Many people if not all of them pass through a stage in their lives, where they see or live a lot of trials. Sometimes they see evil people winning over the good. Kids being killed in wars. Women being raped everywhere. Poverty taking place and homeless people are increasing each day and many more examples that put them in front of these striking facts:
Why is this amount of evil exist?
If God is there, and He is all-good; then why is He allowing evil to happen?
Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?
It must have crossed your mind that God can create a world that is all good without people committing any evil, but since He is allowing that to happen then He might be evil himself!
Firstly: Let’s redefine the term “good”
We try to understand God’s attributes based on the experiences we passed through. Hence, we want to draw for God our belief about the term “good” that we know and have lived. And this is very illogical, because the word “good” needs to be understood in a divine context.
To give you an example about that,
The percentage of cancer patients are increasing each day. The amount of pain they go through is unjustified to many people, and they keep questioning themselves, but why? Why all this pain? Why do they have to suffer this much?
- Because it’s good sometimes for people to feel weak! How will you be grateful to your health and strength if you don’t feel weak?
- Because a believer is rewarded for each pain he goes through:
Jabir ibn Abdullah narrated that Allah’s Messenger peace be upon him said, (1)“On the Day of Resurrection, when people who have suffered affliction are given their reward, those who are healthy will wish their skins had been cut to pieces with scissors when they were in the world.”
Umm Al-Alā reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, visited me when I was sick, and he said, (2)- “Be cheerful, O mother of Al-Alā, for when a Muslim becomes sick, Allah takes away his sins just as fire takes away impurities in gold and silver.”
And the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,(3)- “For any adversity a Muslim suffers, Allah erases some of his sins, even though it may be no more than a thorn pricking him.”
Because when you are in great pain, you most probably think about death, and how near it is. Every one of us need that from time to time to reorganize his life and priorities and see where he got lost and get back on track.
Secondly: It’s payback time!
And whatever strikes you of disaster – it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much”. Quran.com/42/30
On the individual base, the community base, and even on the whole country base, we continuously pay for our own deeds. Whether they are small or big, starting from saying harmful evil words, ending with adultery and stealing.
God states that a lot of the trials, difficulties and hardships we face are basically because of our sins and bad things we did before. And because ALLAH (God) is the “Just” he won’t just let you run away with what you did.
To understand this better, imagine a thief who stole all your money and simply ran away. Do you wish for him to enjoy all the luxuries of life with your money without any punishment? Won’t you at least wish him a distressful life?
Well, that’s the pay back he will get for what he did to you!
Thirdly: Understanding the purpose of life, will help you understand a lot of what’s happening around you
The primary purpose of the human being is not happiness rather it is to know and worship God. This fulfillment of the divine purpose will result in everlasting bliss and happiness. So if this is our primary purpose, other aspects of human experience our will be secondary. The Qur’an, the book of the Muslims states: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” Quran.com/51/56
Fourthly: the truth about this worldly life
God also created us for a test, and part of this test is to be tested with suffering and evil. The Qur’an mentions
[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving” Quran.com/67/2
I mean what’s the point of the test of this world, if we don’t have options to choose among them?
After all, it’s not paradise.
Fifthly: It’s a chance to know God even better!
Having hardship and suffering enables us to realize and know God’s attributes such as ‘The Victorious’ and ‘The Healer’. For example, without the pain and suffering of illness we would not appreciate the attribute of God being ‘The Healer’. Knowing God is a greater blessing, and worth the experience of suffering or pain as it will mean the fulfillment of our primary purpose.
Sixthly: Suffering allows 2nd order good
1st order good is physical pleasure and happiness and 1st order evil is physical pain and sadness. 2nd order goodness is elevated goodness such as courage and can only happen if suffering or evil exist.
Seventhly: God has given us free will, and free will includes choosing evil acts
You always have two ways in getting what you want; it’s either the bad way or the good way. And it’s you who decide. The existence of evil means that you have a free will!
Eighthly: Without evil we will never know and appreciate the good
Ninthly: Hardships will teach you the reality
Only hardships which you may see as evil will teach you things that you may never learn if the world was only good, such as real friends who have been there for you and believed in you when you lost everything, like speaking the truth, how to be strong and confident no matter what and many more!
Let’s agree on something else:
My definition of evil is different than yours if we leave it to ourselves. But actually there are border lines by which we agree on evilness. And that best proves that there’s God. Because without the existence of God, evil and good will be subject to human relativity and hence there will be nothing to measure on if this thing is evil or not.
So the rules that God has put for us is the measure that we have while weighting any act. This debate itself is a proof that God exists because you and I know what evil and good are based on God’s measures!
Do you think it’s fair for a class full of students, that these students all expect the full marks without even being tested?
If we all expect a perfect life, then what did we do to earn that?
The existence of evil is itself a test for all humanity to see how people will deal with it. And the more powerful evilness gets, the harder the test and the greater the reward. Because you believe in the promise of God that if you follow His commandments, you will enter paradise. And that’s it. You believe in words. Just words!
Words of God to the believer are more powerful than whatever he sees, feels and experiences.
What we are seeing and living is not the final picture.
Allah the Almighty says:
And We place the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so no soul will be treated unjustly at all. And if there is [even] the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as accountant.” Quran.com/21/47
There’s a day in which we will all be gathered, to be hold in account for each and every single deed we did. Don’t ever think that the suffering that you are seeing is the end of the world. Don’t ever think that the winning of the evil is the closure of the scene.
Allah will not allow that to happen! He won’t!
(1)- (Al-Tirmidhi, 1570)
(2)-Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 3092 Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani
(3)-(Narrated by Al-Bukhari).