“In order that ye may not despair over matters that pass you by, nor exult over favors bestowed upon you…” Will you explain the verse above?

Details of the Question

- Will you explain verses 22 and 23 of the chapter of al-Hadid in detail?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The translation of those verses is as follows:

"No misfortune can happen on earth or in your souls but is recorded in a decree before We bring it into existence: That is truly easy for Allah:"

"In order that ye may not despair over matters that pass you by, nor exult over favors bestowed upon you. For Allah loveth not any vainglorious boaster.” (al-Hadid, 57/22-23)

Qadar (predestination/destiny) is mentioned in the verses above and it is indicated that everything exists in Allah’s pre-eternal knowledge.

In fact, QADAR is a type of Allah’s knowledge. Therefore, that Allah knows everything beforehand is a necessity of this pre-eternal and all-encompassing knowledge. However, Allah’s knowledge is related to both cause and effect simultaneously, that is, the cause and the incident that takes place due to that cause. Therefore, man can have a share in both a joyful and sorrowful incident. However, the verse above includes expressions that aims to make people display a proper and moderate stance, not to lose hope in the face of sorrowful incidents and not to go off the rails by acting in a spoiled way in the face of a joyful incident, without mentioning causes.  

According to a narration, Ibn Abbas states the following regarding the issue:

“Everybody becomes happy for what he earns and becomes sorry for what he loses. However, it is important for those two phenomena not to be excessive. As a matter of fact, a believer shows his happiness by thanking Allah and his sorrow by showing patience.” (see Tabari, Mawardi, the interpretation of the verse in question)

This explanation of Ibn Abbas is very important. Thus, man is taught to show patience and to express thanks in the two verses above. Accordingly, man needs to think that boons are given by Allah and thank Him so as not to act in a spoiled way when he earns something. When he loses something, he needs to think that it has happened as a means of testing sent by Allah and show patience so as not to be extremely sad.   

According to a hadith narration, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

“He who knows Allah’s secret in qadar will get rid of excessive sorrow in the face of misfortunes.” (Razi, the interpretation of the verse in question)

This fact is in the form in the form of the following wll-known statement: “He who believes in qadar gets rid of sorrow.”

It is a fact that to be spoiled by the boons given by Allah is a much worse illness since it causes man to act conceitedly and to look down on others. Due to this, it is mentioned in the last part of the verse and this illness is treated with the following statement: “For Allah loveth not any vainglorious boaster.”

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