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The Holy Quran and the issues of affliction

The Holy Quran and the issues of affliction

All men in their life confront many difficulties and calamities. What is the cause and the source of this unfortunes? See the following text by professor Hossein Ansarian on this issue. It is adopted from his book “ the land of lovers”.

The Holy Quran at times considers miseries, affliction, and disagreeable things as the direct results of man's sins and disobedience towards God. The Holy Quran, specifically, refers to disagreeable things as the products of the God's enemies and Shaitans. The enemies of God who can not see the believers to progress in life try to hurt and annoy the believers.

لَتُبْلَوُنَّ فِي أَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنْفُسِكُمْ وَلَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنْ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ وَمِنْ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَذًى كَثِيرًا وَإِنْ تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ ذَلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ  [1]

You shall certainly be tried respecting your wealth and your souls, and you shall certainly hear from those who have been given the Book before you and from those who are polytheists much annoying talk; and if you are patient and guard against evil, surely this is one of the affairs which should be determined upon.

When the believers gathered around the Prophet(s) in the city of Medina, they were hurt and bothered by the jews, being scolded and reproached by them. After a while, they were involved in terribe fights with the infidels. Their involvement in these affliction, miseries and calamities called for a lot of patience and perseverance. For this very reason Allah revealed the above sacred surah to the Great Prophet(s).

The faithful associates of the Great Prophet(s) such as Salman, Abuzaer, Meqdad, Ammar, Balal, Khabbab, Yaser and the royal followers of the Infallible Ones(s), such as Malik Ashtar, Meytham Tammar, Sahl Ibn Hanif, Hojar Ibn Oday, Roshish Hajari, Komail, Abu Hamzah Thamali, Zorareh, Hesham Ibn Hakam, Mohammad Ibn Moslem, Thafwan Ibn Yahya, Abu Hashim Jaafari and Zakaryya Ben Adam were all confronted with all kinds of calamities, pains and sufferings and were extremely patient up to the point when these pains and catastrophies were eliminated from their lives.

We will see in the Holy Quran that the key to all these calamities is in the hands of the Affectionate Allah:

أَلَمْ نَشْرَحْ لَكَ صَدْرَكَ وَوَضَعْنَا عَنكَ وِزْرَكَ الَّذِي أَنقَضَ ظَهْرَكَ وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا

“Have we not expanded for you your breast, And taken off from you your burden, which pressed heavily upon your back, And exalted for you your esteem? Surely with difficulty is ease. With difficulty is surely ease. [Quran 94:1-6].

The Beneficient Allah, noticing that His Honorable Servant, Mohammad(s) was under the heaviest burden due to the tasks that Allah had arranged for him, that Mohammad(s) was engulfed with all sorts of disasters, that he had to cope with the severest kinds of infidels, that he had to guide the worshippers of idols made out of stone, wood and date, that he had to cope with corrupted people, who were tyrants, cruel and ignorant surrounded by quaqmires of corruption, revealed the above surah to Mohammad(s) so that he and his followers could be at ease mentally and could continue with their endeavors against the infidels.

In the above sacred Surah, Allah Shows Mohammad(s) the way to handle problems and the approach to lead people towards salvation. Allah gives the Prophet(s) the required stamina and strength, encouragement and endurance, and spiritual support.

Allah provided Mohammad(s) with such a strength in mind and soul that he could easily endure hardships despite their gravity. The Prophet(s) was strong in determination, stout in his conviction, secure in his soul, and mighty in his confidence in his God.”[2]

أَلَمْ نَشْرَحْ لَكَ صَدْرَكَ

“We expanded for you your breast”. Allah did this with His special Magnanimity and Grace.


*  *  *  *


وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مَخْرَجًا وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَنْ يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا  [3]

“… and whoever is careful of his duty to Allah, He will make for him an outlet, And give him whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him; surely Allah attains His purpose; Allah indeed has appointed a measure for everything.”

There are numerous verses like this one in the Holy Quran. One should only possess a hopeful and wakeful and vigilant heart to be able to rely on these verses and realize the fact that only God could solve his problems. He should, as well, be aware that nobody except for God should be relied on.

