Reasons That Prevent Some People
From Seeing The Good
Forgetting That This Life is a Test
Some think that much of their lives is subject to coincidence. However, to think this way is entirely irrational. Everything, including developing cancer, to becoming involved in a traffic accident, from the food one eats for his supper to the clothes he is wearing, are all special things predetermined. As we have repeatedly stressed throughout the book, all these events, in all their minute detail, are specially created by God to test man.
It is at this point that the fundamental difference between disbelievers and believers becomes apparent. Believers have a very different outlook to what happens to them and to the world around them. This outlook of theirs complies perfectly with the commands of the Qur'an: that is, in regarding each event as a part of a test. Accordingly, being aware that they are being tested, believers strive to conduct themselves in a way that earns God's consent.
People, who remain indifferent to the truths revealed through Islam, set many illusory goals for themselves; that of entering a prestigious college, being happily married, getting the kids through school, improving their living standards, achieving status in the community... All these goals have one thing in common: they are all wishes and aims related to this world alone. The plans and aspirations of people who make these goals the main aim of their lives are limited to this shallow outlook. Because, as we said earlier, the knowledge of the majority of people is limited to the existence of this world. However, their assumption is incorrect. Even if one were to attain all the goals he had set for himself, his life is, ultimately, doomed to that inevitable end, death. Consequently, a life concentrated on this world alone is a vain life, unless otherwise willed by God.
Furthermore, a person, who has adopted such a way of life can never attain all he desires. It is the immutable law of God; nothing on earth is immune to decay. Nothing on earth is immune to the effects of time. A fruit, for instance, gradually darkens and finally decays from the moment it is plucked from its branch. A beautiful house painstakingly built over years eventually becomes uninhabitable. Most importantly, the human body is vulnerable to the detrimental effects of time. Every person experiences the effects of time on his physical self. Greying hair, the failure of organs, wrinkling of skin, and many other signs of aging, are clear signs that indicate the immanence of death.
In addition to aging, a human's life, which rarely extends beyond 6-7 decades, may be concluded abruptly; unexpected events, such as a traffic accident, or a fatal disease, may, at any time, bring an end to his life. As we said in the previous section, no matter how man might struggle to avoid even the thought of death, he will ultimately meet that unavoidable end. Whether a pretty girl, or a famous person, no one is immune to death. Not wealth, possessions, sons, friends, that is, nothing, can protect man from death:
Say: "Death, from which you are fleeing, will certainly catch up with you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible and He will inform you about what you did." (Surat al-Jum'ua: 8)
The foregoing means the following; the life of this world is temporary and it is not the real and final resting place of man. Consequently, a man must orient all his efforts toward the life of the hereafter.
Whatever you have been given is only the enjoyment of the life of this world. What is with God is better and longer lasting for those who believe and trust in their Lord. (Surat ash-Shura: 36)
If we consider the fact that the life of this world is temporary and that the human body is vulnerable to death, we are led to a subject we must all contemplate; the purpose of man's creation on earth. God makes plain this purpose in the following verse:
He who created death and life to test which of you is best in action. He is the Almighty, the Ever-Forgiving. (Surat al-Mulk: 2)
In many verses of the Qur'an, God makes it clear that man is created to be a servant to his Creator. It is also stressed that the life of this world is a test, designed to distinguish the good from the evil:
We made everything on the earth adornment for it so that We could test them to see whose actions are the best. (Surat al-Kahf: 7)
Because man's entire life is part of a test, nothing that befalls him is accidental. If a person fails to grasp that there is a purpose behind these events, falsely assuming that they happen apart and independently of God, then he commits a grave error. Because, all events that take place in the course of life are, in actuality, trials specially designed for him by God. Man is held responsible for his responses and behaviour through the course of these trials. The way he conducts himself, and the morality he evinces, determine his reward or punishment in the life of the Hereafter.
