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Offline Reader Questions

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Injustice & Suffering
« on: March 13, 2013, 11:22:32 PM »

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By: Mubashir Inayet

Dear Brother Joseph,


According to your study, how would you explain the way Quran deals with injustice and suffering in this world (in spite of an All Powerful God fully in control)? There is suffering which is man made by which man reaps what he sows, but things happen to people and nations (like famine, natural disasters, disease, tsunamis, birth of crippled children, death of infants and mothers or fathers of infants) etc. etc.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Injustice & Suffering
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2013, 11:46:25 PM »
Dear brother Mubashir,

May peace be with you.

It is important to remember that ‘adversity’ does not simply afflict the ‘wrong-doers’ exclusively.

And fear tumult or oppression (fitna), which affects not only those of you who do wrong exclusively (khassatan): and know that God is severe in punishment.

The Quran also clearly recognises that at times that some of us are a trial for others (25:20). This should be understood in the widest sense. (i.e. What are we really doing about the poor destitute that lives not so far away from us or those that are stricken by famine?)

Furthermore, the Quran recognises a number of reasons for misfortune, hardship, suffering and adversities. Sometimes they are meted upon communities to humble them (6:42) and other times to destroy them for their wrongdoings (27:69). At times they are a result of what our own hands have earned (cause and effect) and at times *, we are allowed to taste the effect of our own tyranny. 

“Say: “He is All-Capable to send punishment upon you from above you or from beneath your feet, or to bewilder / confuse you with dissension / sects and makes (some of) you taste the tyranny / violence of one another. See how We explain the revelations so that they may understand”

* 'at times' - i.e. God can and does intervene as part of His plan. (22:40; 48:24). However, we should always be prepared to discern and not misconstrue the purpose of our trials (29:10)

Suffering and adversity can also take a more personal sphere (e.g. 8:28, 3:186) where they are designed to test our patience and resolve [1] and [2]

“Do people think that they will be left alone on saying, "We believe", and that they will not be tested?”

Almighty God draws our attention to His perfection by pondering over His entire creation.

“Have they not then observed the sky above them, how We have constructed / structured it and adorned it, and how there are no rifts in it?

Then does a human really think that the injustices that are apparent to us on Earth will not be reconciled? God is perfect. He makes no mistakes nor commits any injustices in His overall plan.

“And if God were to seize mankind for their wrong-doing, He would not have left upon it any moving creature, but He reprieves them to an appointed term. Then when their term comes they cannot put (it) off an hour nor (yet) advance (it).”

If one assumes that there is no afterlife to reconcile the affairs of those on Earth, then indeed this will amount to an injustice. As you very well know, a principle article of faith of a believer is the concept of the afterlife.

Yet, will we still remain confused over the same issue like those of yore after God has repeatedly informed us of his plan?

004:078 (part).
“…All is from Allah. So what (is wrong) with these people, that they fail to understand any statement?

From a wider Quran's perspective it is in my humble view that the question of suffering and adversity is relatively an easy question to answer given the quite explicit stance of the Quran on the matter.

Our God Who has created us all clearly informs us of His will and that a significant feature of a human's transient life is to undergo trials. These trials will often manifest in a number of different ways for an overarching purpose and a destined end.

I have shared relevant verses in the following articles [1] and [2].

May our Lord help us be patient through our trials and let us not be of those who utterly fall by the wayside losing patience when they are tested in multifaceted ways.

"And among mankind is he who worships God on the verge so that if good befalls him he is content with it, but if a trial befalls him, he falls away utterly. He loses both the world and the Hereafter. That is the sheer loss"

"O my son! keep up prayer and enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and bear patiently that which befalls you; surely these acts require courage"

I hope this helps, God willing.


'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell