Allah does not change a people's condition
unless they change what is in their hearts
Allah will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change themselves
(Part No. 9; Page No. 297)
Q: What is the Tafsir (explanation/exegesis of the meanings of the Qur'an) of Allah's Saying in Surah (Qur'anic chapter) Ar-Ra`d, Verily, Allâh will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allâh). But when Allâh wills a people’s punishment, there can be no turning back of it, and they will find besides Him no protector. ?
A: This holy Ayah (Qur'anic verse) indicates that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) does not change - out of His Justice and Wisdom - the good state of a people into a bad one or vice versa, unless they change what is in themselves. If they change their state of uprightness and integrity, Allah will change their state and overtake them with punishment, distresses, miseries, sterility, and other kinds of penalties, an exact recompense according to their evil crimes. Allah (Glorified be He) says: And your Lord is not at all unjust to (His) slaves.
He (Glorified be He) may give them respite and gradually seize them with punishment in order that they might turn (to Allah's Obedience); otherwise, He overtakes them. Allah (Glorified be He) says: So, when they forgot (the warning) with which they had been reminded, We opened for them the gates of every (pleasant) thing, until in the midst of their enjoyment in that which they were given, all of a sudden, We took them (in punishment), and lo! They were plunged into destruction with deep regrets and sorrows. They become in despair of any good - may Allah save us from His Punishment and Resentment - and they may be put off until the Day of Resurrection where their punishment will be worse. Allah (Glorified be He) says: Consider not that Allâh is unaware of that which the Zâlimûn (polytheists, wrong-doers) do, but He gives them respite up to a Day when the eyes will stare in horror. The meaning is that they are postponed
(Part No. 9; Page No. 298)
and given respite until after death, when the punishment will be more grave and much worse.
On the other hand, they may be in distress committing evils and sins, then repent to Allah regretfully and obey Him, so Allah changes their distress, dissension, adversity and poverty into prosperity, union, and welfare due to their good deeds and repentance to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He). In another context, Allah says: That is so because Allâh will never change a grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in their ownselves. This Ayah clarifies that when they are in prosperity and grace and then change and commit sins, Allah will change their state. There is neither might nor power except with Allah! They may be given respite as mentioned before. Likewise, if they commit sins or disbelieve or go astray, then repent and adhere to obeying Allah, Allah will change their bad state into a good one. Allah will turn their dissension, adversity and sterility into unity, prosperity, fertility, and all kinds of goodness.
Fatwas of Ibn Baz