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IslamQA: Why does Allah let some people suffer so much?

When will my suffering end? it's been long enough since I'm in emotional pain. I think suffering never ends for some people. My mother is a nicest human being anyone would ever meet on the Earth and Allah has tested her through out her life. First she got an abusive husband and because of him one by one all of my mother relatives deserted her. From her parents to her siblings to her cousins to her friends all left her. Why Allah gave her such a life? I think same is going to happen with me. 🙁

There will always be suffering. The difference is that with God our suffering will be meaningful and useful, while without God we suffer pointlessly. Face God and say “I will love You regardless of what You decree for me.” Realize that this entire universe is like a video game maintained by God’s imagination. We are all figments of His imagination. There is no escape from Him. We cannot get away with any evil or sin, He will make us suffer its consequences. Once you acknowledge your utter helplessness before Him, once you offer yourself to Him to do with as He wants, that is when suffering starts to become meaningful.

We need hardship to make us remember our powerlessness and our dependence on Him. But if you do something that always makes you recognize these things without needing hardship, there will no longer be a need for hardship to remind you. Since I started reading the Quran daily for an hour, alhamdulillah all meaningless inconveniences and hardships have left my life. I almost never run into inconveniences like not finding a taxi just when I need one most, or the Internet stopping working in the middle of my work. My life operates like a well-maintained and cleaned machine where almost nothing ever goes wrong.

But my life isn’t empty of suffering. I suffer from multiple chronic illnesses, one of which disables me from getting any work done for weeks at a time, so I cannot hold down a normal job. But God has taken care of my family financially. My inability to work has enabled me to read, which is one of my greatest pleasures. I read 23 books this Ramadan, and I recently finished 4000 pages of C. S. Lewis’s collected letters. My illness prevents me from feeling happiness or joy most of the time, but who cares if I was happy or sad in 2009 if I am a better person because of it now? I would choose a meaningful and beautiful life over a happy life any day.

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