Channel: Abdurraheem Green
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Why does God permit suffering on the earth?
We begin by praising Allah.
We praise Him we seek His help and we asked for his forgiveness. And we take refuge
with ALLAH, from the evil of ourselves, and from the evil consequence of our evil actions.
Whomsoever Allah guides, no one can misguide. And whomsoever Allah leaves to go straight, no one can guide and I testify. But Allah alone is worthy of worship. And that Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam
is the seventh of a lion, his final messenger.
I've been asked to talk today
about the topic, why does God permit suffering on the earth?
First of all,
the discussion presumes the
the topic and the discussion presumes the existence of God.
As long as we can agree
that God does exist, that this universe does have a creator, then we can really move forward with our discussion.
If you don't believe that there is a God, if you don't believe that this universe has a creator,
talk may pass you by a little bit.
And you could refer to the lecture, excuse me, delivered by Hamza sources yesterday. Or you could go on to the big debates website, where he has debated some atheists and secularists and put forward some very strong and convincing arguments through which and by which we can,
we can know
that this universe has a creator.
Briefly, the arguments are
the need for a first course.
Who is uncaused. The second is
the evidence of design.
And the fine tuning of the universe
leaves us with little rational option except to conclude that a designed and finely tuned universe must have a designer
and that this being must be necessarily
different in nature, from the creation.
And therefore, this being must be self sufficient.
This being must be eternal,
outside the confines of space and time.
These are pretty familiar arguments.
I don't intend to go into the philosophical discussion as to whether we can prove
the existence of God or not through these arguments, or indeed, what does it mean, to prove anything in the first place?
It's sufficient to outline
that there is a rational basis,
a strong rational basis to justify the existence of one eternal self sufficient be.
And therefore, the question that is often posed by atheists, or the issue that is often raised by those people who claim that their belief is that there is no God.
And amongst the strongest arguments they claim they have
in order to support this belief, is what they call the problem of evil or the existence of evil and suffering and the earth so their argument goes pretty much like this.
How can a good How can a all good and all loving God, permit and allow suffering to exist?
In fact, the depth and degree of suffering that exists on the earth
is so great and so severe
that God, or the good and loving God
cannot possibly exist since it's a contradiction in terms.
the reality is that this is not a rational argument at all.
The argument is not rational, the argument is emotional, because the evidence is, which certainly Muslims bring forward
in order to rationalize
their belief in the existence of one supreme transcendent creator.
All the ones that I have outlined to do with cause the need for a cause, the design, the fine tuning of the universe.
And these are our basic presumptions,
which has got nothing to do with
why there is evil.
We know God exists because we believe it is irrational,
to a organized systemized universe, that it is a product of some random events.
It is really ridiculous.
A more rational explanation is that there is a creator.
So the arguments about evil actually has nothing to do with whether God exists or not.
It's nothing to do with it. It's an emotional argument.
In fact, the only question that is begged by the existence of suffering
is why does God permit that suffering?
Now, it may be possible that certain
are confronted by the issue of the problem of evil.
And it is a lot more problematic for them than it is for the religion of Islam. And that is partly because
the way that God is defined in certain religions.
So for example, if you claim that God is love,
if you claim that God is love,
and one claims that God loves everybody, and everything, and one makes such a claim about God, then the problem of evil does become much more problematic.
If you have such a concept of God, and you have such an attribute that you ascribe to God, then it does become very difficult
to explain why on all loving God
allow such things to happen.
we don't have that problem in our tradition.
Because there is no attribute of God as being love. God is not love.
God is alpha dude. He is the loving and he is the most loving, and there is nothing that can be more loving than God, but he is not all loving.
Because that is an absolute attribute that does not allow anything that contradicts it in any single way.
However, we don't say as some religions that God's love is unconditional know God's love is conditional.
God loves those who are good, and who obey Him and who follow His guidance.
And God hates those, although God does not usually in the US that term hate. Usually you find the answers in the law lay your head bull, which means very God does not love alpha Sakina Varley mean, meaning the wrongdoers the evildoers. So even in the Quran, the emphasis is more often on the fact that God does not love people who do wicked things.
Yes, God is compassionate. God is merciful.
And that extends to all the creatures. But again similarly, it is not an absolute, unconditional attributes, God is also just, he is also Shadi de lacob, which means he is the severe in punishments.
in Islam, the Quran teaches us that God has many attributes. God has many names. God has many qualities.
