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Why Would a Merciful God Allow Wildfires?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Nov 21, 2018

Question

There are so many human suffering in this world these days, the latest on the news being the Fort McMurray wildfires in Canada. Why would a Merciful God allow these fires to happen and so many people to suffer? Isn't that a contradiction? Can you really claim that your God is a Merciful God with so much evidence against his alleged mercy?

Consultant

Answer


Wildfires

Short Answer: Have we asked ourselves lately what is the purpose of life that God created us for? Are we fulfilling this purpose or are we disregarding Him? Doesn’t He, the Owner, reserve the right to send warnings and reminder? God is Merciful, yes. But, mercy doesn’t mean naive or indifferent. Sometimes it is more merciful to send warnings in order to set people on the right course that they’ve been neglecting. He is The Source of Mercy, The Creator of Mercy…but He is also, the All-Powerful, The King of kings.

………….

Salam (Peace) Dear Reader,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

External Tribulations are Signs of a Hidden Illness

You know when your body aches and you start noticing external symptoms on your face or skin, so you get alarmed enough to visit a doctor, only to discover that there has been a hidden major disease in you that you haven’t been paying attention to?

So, the external signs of illness that emerged were merciful signs to alarm you that there is a major illness that needs your attention…

Well,

“Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].” (Quran 30:41)

Sometimes those external tribulations are signs of a hidden illness that we have been neglecting, and need to start paying attention to.

We can project anger at God when we observe major problems. But, for those who think deeply and ponder, the tribulation could be a time of great meaning.

It’s a time to appreciate the state of complete health, welfare and well being we once had and weren’t grateful for… it’s a time to have compassion and deep bonding with those who are also going through problems- whom we once ignored-, thus witness deep human experiences at times when many people are self-indulged and self-centered.

Mercy

Now let us reevaluate our understanding and our definition of mercy.

Look at mothers. Mothers are generally very merciful towards their children. In fact, we can argue that a mother is the most loving, caring and merciful towards her children.

Imagine a mother who is watching her child about to touch an electric current and possibly electrocute himself. Will she be calm, quiet and apathetic? If she did, then this is not mercy, it’s the exact opposite. Sometimes mercy requires taking major decisive, disciplinary actions to prevent greater harm.

Sometimes kids act up or engage in harming themselves, which leads mothers to warn them and/or take actions to bring them to the right course. As a parent, you have the right to do that, and it emerges from you caring about the well being of your children on the long run. Does that make you not merciful?

Why Are We Being Warned?

What could be the message that needs our attention?

Imagine you own a company, for example. There is one employee who doesn’t do his job at all. He walks in and out of the company as he pleases following his own rules and desires, completely ignoring you, ignoring his job and the purpose of working in this place. He gets payment every month, but he still doesn’t recognize you and doesn’t do his job.

You warn this employee repeatedly, then you take disciplinary actions against him.

He then comes out and complains: “there has been evidence that the owner of this company is really not a nice person!”

The thing is: there has also been evidence that you haven’t been doing your job or paying attention to the purpose of being in this company?

The owner has the right to enact disciplinary actions when needed.

God also is the Owner. He is the Owner of The Heavens and The Earth and everything therein. He brought us here for a purpose. He gave us life, hearing, sight, intellect and a heart … He sent us messengers and messages and asked us to use that to learn about Him and connect with Him.

“God has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing and He made for you hearing and vision and intellect that perhaps you would be grateful.” (Quran 16:78)

But many people end up indulging in their own lives, their own rules and desires, as if there is no purpose. They reject and ignore God, the Giver of this life that they didn’t create for themselves.

We complain about God being ‘not merciful’, but we don’t look at ourselves being heedless and negligent of Him and our duties towards Him…

What’s the Purpose of Life?

Have we asked ourselves lately what is the purpose of life that God created us for? Are we fulfilling this purpose or are we disregarding Him?

Doesn’t He, the Owner, reserve the right to send warnings and reminders…?Why Would a Merciful God Allow Wildfires

God is Merciful, yes. But, mercy doesn’t mean naive or indifferent. Sometimes it is more merciful to send warnings in order to set people on the right course that they’ve been neglecting. He is The Source of Mercy, The Creator of Mercy…but He is also, the All-Powerful, The King of kings.

Can you disregard or ignore a king?

“And your Lord is the Forgiving, full of mercy. If He were to impose blame upon them for what they earned, He would have hastened for them the punishment. Rather, for them is an appointment from which they will never find an escape.” (Quran 18: 58)

If we were to be judged and punished fairly for every sin we commit, there wouldn’t be a single human being on this earth. But God is Ever-Patient, Forgiving, Merciful and All-Wise.

If you have a mobile phone for example, and it stops working; it stops making or receiving calls, it no longer fulfills its purpose despite fixing it several times. What would you do?

Most probably throw it away or replace it.

Everything in this world has a purpose, even a little mobile phone, but what about us… the sophisticated human beings, we don’t think about or attend to our purpose of creation?

If we are going against our purpose of creation, isn’t it fair for us get reminders?

It Is Not About Punishment

It’s not about punishing us.

“What would God do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is God Appreciative and Knowing.” (Quran 4: 147)

Do you see the problem? “If you are thankful and believe in Him”, but in a world where we are giving God little to no attention, acting ungratefully, spreading corruption and shamelessness, ignoring and disbelieving in Him, indulging in our own lives… is this a type of gratitude worthy of the gift of life that we’ve been given?

These are all matters that we, as intellectual beings, need to think about.

I hope this answers your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

God Is Merciful- Why Hell?

Is Allah Really Merciful?

Thinking Well of God




About Dina Mohamed Basiony

Dina Mohamed Basiony is a writer based in Cairo, Egypt. She is the Chief Editor of ProductiveMuslim.com. She specializes in Islam and spirituality. Dina holds an MA and BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the American University in Cairo.

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