What is the connection between good and evil with the calamities of this world, such as natural disasters and famine?
Allah has provided ample resources for everyone on earth to live in comfort. However, these resources are often monopolized by the rich. They do not reach the poor because of the failure to distribute them fairly. As a simple example, up to a third of the food in the average household goes to waste. On a larger level, it is undisputed fact that many nations destroy surplus agricultural produce in order to regulate their prices .
The disparity between the rich and the poor is an ever-widening rift, whether amongst individuals or between nations, with the rich getting more dominant, abusive, greedy and selfish. Even where there are attempts to aid the less fortunate, many of these attempts are thwarted by corruption, red tape and political agendas. The rich minority control the majority of resources to protect their own and to maintain their balance of power.
The uneven distribution of resources is attributed to the injustice and selfishness of human beings, causing oppression against each other. The Creator is not to be blamed for this. Yet, He allows these infringements to occur as a trial for both the rich and the poor, to assess which path we will go.
If we are the weak ones, can we be thankful and patient when resource are lacking? If we are rich, do we have the compassion and justice to sacrifice and distribute to the needy, or are we to continue with our greed and selfishness?
Similarly, tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, droughts, lightning and fire can cause high casualties and are beyond our control. This is why, even in business contracts, these unpredictable and damaging occurrences are legally classified as “acts of God”.
Life has certain truths, including that all life must end, and all things must perish eventually. Some of happen through natural calamities.
When assessing God’s justice, one takes into account what happens in this world as well as what happens in the hereafter. The ignorant tend to conclude based on what is tangible, without full knowledge of what the next world contains and how apparent “injustice” in this world is redressed. This is why they think that natural calamities are the works of a cruel and vengeful (or even absent) deity.
In Islam things are always viewed from a different, more encompassing and long term angle. In reality, Allah deprives us in this world to reward us in the hereafter, depending on our reactions to the circumstances, not the circumstances themselves.
“Blessed be He in Whose Hand is the dominion; and He is Able to do all things. Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed.” (Al-Qur’an verse 67:1 – 67:2)