It's also interesting
when atheists raise this topic of the problem of evil,
it's a strangely self contradicting assertion, from their own points of view.
Let's think about this.
Atheists by and large, perhaps not all of them, but I still probably have to meet an atheist who doesn't believe in the theory of evolution.
In fact, for atheists, the theory of evolution, for them is one of the strongest arguments that they use to rationalize that we don't need a creator, we have sufficient explanation from natural causes to explain the wide variety of life
that we find on our planets. Of course, it's what it's worth noting that evolution or the process of evolution, does nothing to be able to explain the fine tuning of the universe.
It does nothing to explain the alternation of the night and the day, the distance of the Earth from the sun, the exact composition of the gases in our atmosphere, the chemical properties of water,
the various forces that operate within the universe within such a fine degree.
That, it would be very strange to imagine how such precision could be a product of random events. So evolution doesn't do anything to explain those things. It can't,
however, still atheists, for them, the theory of evolution, is a strong argument that they use
in order to
try and show that God is at least not as necessary as believers think he is.
However, if you believe in the theory of evolution,
then you must also believe that human beings are just a product of random mutation, mutation of DNA
that is, evolved through natural selection.
And the question here is, as an atheist, where do you get the idea of evil from in the first place, because since we human beings are merely animals, perhaps slightly sophisticated animals or advanced animals, but the same, just the same, we are just animals. And therefore we are just a product
of the natural causes.
It's very beneficial to be able to highlight this through a specific example.
Beeping, it's good to highlight this through a specific example. The specific example I'd like to give, for example, is you know, just watch any documentary. Okay about a nature program of one animal fighting and killing and eating another.
So let's take the herds of wildebeest in the Masai Mara Parkin that goes between, or the Serengeti, as it's called, between Tanzania and Kenya.
And these will the beast migrate. And one of the things I'm sure you've probably seen it, there comes a time when they cross a certain River and the crocodiles know that it's time right for these rubies to cross and they're just waiting there to you know, it's just dinner time. Right now, you know, we don't sit there and look at the crocodiles and say,
Oh my God, look at that evil crocodile eating that will the beast. He's so evil and wicked. You might think that because the crocodile is a sort of bit slimy and reptile
And then well, the beast is a mammal, but you know that would, you know, that's ridiculous. They're just doing what crocodiles do.
When a lion jumps on a helpless little Gazelle and rips its throat open with blood spewing everywhere you don't say what a wicked lion.
The line is just doing what the lion does. When the male shark
forces itself upon the female shark, it basically rapes the female shark.
Well, we don't call it rape, we don't consider it to be evil. That's just what sharks do.
So here is my question.
Where does evil come in? If we are just evolved?
Surely human beings are just doing whatever human beings have evolved to do. So if we guess 6 million Jews, we slaughter each other in Rwanda, we write, we murder we steal, we're just doing what human beings do, we've evolved to do that.
So using the argument of evil is hypocrisy from the point of view of the atheist, because in reality, there is no morality, there is no such thing as good and evil. If you are truly an atheist, and you believe in evolution, morality is an artificial construct. But the fact that the atheist realize in their argumentation on the existence of the problem of evil, and they know it is so emotive, they can appeal to something deep rooted inside the human being actually proves that there must be a god.
Because From where does this idea that there is something evil come from?
It must come from some transcendental anchor, transcendental anchor, it has to come from someplace other than ourselves. Because if it doesn't, then we would have to agree that there is no such thing as objective evil.
There can only be subjective evil, there can only be subjective evil, what I mean by that, is, there is nothing really there is absolutely evil, always and forever.
Yeah. Because if evil
is merely a product of our circumstance, and so evil would be either it's evil, because most people in society happen happen to consider it to be evil.
Right? Or people perceive it to be harmful or non beneficial, or whatever. These are the causes. But since society changes,
those reasons change, so it is not objectively evil.
Let's take a scenario. For example, imagine that the Nazis had succeeded
in taking over the whole world.
And the whole of humanity had been indoctrinated, that it was a very good thing and a noble thing to kill every single Jew.
By the way,
you know, just as a side point.
You know, I always find it strange that some Muslims seem to be some Muslims seem to get caught up in this hole. There weren't really 6 million Jews killed or I don't really understand that, you know, okay, 2 million, 6 million who, you know, what's the point? I mean, you know, slaughtering human beings on mass is a terrible thing, whatever the number is, number one. Number two, what you think Europeans aren't capable of slaughtering people on mass. She, they're very good at it.
