Since the issue of disasters and evils is a problem for most students of theology and monotheism, we shall devote more space here to this topic.
HARDSHIPS AND LIFE’S UPS AND DOWNS ENLIVEN US
It might seem difficult for some to comprehend, but gifts and blessings lose their value if they continue for a long time and do not change.
It is a proven fact that if a smooth item is placed inside a sphere with strong rays of light directed upon it, the item becomes difficult for the observer to see.
This is because it is the shadows around an item that make it visible.
Blessings, in the same way, are not observable without the shadows of hardship. We would not enjoy our lives if we did not encounter any diseases at all. It is only after a night of fever and headache that we appreciate the value of health.
As a whole, a monotonous life, even the most affluent one, is both boring and morbid. It is commonly observed that some of those who have led an affluent life, is free from disturbances, consider life to be absurd and have tried either to commit suicide or complain about their lives.
You never see a talented architect construct the walls of a hall like the walls of a prison, drab and
monotonous; rather, with his innovations he tries to give it spirit and joy.
Why is nature so wonderfully beautiful? Why are forests, mountains, rivers, streams and the swaying branches of the trees so interesting and so charming?
One obvious reason might be the lack of monotony.
The dichotomies of light and dark on the one hand and day and night on the other, which are repeatedly emphasized in the Holy Qur’¡n, are meant to eliminate monotony from human existence. This is because if the sun continuously shone from only one location in the sky, there would be no change of day and night and within a short time, everyone would suffer boredom.
Based on these pieces of information, we should accept the fact that disasters in life are partly
influential in making the rest of our lives more attractive and helping us appreciate the real value of our blessings.
Another point which should be mentioned in this final section of our discussion is the fact that most people are ignorant of the causes of unpleasant events and disasters and attribute those injustices which are actually done by other human beings to the system of creation. They thus attribute the irregularities in man’s deeds to irregularities in creation.
For instance, they complain in the following fashion: “Why should all disasters and misfortunes
happen to me? Why do earthquakes cause few casualties in towns, but many more in the villages?
Why should so many lives be lost in villages due to earthquakes? What sort of justice is this? If we are supposed to be exposed to all sorts of calamities, why should we not receive them equally? Why should the poor be exposed to so many disasters? Why are the poor victimized in general hospitals?”
These critics do not realize that none of these issues is related to the general scheme of creation; nor are they related to God’s justice. Rather, these are the direct and inevitable consequences of man’s injustice and exploitation of other human beings.
If villagers were not living under dire poverty due to the inequalities between them and city dwellers, they could build stronger houses to withstand earthquakes and many lives could be saved this way. But when their houses are built with clay bricks without using cement, any strong wind or weak earthquake can easily destroy them. How can these events be related to God
or His justice?
We should not, find fault with God’s philosophy of creation by complaining and uttering such statements:
“He has given some people all sorts of assets, but has deprived others of their basic needs. He has given some people elegant, breath-taking mansions and others caves to dwell in!”
These criticisms should be directed towards the disorganized institutions of society. These social
injustices should be eradicated through our efforts.
Poverty should be removed from our society through our efforts. The deprived and the miserable should be taken care of. Only through such deeds could we rid ourselves of these blatant cases of injustice.
If all people from all walks of life had proper nutrition and hygiene, they would be resistant to
However, in a society in which a just order does not exist but in which aggression and the exploitation of others prevail, there would be some who would be so affluent that they would even have veterinarians and medicines for their pets and there would be those who would lack even the right medicine for their babies.
Such cases are prevalent in many societies.
Under such circumstances, it would be rational to find fault with our own deeds and not with God.
We should advise the oppressors to stop their acts of cruelty and tell the oppressed not to yield to
We should, as well, try hard to provide all members of society with the minimum means of hygiene, treatment, food, shelter, and education. Therefore, we must conclude that we should not blame the creator for our own faults and shortcomings, saying: How could God ever impose such miseries upon us? How could God ever have recommended such an unjust social order?
In contrast, God has created us free since freedom is the very key to prosperity.
However, it is we who misuse our freedom and expose others to cruelty. These cruelties ultimately manifest themselves as social disorder, irregularities and complete chaos.
Unfortunately, these blunders affect everyone and the works of some poets attest to this situation.
The Holy Qur’¡n explains this issue elegantly:
Certainly, Allah does not do any injustice to men, but men are unjust to themselves.
THINK AND ANSWER
Why did we discuss the issue of disasters and evils in three lectures?
What is the drastic side effect of a monotonous life? Have you ever met a person who
complains of his affluent life?
What do you know of the philosophy of light and darkness in the world of creation?
Are all the calamities that are prevalent in our society attributable to creation or do we also,
have some role in their occurrence?
Are there appropriate ways available to us to redress social disasters? What are our responsibilities vis-à-vis the oppressed?