That nothing-whether the experience is insignificant or great-occurs accidentally, that everything that takes place in our life are all events predetermined in our destiny, are facts a person must always keep in mind. As long as a person keeps his mind occupied with their remembrance, he will never forget that everything he meets in life is ultimately good for him. That is, what he encounters is merely what God wills for him. To sum up, it is essential to keep in mind that this world is a place of test by which we are expected to see the good and divine purposes of this life.
God does not place a burden on a person greater than he can bear
God puts every person through different trials with various types of events and through different acquaintances. Yet, it needs to be mentioned that God is infinitely just and He is forbearing towards His servants (al-Halim); He never imparts a burden greater than one can bear. This is the promise of God:
We do not impose on any self any more than it can stand. With Us there is a Book which speaks the truth. They will not be wronged. (Surat al-Mu'minun: 62)
As for those who believe and do right actions-We impose on no self any more than it can bear-they are the Companions of the Garden, remaining in it timelessly, for ever. (Surat al-A'raf: 42)
Diseases, accidents, all forms of distress, and any other kind of trial a person is likely to encounter in the life of this world, are bound within the limits of one's ability to withstand them. But, if a person chooses rebellion and ingratitude to God, Satanic qualities, rather than maintaining the noble values of the Qur'an, such as patience, then he will ultimately be held responsible for it.
In some cases, a person might feel he has exhausted all options available to cope with a problem, and see no way out of the circumstances he is in. Failing to remember that there is also a good in such a happening, he may become rebellious. These are merely the vain feelings instilled in him by Satan. Whatever he may encounter in life, a sincere believer must remain aware of the fact that he is confronted with a situation in which he can conduct himself virtuously and with patience. If he despairs, on the other hand, it is merely the temptation of Satan. God commands His servants not to despair:
Do they not know that God expands the provision of anyone He wills and restricts it? There are certainly Signs in that for people who believe. Say: "My slaves, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the mercy of God. Truly God forgives all wrong actions. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful." Turn to your Lord and submit to Him before punishment comes upon you, for then you cannot be helped. (Surat az-Zumar: 52-54)
A person who complies with the command of God as stated above, knows that from good comes good; a person who despairs, on the other hand, is alone in this world and without a way out. God informs us that those who despair of His mercy are, in fact, disbelievers:
Those who reject God's Signs and the meeting with Him, such people can despair of My mercy, such people will have a painful punishment. (Surat al-'Ankabut: 23)
"...Do not despair of solace from God. No one despairs of solace from God except for people who disbelieve." (Surah Yusuf: 87)
In compliance with God's command, a Muslim must never despair, but try to attain a more profound understanding of that which happens around him through contemplation. When a believer meets a difficulty, it leads him to consider the good in it; and ensures that, throughout the period, which is a trial for him, that he be courageous, patient, compassionate, loyal, devout, loving and self-sacrificing. That is, it is a period through which a believer exercises his trust in God. Once he attains the hereafter, knowing that he has been given the paradise as a blessing and as a reward for his good conduct and character will be an added source of pleasure and joy for him. A person who has been tested in the world, has born difficulties with steadfastness in the life of this world, perceives the blessings and offerings in Paradise with a deeper appreciation, and therefore, enjoys a more profound pleasure in it. It is important to remember that one who hasn't experienced difficulty cannot appreciate ease; even if he does, he can never feel it as deeply as one who has endured hardships. Therefore, every difficulty a believer experiences in this world shall ultimately be a source of bliss in the Hereafter.
Essentially, being patient, wise, reasonable, stable, forgiving, compassionate, in brief, showing the noble qualities of a believer, offers man the particular sort of happiness that can only come from faith. By the Will of God, this happiness will be enjoyed perpetually into eternity.
