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How do people deal with tragedy? It's a subject that has been discussed by the greatest religious and philosophical minds of human history. Why do bad things happen to good people?
We don't have a nice, neat, cute answer to this question. But we're going to see what the world's major religions say. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, and the second most practiced religion, after Christianity.
We are going to examine this question from the point of view of Islam, but many aspects of this also relate to Christianity and other religions. In the case of Islam, the purpose of life is defined by the obligation to serve God. You either serve God or you don't. You do as well as you can. Then you are judged at judgment day for what you have done or not done. The concept of judgment day is very prevalent in world religions and we're certainly not going to get into a discussion of all different religions in this situation, but you have a right to enter heaven in so far as you submit yourself to the will of the Almighty and carry out His commands. That's it.
In many of the world's major religions, there is a concept of obtaining inner peace by serving the greater good (rather than one's own desires).
At World Future Fund, we don't pretend to have all the answers. 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. There is an idea of one doing their duty to God, no matter what happens in this life. There is a concept that if one aligns themselves with God's plan, they can find peace and a sense of purpose. These are ideas for dealing with adversity and evil.
In Arabic, "Islam" means submission to God. A key tenet of the religion is that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is God's messenger.
"Certainly God's only way is Islam (Submission). (Quran: 3:19)"
In fact, many of the prophets in the Quran had to deal with much struggling and adversity, whether it was war, imprisonment, disease, poverty, or seeing their loved ones die. A key message in the Quran is that this life is a test, and if one wishes to pass the test, they must do their duty with conviction and patience. There is also a concept of justice, that God, the most forgiving and compassionate, will ultimately reward the patient. The reward may come in this life or the reward may not happen until the next life. But ultimately there will be justice one way or another.
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)."
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)."