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“If God were to hasten for human beings...” (Yunus 10:11)

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Sūrah Yūnus (Jonah)

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وَلَوْ يُعَجِّلُ اللَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ الشَّرَّ اسْتِعْجَالَهُم بِالْخَيْرِ لَقُضِيَ إِلَيْهِمْ أَجَلُهُمْ ۖ فَنَذَرُ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءَنَا فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ
If God were to hasten for human beings the ill (which they have earned) in the same manner as they hasten (what they consider to be) the good, their term would indeed have been decreed over for them. But We leave those who do not expect to encounter Us in their rebellion blindly wandering. (Yūnus 10:11)

Truly, the fact that God does not accept our prayers for evil instantly is a favor of God upon us. In fact, we may utter evil prayers, such as cursing words, for us and for others, at any moment. However, the All-Kind and All-Clement God does not “hasten,” like us, to accept those prayers. If God accepted each prayer, everybody would perish immediately, especially considering that the prayer may be done at the moment for which God may have declared: “I will give whatever people ask for.” That is, that moment may be the moment when prayers are accepted unconditionally.

Besides, the prayer done at the moment of acceptance may be a prayer done through action. That is, one may do something acceptable to God and which may be treated as a prayer. Therefore, we must be careful of the prayers we invoke. Reminding us of this fact, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, says: “Do not call maledictions upon yourselves, your children, and your wealth. If that malediction coincides with the hour when any prayer is accepted, God accepts it.”[1] Despite this fact, some people may challenge a Prophet or his true successors, saying: “O God! If this is indeed the truth from You, rain down upon us stones from the sky or bring upon us another painful punishment!” (Al-Anfāl 8:32). Or they may utter words like, “When will this promise be fulfilled if you (O believers) are truthful?”[2]

There may be some others who ask for evil for evildoers or tyrannical ones during a temporary impatience or without being able to tolerate the aggressions to which they are subjected. This is not necessary either because if they deserve punishment, God will punish them when the time is due. Therefore, believers should show patience in times of distress and troubles and pray for the prevention or removal of the disasters or wrongful actions they are made to suffer. Additionally, they should refer the aggressions and assaults of the enemies of the Religion to God, Who is All-Knowing of all Unseen, without showing haste about His punishment, which is sure to come. For if God wills, He punishes promptly; and if He wills, He delays the punishment according to the seriousness of the crime and punishes the wrongdoing people in the Hereafter. It may also happen that if He wills, He may guide them to the truth and make them your brothers or sisters.

Hence, a believer should never pray for evil. Believers should be cautious and respectful of God’s judgments. When they are exposed to unendurable hardships, they should complain about their conditions and inability to show becoming patience to God, as in the following prayer: “O He Who satisfies needs and repels and removes evils and troubles! Satisfy our needs and repel and remove evils and troubles from us!”

[1] Muslim, Zuhd, 74; Abū Dāwūd, Witr, 27.
[2] See sūrahs Yūnus 10:48; al-Anbiyā’ 21:38; an-Naml 27:71.