Know dear sister, that all of Allaah's creation is good, but Allaah may test a slave with sickness or a defect or ugliness and the like due to a wisdom He is aware of, and a benefit He wished for you to attain.
Beauty and ugliness are like sickness and health, wealth and poverty, and success and failure; Allaah has distributed all provisions between His slaves through His vast wisdom, perfect mercy and abundant favour upon His slaves. Granting of any of those things or others is not an indication of Allaah's love for the one to whom He granted or provided those things. Nor is withholding any of them a sign of His displeasure towards the one being deprived. Allaah says (what means):
فَأَمَّا الإنْسَانُ إِذَا مَا ابْتَلاهُ رَبُّهُ فَأَكْرَمَهُ وَنَعَّمَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَكْرَمَنِي * وَأَمَّا إِذَا مَا ابْتَلاهُ فَقَدَرَ عَلَيْهِ رِزْقَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَهَانَنِي * كَلا بَل لا تُكْرِمُونَ الْيَتِيمَ * وَلا تَحَاضُّونَ عَلَى طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ * وَتَأْكُلُونَ التُّرَاثَ أَكْلا لَمًّا * وَتُحِبُّونَ الْمَالَ حُبًّا جَمًّا
"15. And as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favors him, he says,
"My Lord has honored me."
16. But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, "My Lord has humiliated me."
17. No! But you do not honor the orphan
18. And you do not encourage one another to feed the poor.
19. And you consume inheritance, devouring [it] altogether,
20. And you love wealth with immense love." (al-Fajr 15-20)
Sh. As-S'adi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
"Allaah the Exalted informs of the nature of man as he is, that he is ignorant and unjust, and does not know the outcomes of things. He thinks that whatever condition he is in will continue and never cease and he thinks that Allaah's honouring him and favouring him in this world is an indication of his honour and and closeness to Him. And when "He tries him and restricts his provision" such that he has only his needs with nothing extra, then this is an insult from Allaah. So Allaah responds to him his estimation by saying (what means) "No!" i.e. Not everyone I have bestowed favours upon in the world is honoured by Me, and not everyone whom I have restricted provisions for is lowly before Me. Rather, wealth and poverty and abundance and restrictedness are tests from Allaah and trials which He puts His slaves through, to see who is grateful to him and who is patient so that He may reward them a great reward for it as compared to those who do not, so they are given a painful punishment. As well: A slaves aspirations may not go beyond himself, due to weakness in zeal, so Allaah rebukes them for not being concerned about the affairs of the needy creation..." (End quote from Tafsir as-S'adi (924))
If people were to follow such an example in their speech of ingratitude, thought and displeasure over the will of their Lord and His destiny for them there would only be complainers and disgruntled people on earth.
The ill would say: "Why have you made me ill and saved the people?" The poor would say: "Why have you made me poor and made others wealthy?" Those being tried would say: "Why are you trying me and left others in a good state?"
The believer is to be pleased, observe patience and anticipate reward while others become annoyed with and complain about their Lord.
Do you not realize that you have two eyes with which you can see while millions cannot even see?! Do you not see that you are able to walk on your own two feet, you go and come wherever you wish while an infinite number of people are paralyzed and disabled?! Let's say you lost all that; do you not realize Allaah's favour of Islaam upon you, and that He chose you for this great favour (which all the pleasures of the earth cannot equal) over most of the creation who do not believe in Allaah. On the Day of Resurrection, Allaah the Exalted will say (what means):
يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى : يَا آدَمُ ! فَيَقُولُ لَبَّيْكَ وَسَعْدَيْكَ وَالْخَيْرُ فِي يَدَيْكَ . فَيَقُولُ : أَخْرِجْ بَعْثَ النَّارِ
قَالَ : وَمَا بَعْثُ النَّارِ ؟ قَالَ : مِنْ كُلِّ أَلْفٍ تِسْعَ مِائَةٍ وَتِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ
"'Oh Adam!' And he will respond, 'Here I am and blessed by You, and all good is in Your hands.' Then He will say: 'Remove the delegation of the fire!' He will say: 'And what is the delegation of the fire?' He will say: 'From every thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine'." (Al-Bukhaari (3099) and Muslim (327))
O Maidservant of Allaah! Ponder over the following story:
Al-Awza'i narrates from 'Abdullah ibn Muhammad that he said:
I went out to the shore as a patrolman and our patrol at the time was in 'Areesh Misr. When I arrived at the shore, I came upon an open area and there was tent on it. In the tent was a man who had no hands and legs and he was hard of hearing and sight. None of his limbs were of benefit to him but his tongue, and was saying:
اللَّهُمَّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَن أحمدك حمدا أكافىء بِهِ شُكْرَ نِعْمَتِكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ بِهَا عَلَيَّ وَفَضَّلْتَنِي على كَثِيرٍ مِمَّنْ خَلَقْتَ تَفْضِيلا
"O Allaah, grant me (the ability) to praise you a praise through which I can sufficiently thank You for the favours You have bestowed upon me and by which You have preferred me over many whom You have created a great preference."