They have a nasty propensity in their history for doing it.
It's the facts.
And just to remind everyone, that number two on Hitler's list of inferior races after the Jews was indeed the Arabs.
Just to remind you of that.
So anyway, imagine the Nazis took over the world and they persuaded everybody that it was a good idea to kill all Jews. Therefore, according to the atheist evolution, inist concepts of good and evil it therefore would become good
which I am pretty sure that is
certainly believe that it is evil, it always is evil. irrespective of how many human beings may consider it to be good, it is evil,
to try and wipe out a race of human beings
based upon some racial prejudice.
But I believe that absolutely because I have an absolute standard of morality that is not defined by me, or my family, or my friends, or my tribe, or my nation, or my civilization, it is defined for me, as I believe by God.
And if you don't have that, transcendental meaning, it is something outside human events,
then you have no real claim to claim that anything is really absolutely evil. It's only evil, according to a particular circumstance. So the whole argument of the atheist anyway, of the problem of evil is a duplicitous argument from their point of view.
It's not honest from their own assessment of things. Yet, they use it very effectively and very impulsively.
There are lots of issues surrounding the problem of evil. And there are many problems
defining what is evil, even if you don't believe in God?
What makes something evil?
What makes it so bad?
Is willful intent? Does that make something evil? Because we will fully intend to do some harm to someone? Or is it something evil simply because of the end results?
These are issues that people who don't believe in God are still trying to figure out and still trying to discuss?
does evil exist as a separate entity? Or is evil, in fact, merely the absence of good?
That's an interesting question. Because it presumes, therefore, that human beings are good.
How about presuming the other way around, that human beings are evil, and that good is just the absence of evil. I mean, you know, you can think about this in many, many different ways. I remember reading in a book on philosophy,
a little statement that has stuck in my mind until today.
And the writer said that, in his opinion, the philosophy of ethics, is actually no more than a rationalization of our prejudices. The philosophy of ethics is really no more than a rationalization of our prejudices. And actually, what is really scary, is how easy it is to rationalize our prejudices.
It's very easy to rationalize one's evil.
I mean, we go back to our example of, you know, Nazi Germany, and Hitler, exterminating Jews. And it wasn't just some random thing. Of course, he had a whole process of rationalization for that, what the Jews had done, how they According to him, were sucking the nation dry they were, and so on and so forth, and the harm that they caused, then, you know, any Brett brung historical arguments, economic arguments, these are all rationalizations of his prejudice. And it's actually very easy. And I'm sure every single one of us sadly
do this all the time. we rationalize our evil.
We try and explain it away. We try and make it out as if the bad things that we're doing are really not so bad after all, because of A, B, C, D, whatever, these are our rationalizations.
Anyway, there are so many topics and so many issues that we could discuss around this problem of evil and it's only supposed to be I'm only giving you a taster an introduction.
But fundamentally, the reality is, is that the lecture today is really not about that particular subjects and I just really wanted to introduce these ideas.
What I want to go back to is my premise, my premise is that there is a God
that this universe does have a creator.
And therefore, to really deal with today's topic.
Why does God permit suffering?
on the earth?
The reality is, is the only way that we could have certainty, in respect to the answer to this question is, if God tells us
that's the only way we can know.
Because the reality is human reason has limitations, quite severe limitations. And I would just like to demonstrate the severe limitations of human reason. Can anyone tell me what is behind that door over there?
Can anyone tell me?
There's no one in this whole whole room that can tell me what is behind that door? How many, you know, hands up university students, please?
Hands up university students, and I guess is the medical school. So I don't know how many of you have used your medic, can you put your hand up as well? Keep your hand up. Yes. So a few of you. I mean, you know, seven years you're going to be studying and you know, our lives is going to be in your hands. Please tell me what's behind the door.
I'm scared now.
I'm not really but you know, I mean, I can't expect you to know I if someone actually worked here, and do you know what's behind the door?
Yeah. Could be a vacuum. Yeah.
You never know. That could be a wormhole to another dimension, my friend. It could be it could be Stargate right there. I mean, now, I mean, fair enough. Fair enough. You know that that's fine. That's good. I mean, you mean to be absolutely fair to you, you can rationalize some things. And you could probably take an educated guess. Right. But you don't know d?
Okay. You don't know for definite? Right? Okay. My All I'm trying to illustrate is the limits of reason, the limit of reason.
