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 of challenges. Our impatience not only makes us impulsive and anxious, but it also makes us ineffective. On the contrary, practicing patience in adversity makes us diligent and helps us make rational decisions to fulfill our objectives. Allah promises in the Quran that He will be with those who empower 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. To emphasize this aspect of humans creation, 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 God’s representative in the earth, human beings are informed 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 says that such firmness and patience in dealing with the affliction is piety (Quran 2:177). Why Has God created us?
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 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 to 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 an 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 pieces of training and relentless challenges.
By the same token, human beings grow morally stronger when they persevere in the face of moral challenges. Humans get stronger when they persevere in difficulties, but their painful experiences teach them how to empathize with others and be altruistic when others experience a similar painful reality. 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 beyond our God-given potential to handle. He also promises that there will be ease after a difficult period of time.
Be patient and wipe off your sins!
Finally, we must remember that the pain or tragedy that we experience relieves some of the sins we have earned by oppressing our souls. The Quran teaches us that our life on 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 justest, and assuredly no one will be treated unjustly by Him. Consequently, every bit of life experience will be taken into 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