Al-Awzaa'I said: 'Abdullah said: By Allaah, I will certainly go to this man and I shall certainly ask him about this speech. Whether it was an understanding, or knowledge or inspiration which was inspired to him?
So I approached the man and greeted him and said to him: I heard you and you were saying: "O Allaah, grant me (the ability) to praise you a praise through which I can sufficiently thank You for the favours You have bestowed upon me and by which You have preferred me over many whom You have created a great preference", so what favour from the favours of Allaah upon you are you praising Him for? And in what way did He prefer you over others a great preference that you need to thank Him for it?
He said: "Don't you see what my Lord has done? By Allaah, if He sent the sky to me as a fire which burned me, or ordered the mountains to crush me, or the oceans to drown me, or the earth to swallow me up; it would only cause me to be more grateful to my Lord for the favour of this tongue He bestowed upon me...
However, O slave of Allaah: As long as you have come to me, I have a need of you! Perhaps you see me and the state I am in, I cannot harm nor benefit myself. I had a young son who used to come to me at the time of prayer and help me do my ablution, and when I became hungry he'd feed me, and I became thirsty he'd provide me with a drink but I have missed him for the last three days, so please look for him on my behalf may Allaah have mercy on you."
I said: "By Allaah, no creature could fulfill the need of another which is greater in reward with Allaah than a need similar to yours." So I set out looking for the young boy, and I hadn't gone far before I came by a sand hill, and behold I found the boy who had been preyed upon by a beast which ate his flesh! I did Istirjaa' (saying Indeed we belong to Allaah and to Him is our return) and said: "How am I going to be able to face this man with a gentle face?!"
As I was heading towards him, the Dhikr (words of remembrance) of Ayyub the Prophet (may Allaah's peace and blessings be upon him) came to my heart. So when I reached him I greeted him and he responded and said: "Are you not my companion?" I said, "Yes!" He said: "What did you do about my need?" I said: "Are you more honourable in the site of Allaah or was Ayyub the Prophet?" He said, "Of course Ayyub the Prophet". I said: "Do you know what His Lord did with him? Did He not test him in his wealth, family and children?" He said, "Yes." I said: "How did He find him?" He said: "He found him patient, grateful and praising". I said: "He was not pleased with that for him until his relatives and loved ones deserted him?" He said, "Yes". I said: "How did His Lord find him?" He said: "He found him patient, grateful and praising; make it short may Allaah have mercy on you" I said to him: "The young boy you sent me in search of, I found him in a sand hill having been preyed upon by a beast which had eaten his flesh. May Allaah increase for you tour reward and may He inspire you with patience."
The tested man said:
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي لَمْ يَخْلُقْ مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِي خَلْقًا يَعْصِيهِ فَيُعَذِّبَهُ بِالنَّارِ
"Praise be to Allaah Who did not create from my progeny creations who would disobey Him and He would then punish them by the fire.
He then did istirjaa' and breathed a sigh and died."
I said: "Indeed to Allaah we belong and to Him is our return. What a huge calamity before me; a man like this, if I were to leave him the beasts would eat him, and if I stay I won't be able to harm nor benefit. So I covered him in a cloak which was over him and sat at his head crying."
As I was sitting, four men came upon me and said: "O slave of Allaah, what is your situation and what is your story?" So I told them my story and his. They said to me: "Uncover his face for us, perhaps we know him." I uncovered his face and the men fell upon him kissing his eyes and his hands alternately and saying: "May our father be sacrificed; for how long these eyes were lowered from the prohibitions of Allaah. May our father be sacrificed; for how long this body prostrated before Allaah while the people were sleeping."
I said: "Who is this, may Allaah have mercy on you?" They said,"This is Abu Qilabah al-Jurmi, the companion of Ibn 'Abbas (r). He had tremendous love for Allaah and the Prophet of Allaah (may Allaah's peace and blessings be upon him)!!"
So we washed him and shrouded him with clothing we had with us and prayed over him and buried him. The men left and I went back to my station. When night fell, I put my head down and saw him in a dream, in a garden from the gardens of Paradise wearing two garments from the garments of Paradise while reciting the revelation (which means):
سَلامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِمَا صَبَرْتُمْ فَنِعْمَ عُقْبَى الدَّارِ
"Peace be upon you for what you patiently endured. And excellent is the final home." (13:24).
