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47. Why are problems and hardships ever present in the world we live in?

A passer-by goes by a crystal glass shop and notices some drinking glasses on display on the shop-front that were placed upside-down. After looking at them for a little while, the passer-by goes in, picks one of the glasses up and complains to the shop keeper, asking why these glasses are sealed from the top yet bottomless.

The shop keeper smiles and says that if you look at it the right way and hold it the right way up, both of those problems will be resolved.

Yes, many of the problems are based upon incorrect beliefs and ideas. We imagine that the world is for convenience and comfort, and so we ask why there is inconvenience and discomfort. Like someone sitting in a kebab restaurant and complaining as to why there is no shower here? That individual needs to understand and believe that the restaurant is not a bathroom.

We too have to understand that the world is not a place to sleep, is not a place of pleasure, or a crib to be rocked in, but rather, one must grow and develop in this world in this world and tackle hardships in order to take oneself to growth, development and perfection.

The Qur’an reveals:

فَأَخَذْنَاهُم بِالْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَضَرَّعُونَ

“And We seized them with misery and hardship that haply they might be humble.”1

It’s true that a scent stick, unless burning, will not be able to release its fragrance in to its environment. Hardship is a tool of much pride and vanity.

Like the regulated air that is pumped in to the tires of cars, so too are hardships that are experienced by mankind necessary to regulate and normalize us, eliminate neglect, vanity, ego and pride, as well as providing the pressure needed to allow the creation of new initiatives and a source of inventions.

  • 1. Al Anaam 42