Shaykh Habib Abu Bakr al-Adani bin Ali al-Masshur
Those who make divine judgments are people who take an oath that Allah will or will not do a certain thing. The Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said:
“Woe unto those of my umma who pronounce divine judgments.”
This refers to those who make judgements on behalf of Allah, claiming to know whether someone is destined for the Garden or the Fire. It can also refer to someone who makes a judgement or formulates an opinion on matters which they are not supposed to nor qualified to make.
In the context of the subject we are discussing, it is the habit of some common people to mock and gloat at those who have been afflicted with adversity. This gives them a sense of superiority, privilege or a feeling that their country is better. It is reported in a hadith:
“Do not gloat at your brother’s adversity, lest Allah have mercy upon him and afflict you.” (Tirmidhi, And in Ibn Habban’s narration: “lest Allah relieve him and afflict you”.)
This gives them a sense of superiority, privilege or a feeling that their country is better. For example, at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, there was plenty of conjecture on why it started in China, with some linking the pandemic to the oppression of Muslims in China. (China’s internment and oppression of Uighurs and other Muslims in the north-western Xinjiang province.) It was as if they were completely certain about Allah’s judgement together with the appropriate punishment and cause of the virus. However, it wasn’t long until the virus spread to other places, reaching most of the world. At first, the virus did not reach Yemen, so some Yemenis began to mock other Arab and Islamic countries which were affected by the virus, especially those countries with whom they were in conflict and had differences with. They claimed that since they had experienced the scourge of war and poverty, they would not be affected like other countries had been. It wasn’t very long before certain parts of Yemen also became affected. This prompted others from the other side to gloat even more vehemently.
Islam teaches Muslims how to conduct themselves in different stages of a pandemic: from taking appropriate preventative measures, to dealing with those who have contracted the virus and those in recovery, whether they are near or far.
Speaking on behalf of Allah without knowledge is considered by the scholars to be one of the vices of the tongue and the most forbidden action. The Most High says:
“and to say about Allah what you do not know.” ( al-Baqara: 2:169)
Commenting on this verse, Ibn al-Jawzi said:
“this is a general statement which forbids any statement made about the religion that is not based on certain knowledge.”
In the context of our topic, it applies to anyone who makes a judgment about those afflicted based on conjecture and doubt. Any judgment that says that someone was inflicted because they did such and such a thing; or to make a baseless judgement that someone lost their wealth because they would not give charity; or that a particular country has been affected by the pandemic because they are not like us; and that we are dearer to Allah for him to afflict us like He afflicted them.