I said: "Aren't you my companion?" He said, "Yes". I said: "How did you receive this?!" He said: "Verily, with Allaah are levels that cannot be attained except with patience at times of trial and gratitude at times of prosperity along with fear of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, in private and in public". - End quote from "Ath-Thiqaat" by Ibn Hibbaan (5:3-5)
Lessons to be learnt
Have you seen the state of this slave, O Maidservant of Allaah?
Did you see his praise of and pleasure with his Lord?
Did you see how the blessing of faith from Allaah was greater to him than all he lost?
Do you see that there are many things for which you and others can still praise and thank Allaah for?
They are innumerable, let alone being able to properly thank Allaah for them. So, O Maidservant of Allaah, don't deprive yourself of those lofty positions by being upset with the will of Allaah or by thinking evil of Him, or allowing your tongue to tire of remembering Allaah and praising Him and thanking Him, and instead turning to blaming Him and having a bad opinion of Him.
If you don't have a share of beauty, then what did the non-Muslim woman who was deprived of Islaam do with her beauty while your Lord granted it (Islaam) to you? Where will she be tomorrow if she died upon disbelief? Will her beauty be of benefit to her on the Day when neither wealth nor children will be of benefit, except those who come to Allaah with pure hearts?
Would you really be pleased with the alternative? That you be beautiful but non-Muslim and that she be ugly but Muslim?
There are many such questions you need to ask yourself and answer in light of this reality in which you are displeased with your Lord.
Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, says (what means):
وَلَا تَمُدَّنَّ عَيْنَيْكَ إِلَى مَا مَتَّعْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِنْهُمْ زَهْرَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا لِنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ وَرِزْقُ رَبِّكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَ
"And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [some] categories of them, [its being but] the splendor of worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring." (20:131)
Sh. As-S'adi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
"i.e. Don't extend your eyes out of amazement and don't keep looking out of approval at what people are enjoying of worldly gains such as tasty food and drink and fancy clothing and adorned homes and beautified women, for all that is from the splendor of worldly life which the souls of deceived ones rejoice over, and which the eyes of the negligent are amazed, and which the wrongdoers enjoy – without thinking of the hereafter. Then it all passes by quickly and disappears and kills those who love and adore it and they regret at a time when regret is of no benefit. Then when come forward at the time of Resurrection they will know what they were upon and that Allaah had only placed it as a trial and test, to see who would be deceived by it as opposed to who would be better in deed." (Tafsir as-S'adi, (pg. 516))
The Exalted says (what means):
إنا جعلنا ما على الأرض زينة لها لنبلوهم أيهم أحسن عملا * وإنا لجاعلون ما عليها صعيدا جرزا
"Indeed, We have made that which is on the earth adornment for it that We may test them [as to] which of them is best in deed.
And indeed, We will make that which is upon it [into] a barren ground." (18:7)
The immediate provisions of your Lord of knowledge, faith and the reality of righteous deeds and the deferred provisions of everlasting pleasures and a good life in the neighbourhood of your Lord, the Merciful, is greater (in essence and description) than what We have bestowed upon some and it is more lasting for it never gets cut off; food and shelter is continuous as the Exalted says (what means):
بل تؤثرون الحياة الدنيا والآخرة خير وأبقى
"But you prefer the worldly life, While the Hereafter is better and more enduring." (87:16-17)
In this verse there is an indication that if a slave sees himself having cravings for the beauties of the world and is inclined towards them, he should remind himself of what is ahead from the provisions of his Lord and balance between the two.
Indeed your happiness lies your having a good opinion of your Lord, and your Lord (His Glory is great) is as one hopes Him to be, so He is more deserving than beauty and He is worthy of fear and adequate for [granting] forgiveness.
Your happiness lies in being pleased with Allaah's choice for you and in knowing that it is better than what you choose for yourself and in asking Allaah of His bounties and in knowing that He is appreciative and Knowing and Wise and Merciful.
So, O Maidservant of Allaah! Hasten to repentance to your Lord from what the devil has cast into your heart and caused to flow from your pen or tongue from displeasure of the decree of Allaah and displeasure at the distribution of Allaah and having a bad opinion of Allaah (may He be exalted). And know that the favours of Allaah upon you and others is far from being enumerated and accounted for by you. Allaah the Exalted says (what means):
وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ
"And if you should count the favor of Allaah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful." (14:34)
And the Exalted said (what means):
وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
"And if you should count the favors of Allaah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allaah is Forgiving and Merciful." (16:18)