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According to Quran (Ash-Shūraá-30), any suffering we face is because of our own actions:

وَمَا أَصَابَكُم مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُو عَن كَثِيرٍ

And whatever strikes you of disaster - it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much.

So what's the exact meaning of "Mosibat" here? (translated to disaster above). Is this verse suggesting that any kind of suffering that happens to one person, is because of their own actions? e.g. If I broke my hand, would it be because of something bad I have done in my life? What about natural disasters like earthquakes or tsunamis? Do they strike bad people only? If not, and if an earthquake is not what this verse is referring to, what is it exactly about then?

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everything in the life of a muslim is good - if something bad happens (like breaking hand or a tsunami) and the muslim is patient and has strong faith this is good because he receives ajr and it is even a kaffara for bad deeds he did before... if something good happens and the muslim is thankfull and has strong faith this is good because he receives ajr... so I am not sure what exactly your question is ? –  Yahia Jan 22 '13 at 13:19
    
There's also another line of thought in which if Allah is pleased with you, calamity will strike you. Something along the lines where there are two reliefs for every difficulty you face, as well as everyone being tested as far as they can bear. The prophets themselves faced the toughest tests. –  Muz Jan 23 '13 at 5:28

4 Answers 4

First of all, Mosibat's translation is disaster, however it doesn't mean disaster literaly. It means any thing bad happens to you, not necessarily a disaster. (It might be a wound for ex.)

According to Tafsir Ibn Kathir whatever a bad thing happened to you is from your hands, whether you had done an evil thing or not.

If you had done an evil thing, then when Mosibat happened to you, then God will remove your sins if you were patient. Or if you hadn't done anything bad, then you will gain Hasanat for being patient.

In all cases you are the winner. As a Hadith for the Prophet PBUH is:

عجبا لأمر المؤمن إن أمره كله خير ، وليس ذاك لأحد إلا للمؤمن ؛
 إن أصابته سرّاء شكر ؛ فكان خيراً له ، وإن أصابته ضرّاء صبر ؛ فكان خيراً له . رواه مسلم . 

How wonderful is the believer, for all his affairs are good, 
but not that one but the believer; he gives thanks; good for him, 
he bears it with patience; good for him. Narrated by Muslim. 

However EarthQuakes and Tsunamis are a different thing. In Surat Al-Isra' - 16, it happens when the most of the people of a certain town or region are making many things that make God angry of them, so he destroys them.

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"He pardons much" means this is only about the evil things you have done. No? –  Meysam Jan 22 '13 at 14:03

According to Ahlul Bayt --peace be upon them-- we have the followings:

source: البرهان في تفسير القرآن، ج‏4، ص: 826-828

محمد بن يعقوب: عن عدة من أصحابنا، عن أحمد بن محمد بن خالد البرقي، عن أبيه، عن النضر بن سويد، عن هشام بن سالم، عن أبي عبد الله (عليه السلام)، [قال:] «أما إنه ليس من عرق يضرب، و لا نكبة و لا صداع و لا مرض إلا بذنب، و ذلك قول الله عز و جل في كتابه: وَ ما أَصابَكُمْ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فَبِما كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَ يَعْفُوا عَنْ كَثِيرٍ، قال: و ما يعفو الله أكثر مما يؤآخذ به».

Imam Sadiq --peace be upon him-- stated: "Neither any sweat(?), nor any calamity, nor any headache(?), nor any illness hits a person unless it is due to a sin committed and this is what Allah has stated in his book And whatever affliction befalls you, it is on account of what your hands have wrought, and (yet) He pardons most (of your faults) and what He pardons is more than what He takes for."

و عنه، قال: حدثني أبي، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن منصور بن يونس، عن أبي حمزة، عن الأصبغ بن نباتة، عن أمير المؤمنين (عليه السلام) قال: «سمعته يقول: إني أحدثكم بحديث ينبغي لكل مسلم أن يعيه» ثم أقبل علينا، فقال: «ما عاقب الله عبدا مؤمنا في هذه الدنيا و عفا عنه إلا كان الله أجل و أمجد و أجود [من‏] أن يعود في عقوبته يوم القيامة، و ما ستر الله على عبد مؤمن في هذه الدنيا و عفا عنه إلا كان الله أجود و أمجد و أكرم من أن يعود في عقوبته يوم القيامة». ثم قال: «و قد يبتلي الله المؤمن بالبلية في بدنه أو ماله أو أهله». ثم تلا هذه الآية وَ ما أَصابَكُمْ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فَبِما كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَ يَعْفُوا عَنْ كَثِيرٍ و حثا بيده ثلاث مرات.