And that's quite shocking to think, how severely limited reason is, we call this in Islam, Al Mohler hype, the knowledge of the unseen, it is a demonstration of the knowledge of the unseen.
There is something unseen, and unseen reality.
Now, what if I was to tell you that well, I know what's behind that door?
And what if I was to tell you Furthermore, by the way,
your life depends upon you believing me within the next 25 minutes.
Or, in fact, you need to know what's behind that door within the next 25 minutes.
Or else it's going to have very severe consequences.
Now, if I was somehow able to persuade you,
that I know what's behind that door. So for example, I started explaining to you how, in fact, I am the person who regularly cleans this lecture theater.
And what if, on top of that, I was able to give you some evidence that I was the person who regularly cleaned this lecture theatre. In fact, what if I was able to take a key and actually inserting not that it has a key, but if I was able to take a key and insert it in the door and show you without opening Look, I can actually wiggle around the key. You see, it works. I can't open it, but I can show you the key fits.
I mean, presumably I could give you more and more evidence until you'd probably reached the stage where you'd agree that the most rational option for me is to indeed believe that my claim is true.
And this is exactly what we would. Or I suppose this is an analogy or a metaphor for the revelation that God the Creator.
creator has given us
we believe as Muslims that throughout time God has chosen certain human beings. And these human beings have been chosen to be a vehicle through which and by which people could know
more about God
and answer these fundamental questions, why is there suffering on earth? What is the purpose of life? What is the reason for my existence? Is there something that is going to happen to me after I die.
And rather like my analogy, of course,
the consequences of believing or not believing are extremely severe.
They are indeed very serious. And we believe that God has given these messengers and these prophets, signs,
indications through which and by which a rational thinking person could come to feel certain that the claim of those profits is a true claim.
Amongst the things that profits have been given our books,
those books contain words guidance, Revelation, from God from the Creator, to explain to us
And that is, of course, the claim
that the Muslim makes, that Mohammed, may God's peace and blessings be upon him. So Allahu alayhi wa sallam is the last messenger. And the Quran is the final revelation from the Creator. It has come with some signs, some evidences some things through which a rational person could examine could look could study and reach certainty that this claim is true. When I say certainty, of course, I don't mean an absolute certainty.
You can't reach absolute certainty merely by rationally examining these things, I don't believe any way reason can lead generally to absolute certainty. Okay.
And so really, the rest of my lecture today is really to try and explain to you
why God tells us what God tells us.
Why the world is the way it is, why did God make the world in this way? Why is there suffering?
Why are the difficulties Why is there hardship?
What is the explanation of the Quran gives, and the Prophet Mohammed gave for all of these things?
First of all, I want to put everything into perspective.
The first perspective I would like to put everything into is that I'm sure most of us would agree that it is really an exaggeration to describe life as suffering. In fact, I was a Buddhist, for a couple of years.
And one of the reasons One of the reasons I really felt unconvinced by Buddhism, is that the premise of Buddhist philosophy was that life is suffering.
And that's a faulty premise. And if your premise is faulty, then what follows on from that is almost definitely going to be faulty. Life is not suffering.
In fact, I'm sure most of us would agree that the joy and the happiness that we experience in life
is usually much more
than the suffering that we experience. And it usually happens quite fortuitously.
That suffering you know, we have the same when it rains it pours.
Suffering tends to come in bunches, and that's actually good, psychologically is good.
And good things tend to happen to us most of the time. I don't say this is the case with every single person. But to simply portrayed life of suffering is ridiculous.
In fact, most of the time human beings experience a extremely positive relationship with their life. In fact, the Quran is full of warnings to human beings, not to get carried away with the life of this world's not to be deceived by its pleasures and its joys.
Indeed, most human beings are so immersed in the pleasures of life. When someone comes to tell them, hey, you need to know what's behind the door. They say, Man, I'm just too busy having a good time to know or even care what's behind the door. In fact, statistically, by the way, most people don't care. They just don't care.
In this country, I don't mean on the whole planet, in this country. We know it because we've done a survey.
Most people don't about 70% of people in this country. Done, we did a statistically sound survey.
70% of this people in this country don't want to know about any religion, not Islam, not Christian, any religion, they just don't want to know. They don't care.
Because I presume they're just pretty busy enjoying their life. It's just fine the way it is. Why, why? Why would I even need to think about anything else? So that's the first perspective, I'd like to put, you know, this portraying
life as if it's full of suffering, and there's no joy, there's no happiness, right? As though as if life is full of neglect,
and starvation and disease, whereas in fact, in reality, most people don't really experience that at all.