Any misfortune that befalls man is from himself
The people who are far from adhering to the morality commanded in the Qur'an often share a common character trait: when things go their way, they think it is from themselves and feel pride. But, when a misfortune befalls them, then they immediately seek someone to blame. But, God is the All-Just and, as the verse below suggests, it is the person himself who is ultimately responsible for each and every adversity he meets:
Any good thing that happens to you comes from God. Any bad thing that happens to you comes from yourself... (Surat an-Nisa': 79)
The Qur'an provides various examples to explain the perverted way in which disbelievers interpret things that happen. For instance, God informs us in Surat al-Araf that the Pharaoh and his inner circle attributed the evil that befell them to Musa (as) and his people. However, they themselves were the source of evil and wickedness:
Whenever a good thing came to them, they said, "This is our due." But if anything bad happened to them, they would blame their ill fortune on Musa and those with him. No indeed! Their ill fortune will be with God. But most of them did not know. (Surat al-A'raf: 131)
As the example in the verse above suggests, under all circumstances, people who are far from the morality of the Qur'an seek someone else to blame. They ignore their own mistakes and shortcomings and try to accuse good people of wickedness. However, as what God draws our attention to in the above-quoted verse, it is they who are responsible for the evil. If these people interpret evil as good and vice versa, then they only have themselves to blame.
Throughout their lives, people continue to plan their future, even the next day or the next hour. At times, these plans proceed as planned. But, in some cases, they are hindered because of unexpected developments. Those who are far from the teachings of Islam attribute these obstructions to coincidences.
In actuality, however, there are neither programs that are carried out, nor unanticipated obstructions. All of the events that a person encounters in life are predetermined by God for that person in his destiny. This fact is related in the following verses:
He directs the whole affair from heaven to earth... (Surat as-Sajda: 5)
Indeed, all things We created with predestination. (Surat al-Qamar: 49)
A person may erroneously think that during the course of his day he experiences merely what he has planned for himself. The fact is, however, he is only conforming to the destiny determined for him by God. This being the case, even if a person assumes that he has intervened in a situation and thus changed the course of his destiny, he, in actuality, is yet again experiencing another moment predetermined for him. None of the moments that make up our lives happen beyond fate. A person in coma who later dies does so because he was destined to at that time. Another who recovers after months in the same condition does so because it is his destiny.
For a person who has not truly grasped the significance destiny, all events are the outcome of accident. He falsely assumes that everything in the universe has an independent existence. That is why, when afflicted by some disaster, he refers to it as an "unfortunate" incident.
Nevertheless, the human being is limited in wisdom and his faculty of discernment; moreover, he is confined to space and time. On the other hand, all that befalls a person, without exception, is planned by God, the possessor of "infinite wisdom," Who is unbounded by space and time.
Nothing occurs, either in the earth or in yourselves, without its being in a Book before We make it happen. That is something easy for God. (Surat al-Hadid: 22)
Consequently, all a person needs to do is to submit himself to the destiny determined by his Creator, remaining aware that everything will turn good in the end. Indeed, people of true faith spend every moment of their lives with the acknowledgement of the fact that whatever happens is part of their destiny, and that event circumstance is pre-ordained for a purpose. They continually benefit from this positive outlook, and eventually meet this good. The noble morality and wholehearted submission practiced by believers is related in the Qur'an as follows:
Say: "Nothing can happen to us except what God has ordained for us. He is Our Master. It is in God that the believers should put their trust." (Surat at-Tawba: 51)
Ultimately, whether he judges it as good or bad, a person can never prevent a predetermined event from happening. If he sees good in all, then he always benefits; otherwise, he does nothing other than harm to himself. Regret or assuming a rebellious attitude does not change even a single moment of one's destiny. This being the case, the responsibility of a human being as a servant to God is to submit himself to His infinite justice and the destiny He predetermines, to regard all incidents as ultimately good, and thus, become a spectator to his destiny with a heart tranquil and at peace.
Satan Strives to Hinder Man from Recognizing the Good
In the Qur'an, God relates that Satan is ungrateful and rebellious. We also learn from the Qur'an that he will approach man from every angle and that he will resort to any means for the purpose of leading man into all kinds of debauchery. The most common method he employs towards this evil plan is hindering man from seeing the good in the things that happen to him. In this way, he also strives to mislead man into rebellion and ingratitude. People who fail to grasp the beauty of the morality of the Qur'an, those who are far from the teachings of Islam and spend their lives chasing vain pursuits, who are oblivious of the Hereafter, are prone to the snares of Satan.