Imam Ali --peace be upon him-- once said: "I tell you a saying that is worthy if every Muslims would carry(?) it". Then he added: "And Allah does not punish a believer servant of Himself in this Dunya and pardon him unless He is more Glorious and Excellent and Gracious than to return to punish him in the Resurrection day, and Allah does not conceal [the wrongdoings] of a believer servant of Himself in this Dunya and pardon him unless He is more Glorious and Excellent and Honorable than to return to punish him in the Resurrection day", next he added: "and Allah has examined a believer servant of Himself through scourge in his body or wealth or family". Then he recited the verse [42:30] ...

و عنه: عن عدة من أصحابنا، عن سهل بن زياد، و علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه جميعا، عن ابن محبوب، عن علي بن رئاب، قال: سألت أبا عبد الله (عليه السلام) عن قول الله عز و جل: وَ ما أَصابَكُمْ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فَبِما كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَ يَعْفُوا عَنْ كَثِيرٍ، أ رأيت ما أصاب عليا (عليه السلام) و أهل بيته (عليهم السلام) من بعده، أهو بما كسبت أيديهم، و هم أهل بيت طهارة معصومون؟ فقال: «إن رسول الله (صلى الله عليه و آله) كان يتوب إلى الله و يستغفره في كل يوم و ليلة مائة مرة من غير ذنب، إن الله يخص أولياءه بالمصائب ليأجرهم عليها».

Imam Sadiq --peace be upon him-- was asked about the verse [42:30] whether the catastrophes occurred against Imam Ali --peace be upon him-- and his household --peace be upon them-- were also of the same type, while they were Ahlul Bayt who are infallibles!? So answered Imam peace be upon him: "Verily the apostle of Allah --peace be upon him and his household-- was repenting toward Allah and asking for forgiveness every day and night one hundred of times without having a single sin, verily Allah distinguishes His servants with catastrophes to reward them accordingly."

و قال الصادق (عليه السلام): «لما أدخل علي بن الحسين (عليهما السلام) على يزيد نظر إليه، ثم قال له: يا علي وَ ما أَصابَكُمْ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فَبِما كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ. فقال علي بن الحسين (عليهما السلام): كلا، ما هذه فينا، إنما نزلت فينا: ما أَصابَ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَ لا فِي أَنْفُسِكُمْ إِلَّا فِي كِتابٍ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ نَبْرَأَها إِنَّ ذلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ لِكَيْلا تَأْسَوْا عَلى‏ ما فاتَكُمْ وَ لا تَفْرَحُوا بِما آتاكُمْ فنحن الذين لا نأسى على ما فاتنا من أمر الدنيا، و لا نفرح بما أوتينا».

Imam Sadiq --peace be upon him-- said: "when Ali ibn Hussain --peace be upon them two-- came to Yazid, Yazid looked at him and said: O Ali, And whatever affliction befalls you, it is on account of what your hands have wrought, so answered Ali ibn Hussain --peace be upon them two: Not at all, this verse does not fit us, verily is revealed about us No evil befalls on the earth nor in your own souls, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence; surely that is easy to Allah / So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you and we are those who do not grieve for what has escaped us, nor will be exultant at what we have given" [as Imams are informed of what will happen to them and their followers in the year to come at each Grand Night (لیلة القدر), but they are pleased with whatever Allah has preferred for them].

Translations are mine, so feel free to improve them if required.

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اصاب and مصيبه they both have ص and ب which hints the proximity of the meaning between both, another verse that has the word اصب is in the verse of Yousouf AS when he says I would tend towards اصب اليهن them 12:33.

12:56 demonstrates the usage of ص and ب in a positive/mercifully way.

نُصِيبُ بِرَ‌حْمَتِنَا مَن نَّشَاءُ ۖ

We will bring forth a cause with Our mercy whom We will

So it's a bit fetched to say that مصييه is disastrous for-conclusion. I think this example shows how a degradation of meaning of a word can happen as time passes by the generation when is bent towards a certain interpretation.

Wallahua3lam

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The very nature of worldly life in earth is Shaped by suffering and pain.

لقد خلقنا الأنسان في كبد

sufferings in life is mandatory path that every human must undergo whether he is a believer (Muslim) or a non-believer ( infidel or kafir) . The only difference between Believers and Infidels is the outcome of the suffering: A believer is rewarded of his worldly suffering in the hereafter. In contrast an infidel endures a degree of sufferance in life but he has no reward whatsoever in the hereafter because he doesn't believe in God and life after death.

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