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There is no doubt that when Allah makes a promise
A discourse on the Promise and Pleasure of Allah

A discourse on the Promise and Pleasure of Allah

In the name of Allah:

There is no doubt that when Allah makes a promise, it is a promise of truth. Even Shaitan acknowledges this fact as Allah quotes him:

14:22: And the Shaitan shall say after the affair is decided: Surely Allah promised you the promise of truth, and I gave you promises, then failed to keep them to you, and I had no authority over you, except that I called you and you obeyed me, therefore do not blame me but blame yourselves: I cannot be your aider (now) nor can you be my aiders; surely I disbelieved in your associating me with Allah before; surely it is the unjust that shall have the painful punishment.

The Qur’an also says:

9:72 : Allah has promised to the believing men and the believing women gardens, beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them, and goodly dwellings in gardens of perpetual abode; and best of all is Allah's goodly pleasure; that is the grand achievement.

9:68: Allah has promised the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women and the unbelievers the fire of hell to abide therein; it is enough for them; and Allah has cursed them and they shall have lasting punishment.

9:111: Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain; a promise which is binding on Him in the Taurat and the Injeel and the Quran; and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Rejoice therefore in the pledge, which you have made; and that is the mighty achievement.

The above verses prove that Allah’s promise is binding on Him but each promise is conditional. For example, the promise of gardens has been made to the believing men and believing women on the condition of Allah’s pleasure. At the same time, the promise of punishment has been made to the hypocrites and disbelievers on the condition of Allah’s displeasure.  This means that if the believers change their condition, then the promise of punishment will apply to them.

Now we come to the question of Allah’s pleasure. Is it everlasting or can it be reversed?

Let us consider the example of a person by the name Ali who is a good believer initially and thus Allah is pleased with him. Now what if Ali becomes a transgressor? Obviously, Allah would be displeased with him. The point we are making is as follows:

If Allah says that He is pleased with Ali it does not mean that now Ali has the liberty of becoming a transgressor since Allah is already pleased with him. The pleasure of Allah is based on the condition that Ali is a good believer and continues to do well and does not fall into transgression. If Ali becomes a transgressor after Allah was pleased with him, then there is a new Divine Will about Ali  “the displeasure of Allah”. Now if Ali turns to become a good believer again, the original Divine Will is applied  “the pleasure of Allah”.

The following verses prove what we have said above:

9:96  “They will swear to you that you may be pleased with them; but if you are pleased with them, yet surely Allah is not pleased with the transgressing people.”

48:18  “Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility on them and rewarded them with a near victory.”

The first verse shows that Allah is displeased with the transgressing people and the second verse shows that Allah is pleased with the believing people. If the latter group transgresses, then Allah’s displeasure would apply. Also, verse 48:18 proves that Allah’s pleasure on the believers was based on their swearing of allegiance and the condition of their heart.

Now let us look at the following verses:

9:100  “And (as for) the foremost, the first of the Muhajirs and the Ansars, and those who followed them in goodness, Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them forever; that is the mighty achievement”.

5:119  “Allah will say: This is the day when their truth shall benefit the truthful ones; they shall have gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide in them forever: Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Allah; this is the mighty achievement”.

Based on what we have said above, the clause “Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him” in verse 9:100 is probably not a descriptive statement about the Muhajirs and Ansars but rather a conditional statement. In other words, the promise of gardens for them is based on the pleasure of Allah and the latter is not absolute but based on certain circumstances like being truthful as mentioned in the next verse. The promise of the gardens for the categories mentioned has to be conditional based on the comprehensive Qur’anic perspective of “Divine Pleasure”. Therefore the idea that the Muhajirs and Ansars have been promised gardens regardless of their belief or behavior does not hold any ground.

Conclusion:

The above discourse shows that the promise of Allah is but a true promise and based on Allah’s pleasure or displeasure. On the other hand, Allah’s pleasure or displeasure is conditional. Divine Pleasure is not necessarily everlasting and can be reversed to displeasure if the person behaves differently. This means that Allah can be displeased with the same person He was pleased with before if the behavior or condition of the person changes.

May Allah forgive us for our shortcomings.


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