Why does Allah not prevent extreme evil deeds, wars, drought, etc if He is Rahim (the Merciful) and Rahman (the Compassionate)?

The Details of the Question
I have an atheistic German friend; he does not believe in Allah; he says, "If Allah existed, there would be no wars and deaths; everybody would be happy. People in Africa would not starve to death. I will decay after death." What should I tell him to have an effect on him?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The issue has several aspects. You can make a detailed search in our website using keywords like "Allah", "gathering" etc.

Not all misfortunes are grievous; one should not view all diseases or disasters as a manifestation of grief. 

The following is stated in a hadith:

“The biggest misfortunes hit prophets, then saints and then the other righteous slaves.”(see Hakim, al-Mustadrak, III/343; Musnad, 1/172, 174, 180)

When misfortune is mentioned, we understand “being tested by disasters/tribulations”. The results of heavy tests are big. The questions asked in the test for ordinary officials and administrators are not the same. The former is easier than the latter and the result of the letter is more important than the former.

A wonderful determination regarding the issue is as follows:

“Everything about Divine Determining is good and beautiful. Even the evil that comes from it is good, and the ugliness, beautiful.” (Nursi, Sözler (Words))

Man needs to have a look at his own body first. He needs to think of each organ separately. And he needs to ask himself the following questions:Which one is not determined in the best way in terms of its location, shape, size and duty/function? Then, he needs to move to his own world of spirit and think of the same things for it:Is memory or imagination unnecessary? Is love or fear redundant?

The body forms a whole with all of its organs and becomes useful only then; similarly, the spirit is a whole with all of its feelings, emotions and faculties. It becomes useful only when it is a whole. If you remove the mind and memory from human spirit, it cannot fulfill any of its functions. If you remove the feeling of anxiety, it will become lazy and will not work for the world or the hereafter. If it does not have the feeling of love, it will not take pleasure from anything.

Both the body and spirit of man have been arranged in the best and wise way. It is called “apparent qadar”. Similarly, the incidents that take place in the life of man are in order. It is called “spiritual qadar”. Apparent qadar informs us about spiritual qadar. Both of them are nice in all aspects, except for the sins and rebellious acts committed by partial free will. 

When we face the manifestations of the spiritual qadar that are out of our will and when we are shocked, falter and fluctuate, we need to look at apparent qadar and the endless wisdoms in it immediately. For instance, we need to remember the merciful training in the womb: divine wisdom and mercy educated us in the best way there and we were not aware of anything.

Now we live with different manifestations of the same mercy.

“Having good thoughts about Allah is worshipping.”(Abu Dawud, Adab, 81, no: 4993)

We need to take our lesson from the hadith above and rely on the mercy of our Lord, who fed and brought us up and who arranged everything about us in the best way. We need to see every incident that we face as a question of the test and we need to look for a manifestation of mercy in the incidents that our soul does not like. If man takes only his soul as a criterion, he will be mistaken. The soul of a young person does not want to go to school but wants to play. However, the mind opposes this. It shows man the nice ranks he can attain in the future or the problems he will face; thus, it makes man give up playing. That is, what is good for the soul is not good for the mind.

The heart is completely different. If it is illuminated with belief, it sees everything and every incident as a manifestation of divine names. It attains the following reality: “All of Allah’s names are beautiful and all of their manifestations are beautiful too.” There will be nothing ugly for that fortunate slave.

Those who say, “Your misfortune is nice and Your grace is nice, too” are fortunate people who have attained this rank. They have attained the following secret: “Allah loves them and they love Allah.”

In Risale-i Nur Collection, beauty is analyzed in two parts:  “those that are beautiful themselves” and“those that are beautiful in terms of their outcomes.” we can give some examples for this classification: Day itself is nice; night has a different beauty. One reminds wakefulness; the other reminds sleep. Is it not clear that we need both?  

On the other hand, fruit itself is nice; medication is nice in terms of its outcome.

The incidents man faces are like either night or day. Health is like day and illness is like night. If it is regarded that an illness is atonement for sins, that it teaches man that he is weak, that it reminds man of his slavery and that it turns man's heart from the world to his Lord, it will be seen that illness is a boon as big as health. Health is the feast day for the body and illness is food for the heart. 

“Night and day” are only one link of the continuous chain of the manifestation of “jalal (majesty) and jamal (beauty)”. There are so many other links like the negative and positive polarity of electricity, the black and white parts of the eye, the white and red blood cells, etc. We are surrounded with this binary system in our inner and outer world; and we make use of each of them. 

A verse closely related to the issue is as follows:

“But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you.”(al-Baqara, 2/216)

The verse is related to jihad but its decree is general. This verse points to another binary: war and peace. Peace is like day; everybody likes it; war is like night. However, those who do not fight when it is necessary will have difficulty in the future and their descendants will live under oppression. Those who are martyred in jihad, attain the rank of sainthood at once and the worldly life that they have lost is like night compared to their new life. 

Can there be a misfortune worse than death? The verse states that there are several good things under this incident, which the soul does not like; thus, it consoles us for the other disasters, illnesses and misfortunes of the world.

The following is stated in a sacred hadith:

“My mercy prevails over My wrath.” (Tirmidhi, Daawat, 99)

This hadith is interpreted as follows:“There are so many manifestation of Allah's mercy behind every misfortune that they are more than the agonies and pains caused by that misfortune.”

Life is not like even a moment compared to eternity. There is no need to worry if the illnesses, misfortunes and problems that hit us in this short life are good for our eternal life. What is the importance of seventy-eighty years compared to eternity? Are all of the ephemeral misfortunes and problems of this world not regarded as nothing compared to eternal bliss?

However, the soul of man wants advance pleasures; it does not look at the future. That area belongs to the mind and heart. As we have just mentioned, not all misfortunes are absolutely troublesome. The incidents that our soul does not like and the ones that make life upside down for us are either divine warnings preventing us from going astray or atonement for our sins preventing us from being punished in the hereafter by giving us pain in this world. Or, they are a means of turning human heart to Allah and the hereafter from the world life.

On the other hand, misfortunes are a test of patience for man; the reward of passing this test is great.

In conclusion, they are divine warnings and grief. They all can have shares in general misfortunes. They may be punishment for a group, warning for another and atonement for sins for another.

Regarding individual misfortunes, the safest way, according to us, is as follows: If a misfortune hits us, we need to blame our soul and make it repent. If a misfortune hits others, we need to regard them as a means of improvement for those people. Thus, we will elevate our level in educating our soul and will not think of bad things about others.

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