وَ الخَيْرُ كُلٌُهُ فِى يَدِيْكَ وَ الشَّرُّ لَيْسَ إِلَيْكَ…
And all good is in (your) hand and evil is not attributed to you. Muslim (771) Abu dawood.. (760).
In the lengthy hadith narrated by ‘Ali bn Abi Taalib, he describes the wordings and supplications of the Allah’ s messanger during the night prayer. This thus is (an excerpt) from the authentic supplications one can recite during the night prayers, the full version can be gotten from the books of Hadith, as referenced.
However, the above quoted excerpt is the point where emphasis will he laid. This hadith is very important as it relates to one of the core beliefs a muslim must hold, which is the belief in Qadr (Pre-Destination) – both the good and evil is from Allah. A muslim must believe, without a doubt, that Allah has pre-decreed his entire lifespan, even before his creation; and whatever comes of good and evil is no doubt from Allah. The above excerpt however seems contrary as it describes Allah is the possessor of good while evil can not be described of him.
The eminent Shaykh, Muhammad bn Salinh al-’Uthaimeen, in his Exegesis of the Fourty Hadiths of Imam Nawawi, explained that the hadith has not negated that whatever befalls a man, of good or bad is from Allah. The hadith has infact come as an explanation. Evil comes from Allah but not in his actions, Allah can not do evil and evil can not be attributed to him. He described that Allah’s actions, which includes Pre-Destination, is based on good judgment and mercy. Evil (and good) is present in the (view of) creatures and not Allah’s actions in itself.
The Shaykh further and explained that evil only befalls man as a result of his handiwork. He envidenced this with the verse of the Quran in Suratu Ar-Rum (Q30:41)
Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].
When men go against Allah’s injunctions, evil is the result. For Allah to allow this (evil) to happen, is what the hadith points to.
Just like a father beats his child when he behaves unruly to correct him, so also Allah decrees and allows evil to befall a slave when he errs and go against the injunction. The act of beating is not evil but the child might see it as such, neither does Allah do evil by his actions but the slave might see it as such. The father in his action has only done good and used the beating as a corrective measure; allowing evil to befall man when he errs, is more so a corrective measure from Allah.
A more contextual example therefore is of a man who drinks alcohol and therefore Allah causes his means of income to be tightened amd from this thereby calls him back and he returns to Him (Allah) repentant. The tightening of the source may seem evil but in actuality, Allah in his infinite mercy, uses that to guide the slave back.
And through Allah is sucess attained.
By Abdul-Baki Ibrahim Shehu