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Allah is Merciful. But Why do People Suffer?

“Do the people think that they will be left to say, ‘We believe’ and they will not be tried? But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars. Or do those who do evil deeds think they can outrun Us? Evil is what they judge. Whoever should hope for the meeting with Allah – indeed, the term decreed by Allah is coming. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing.” [Surah Al Ankabut (29:2-5)]

Bismillahi Ar-Rahmaani Ar-Raheem

I decided to address this topic because lots of people feel down at times and some even wonder what they did to deserve what happens in their lives. Truth is, we all go through struggles one way or the other; it’s all a matter of when and how we take it. All of us also experience low emaan at times because emaan fluctuates. It’s human; what matters is whether or not we pick ourselves right back up and never give up. Shaytaan is waiting at every corner to see us fail, so even when we do fall, let’s not give him the satisfaction of seeing us stay down. Surround yourself with like-minded people with the same goal, do your best, never give up, turn to Allah, and be patient. It’s ok to feel down sometimes and even cry; it’s healthy to cry at times, but don’t let your situation get the best of you. And honestly, sometimes we do need each other to be reminded. So this is also a reminder to myself as it may be for you. So please lend me your ears (eyes) for few minutes.

Each and every one of us is tested by Allah. Isn’t that the reason why we are here in the first place? We are only TRAVELERS. We came for a purpose and will return right after. We often get distracted with everything around us, but let’s remember that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. So when we talk about the Aakhirah, it may seem like a very long time from now, but it can start in minutes for some, this very second for some, or in a year for others. 

Sometimes human beings may go through struggles in life because of their own doings (i.e. bad decisions, sins), probably bad decisions of others (i.e. being hurt by someone else), because they are simply being tested by Allah even if they are good people, Allah is cleansing them of their sins (since we all sin anyway) and not be punished for it in the Hereafter, etc.

Honestly, it’s all a test which will prove (to ourselves as witnesses; Allah already knows the outcome) which of us is indeed truthful when we claim to believe. Anyone can claim to believe, but most people would probably give up when challenged. So it’s up to us to prove ourselves and never give up. We’re not doing it for Allah but for our own selves! Allah can’t get harmed by our lack of belief nor benefit from our belief. Yes, we do it for the sake of Allah, but not to benefit him but ourselves. 

“And whoever strives only strives for [the benefit of] himself. Indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds. And those who believe and do righteous deeds – We will surely remove from them their misdeeds and will surely reward them according to the best of what they used to do.” [Surah Al Ankabut (29:6-7)]

Suffering has NOTHING to do with being good or bad. The most pious of humans to walk on this earth had the most challenging trials any of us could ever imagine. Today, they are enjoying the best of comfort and joy.

Narrated ‘Aishah (radhiAllahu ‘anha): “I never saw anybody suffering so much from sickness as Allah’s Apostle.” Sahih Al Bukhaari

Narrated ‘Abdullah (radhiAllahu ‘anhu): “I visited the Prophet during his ailments and he was suffering from a high fever. I said, ‘You have a high fever. Is it because you will have a double reward for it?’ He said, ‘Yes, for no Muslim is afflicted with any harm but that Allah will remove his sins as the leaves of a tree fall down.'” Sahih Al Bukhaari

Narrated ‘Abdullah (radhiAllahu ‘anhu): “I visited Allah’s Apostle while he was suffering from a high fever. I said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! You have a high fever.’ He said, ‘Yes, I have as much fever as two men of you.’ I said, ‘Is it because you will have a double reward?’ He said, ‘Yes, it is so. No Muslim is afflicted with any harm, even if it were the prick of a thorn, but that Allah expiates his sins because of that, as a tree sheds its leaves.'” Sahih Al Bukhaari 

In fact, people like Far’awn (Pharaoh) enjoyed much of this world till their last day. Obviously, Far’awn sure didn’t enjoy that last day, and he sure wouldn’t enjoy the Hereafter. Basically, this world was his Jannah (Paradise). Guess what? If this world is your Paradise, then that’s really pitiful because it is temporary and imperfect. 
This world is a prison to the believers compared to Jannah; however much they enjoy it (within the limits of Allah) or struggle in it. And each person will be rewarded accordingly.

Abu Hurairah reported: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) said, ‘The world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the unbeliever.'” Sahih Muslim

Also, let’s not forget that every pain a believer experiences is not in vain. 

Narrated ‘Aisha (radhiAllahu ‘anha): Allah’s Apostle (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) said, ‘No calamity befalls a Muslim but that Allah expiates some of his sins because of it, even though it were the prick he receives from a thorn.'” Sahih Al Bukhaari
So when you get a paper cut, remember this. 

Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira (radhiAllahu ‘anhum): The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) said, ‘No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.'” Sahih Al Bukhaari

Whether we like it or not, we WILL get tested by Allah. So would we rather our struggles go in vain or benefit from the smallest pain? That’s not to say that we should wish for pain; NO. But when we do suffer, it would only be best for us to be patient in shaa Allah. It is easier said than done, but again, it wouldn’t have been a test if it were easy right?
Besides, the pain of this world is NOTHING compare to that of the Hereafter. We would much rather experience the temporary pain of this world than go through the eternal suffering of the Hereafter. 

Last but not least, I would like to share an interesting scenario that came in my mind two days ago.
We know that Allah is Merciful, yet owes us nothing. The plants, fruits, vegetables, water, air, our own creation, the creation around us, and the chance to go to Jannah without even deserving it is all a proof of His Mercy – and many more! So imagine Jannah!

Narrated Abu Hurayrah (radhiAllahu ‘anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) said: “Allah has one hundred parts of mercy, of which He sent down one between the jinn, mankind, the animals and the insects, by means of which they are compassionate and merciful to one another, and by means of which wild animals are kind to their offspring. And Allah has kept back ninety-nine parts of mercy with which to be merciful to His slaves of the Day of Resurrection.” Sahih Muslim 

We also know that Allah loves us more than a mother loves her child.

Narrated ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (radhiAllahu ‘anhu): ‘Some prisoners were brought to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salaam), and there was a woman among the prisoners who was searching (for her child). When she found her child she embraced him and breastfed him. The Messenger of Allah said to us, ‘Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?’ We said, ‘No, by Allah, not if she is able not to.’ The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) said, ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child.'” Al Bukhaari & Muslim

Keeping that in mind, let’s remember that though a mother loves her child, she would still take her child to the doctor to get shots (if needed), surgery (if needed), or allow her child to go through certain pains in hopes of a better outcome. The child may cry and hate it, but the mother’s wider knowledge allows her to let her child go through temporary pain for a better tomorrow. 

Allah created us all and knows more about us than a mother could ever know about her child. Allah (Subhaana wa Ta’aala) knows the past, present, and future. As time is nothing to Him, He also knows that our temporary suffering would bring us much more benefits (eternal) if we’re patient. This world would probably seem like seconds once we’re experiencing a much better life; an eternal one full of bliss. At last! It would be all worth it!

Narrated Abu Huraira (radhiAllahu ‘anhu): Allah’s Apostle (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) said, ‘If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.'” Sahih Al Bukhaari

And Allah knows best.

May Allah help us all past our tests, forgive us, and grant us Jannah.

Umm Sumayyah
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