In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
We often look around us and see two matters that are confusing to some: the pious person whose supplications seemingly go unanswered, and the wicked person or the disbeliever whose supplications are answered.
First, let us consider the situation of the righteous believer who constantly supplicates, though his supplications go unanswered. Such a person must realize that he is being tested and that he must be patient. He must remember the saying of the Prophet (SAWS), “The slave [of Allah] continues to remain in a good situation as long as he does not hurry – by saying, ‘I supplicated, but I have not been answered.” Next, he must reflect on his situation: Are his food, drink, and clothing lawful and lawfully derived? Is there a sin from which he did not repent? Or is his heart in a state of heedlessness when he invokes Allah? If he arrives at a negative answer to any one of these questions, then he must rectify his situation. (…)
Even if one comes up with positive answers to the above-mentioned questions, he must take a number of matters into consideration. First, life is a test; and to pass the test that one is going through, one must be both patient and thankful. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “Wonderful is the affair of the believer: indeed, his affair in its entirety is good, and that is for no one save the believer. If goodness befalls him, he is thankful, and that is good for him. And if harm afflicts him, he is patient, and that is good for him.”
Second, one might supplicate for something that he ardently desires, but by achieving that thing, he might end up sinning or losing out on something he may otherwise have gained. (…) And how often is it that we long for things that are bad for us, and through His Mercy and Wisdom, Allah prevents us from achieving those things.
“…And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (Quran 2:216)
Third, when a believer is in need, he turns to Allah, asking Him for help; now, whether he is answered immediately or not, he is, by supplicating to Allah, performing an act of worship, for which he will be rewarded. It is often the case that one who is leading an easy life forgets Allah and the Hereafter. Such a person might need a hardship to wake him up and to make him remember his purpose in life. It is related that Yahya (peace be upon him) once cried a great deal, and then when he fell asleep, he spoke to his Lord during a dream. He said, “O my Lord, how much indeed I have invoked You, yet You do not answer me?” He said, “O Yahya, indeed I love to hear your voice [when you invoke Me for help].”
Fourth, one must remember the following saying of the Messenger of Allah (SAWS): “No Muslim prays with a supplication that involves neither sin nor the breaking off of family ties, except that Allah gives him for it one of three things: either He hastens [the answer to] his supplication (i.e., He answers it in this world), or He saves it for him for the Hereafter, or He wards off from him evil that is equivalent (i.e., equivalent in degree to the good that he asked for).”
Now let us consider the opposite situation, that of the disbeliever whose supplications are answered. When we look around us, we will find no shortage of examples of people who, despite being wicked and evil, are materially well off. We must realize that such people are taking their paltry share in this life, saving nothing for the Hereafter. When a disbeliever refuses to change his ways and rejects the message of Islam, then as a reward for his haughtiness and cockiness, Allah might give him much in terms of material possessions and worldly comfort, thus leading him further and further away from the straight path. That is why one should never feel a false sense of security when he is successful in life, for Allah gives both to the righteous and to the wicked, and when He gives to the wicked, He does so in order to lead them away from the straight path. Therefore, even when things are going well for a believer, he should not become self-complacent; rather, he should hope for Allah’s Mercy, yet at the same time he should fear Allah’s punishment. Driven by fear and hope, the believer constantly strives to better himself and to reach safety in the Hereafter.
SAWS: May Allah exalt his mention and protect him from imperfection
Gems and Jewels
Compiled by: Abdul-Malik Mujahid
Publisher: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam