oppressed or you seek poverty because that's sinful, but the majority of the people that would get to paradise are people that would not be distracted by the allure of this world, by the glamour of this world, and usually that's not even by choice for them, that's the general rule. But for some people poverty has a different effect on them, hardship has a different effect on them, ease has a different effect on them, the material world has a different effect on them, and what this 'Hadith' covers is first and foremost that Allah (SWT) gives you and withholds from you out of love for you if you're turning towards Him, there is no way you turn to Allah (SWT) seeking goodness and evil comes to you in return, even if it's the hardship, that hardship is not evil, that hardship is not punishment, there's no way you turn to God asking him for good and you receive evil and hardship and return, it's always going to be blessing, and there is no way that you turn away from Allah (SWT) and receive good even if what you are receiving is packaged as good, so if you're turning away from Allah and wonderful things are happening in your life, those things are means by which you would attain eternal wrath and displeasure or hardship in the hereafter, things that you actually would wish had not come to you in this world.

And that's the thing on The Day of Judgment when Allah (SWT) describes a person that's standing before Him, that was arrogant and prideful and became an oppressor with the means that were given to them and Allah asks them if you could ransom yourself with the entire world in gold to get yourself out of the situation here in today, would you do it, and that person would be willing to sacrifice or pay the ransom of this entire 'Dunya', this entire world, two times, to get themselves out of the situation that they're in them, so they would actually regret that they had it easy in this life, if having it easy in this life meant distancing them further from Allah (SWT).

Two 'Hadith' that I'd come to, the first one was a 'Hadith' in 'Tirmidhi' where the Prophet (SAW) says, again illustrating a general concept,

"If Allah loves his servant then Allah withholds the material world from him the way that one of you would hold water from someone who was sick"

It sounds kind of funny, because usually when you're ill water is good for you but the type of illness that the Prophet (SAW) is talking about here is an illness that would be furthered by water, some sort of rare illness, so you can't have them drink water because drinking water for them is harmful at that particular tongue, and that person is extremely thirsty, and the scholars who explain this 'Hadith' they explained it in two ways.

The first one they said that a person might be extremely thirsty, so the analogy is of a person that's extremely thirsty and there's contaminated water in front of them and if they drink that water they're going to really harm themselves, but they're so thirsty that they're not thinking about what's actually good for them, they're actually only thinking about their thirst, a person who cares about them would stop them from hurting themselves in the long term just to quench their short-term thirst, but that person if the thirst becomes extreme doesn't care about the long-term implications, they just want to get over the thirst and then they'll deal with whatever comes with it, and that's a recklessness on their part, and depending on the severity of that thirst, depending on the severity of that thirst the less rational they are likely to be with the situation at hand, the more severe it's getting the less they're actually thinking about the long-term implications, but what the Prophet (SAW) is saying here is that when Allah loves you as much as he loves you when you sit there and beg Him and ask Him for something that you think would satisfy, quench that thirst, that immediate thirst, He holds it back out of love for you, not because He wants to punish you, not because He likes seeing you thirsty, but because Allah (SWT) knows that water in that particular situation which seems so pure, and that's another wisdom that the scholars develop from it, it seems so pure that it's actually bad for you in those moments and you just can't recognize it right there, so He holds it back from you. So it's another 'Hadith' where the Prophet (SAW) demonstrates that relationship, how badly you might want something because it seems so pure and your thirst seems so severe and if I just could have a sip, but you know if you get a sip that you're gonna keep on drinking and you're gonna hurt yourself, and out of love for you Allah holds it back.

The second narration, but all of this to be honest with you is a build-up to a very powerful narration which actually goes into the motion of this, and I want you to relate this particular lengthy narration to this life that addresses the first question I asked in this 'Khutbah', and imagine this with me. This is a narration from Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud (RA) where he demonstrates this relationship and how this is now in motion, it's no longer just concept but something in actual motion, Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud (RA) he says, The servant of Allah looks at something, the slave of God looks at something, and he asks for the sustenance, or he asks for this position, he wants this position so bad, and he wants this money so bad, the sustenance so bad, so he's done everything that he could and that he should, to attain those things, that wealth or that position, you got it, you asked for it you got it, it is all in motion, it's about to come to you and it seems so good, and it seems like everything is gonna change in the right way for you once you get this 'Rizq', the sustenance or you get this position, and listen to the rest of this narration, he says, then Allah looks upon him from above seven heavens and Allah says to the angels, take it away from him. Can you imagine it's on its way to you, you just have to sign on the dotted line at this point, the position is there, the money is there, it's all right there in front of you, and the 'Rizq' is on its way to you, the packages in the mail, it's on its way to you, and Allah says to the angels, looks upon you from above seven heavens because no one is insignificant to The One who is above seven heavens, and that's one of the functions of this 'Hadith' that Allah (SWT) is looking to each one of His individual servants and Allah says to the angels as it's about to be delivered to him, take it away from him, take it away from him because He wants to punish him?, take it away from him because Allah wants to put you in difficulty? No!, this actually, this narration, actually shows how that motion is, Allah says take it away from him, now the angels when they asked Allah (SWT) created Adam (AS) and Allah (SWT) said "That I'm going to place him as an authority on this earth" and they said "Are you going to place on this earth that would spread corruption and that would spill blood", what was the answer?, you don't need an explanation, I know what you don't know, Allah says to the Angels "I know what you don't know", but here Allah actually explains to the angels why this person who seemingly is so good and who might indeed be so good and has something pure and good coming to them, why would you stop it and cancel it for that person, Allah (SWT) says "Take it away from him, because if I make it easy for him, if that person actually attains what they are looking for, that person will end up going to hell fire", meaning what that is, that will come to him will change that person in a way or cause that person to do something that would lead to a punishment far worse than not having what they are asking for in this world. And he continues and he says Allah (SWT) takes it away from him, that person keeps on saying 'that person beat me to it', 'if only this would have happened', 'if only that would have happened', and it is not but the blessing of Allah on that person that Allah didn't give that person what they were asking Him for.