Satan appeals to man's weaknesses and whispers deceptive ploys to him; he summons him to rebel against God and fate. For instance, one may not find it difficult to remind his neighbour who had been involved in an accident of the fact that it forms part of his destiny. Yet, the same person may fail to adopt the same mature attitude when he or his family is beset with a similar accident. Through the influence of Satan, he finds it easier to adopt a rebellious attitude. Because, one must exercise his conscience in order to strive to see goodness in events, to show submission and to put his trust in God. The failure to exercise one's conscience leads only to an errant attitude.
Satan's efforts to hinder man from seeing the good may be recognized in all kinds of circumstances. His whisperings also prevent some from seeing the good of their own deeds. For instance, Satan strives to instil fear of poverty into someone who is willing to spend of his wealth in the cause of God. This temptation of his is related in the following verse:
Satan promises you poverty and commands you to avarice. God promises you forgiveness from Him and abundance. God is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing. (Surat al-Baqara: 268)
However, all such sentiments are vain feelings. These insidious plans of Satan can by no means influence the true believer, since the believer's aim in spending his wealth is not to obtain worldly benefits or his own gratification. His main goal is to earn the good pleasure of God, His mercy and Paradise. For this reason, Satan cannot deceive believers with vain aspirations. That Satan can exert no influence on believers is stated in a verse as follows:
If an evil impulse from Satan provokes you, seek refuge in God. He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. As for those who fear God, when they are bothered by visitors from Satan, they remember and immediately see clearly. (Surat al-A'raf: 200-201)
Ama bunların hepsi boş kuruntulardır. Şeytanın bütün bu sinsi planları salih müminlere asla etki etmez. Çünkü müminin hayırlı harcamalar yapmasındaki hedefi dünya hayatındaki rahatı veya çıkarları değildir. Asıl amacı ihtiyaç içinde olanlara yardım ederek Allah'ın rızasını, rahmetini ve cennetini kazanmaktır. Bu nedenle şeytan inananlara bu tarz vesveselerle yaklaşamaz ve onları aldatamaz. Şeytanın inananlar üzerinde etkili olamayacağını Allah Kuran'da bildirmiştir:
Eğer sana şeytandan yana bir kışkırtma (vesvese veya iğva) gelirse, hemen Allah'a sığın. Çünkü O, işitendir, bilendir. (Allah'tan) Sakınanlara şeytandan bir vesvese eriştiğinde (önce) iyice düşünürler (Allah'ı zikredip-anarlar), sonra hemen bakarsın ki görüp bilmişlerdir. (Araf Suresi, 200-201)
From the foregoing we should understand that Satan employs two methods to hinder man from engaging in good deeds. First, he strives to prevent a good and beneficial deed and presents the pursuit of worldly benefits as the sole purpose of life. Secondly, he does his utmost to hinder people from seeing the good and purpose of an event. Especially, when a misfortune befalls a man, he presents it as an "evil", and tempts him into assuming a rebellious attitude towards God.
However, so many are the blessings granted to a person that one could never count them. From the moment of his birth, man is bestowed with numerous blessings from his Lord, a bounty that is not interrupted at any moment for the rest of his life. That is why believers, who take their Lord as their sole ally and protector, put their trust in Him, and, when something seemingly adverse happens to them, aware that there exists an ultimate good in it, show patience even if they fail to see an immediate divine purpose. As the Prophet (saas) says, they "take refuge with God from the difficulties of severe calamities," (Bukhari) and no matter what happens to them, they never become rebellious or complain. They always retain in mind that a seemingly adverse incident will ultimately turn out in their favour. And, by the Will of God, that hardship may ultimately prove to be a major milestone in their life that will lead them to eternal salvation.