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  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Given the current state of the world, how could we see God as Most Kind, Merciful, and Powerful

The remedy for ignorance is asking questions. (Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon Him)

The spirit of inquiry is the hallmark of an open society and the above saying of the Prophet aptly illustrates this principle. A culture of curiosity and open-mindedness will foster development in any society by motivating its members to learn enthusiastically and enrich their knowledge. This is because awareness of one’s ignorance is half of knowledge, as it becomes a stepping-stone to seeking and finding answers. A questioning mind is like a flowing river that is replenished with fresh thoughts and ideas and continues on its journey.

Given the current state of the world, how could we see God as Most Kind and Most Merciful, Most Powerful and Most Loving?

This is a very important question. I feel it is a very short-sighted approach to look at some events transpiring in the world and hastily formulate an opinion based on them. We should first develop an understanding of the creation plan of God and then evaluate events in the light of this plan.

History shows that difficulties and hardships have also played a vital role in the progress of many countries. Hardships and challenges have brought out the best from individuals and communities. The so-called adverse and negative events in the world have culminated in setting successful examples of re-planning. It has taught people the way forward after having incurred losses and defeat. Any disadvantageous situation creates a compulsion, which leads to new and positive developments. Arnold Toynbee, a noted historian, has termed this phenomenon as ‘Challenge-Response Mechanism’. God creates compulsions to guide people in the right direction, for people to learn and take heed. Many communities have risen to great heights starting from utter distress. Thus, God’s love, kindness and benevolence towards human beings can be found in the way that this catastrophe has awakened man to change his ways for better, before it is too late.

Take the present coronavirus pandemic. It is a situation which calls humankind to realize, repent and return to nature, to respect nature and to change its ways. Nature has been warning us in the form of pollution, depletion of ozone layer, increase in atmospheric CO2, global warming, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, disease, etc., which should have been enough to make us realize our irresponsible use of the blessings of God. The warnings should have motivated us to change our attitude towards nature. We neglected these signs and continued heedlessly towards materialism and today we are facing a most difficult and unprecedented situation in human history.

Still there is hope for humankind, if all of us choose to bring about changes immediately and be steadfast irrespective of whether or not they are imposed on us by the authorities. In this struggle, individual responsibility is the only thing which can give the right results. As has been rightly said, the soul of all reformation is the reformation of the individual soul.

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