Syed Zeeshan Abedi (Lumumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo)
Hazrat Ali (a.s.) says:
“Adl is that you don’t accuse Him (Allah, of things which you don’t like for yourself).”
(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 5, p. 52, H.86)
Question: Why do some people have defects from birth? If Allah is Just, then why has He created these people defective and imperfect by which they have to undergo problems and difficulties throughout their lives and are made targets of taunts, degradation and disgrace?
Answer: Firstly, it is possible that these defects and tribulations are means of examination by Allah for those defective people or their parents, relatives and friends.
Secondly, Allah warns and cautions the people through these difficulties so that He awakens the people from the sleep of negligence and makes them attentive towards Himself. In this way, a link is formed between the Creator and His servants which is a great bounty.
Thirdly, defects from birth are sometimes the result of our own deeds, because many a times we ourselves are the cause of such difficulties and problems. The people who are defective from birth are the result of human negligence. It is the duty of the parents to care and protect their health and spirituality. But due to carelessness, defective children are born. For example, having intercourse in a state of intoxication has a very dangerous effect on the foetus in the mother’s womb. Over here one question arises that what is the child’s fault in this? Dear readers, over here the child is faultless and Allah is also Pure, it is the parent’s fault who violated the law as a result of which difficulties and problems have afflicted the child. This is not the case only with children. Throughout the world, it is always the oppressed ones who have to suffer untold miseries due to the crimes of the oppressors.
Another example is that of a person who hurls a stone at you and injures your forehead. Then in this condition, it is neither your fault nor Allah’s. But it is that person’s fault who has thrown the stone at you. But it is you who are made to undergo the pain and suffering. Another objection, that arises is – the parent’s fault was for a limited period only and temporary in nature, however the defective child has to suffer disgrace throughout his life. Regarding this, we state that within a second if you make yourself blind with a knife, then you will become blind permanently, for life. However, this mistake was the result of action that was done in a second, the effect of which lasts a lifetime. Similarly if you throw a stone on a mirror, the mirror will be shattered into pieces permanently. Even other things are affected likewise. For instance, a friendship based on years of love and affection may breakup due to some unpleasant words or some silly misunderstanding. Similarly, enmity based on years of hostility and malice maybe resolved by a mere apology.
Another question that arises is – what if the parents are not aware of this action which has a serious effect on the foetus? The reply to this is – the effect is not due to the awareness or unawareness of the parents. For instance, if we are unaware of electricity running through a particular wire and we touch it in our state of ignorance, can we expect the laws of electricity to be suspended out of sympathy for us? If we are unaware and consume liquor thinking it to be water, we will definitely get intoxicated because intoxication is the most obvious effect of liquor, regardless of whether one consumes it wittingly or otherwise. Hence, parents’ unawareness or lack of knowledge will never avert the adverse effects of any action.
Secondly, the degradation and disgrace suffered by a defective child from birth is due to faulty training and flawed upbringing of the people, and has nothing to do with Allah. Never should we look down upon a defective or deformed child. This is what Islam teaches us. It is necessary to remind here that Allah tests man with hardships and difficulties according to the strength, power, ability and capacity of the person. For instance, He does not threaten a blind man with punishment for not seeing. Similarly, the Almighty Allah will deal with the defective child in another way, distinct from the way He deals with other normal people. Certainly, those children who are born defective due to their parents’ faults are those who have been rendered weak, and Allah, the Almighty, will reward the oppressed ones in the Hereafter. Therefore, it is the duty of the defective people to thank Allah, when they are afflicted with hardships, and should face their afflictions with patience. They must realise that in Islam having a perfect body with good looks is not the standard of greatness, rather it is knowledge and piety.
“Allah has raised in degrees those among you who believe and who have been granted knowledge.”
For those people who make fun of defective and deformed people, we can only say, ‘O men of understanding! Has the defective man created his own self in that form, which makes you ridicule him? And if you are devoid of defects, is it because you have created your own self and made yourself defect-free? Ask yourself honestly whether you would have liked people to mock at you because of some defect in you for no fault of your own? Keeping in view the high ethics and standards of Islam, let us behave in a manner worthy of Shias of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and lead a prosperous and happy life in this world and be redeemed from disgrace in the hereafter.
We have already mentioned earlier that whatever hardships and difficulties afflict us in our lives is due to our own doing and we are the ones responsible for it. For instance, if we do not follow the laws regarding the protection of our health, then we are bound to fall sick. Another point highlighted earlier was that difficulties are bounties from Allah’s side to the extent that they make us aware, and wake us from the sleep of negligence. It is a type of remembrance, which makes us attentive towards Allah. It also serves as a test and examination for the people. Let us browse through the replies to some of the important questions posed by the skeptics.