My brother in law has been trying to have children for 5 years but has not had a child. Now when does have a child, the child is suffering from severe leukemia, and now they are asking “Why is God doing this to me?” What advice can I give to them?
Shaykh Mendes’ answer: It’s always difficult to lose a child, especially when the child is so young. We always expect that the child will outlive us. God is al Hakeem. the all-Wise. He creates these experiences to develop us, to nurture us. My wife and I have had two children who passed away (miscarriages). Our understanding is that maybe God’s decree was for that child to only live for that amount of time. In the Islamic understanding, life is not based on years, it’s based on breaths. Each person is allotted a given number of breaths. The life of the child itself is determined by Allah, but the gift of that life itself develops the child and the parents morally and spiritually. It gives the parents the opportunity to manifest sabr, steadfastness, and connect with God. The child being sick is also a means for the parents to experience the depth of love and compassion and selfless service for that child that they may have never felt. All of these are learning experiences. Sometimes they’re very bitter, but when you look at the cosmic expanse of time, they are ultimately means of eternal happiness and joy.
A hadith states that a day with God is equivalent to 50,000 years. Suppose you live for 120 years. If 50,000 years is 24 hours, how long would 120 years be? It’d only be 2 to 3 minutes. This life is only about 2 to 3 minutes long in comparison to our time with God.
Taken from Confronting Evil lecture by Shaykh Muhammad Mendes organized by Sout Ilaahi