The second perspective I would like to paint is, well, let's be real. Like they have that phrase, let's get real about ourselves as human beings.
And what I find is a lot of people who talk about this and complain about this, whether it's on the BBC or whoever.
It is such a skewered and almost arrogant perspective.
I mean, from the angle from which they feel justified to question God.
So let's put the human being in perspective. Human beings are small, little creatures, you just need to fly up in an aeroplane
and look down and you can't even see us.
We're small little creatures. And if you are able to travel outside of this Earth's atmosphere,
soon our Earth would recede and become an almost insignificant dots.
Indeed, if you kept on going a bit further, our whole solar system, including our sun, actually ends up being a small.on, the outer arm of the spiral of the outer arm of our galaxy, which is called the Milky Way, the Milky Way is estimated to be 10,000 light years across. That means if you travel nonstop, but 10,000 years at the speed of light, that is how long it would take you to cross our galaxy. And our galaxy is one of millions of galaxies in the known universe.
That's what we know. Now, I'll open the door a little bit.
The Prophet Mohammed may God's peace and blessings be upon him. He said in an authentic narration.
He said the universe compared to the courtesy,
which you could translate as the chair or the pedestal or it is the greatest next greatest creative thing after the
universe. I don't think we think of it in a literal sense, but the crossing the universe compared to the courtesy is like, imagine this a ring thrown in the deserts.
A ring thrown in the desert, that's our universe, compared to the courtesy and the courtesy compared to the Irish which means the throne is also like a ring thrown in the deserts.
What is incredible is that the one
who is above the hour should care about us at all.
That is incredible.
I mean, if we were to enter a more prophesize God, you know, you walk along the you walk along the floor, you don't care what insect you crush, what and you crush, right, what animal you destroy. You drive in your car, you don't really care how many bugs splatter on your windscreen. I mean, what are we?
What are we we're just dots on a.in a galaxy that's a.in the universe it's a dot before the
courtesy, which is a dot before the rush.
That's the perspective. Right? However, of course, there is this.
What I would say is an almost arrogant assertion
that you find some religions make that we are sons and daughters of God.
Whatever that is supposed to mean.
I mean, if I came today, yeah. And in my glass here, I had little fish. Yeah. I said, this is Jonah. My son.
Yeah, you say that, Mr. Green, that's a fish. Now, that's my son.
Yeah, he has, he has, he has a place on the table. You know, he eats dinner with us. Right? He has, he has his own room in the house. And under our new laws, the adoption papers are coming through next week.
He's my son is a fish, you may love him like a son. Right? But this is efficient, you are a human being. You can't take something that is not like you to be your son, it doesn't actually in language have meaning
doesn't have a meaning.
So this assertion, that we are sons and daughters of God.
While the Quran tells us that
God is glorious, above such things, if and God is glorious, above such a thing, if God had wanted or wish to take for himself as a son, he would have taken something more like himself.
But this is the mentality we have. So from that mentality comes a sort of assertion, like who is God to treat us like this? It's ridiculous to think like that.
In fact, who are you even to question God?
He can do what he likes, with who likes and who are we what are we nothing totally powerless, before the power of God.
We are his and this is the first therefore, assertion that we need to make, we are His creatures, slaves, servants. That is all we are.
We are the creatures of God, the creation of God, limited, finite, temporary, mortal, needy, that is what defines us as human beings.
That is the reality of our condition.
So that's the perspective I would like to put on this whole question. Point number two. Therefore, what is the purpose of our life? Why do we exist for Whoa, what are we human beings supposed to do with our life? This is a interesting question.
Indeed, if I was asked, most people I often do.
So what's your shoes? Yeah, it's okay. You can stick them out there and relax and shut out from your shoes. What are they for?
Walking? And those bits of string on your shoes, bro? What are they for?
Keep them on your feet. Right. Okay. And
what's that on your face? Those
help you see and make you look very intelligent. And you do indeed. To help you see? Yeah. And brother was like you got on your head. Oh, you know, what's that? thing? Yeah, no, yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's fine. Yeah. What's that?
You don't know.
Okay, and what's this wall here?
It's a pen, right? You're right with it. Okay, I'd like you to think really about yourself. Think about your body, your eyes, your nose, your tongue, your mouth, your ears, your liver, your kidneys, your lungs.
