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IN THE FACE OF DISASTER
Disasters are a part of life. What will you do when your number comes up? As we look into the future we see a world is heading towards grave problems.
How do you plan to deal with grim realities: The death of a loved one? Disease? Poverty? Abuse? Homelessness?
We don't have a nice, neat pretty answer for you. Neither do the great religions and philosophies of the world.
Life can be a nightmare. Human history has its highs and lows. Genocide, slavery and oppression are all parts of the human experience.
So what do you do about it? Get drunk? Try to avoid reality? Such things don't work and often actually make the situation worse.
The reality is this life is not supposed to be a paradise. In Islam, the purpose of life is to serve God. Life is supposed to be a test. One has a duty, and they are supposed to do it no matter what. In Islam, your life has value in so much as you are serving a higher purpose. That is the basis of Islam.
"Certainly God's only way is Islam (Submission). (Quran: 3:19)"
At World Future Fund, we don't claim to be experts on Islam. But we do know that in Islam there is a concept of duty, service, and perseverance in the face of hardship. These concepts are highly emphasized in the Quran, and we will share some key quotes below.
In today's modern world, there is much focus on "the right to pursue happiness." But that is quite vague. What is happiness? Doing whatever you want? Such ideals do not contribute to a meaningful life or a sane society. Meaning is found in taking on responsibility.
In the context of accountability is the idea of Judgment Day. Throughout almost all the religions of the world, there is a concept of the rewards and punishments for what has been done in one's life. God is omnipresent. There's a pattern. There's a direction. There is a plan and a purpose.
Another modern delusion about spirituality or religion is that it can provide an instant cure to all a person's problems. Many "gurus" like to sell people such cure alls. This mindset ignores the fact that life is a test. There is no get out of jail free card. A person can spend a lifetime struggling in the service of God, and that may be their role, much like Job (Ayoub) or the other prophets in the Quran. People today have this concept that being a famous, rich celebrity is what life is all about. But in Islam, there is an idea that you may or may not be a big celebrity here in this life. People may or may not like you here. But you could be a celebrity in the eyes of God, even if no one else knows your name.
When it comes to tragedy in the Quran, there is a large emphasis on the virtue of patience. In fact, many of the prophets in the Quran had to have the patience to deal with adversity, whether it was war, imprisonment, disease, poverty, or seeing their loved ones die. When the Prophet Muhammad lost his wife Khadijah, he didn't just give up. He continued spreading the message of Islam. There is also a concept of justice in the Quran, that God, the most forgiving and compassionate, will ultimately reward his patient servants. And if one does good deeds and serves their lord, they have an afterlife of paradise to look forward to, even if this life was not ideal. There are also quotes that suggest God can provide his servants with the strength or means they need to get through their test in this life.
Every person has potential value in the eyes of God, no matter how humble. Everyone has an opportunity to serve. Everyone can do something. And there is meaning in finding out how one can best serve the Almighty.
Below we will include quotes from the Islamic Holy Book, the Quran, so that people may be educated on the topic of duty and service in Islam. By posting this information we are by no means claiming to be experts on Islam. We are simply providing an educational service for our readers. And by no means are we trying to provide the "definitive view" on this topic. We also don't know what everyone is going through when it comes to suffering. Here are just some basic points.
FOLLOWERS WILL BE TESTED IN ORDER TO ENTER PARADISE
"And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient (2:155)."
"Do you think you will be admitted into Paradise without being tested like those before you? They were afflicted with suffering and adversity and were so [violently] shaken that [even] the Messenger and the believers with him cried out, “When will Allah’s help come?” Indeed, Allah’s help is ˹always˺ near (2:214)."
"[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 (67:2)."
GOD WILL NOT GIVE PEOPLE A TEST THEY CANNOT BEAR
Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. "Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people." (2:286)
THE BRIEF NATURE OF LIFE IN THIS WORLD
AND ETERNITY IN THE HEREAFTER
"(Ye have) enjoyment of the life of the world; then unto Us is your return and We shall proclaim unto you what ye used to do (10:23)."
"(For them is brief) enjoyment in this world; then to Us is their return; then We will make them taste the severe punishment because they used to disbelieve (10:70)."
"Allah extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. And they rejoice in the worldly life, while the worldly life is not, compared to the Hereafter, except [brief] enjoyment (13:26)."
THE IMPORTANCE OF DOING GOOD DEEDS
"They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and hasten to good deeds. And those are among the righteous (3:114)."
"So Allah gave them the reward of this world and the good reward of the Hereafter. And Allah loves the doers of good (3:148)."
THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF SACRIFICE
"Never say that those martyred in the cause of Allah are dead—in fact, they are alive! But you do not perceive it (2:154)."
"Should you be martyred or die in the cause of Allah, then His forgiveness and mercy are far better than whatever [wealth] those [who stay behind] accumulate (3:157)."
"And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger will be in the company of those blessed by Allah: the prophets, the people of truth, the martyrs, and the righteous—what honorable company (4:69)!"
"Let those who would sacrifice this life for the Hereafter fight in the cause of Allah. And whoever fights in Allah’s cause—whether they achieve martyrdom or victory—We will honour them with a great reward (4:74)."
"As for those who emigrate in the cause of Allah and then are martyred or die, Allah will indeed grant them a good provision. Surely Allah is the Best Provider (22:58)."
GOD STRENGTHENS THOSE WHO SERVE HIM
"O you who believe, remember GOD's blessings upon you; when some people extended their hands to aggress against you, He protected you and withheld their hands. You shall observe GOD; in GOD the believers shall trust (5:11)."
"Two men who were reverent and blessed by GOD said, "Just enter the gate. If you just enter it, you will surely prevail. You must trust in GOD, if you are believers (5:23).""
"Say, "Nothing happens to us, except what GOD has decreed for us. He is our Lord and Master. In GOD the believers shall trust (9:51).""
"And put your trust in GOD. GOD suffices as an advocate (33:3)."
"Allah will establish in strength those who believe, with the word that stands firm, in this world and in the Hereafter; but Allah will leave, to stray, those who do wrong: Allah doeth what He willeth (14:27)."
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