Thursday, 23 February 2012

Suffering, Pain, Response and Fate!

We are often faced with the question why there is so much suffering in the world leading to pain resulting at times in unpleasant human response. The question is genuine and needs to be intelligently answered to ensure a peaceful mind.

Suffering basically is an unavoidable consequence of existence. We human beings have been blessed with intellect and we have our own views about what we should or shouldn't have. Anything going against our desired plan rightly becomes a suffering for us. So suffering is real and it exists as a by product of our own existence. A question arises that why such an imperfect world? Why a world with suffering in the first place? A perfect world would have been ideal but as it deals with human feelings which differ from person to person and time to time so such an ideal is hard to achieve with freely thinking human beings. An ideal world would soon become an imperfect one for me the moment it goes against the plan 'I' think to be a perfect one. According to Ibn-e-Arabi the source of imperfections is we ourselves. Our own 'being' acts as a reflector of the perfect Being whose attributes are the source of everything. Whatever imperfections we see are the result of the imperfections of the reflectors and not the One being reflected. One might ask what is the source of these imperfections then? That is probably their part in the grand design and they are meant to be like that. It's like parts of a watch, some being small, some large and everyone with different functions to make the watch perfectly working. That is what is called 'Fate' and there is no escape from that grand design. The best way is to accept it and go along with it.

Pain here is referred to as a feeling we all have as a result of our sufferings though technically 'Pain' in itself can be a suffering. Pain as a result of suffering is natural because of our understanding of the loss or disappointment we suffer and is real and unavoidable though its extent might differ from person to person depending on many factors affecting the personality.

Human Response to the Suffering and consequently Pain is the most important aspect of the troika being discussed here and this is what actually has been the focus of religion and psychology alike. Our Response is what determines how we face a suffering in our life and can be modified by giving a reason to the unavoidable sufferings we have to face because of our existence. Religion tells us about the transient nature of this world and the presence of an ever existing hereafter which is without any suffering and will be given to those who show Patience on the unavoidable suffering of this world apart from many other requirements. We are told to accept the grand plan and be patient with it. Accepting the grand plan with patience however does not mean that we should stop working to alleviate our sufferings. Instead we are asked to work hard to improve our life and leave the result to whatever is designed for us. This is because the grand design is not known to us so best option is to keep working hard to improve our life. Once something has happened it surely is a part of the design meant for us and we should face it with dignity accepting it with patience with a belief in 'Fate'.

As a discussion of human suffering can not be complete with out talking about destiny and fate so a few words about Fate are in order. We all are rushing to our destiny. We think, plan and execute our plans just to meet that destiny. 
Belief in Fate is part of our Faith. Fate is of two types, Taqdeer e Mubram & Taqdeer e Muallaq. The first one is decided and nothing would change it. The second is still hanging in balance depending upon many variables including our actions. Anything that has happened is definitely from the first category and we must accept it wholeheartedly. Anything which has not happened is not known to us and we should 'take' it as the second one and try our best to get it our way. Once it happens then it becomes the first one and is to be happily accepted.
As per our belief whatever happens is ultimately with the approval of Allah and is in fact for our own good in the end. Wise people, therefore, take Achievements with Humility (شکر) and Losses / Sufferings with dignity (صبر). Without that we tend to be arrogant while we achieve and depressed when we lose or suffer. Life thus becomes easy and practical with the ultimate aim of having a happy and satisfied life achieved.


Suffering and the resultant Pain are real but most of the time an unavoidable consequence of existence. Our Response is something which can be modified and is the chief factor affecting our life. A correct belief in Fate helps us have a positive attitude towards life.

1 comment:

  1. Anything going against our desired plan rightly becomes a suffering for us.