Every single component part of your body has a purpose. In fact, if we begin to look in the whole universe, guess what, even more extraordinary.
You know there's a moth.
There is a moth. Right? This moth lives in the Amazon jungle. Right. And the sole purpose of this moth is to eat the poop of another month. That's what it does. There's a big mouth and underneath it lives a little more and this little more eats the poo of that big mouth. Right? I didn't see this myself.
One thing someone told me, right? Now, if this little moth was not there, then what would happen is this poo would trickle down the tree? And the answer would come up, and they would eat this big mouth. I mean, the point being is that
how there is a place for everything, everything has a purpose. So now let's answer this question.
What is your purpose? For what reason? Do you exist? And I don't, by the way, mean you personally what you want to do with your life? What I mean is, what is the reason and the purpose of the existence of human beings? Why do human beings exist?
What is our function on this planet?
You can't just say to reproduce and just exist, we've already identified, you know, your shoes have a purpose, your pen has a purpose, right? Your ears, your nose? Is it conceivable that every individual part of your body has a purpose, but the totality of you does not have a purpose? Is it possible that this small mouth I should learn its name has a purpose, but you don't have a purpose?
So there is a fundamental question.
Yes, that's why a lot of us have ontological anxiety. Is that question? What is the purpose of life? Why are we here? What's it all for? Then that is also
why God has told us and given us revelation to say, Well, this is why I created you. And again, my assertion is, the only way to reach certainty is when the one who created us and the one who brought us into existence says, I created you for this purpose. So the Quran says hallak tiljander will insert Isla Leah Buddha, which means that God is saying I did not create the humans, sorry, I did not create the jinn and the human being except to worship me.
I'm going to come back to this. There are many, many other passages in the Quran. Let's take sorbitol 30th, ear canal Abu you alone do we worship?
Let's take sort of Bukhara, the 21st verse, all mankind worship your sustainer Who has created you,
and those who lived before you, so that you may be conscious of him.
Okay, third, Surah 51 Verily, God is my sustainer as well as your sustainer. So worship Him alone. This is the straightway
surah number five,
verse 76. Say, would you worship besides God, something that has no power, either to harm you or to benefit you, when God alone is all hearing all knowing? and many, many other verses, many men about 200 and something when I, you know, looked for this term worship, what is this term worship mean?
People may think oh, so what I just exist just to pray too fast, you know, to whatever. No, this is a very narrow secularized definition of the term worship, which is the word that a Baba does not mean. Ivana is a much more comprehensive term in Arabic, it means everything which God is loved and pleased with everything which God loves, and is pleased with from the actions of the heart and the actions of the limbs. So the purpose of life is to try to do everything in a way that God loves. And God is pleased with whether it is the action of your heart like love, hope, fear, trust, reliance, or reverence, intention, sincerity. These are actions of the hearts, or actions of the limbs, the
things you do the things you say, to try and do them in a way that God loves and God is pleased with how can we know what God loves? How can we know what God is pleased with? Again, we go back to our door analogy. It is not something we can guess it's not something we can only guess through reason we need revelation. That is why God has sent the prophets to tell you this is the purpose of life and then to teach us how to fulfill that creative purpose. Okay, so we have not been created except to worship Allah. And concerning this as well. Abdullah Ibn Abbas said, to worship God means to know God. So this is very important. We have been created to know God, how can we know God? How can we
know God? Think about this.
Sometimes many times perhaps always, the only way you can truly know something is by comparing it with its opposite.
Let me give you a simple example. If on this wall here, I painted a white dot
And I said to you all, do you like my white dot that I've painted?
Could you tell me where it is, you know?
But if I, if the whole wall was black, and then I painted a white dot, you'd be able to identify it quickly, wouldn't you?
You see, this is the reality? How do we know what is goodness? If there is not evil? How do we know what is order? If there is not randomness? How do we know? What is health? If there is not sickness? How do we know what is sin? If there is not good deeds? How do we know what is eternal and infinite and self sufficient, if we do not experience its opposite is that which is temporary and finite and needy.
And therefore, the universe is created in order for us to be able to realize and understand the lofty attributes, the perfect attributes of the Creator. These attributes are revealed. Again, in the revelation, God tells us because again, we can't guess what these attributes are, there is a very limited knowledge that we can have about God through reason.
