There are many theories about why bad things happen to good people, about why seemingly good, virtuous people often seem to lead difficult lives, interspersed with calamity, disaster and suffering. We all know people who have suffered tremendous losses or had catastrophic health problems, and yet have never hurt anyone or done anything remotely wrong their entire life. So that leaves us with the question: why do bad things happen to good people?
The theory of karma would say “what goes around comes around”. It explains that the actions of an individual shape his or her future. In other belief systems (Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, for example), individuals are born and reborn endlessly as different life forms until they attain salvation. Depending on their previous life’s sins people are rewarded or punished in the next life.
However, Islam has a logical alternative to these theories. Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), said, “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.”
Allah, in His wisdom, has decreed that by being patient through suffering and by asking Allah (and only Him) for his mercy and forgiveness, people get a chance to increase their reward and facilitating their way to jannah . And our Creator, knows us best, He tells us in the Quran (Chapter 2 Verse 286): Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned…
So when bad things happen to good people, it is because those good people are being tested for their mettle, their faith, their trust and complete reliance on Allah. They are being tested so that their patience and gratitude in the face of adversity and suffering will be shown to them on the day of judgment in their book of deeds. And when their good and bad deeds are weighed against each other on the scales of Allah, their good deeds will come out heavier. So when we follow this line of logic, the truth of this Ayah from the Quran (Chapter 2 Verse 153) becomes apparent: Verily Allah is with those who are patient.