If a person patiently bears disasters that befall him and seeks reward from Allah, he will be rewarded for this, and the disaster itself will be an expiation for his sins. Calamities expiate sins in all cases; if met with patience, a person will also be rewarded for his patience in the face of those calamities.
Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim scholar and lecturer, states that: “Calamities for which a Muslim may be rewarded are those which he bears with patience and seeks the reward from Allah. Undoubtedly being afflicted by the evil eye and witchcraft are some of the greatest calamities that may befall a Muslim, for their effects on the mind, heart, and body of the victim may be serious. Bearing that with patience will bring a great reward from Allah. Ibn `Abbas narrated that a black woman came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said, “I suffer from epilepsy and I become uncovered. Pray to Allah for me.” He said, “If you wish, you can be patient and (entering) Paradise will be your reward, or if you wish I will pray to Allah to heal you.” She said, “I will be patient.” Then she said, “But I become uncovered. So, pray to Allah that I will not become uncovered.” So he prayed for her (Al-Bukhari).
The calamities that befall a person and affect him or his wealth or his family are not completely bad; rather they may result in a lot of good for a person. Allah has told us in His Book of things that may reduce the impact of the calamity on a person and encourage him to seek reward, namely patience and saying “inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji`un” (Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we will return). Almighty Allah says: “But give glad tidings to the patient. Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’ They are those on whom are the prayers from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones” (Al-Baqarah: 155-157).
In his well known book Zad Al-Ma`ad (The Provision of the Hereafter), Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said:
“This phrase is one of the greatest means of dealing with calamity and is one of the most beneficial in this world and in the Hereafter. It comprises two great principles which, if a person understands them properly, will bring him consolation for the calamity that has befallen him:
1. That the person’s own self, his family, and his wealth all belong to Allah in a real sense; they have been given to him as a loan, and if they are taken from him, that is like the lender taking back his property from the borrower.
2. The person will ultimately return to Allah his Lord. He will inevitably leave this world behind and come before his Lord on his own as He created him the first time, with no family, no wealth, no tribe, but rather with good deeds and bad deeds. If this is how he started and how he is going to end, then how can he rejoice over what he has or grieve over what he does not have? Thinking about how he began and how he will end is the best remedy for this problem.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has told us that bearing hardships and calamities with patience is something that can only be done by those who have achieved true faith. On the authority of Suhaib, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported as having said: “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affair is all good, and this applies to no one except the believer. If something good happens to him, he gives thanks and that is good for him, and if something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience, and he will be rewarded for that, so everything that Allah has decreed for the Muslim is good” (Muslim).
Trials and calamities are a test and are signs of Allah’s love for a person. They are like medicine; even if it is bitter, you offer it despite its bitterness to the one whom you love. According to an authentic hadith: “The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allah loves a people He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath” (At-Tirmidhi).
We should not hate the trials that Allah has decreed for us. Al-Hasan Al-Basri (may Allah bless his soul) said, “Do not hate the trials that befall you or the calamities that happen to you, for they may be something that you hate but it leads you to salvation, and there may be something that you love, but it brings to you your doom.”