Will you explain the hadith, “a reed’s wounding a person, twitching of a blood vein, stumbling, etc. are all due to a sin that has been committed”?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The trouble, sore, discontent and unhappiness that happen to man are actually due to what he himself has done. The following is stated in a verse regarding the issue:

“Whatever misfortune happens to you, is because on the things your hands have wrought, and for many (of them) He grants forgiveness.” (ash-Shura, 42/30)

When the verse above was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) explained it to Hz. Ali as follows: “The illness, penalty, test and problems you will encounter in the world are due to your own neglect and faults.” (Ibn Kathir, Tafsiru-Quranil-Azim, 7/208) According to a narration from Hasan al-Basri, the Prophet (pbuh) stated the following when the verse above was sent down:

“I swear by Allah, in whose hand of power Muhammad’s soul is, that a reed’s wounding a person, twitching of a blood vein, stumbling, etc. are all due to a sin that has been committed. What Allah forgives is more than them.” (Hannad, Zuhd, 1/209; Ali al-Muttaqi, Kanzul-Ummal, 3/558, 609, 1300)

We deem it useful to attract attention to something: There is a different law of God Almighty related to his sincere slaves because the misfortunes that hit a believer are atonement for his sins and mistakes. As a matter of fact, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) states the following in a sound hadith:

“No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” (Bukhari, Marda 1; Muslim, Birr 49)

Therefore, it is not appropriate to consider the misfortunes a true believer suffers as penalty for his sins.

Although this law of Allah on believers is different and the misfortunes they suffer are atonement for the sins they have committed, the sorrow and misfortunes that the slave is exposed to are still related to the sins he has committed. In other words, there is no drawback to declaring one's own neglect, faults and sins as the cause of his unhappiness and unease. According to a narration from Hz. Aisha, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated the following:

“When a person’s sins increase and there is nothing that can be atonement for them, Allah inflicts a misfortune on him as atonement for his sins.” (Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, 6/157; See also Ibn Kathir, Tafsirul-Quranil-Azim, 7/208)

Therefore, the reason for the problems, grief and unhappiness and uneasiness in the general sense are the sins that have been committed, which is something that the slave does with his own hands based on his own will.

The following question can come to mind here: “It is seen that the unbelievers are happier than the believers in general. Is there not a contradiction in it?" It should be stated that Allah, the Creator of causes, makes them affect unbelievers and believers differently. It is not always appropriate to think that something beneficial to the unbeliever will benefit the believer or that something harmful to the believer will harm the unbeliever. The real place of punishment for the unbeliever is the Hereafter. However, some reflections of that punishment can be seen in the world from some affairs. As for the good deeds and practices of unbelievers, Allah, the Lord of the Realms, rewards them in this world. So, their happiness in the world may be, in a way, the result of their good deeds.

In addition, anyone who acts in accordance with the order (sunnatullah) that Allah has established in this world can be happy in this world. It is also a manifestation of Allah's name "Rahman (All Merciful)". What a believer desires is happiness not only in the world but also in the sight of Allah. It is not possible for the people who do not believe in the hereafter to expect the reward of their good deeds in the Hereafter, that is, to attain happiness in the sight of Allah. As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) states the following:

“When an unbeliever does a good deed, he is given a worldly blessing in return for that good deed. As for the believer, Allah saves up his good deeds to reward him in the Hereafter. In addition, He bestows sustenance upon him in return for his worship in the world.” (Muslim, Sifatul-Munafiqin 57)

(Source: Ali Budak, Fert ve Aile Huzurunda Dinin Rolü)

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