Roughly two weeks ago my elderly father, nearly 86, fell, and fractured his hip, having to go for emergency surgery. It has been, to say the least, an enormous test for my family. But like all moments of difficulty, they also warrant introspection.
Modern life, so much of which champions a post-religious worldview, is increasingly miserable and incapable of dealing with the vicissitudes of life. The result has been a society which is not only crippled but obstructed from attaining the means of learning how to suffer and survive. Religion in general—and Islam in particular— does not simply place value on redemptive suffering but rather on the knowledge of why we suffer; an acknowledgment that knowing how to suffer—and that one may indeed suffer in accordance with God’s plan for you in this life—is crucial to living a full life. It is this point, that suffering is a part of the richness of life, is what seems to incense today’s profiteers of an imminent utopia: a heaven on earth.
Having increasingly lost the ability to suffer, this alone gives tremendous insight as to why this generation, with all its technological wonders and political progressivism also boasts increasingly higher and higher rates of suicide and drug use. Ironically, it would seem from the traditional religious point of view that heaven can wait. That one must live before one dies and that one’s life will have its ups and downs, and knowing this, embracing this, could perhaps be the cure so many today are looking for: a cure for post-religionism and post-modernity.
وَابتَغِ فيما آتاكَ اللَّهُ الدّارَ الآخِرَةَ ۖ وَلا تَنسَ نَصيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنيا ۖ وَأَحسِن كَما أَحسَنَ اللَّهُ إِلَيكَ ۖ وَلا تَبغِ الفَسادَ فِي الأَرضِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يُحِبُّ المُفسِدينَ
“Seek the abode of the Next World with what God has given you, without forgetting your portion of this world. And do good as God has been good to you. And do not seek to cause corruption in the earth. God does not love those who cause corruption.” — Qur’an 28: 77