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About Islam; Why Does God Allow Bad Things To Happen? by Beth J.

As I was hurrying down to the breakfast table recently on a fine April morning, I paused in front of the TV for a moment.  The morning show usually serves as a pleasant background sound.  But that morning, someone was asking an expert why God allows bad things like the recent massacre at Virginia Tech to happen.   Certainly, this isn't the first time we have seen bad things like this happen, but people seem to forget after awhile, and return to complacency sooner or later.   When I see complex circumstances like the Virginia Tech tragedy, I find benefit in referring it to the Quran.  So, this prompted me to take some time to look in the Quran for answers. What does it have to say about bad things happening to good people?

The Quran tells us that God is in control of everything, contrary to what many people believe.  Many people do not believe that God is running everything, or is even involved in what goes on here on Earth. 

3:109 To God belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth, and all matters are controlled by God.

This does not mean that God is the cause of bad things happening to us. 

42:30 Anything bad that happens to you is a consequence of your own deeds, and He overlooks many (of your sins).
4:79 Anything good that happens to you is from God, and anything bad that happens to you is from you.
As difficult as it may be to accept, even bad things can result in something good if it brings us closer to God.  Although the reasons may not be apparent to us, God permits Satan to bring chaos into our lives, and to tempt people to commit heinous deeds on Earth.

Because we are human, we are subject to the weaknesses of being human, and the condition known as sin.  We fall in and out of God’s protection because of our own deeds.  God may permit Satan to test us excessively, to see if we will remain steadfast to God, or if we will give in to Satan, and perhaps blame God.  An example in the Torah, the Bible, and the Quran is the example of Job.  God permitted Satan to test Job, but Job never wavered in his belief that God would save him from all of Satan’s tests. 

21:83 And Job implored his Lord: "Adversity has befallen me, and, of all the merciful ones, You are the Most Merciful."
21:84 We responded to him, relieved his adversity, and restored his family for him, even twice as much. That was a mercy from us, and a reminder for the worshipers.

People often mistakenly believe that they have control over situations. 

10:24 The analogy of this worldly life is like this: we send down water from the sky to produce with it all kinds of plants from the earth, and to provide food for the people and the animals. Then, just as the earth is perfectly adorned, and its people think that they are in control thereof, our judgment comes by night or by day, leaving it completely barren, as if nothing existed the previous day. We thus explain the revelations for people who reflect.

When bad things happen, people often blame others, or they blame themselves, even going so far as to think or say that if only they had done things differently, they might have prevented something bad happening.  Here is an example from the Quran of people who thought they could control a particular situation and avoid death:

3:154 After the setback, He sent down upon you peaceful slumber that pacified some of you. Others among you were selfishly concerned about themselves. They harbored thoughts about God that were not right - the same thoughts they had harbored during the days of ignorance. Thus, they said, "Is anything up to us?" Say, "Everything is up to God." They concealed inside themselves what they did not reveal to you. They said, "If it was up to us, none of us would have been killed in this battle." Say, "Had you stayed in your homes, those destined to be killed would have crawled into their death beds." God thus puts you to the test to bring out your true convictions, and to test what is in your hearts. God is fully aware of the innermost thoughts.

3:156 O you who believe, do not be like those who disbelieved and said of their kinsmen who traveled or mobilized for war, "Had they stayed with us, they would not have died or gotten killed." God renders this a source of grief in their hearts. God controls life and death. God is Seer of everything you do.

It is natural to feel a temporary grief when we lose people we love, because that is human nature.  But if we believe that we have a soul that will return to God, then we will get past the human stage of grief and recognize that those who submit to the will of God will join God in the Hereafter. 

The Quran tells us that God protects the believers, so that they never have to worry about anything.  This includes fear of dying.

7:196 God is my only Lord and Master; the One who revealed this scripture. He protects the righteous.

9:72 God promises the believing men and the believing women gardens with flowing streams, wherein they abide forever, and magnificent mansions in the gardens of Eden. And God's blessings and approval are even greater. This is the greatest triumph.

Death is an inevitable event that will catch up with every one of us.  God controls life and death.  We will never “die before our time”.

9:116 To God belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. He controls life and death. You have none beside God as a Lord and Master.

The Bible reminds us that God is aware of everything and everyone.

Luke 12:6-8 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

The Quran also tells us that this world, this life, is just a temporary staging area, designed to test us to see if we will trust God in all things, or if we will allow Satan to persuade us to think that we have power. 

57:20 Know that this worldly life is no more than play and games, and boasting among you, and hoarding of money and children. It is like abundant rain that produces plants and pleases the disbelievers. But then the plants turn into useless hay, and are blown away by the wind. In the Hereafter there is either severe retribution, or forgiveness from GOD and approval. This worldly life is no more than a temporary illusion.

24:21 O you who believe, do not follow the steps of Satan. Anyone who follows the steps of Satan should know that he advocates evil and vice. If it were not for GOD's grace towards you, and His mercy, none of you would have been purified. But GOD purifies whomever He wills. GOD is Hearer, Knower.

Both the Bible and the Quran tell us that when the world comes to an end, and the Day of Judgment arrives, the earth will be inherited by the righteous.

39:74 They will say, "Praise be to GOD, who fulfilled His promise to us, and made us inherit the earth, enjoying Paradise as we please." What a beautiful recompense for the workers!

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

We should also implore God to give us the strength to forgive those who hurt us, even though the act of aggression, or the crime, may be almost too much to bear at times.

42:43 Resorting to patience and forgiveness reflects a true strength of character.

41:49 The human being never tires of imploring for good things. And when adversity befalls him, he turns despondent, desperate.

This life is a tremendous gift to us from God, and includes many blessings, for which we should always be grateful.  So even though this life is a temporary place, God designed this life for us to enjoy, too.  When bad things happen to us, it is an opportunity to reflect on the path we have taken, to realign our priorities with God’s will, and to ask for His Mercy, His Forgiveness, and His Blessings. 

4:85 Whoever mediates a good deed receives a share of the credit thereof, and whoever mediates an evil work, incurs a share thereof. GOD controls all things.

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The answers provided by Abe and friends represent the understanding of the
writers, and should not be taken as the only acceptable approach. The reader is encouraged to research the topics further using the Quran.

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