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 The Justice of God: Why we suffer

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revolutionary guard 79

Number of posts : 84
Registration date : 2007-03-07

PostSubject: The Justice of God: Why we suffer   Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:27 pm

In the name of Allah, the All Merciful, the All Compassionate

And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient, Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah's and to Him we shall surely return. Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course. (Holy Quran 2:155-157)

Innocent people die every day and many suffer tremendous pain before they die. Much of these deaths and sufferings are caused by those factors no innocent human being could be responsible for, such as earthquakes and floods. Now because God is capable of preventing innocent people from undergoing this suffering, why doesn’t He spare them? In particular, why doesn’t He in the very least spare the children?

If it is a test for the parents, is it fair for children to suffer by being the test subject? And why is it, if we were to not only kill a child, but also put them through incredible pain, it would be cruel and unjust, but if God does it He is still Compassionate and Just?

Part One: Realising the Justice of Allah by realising His Greatness

The wisdom behind pain and suffering is not only so that we may understand and appreciate the value of when we are healthy and happy, but there is also something more profound. That is, pain and suffering is the means for realising ultimate greatness and it is the access to such greatness that makes the path to it, one that is always fair and just.

To elaborate on this point, let us consider the concept of love. The human being is capable of the most extraordinary self sacrifice all in the name of love. For instance, a mother would not hesitate to leap in front of a speeding car so as to save her child from being hit and she will do it without the slightest hesitation, even if she knows her effort will be futile.

This self sacrifice not only ascends one to a sublime character, but it demonstrates that the high price of pain, next to love, becomes all of a sudden worthless and it is this comparison that reveals how incredibly great love is. Now such greatness means that any self sacrifice in the name of this great thing called love, is always worth it and because it is worth it, there is never a question of whether love is unjust.

Keeping this example in mind, let us now draw our attention to Allah. Our understanding of Allah is that all His attributes are absolute. Thus when we say Allah is Great, we mean that He possesses the attribute of Greatness in its entirety. Or in other words, He is Absolutely Great.

The concept of this absolute greatness means that it has so be something so great, that there is no self sacrifice high enough to dissuade you from wanting to be with it. It has to be something so great, that just to spend a moment with it, is an infinite number of times more worth, than an infinite life time of pain and suffering. And after spending a moment with it, it has to be so great that there is no pain and suffering like the pain and suffering of being kept away from it. Can you imagine how great that something must be? It is only now, via the knowledge of pain and suffering can we begin to imagine how incredibly great that something is. And that greatness is none other than Allah.

Now some may argue that it is still not fair to have to go through any pain in order to reach something good, even if it is only temporary. This argument however is still yet to recognise what exactly is the concept of absolute greatness. To explain, if the price of hardship is too high, then we are no longer talking about that which is absolutely great because simply it is no longer absolutely priceless.

Thus we can see it is only when we discuss relative greatness that the problem of injustice arises. Meaning, to perform something in return for something else that does not adequately compensate, presents a situation that is not fair, a situation that is unjust. However, we are no longer talking about Allah when speaking of Him in the relative sense for as we have already established, His greatness is absolute. So any path to that which is absolutely great is a path that is absolutely priceless and so therefore it is a path that is duly compensated and so, it is a path that is inherently just.

Part Two: Justice can only be realised when the capable are challenged.

To receive a difficult test, is an esteemed honour for it is a reflection of the level of our capabilities, the more difficult the test, the more capable we are. For instance, imagine our skills and strengths in mathematics were analysed over the course of a defined period. After this period, we were given a test. Now imagine this test to be highly problematic, the kind of test that only those gifted in mathematics could have hope of solving. You would naturally be daunted by the test, yet at the same time you would feel a sense of empowerment knowing that you have the skills to pass such a challenging test. Now imagine you had the skills, but your professor never gave you the opportunity to implement them. Would that be fair?

Let us continue with this concept by imagining a life where we had the power to change every problem and hardship that surfaces. Life would offcourse end up being easy. However, by taking away this challenging component in our life, it would mean our extraordinary capabilities could never be realised. The consequences of this should not be underestimated.

If we return to our previous example and imagine we are given a test that does not reflect our capabilities, we may pass the test with flying colours, but we will never know our true worth. We would never be able to stimulate our minds and excel as human being’s which is only possible in such schools of adversity.

But lets be honest, most of us would not care of evolving into human being’s that are sublime in character and profound in wisdom if it meant we had to be challenged. Most of us would instead prefer a life of continuous ease and comfort. However, a life of ease and comfort sounds a lot like heaven, where we no longer have to struggle, where everything fits into place just how we like it to be. Yet such a life then would have no purpose as what is the point of a test if it does not test? It would merely just be a waste of time.

But more to the point, such a life would never be fair because if we are denied the chance of realising our capabilities, then we would be cheated out of the chance to achieve something greater for ourselves. So not only would such a life be a waste of time, it would b inherently unjust as well.

Part Three: The necessity for the ignorant to be objective in order for justice to prevail.

The concept behind the saying, ‘you are innocent until proven guilty’, is born out of the fact that we are ignorant. It is because of this ignorance that we are compelled to refrain from making any rash judgments because we simply do not know the full story. We can see here the great importance objectivity has in our life for if we were to make rash judgements without first considering the evidence, it would mean our judgement would not be just and so the truth would never be known.

Allow us to consider the example of a man who lived his entire life as desert nomad. One day for the first time, this man saw in the distance a city and in the city there was a bull dozer tearing down beautiful buildings. What would he think? He would naturally perceive the bull dozer as carrying out a senseless act of destruction. Yet he would be completely ignorant of the engineering plans behind the destruction, a destruction that will eventually result in the creation of another more beautiful building. But to this desert nomad, the only thing he would conclude is that it is an unjust act and if he could stop it he would.

However, what if it came to his attention that the same bull dozer that was tearing down the buildings was the same bull dozer that helped create those beautiful buildings? Would it now be fair on his part to continue to condemn the act as being unjust? Rather, with this information, he would be aware of two critical points.

He would first be aware of his own ignorance, in particular his ignorance regarding the bull dozer. In turn he would be aware the bull dozer can no longer be considered as an instrument of injustice after realising the beauty it had helped create. With these two factors combined he would conclude that there must be a greater wisdom being played out that he was not aware of.

So we can see in this example how easily we beings of finite knowledge can think that we know the reality of the events surrounding us, yet the reality is far from what we think it is.

Yet life and we as human beings are designed in such a way, that it is only with the fertile mind of objectivity, can justice blossom. This is a testament to the Justice of Allah, for no author of such a system, can ever be unjust.
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