The World is An Arena of Testing for Man

The world is an arena of trial for man. He has been sent here to acquire the state appropriate for the other life. This is not easy. Like a tailor who, in order to make a suit fit for his customer, cuts a piece of cloth and gives it a certain shape, and makes the customer sit and stand and turn to try it out on him, God Almighty causes man to ‘turn about’ in diverse conditions to ‘shape’ him according to the afterlife. Also, a man is like a raw mineral to be worked on when he comes to the world. Just as minerals are of many kinds from coal do diamond or brilliant, the social life of mankind also requires that men should be of different degrees of intellectual abilities, physical strength and sensitivity. Again, just as the same method or process of working is not applied to every mineral exclusively, and the process is, of course, more exacting and demanding to obtain gold or diamond than coal or cupper, each man may need a different test and trial, a different training to be refined and reach the final level of attainment destined for him. This means that God makes every person subject to different suffering and afflictions to elevate him to a state appropriate for the other world.

The world is a field to sow with the seeds to harvest in the Hereafter

Besides being the arena of test and trial for man, the world is also the realm of troubles. When God warned Adam not to eat of the forbidden tree, He reminded him:

“Adam, surely this [Satan] is an enemy to you and your wife. So let him not expel you both from the Garden and plunge you into affliction. It is assuredly given to you neither to hunger therein nor to go naked, neither to thirst therein, nor to suffer the sun (20:117-19)“.

That means in the world he would become hungry and thirsty and become tired and have to encounter many hardships. This must be so because the world is the field which man is to sow with the seeds to harvest in the Hereafter. Those who aim to gratify all their desires in the world will most probably the ones whom God will address in the other world:

“You dissipated your good things in your worldly life, and you took your enjoyment in them; therefore today you shall be recompensed with the chastisement of humiliation because you waxed proud on the earth without right, and for your ungodliness (46:20)“.

While those who endure hunger, thirst and other kinds of hardships here in the world for the sake of God will be admitted to Paradise and addressed by angels.

The more bounties and blessing God accords one, the greater responsibility one has.

Also, the more bounties and blessing God accords one, the greater responsibility one has. Alms giving is compulsory for the wealthy, and those who are disabled are blind or ill do not have to go on fighting in the way of God. To express the utmost degree of piety, the Messenger Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into Hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into Hell (Matthew, 5:27-30).” So, no one knows whether it is better or more advantageous for him to be rich or poor or to be healthy or ill, concerning which God says in The Holy Book:

It may be that you dislike a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although it is bad for you. God knows but you know not (2:216).”

Why Do the Innocent and the Guilty Suffer from the Same Calamity?

In such calamities as earthquakes or floods, God usually does not choose between the innocent and the sinful. When such calamities come, they fall on both groups, for the meaning of testing individuals in this world requires it to be so. However, in return for such calamities the innocent will be rewarded greatly in the Hereafter. God sometimes includes the innocent in such calamities because they do not try to stop the guilty from engaging in their sinful behavior.

Whatever God Does Is the Best and Most Proper.
As God only does what is right, we should try to see His wisdom behind His actions, the good He bestows on us, and the sufferings to which He subjects us.

 By M. Fethullah Gulen

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