Why does God allow suffering?
The Quran portrays human life as a period of trials, and tribulation when humans have to struggle and persevere. By the same token, the Quran asserts that the believers are to remain calm, resolute and patient in the face challenges. Our impatience not only makes us impulsive and anxious, it also makes us ineffective. On the contrary, practicing patience in adversity makes us diligent, and help us make rational decisions leading us to fulfillment of our objectives. Allah promises in the Quran that He will be with those who empowers themselves with the power of patience.
Turning challenges to opportunities
It must be remembered that it is Allah’s design that humans will face challenges as part of His test. As an illustration of this, Allah promises that He will make humans face calamity, hunger and losses in their life. The periods of trials and tribulations are the fragile periods of life, when people go through phases of anger, denial and depression. As the representative of God in the earth, human beings are foretold by Allah in the Quran to anticipate such adversities and be prepared to respond with patience, perseverance and finally depending on God for the outcome. The Quran qualifies such firmness an patience in dealing as piety (Quran 2:177) Why Has God created us? To do what is good and discourage what is bad.
It is important to realize that our success, wealth and fortunes are our tests as well. This is because our material success can bring self exaltation, arrogance, abuse of power and apathy. Subsequently, our triumphs can lead us to moral degradation and our eventual failure. For this reason the Quran asserts that not only human failures and deficiencies but also their triumphs and accomplishments are tests for them.
It is a difficult time, and it is a time to grow!
The point often overlooked is that our difficult times are the most valuable times for us to grow. When our boundaries are pushed to the limits, we learn to utilize our strength to it’s greatest potential. Thus our challenges and difficulties help us improve our ability to manage affairs, develop skills and help our growth. It is also a test for the others around us if they respond to our difficulties with a team spirit, generosity and compassion, or if they react with a self-serving pitilessness and in an uncharitable way.
Challenges are integral part of growth. An illustration of this includes the fact that astronauts lose their muscle and skeletal mass when they are not exposed to the challenge of gravitational force. On the other hand, strenuous muscular activities against resistance result in forming strong muscles and skeletons. Muhammad Ali or Michael Jordan did not become legends without the toughest trainings and relentless challenges.
By the same token, human beings grow morally stronger when they persevere in the face of moral challenges. Not only that humans get stronger when they persevere in difficulties, but also their painful experiences teach them how to empathize with others and be altruistic when other’s go through a similar painful experience. In like manner, Intellectual challenges are required to grow in intelligence. The success of science did not come without sleepless nights of studies and dedicated experimentation by the human scientific explorers.
The Quran gives us the reassurances of God’s help with all difficulties of life. Allah assures us in the Quran that He will not give us a challenge that is beyond our God given potential to handle. He also promises that their will be an ease after a difficult period of time.
Be patient and wipe off your sins!
Finally, we must remember that pain or tragedy that we experience relieve some of our sins we have earned by oppressing our souls. The Quran teaches us that our life in this earth is part of a journey, which does not end in this life. Someone may perceive life to be too difficult with too much pain, suffering and misery. It must be remembered that the Quran reminds us that Allah is the most just and assuredly no one will be treated unjustly by Him. Consequently, every bit of life experience will be taken account by Him.
“No misfortune or disease befalls a Muslim, no worry or grief or harm or distress – not even a thorn that pricks him – but Allah will expiate for some of his sins because of that.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5641). This world is the place of trials and tribulations – Islam Question & Answer