This narration is so powerful for so many different reasons, our relationship with Allah tends to be merely transactional. You want something, you go to him, you ask him for it, you don't get what you want you turn away from him, until next time when you've tried everything else to get something and it's not working, let me throw in a 'Dua' so that I can properly blame Allah when it doesn't happen the way that I want it to happen, it's not an authentic connection, this is not the way that a servant deals with his Lord, that a slave deals with his Master, that a worshiper deals with The One that he's Worshiping, this is not the way that that relationship is supposed to go, but it could turn into that, but in this situation you have a person who right now is in the favor of Allah (SWT), Allah sees you and Allah is pleased with who you are and what your personality is like, all of us have our shortcomings, we all have things that we could improve upon, but right now you're in favor with Allah (SWT) and you've asked Allah for something and it's coming your way, it's out for delivery and Allah says "Don't give it to him because if I make that easy for him then he'll end up being punished", because something will happen to that person that will cause him to fall out of favor, because sometimes we know that ease changes you in a way that's not positive and that's not good, and Allah (SWT) knows that which you don't know so Allah says "Take it away".

The other thing this shows, the second part of this narration, the servant, this slave still doesn't understand what's happened and still is just assuming that it was because of this circumstance and that circumstance, and you know if only I would have submitted an application this much earlier, if I would have got this much better on this, or if I would have done this differently and it just seems like it was this much off, and he starts thinking that lucky guy over there, that person over there, that person beat me to it, that person was better than me, that person was able to attain what I wanted to attain, and the whole time it was just Allah expressing his love for you in a way that you would not understand, you would not be able to grasp.

Imam Ibn Qayyim (RA) he comments on this 'Hadith' on this narration from Ibn Mas'ud (RA) and he said that the one whom Allah (SWT) has destined to enter paradise, the reasons which will cause his entrance into paradise shall spring from calamities, and the one whom Allah (SWT) has destined for His Wrath, the reasons that will cause his punishment in the hereafter spring from his lusts and his desires. What that means is, a lot of times the reason why you get into 'Jannah', and the majority of time the people that get into 'Jannah' because of they responded to that hardship in the best way, they responded to that hardship in a way that was pleasing to Allah (SWT). And for so many people the things that they try to attain in order to create this false heaven on earth is the reason for which they are prohibited from entering into it in actuality in the hereafter. But even you as a person, it's not about the nature of that sustenance, it's not about the nature of that position, it's about the innocence that we have when we're in a state of vulnerability, and that innocence is something that we try to maintain even as we call upon Allah (SWT) and we ask Him for the best of this world. When we ask Allah for the best of this world we don't ask Allah for the quantity, we ask Allah (SWT) for the best of it knowing that He knows what the best of it is, and so to make this more practical in a sense of supplication and 'Dua', I leave you with the 'Hadith' of Abu Bakr (RA) and where the Prophet (SAW) said that the 'Dua' of the one who is in hardship or the 'Dua' of the distressed,

"Oh Allah, I have hope in Your mercy, do not abandon me, don't leave me to myself even for a moment, even the blink of an eye, and rectify all of my affairs for me, there is no God but You"

This 'Hadith', this 'Dua' encompasses that your hope still remains in Allah when you're in stress, your hope does not remain in that circumstance changing, you see here when you call upon Allah here in that stress, it's not about the circumstance changing, it remains in the mercy of Allah (SWT), it remains in His mercy that you have hope, and however that manifests itself, I trust you even in my stress, not only do I trust You and still have hope in You, I'm still asking You don't leave me to myself for even the blink of an eye, I'm not asking You to make things as I see fit, I'm asking you to continue to make things for me as You see fit despite my impatience, despite my impatience with the way things may be unfolding in this moment, that the hope remains in You, the trust remains in You, and I'm still asking You even at that low point to continue giving me what's best for me even if I'm not recognizing it as best and don't leave me to myself.

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