But the attributes of God the qualities of God, again, this can only be known through revelation. So through the revelation, then one begins to contemplate these attributes, and one begins to see how they are manifest in the creation. And I would like to give you one example, I would like to give you one example that I suppose I could give many. And since there are 99, famous nine names of God, it would take us quite a long time to go through them all. But I'd like to give one example of alcohol for the Forgiving, which by the way, also neatly ties in with what I'm talking about the whole topic today. Okay? over for the forgiving.
The Prophet Mohammed, may God's peace of blessings be upon him said something, it is a really extraordinary thing that he said.
It's, it's really something very deep.
He said, that if you did not sin,
and then ask God for forgiveness for your sins, then God would remove you. And he would bring bring another people who did sin, and they would ask God forgiveness for their sins, and then God would forgive them.
And what is deep about this, and it is not an invitation for human beings to sin. But it is an explanation of the reality. Number one, that human beings will sin. But number two, and importantly, is through recognizing that you have done something in opposition to what God has commanded, and through your knowing that God is displeased with that. But you also know that you have a Lord, who is forgiving, and who is merciful, and who accepts repentance. And so through this process of recognizing your sin,
repenting for your sin, you understand the reality of Allah for the forgiving. How else could you understand the reality that God is a forgiving God? If you did that God is a forgiving God, if you did not sin and then seek forgiveness for your sins, how will you comprehend the reality of it.
So, therefore, these things are inevitable, they must be part of our life, through them and by them we come to realize and we come to understand, all of this suffering, the existence of evil all of these things that is part of this tapestry of life through which and by which we can realize and understand truth.
Number two, point number three I want to make that life is a test for answers and sort of under the helical motor will hire Leah blue Akuma Yocum ehsanullah mala wala season four which means that God has created death and life to make known which of you is the best and conduct and he is the Forgiving, the Merciful. This is a huge topic in and of itself. But life is a test to make known which of us will obey and which of us will disobey. Which of us will follow God's guidance and which of us will turn away from God's guidance. It also implies that life is a struggle. Life is a struggle, struggle is inbuilt into life.
Mankind has been created in toil and struggle, yet it is through that toil and through that struggle, and through that whole process of facing difficulties and challenges.
Is that we become either better human beings, or in fact, we become worse human beings.
And this, by the way, illustrates the important point of how relative the concept of evil is. Because if we take the example of an earthquake, let's say, let's say right now in here, there was an earthquake in this building fell down. For some people, this may be a great calamity. It may be the end of their life, they may become disabled, many terrible things, their friends may die, they may lose all hope of life. Yet there are other people in this room who almost certainly
will rise to the challenge of the occasion, that they will display acts of bravery and courage and selflessness, and altruism.
They will even be those people who suffer loss.
But through it, and through overcoming that loss, they become better human beings. And this is the reality. In fact, this is the reality of everyday life. In fact, even at university you're suffering, aren't you?
Every time you have to read those medical books, and remember those Latin names, and we realized that through embracing this struggle, the word which means in Arabic, by the way, jihad, Jihad means in Arabic to struggle to the utmost of your capacity, it could be an internal thing within yourself, struggling against your desires, or it could be external, struggling with the evils of the world around you. But if you embrace that struggle,
right, then you will truly experience the ultimate form
of happiness, and contentment and satisfaction. This is what elevates you as a human being.
and this is amazing if you can put these pieces of the jigsaw, jigsaw puzzle together, right? People may be thinking, Okay, well, God has created this world, and in this world is suffering and there are disasters, and there are so many things that happen, right? And I can understand why that's important for us as human beings to benefit in this way and that right? But why it is, why does God let people suffer and so on and so forth? Well, actually, the Quran tells us and I just want to read the translation, unfortunately.
Okay, it's okay, I've got it here.
I just want to read the translation of some verses of the Quran in
surah total room, okay, which is the 30th Sutra and and verse 41.
Okay, it is God who created you and provided for you who will cause you to die and then give you life again.
Which of your partners can do any of these things Glory be to God and Exalted be He, above the partners they attribute to him. Corruption has flourished on land and sea as a result of people's actions,
and he will make them taste the consequence of some of their own actions. So they may turn back say, travel through the land and see how those before you met their end. Most of them were people who set up partners with God. So even in corruption has appeared on the left on the face of the land and see, because of what we have done.
Evil is a product of our own hands.
It's because of the evil actions of human beings.
