a person’s happiness
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa sallam) said:
“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allaah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive to do that which will benefit you and seek the help of Allaah, and do not feel helpless.
If anything befalls you, do not say ‘If only I had done (such and such), the such and such would have happened,’ rather say:
‘Allaah has decreed and what He wills He does,’ for ‘if only’ opens the door to the work of the shaytaan.”
Narrated by Muslim (2664).
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This hadeeth includes several important principles of faith, including the following:
That a person’s happiness lies in his seeking that which will benefit him in this life and in the Hereafter, and this striving means expending effort and doing one’s utmost.
Because a man’s striving and action can only be with the help of Allaah and by His will and support, He commanded him to seek His help, so that he will be acting in accordance with the meaning of the verse (interpretation of the meaning): “You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)” [al-Faatihah 1:5].
His striving for that which will benefit him is an act of worship to Allaah, which cannot be done except with His help, so He commanded him to worship Him and seek His help.
Then he said: “and do not feel helpless”, because feeling helpless is contrary to striving for that which will benefit him, and it is contrary to seeking the help of Allaah.
The one who strives for that which will benefit him and seeks the help of Allaah is the opposite of the one who feels helpless, so this is telling him, before what has been decreed happens, of that which is one of the greatest means of attaining it, which is striving for it whilst seeking the help of the One in Whose hand is control of all things, from Whom they come and to Whom they will return.
If he does not attain what was not decreed for him, then he may feel either of two things: helplessness, which opens the door to the work of the shaytaan, so his sense of helplessness leads him to say “if only”, but there is nothing good in saying “if only” in this case, rather that opens the door to blame, panic, discontentment, regret and grief, all of which are the work of the shaytaan,
so the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa sallam) forbade us to open the door to his works in this manner, and told us to adopt the second option, which is looking at the divine decree and bearing it in mind, for if it was decreed for him it would never have missed him and no one could have prevented him from attaining it.
Hence he said:
“If anything befalls you, do not say ‘If only I had done (such and such), the such and such would have happened,’ rather say: ‘Allaah has decreed and what He wills He does,’” and he taught him that which will benefit him in either case, whether he gets what he wanted or not. Hence this hadeeth is one which a person can never do without.
Shifa’ al-‘Aleel (37-38).