Wisdom of Tribulations

(From the book ‘The Prick Of A Thorn’ by Dr. Aisha Utz, Page 38-40)

Events that seem negative and harmful may turn out to be for the best, while events appear positive, desirable and beneficial on the surface may ultimately turn out to be harmful. The tremendous benefits and rewards for jihad, for example, far out weight the struggle in which the combatant must engage. Likewise, the sickness from which a person suffers may entail suffering and affliction in this world but goodness in relation to the hereafter (due to the expiation of sins, purification of the soul, elevation of rank, and the like.)

This understanding is related to the Islamic belief in qadr. Everything that occurs in the universe happens according to the will and power of Allah. Whatever Allah wills transpire, and what He does not will shall never occur. Nothing happens except that He wills. Trials and tribulations are predestined and are part of Allah’s plan. As such, there is certain wisdom in each and every event.

As part of Allah’s wisdom, He tests individuals with trials and tribulations that are tailored to match their specific needs, weaknesses, circumstances, and abilities. This is to provide as much benefit as possible to the persons and to facilitate the spiritual and personal growth that they require. Although human beings may not always be aware of them, the meanings and values are inherent in these trials; often they are recognize later during insightful moments of retrospection.

Allah is al-‘Adl (the Just). In accordance with His justice and mercy, He could never try humans with tribulations that are beyond their capacity to bear–and then punish them for failing. He reassures us:

“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity…” (Qur’an 2:286)

“And We charge no soul except [with that within] its capacity, and with Us is a record which speaks with truth; they will not be wronged.” (Qur’an 23:62)

“But those who believed and did righteous deeds–We charge no soul except [within] its capacity. Those are the companions of paradise; they will abide therein eternally.” (Qur’an 7:42)

The verses indicate that each and every tribulation that individuals face in their lifetimes is within their ability to cope with and manage. No matter how difficult a trial is, it will never exceed the individual’s capacity to endure and overcome it. This is a promise from Allah, Who never fails in His promises.

Trials are also followed by periods of ease and rest. Allah knows that humans are incapable of enduring unremitting tribulations, so He intersperses them with periods of respite. A life continual trials would be not only intolerable but also unjust, and Allah would never be unjust to His creation, nor would He lack mercy.

“…And your Lord does injustice to no one.” (Qur’an 18:49)

“…And your Lord is not even unjust to [His] servants.” (Qur’an 41:46)

“Indeed, Allah does not wrong the people at all, but it is the people who are wronging themeselves.” (Qur’an 10:44)

Another example of Allah’s wisdom and justice in the universe is in relation to provisions. Allah informs us that He sends provisions based upon His wisdom. Due to His mercy, He sometimes limits His bounties for certain people because He knows what they would do with expanded provisions; in this way, He reduces their corruption and tyranny on earth. In their rebellion, they would have become arrogant and forgetful of their duty to Allah. The restriction of provisions humbles the human beings as they become more conscious of their constant state of dire need for Allah’s mercy and grace.

“If Allah were to enlarge the provision for His Servants, they would indeed transgress beyond all bounds through the earth; but he sends (it) down in due measure as He pleases. For He is with His Servants Well-acquainted, Watchful.” (Qur’an 42:27)

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