Those who are enchanted by Allha's Beauty and are trying to reach Him should not be scared away by the hardships and hurdles on this path. Rather, they should manifest perseverance and endurance.[4]

أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِكَافٍ عَبْدَهُ  [5]

“Is not Allah sufficient for His servant?” Is not Allah, who possesses all attributes of Perfection, sufficient for His servant to protect him against the backdrops of all vices and miseries?

God always averts miseries although some classes of people, when released from hardships, might engage in sins and wrong-doings.

In the book called “Joy after sorrow.” We will read: the clear evidence for God's assistance for those who are extremely sinful and those who are wretched comes from the glorious verses the Holy Quran as shown in the following sacred verses”[6]

وَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنْسَانَ الضُّرُّ دَعَانَا لِجَنْبِهِ أَوْ قَاعِدًا أَوْ قَائِمًا فَلَمَّا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُ ضُرَّهُ مَرَّ كَأَنْ لَمْ يَدْعُنَا إِلَى ضُرٍّ مَسَّهُ كَذَلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْمُسْرِفِينَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ  [7]

“And when affliction touches a man, he calls on us, whether lying on his side or sitting or standing; but when we remove his affliction from him, he passes on as though he had never called on us on account of an affliction that touched him; thus that which they do is made fair seeming to the extravagant.”

Everybody, even the wrong-doers, know that nobody except for God is capable of solving our problems.

قُلْ مَنْ يُنَجِّيكُمْ مِنْ ظُلُمَاتِ الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ تَدْعُونَهُ تَضَرُّعًا وَخُفْيَةً لَئِنْ أَنجَانَا مِنْ هَذِهِ لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنْ الشَّاكِرِينَ قُلْ اللَّهُ يُنَجِّيكُمْ مِنْهَا وَمِنْ كُلِّ كَرْبٍ ثُمَّ أَنْتُمْ تُشْرِكُونَ  [8]

Say: Who is it that delivers you from the dangers of the land and the sea when you call upon Him openly humiliating yourselves, and in secret: If He delivers us from this, we should certainly be of the grateful ones. Say: Allah delivers you from them and from every distress, but again you set up others with Him.

أَمَّنْ يُجِيبُ الْمُضطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَاءَ الْأَرْضِ أَئِلَهٌ مَعَ اللَّهِ قَلِيلًا مَا تَذَكَّرُونَ  [9]

“Or, Who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil, and He will make you successors in the earth. Is there a God with Allah? Little is it that you mind!”

وَذَا النُّونِ إِذْ ذَهَبَ مُغَاضِبًا فَظَنَّ أَنْ لَنْ نَقْدِرَ عَلَيْهِ فَنَادَى فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنْ الظَّالِمِينَ فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ مِنْ الْغَمِّ وَكَذَلِكَ نُنْجِي الْمُؤْمِنِينَ  [10]

“And yunus, when he went away in wrath, so he thought that we would not straiten him, so he called out among afflictions: There is no god but thou, glory be to thee; surely I am of those who make themselves to suffer loss.”


*  *  *  *

From the verses of the Holy Quran we will understand that it is only Allah Who is the Solver of the problems and enigmas. And it is upto man not to get frightened by distresses and hardships. Rather, he should be aware that hardships and severe conditions are the means for the attainment of prosperity. The only thing that a man can do is to beg God for solutions to his problems. This is clear from the first sentence of the seventh invocation presented above:

يامَنْ تُحَلُّ بِهِ عُقَدُ الْمَكارِهِ.

“He is the One Who can solve all problems due to His Grace.”

The Holy Quran refers to the calamities and afflictions of some prophets and explains for us that those great men of God always begged Him for help and assistance when they encountered difficulties.


[1] Quran 3:186.

[2] Tafsir Novin, P 232.

[3] Quran 65:2-3.

[4] Abhar Al-Asheqin, P 51.

[5] Quran 39:36.

[6] Joy after sorrow, P 16.

[7] Quran 10:12.

[8] Quran 6:63-64.

[9] Quran 27:62.

[10] Quran 21:87-88.

source : the land of lovers by professor Hossein Ansarian
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