We don't attribute therefore evil to God, life is a test, but we have created that scenario for ourselves through our own evil actions. When I say created, I mean we have bought about that,
through our evil actions, so we suffer also similarly because of our actions, but we should the reason again is so that we will repent that we will turn back that we will reform ourselves that we will change ourselves that we will try to improve ourselves. So this is another important factor.
And finally, the last thing
and this connects with my first perspective that I wanted to make.
When God created
the paradise in the Hellfire, he said to the angel Gabriel, Gabriel,
go and look at my paradise and tell me what you think.
So Gabriel came back, he said, Oh Allah, anyone who comes to hear of this place, they will definitely enter into it.
And then God surrounded the paradise with difficulties and hardships, and tests and trials. And then he said to the angel Gabriel, now go and look at my paradise and tell me what you think. And he said, I am afraid that nobody will enter it. And he created the hellfire. He said, Oh, Gabriel, look at my health. I tell me what you think he said, anyone who comes to here of this place, they will never go there. Then he surrounded that Hellfire with luxury, and the ease and comforts. And then he said, Now Gabriel, go and tell me what you think. And he came back and he said, I'm afraid nobody will escape it.
This is the reality, the path to paradise. The destination is a beautiful one. But the way there is a path of sacrifice, of commitment of difficulties and hardships, but the ultimate end
is worth it all. Similarly, the Hellfire surrounded by comfort, luxury,
but its ultimate destination is a horrific one.
thing I want to mention, is extraordinary that the Prophet mentioned that the paradise in the Hellfire argued with each other, they argued with each other.
And this, by the way may seem strange, but it's to illustrate the perfect justice of God.
The paradise in the Hellfire argued, the Hellfire said in me, or the arrogant, the rich and the prouds.
And the paradise said, in me are the poor and the displaced, and the weak and the humble.
So God intervened between this argument. He said to the Hellfire, you are my roof,
and you will be filled.
And he said to the paradise, you're my mercy, and you will be filled.
The reality is brothers and sisters, that we are either fuel for the fire, or we are the people of paradise.
It is from God's justice that he created Hellfire and he will fit it. He will there will be people who will go there, he has created people for that hellfire.
It is like a living being that wants to consume and God in His justice will feed it.
And God has created paradise. And he will
put people in the paradise.
But the people who go to hell they go there, because they chose to do that. They chose to live their life, they chose to disobey God. They chose to take that path that will lead them there. God did not force them they chose it.
And the people of Paradise, when in reality we would say that nobody deserves paradise there is nothing we can do really to deserve paradise. People go to Paradise from the grace of God from his grace and mercy.
But there are things that a person does a way that a person behaves
and actions a person does in one's life. And that is something that God loves from a human being. and due to that love for them and their actions and their beliefs, that he will enter them in his mercy to the paradise. You know, I gave a lot of rational reasons but I just wanted to give you
one final thing to think about and it's to do with suffering.
Mashallah hamdulillah through the mercy of Allah.
I'm the father of 11 children.
I've been to the birth of every single one of my children. Except this one sitting right here Hamza? He's the only one maybe that's why I don't know. But anyway.
Maybe that's why he's so good looking. He didn't see my face and go Ah, no, seriously, but jokes aside.
The my second youngest child, her name is if
I want to tell her I want to tell you how she got her name.
As it happened, my wife was very weak. When she went into labor, she went into labor brothers and sisters
on the night of eat,
And it was a really hard labor. And I don't think you know, labor I find a really stressful thing just to watch it. So
What is it going to be like for the person who's going through it, but this particular labor brothers sisters was very intense. And, you know, it really, you know, things started to come to my head.
Why? Why does she have to suffer like that? Why does she have to go through all this pain?
Why? What's it all for? As I'm watching, you know, my wife, and that pain and that suffering, and then eventually, the baby is born. Right?
And the nurse takes the baby and cleans it and puts her in the incubator, whatever the little warm thing they keep to keep the baby warm, right. And my wife is in shock, right? she shakes after the thing she's in, you know, like this after shock. She's shaking, right? From the aftershock.
And she, she looks over, and I pick up the baby. And I you know, I give her baby and she looks at it. And she says, Oh, my baby, what would mommy do without you?
I mean, you want a miracle? You want something incredible, after all that pain after all that suffering? And she says, Oh my baby, what would mummy do without you? All that love, from that pain from that suffering?
I think that's a sign for people who think of people who reflect my brothers and sisters, everyone here tonight. It's been a real pleasure. May Allah bless all of you Salaam Alaikum.