Anonymous asked: salam, i am bothering you with this because someone recommended you, my question is are suffering a punishment from god? i was badly burned once and i have a huge disfiguring scar from it and i feel that it was god punishing me for my sins and i don't know what i did wrong and i still feel guilty and feel that god is displeased with me what do i because i dont know what i did wrong?
Wa alykum as-salaam,
No, suffering is not a punishment from God.
All things we interact with are tests from God, both the good and the bad.
In Surat Al-Fajr [89:15-16] God says:
"But as for man, whenever his Sustainer tries him by His generosity and by letting him enjoy a life of ease, he says, ‘My Sustainer has been [justly] generous towards me’;
whereas, whenever He tries him by straitening his means of livelihood, he says, ‘My Sustainer has disgraced me!’”
The problem is we think that when we are doing well, materially, emotionally, or religiously [however we define that] that this is proof of God’s favor, and that the converse, when we are struggling, that this is God’s disfavor.
The reality is that both situations are trials.
So, please don’t think that God punished you for anything, that’s not how God works. God is not an angry friend, a remember this about God:
وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ
"and there is nothing that could be compared with Him." [112:4]
Ponder over this ayah, explore it with your heart, know it, remember it, so the next time you think God is being cruel, or doesn’t love you, or is punishing you, remember this ayah, and realize that the only accurate perceptions of God will come from The Qur’an because anything else will be our faulty perceptions of God.
Imam Hanbal said:
"…and in no way is God to be described with anything more than what He—the Mighty and Majestic—has described Himself with."
So, please, don’t think of God in this way.
If you can, please know that you getting surgery to correct the scars are perfectly in compliance with Shariah and you are—without a shadow of doubt—permitted to get those scars taken care of medically, through plastic surgery, and any other medical means, insha Allah.
I will be praying for you, insha Allah.
A summary of a speech by David Simon:
And that’s what The Wire was about basically, it was about people who were worth less and who were no longer necessary, as maybe 10 or 15% of my country is no longer necessary to the operation of the economy. It was about them trying to solve, for lack of a better term, an existential crisis. In their irrelevance, their economic irrelevance, they were nonetheless still on the ground occupying this place called Baltimore and they were going to have to endure somehow.
That’s the great horror show. What are we going to do with all these people that we’ve managed to marginalise? It was kind of interesting when it was only race, when you could do this on the basis of people’s racial fears and it was just the black and brown people in American cities who had the higher rates of unemployment and the higher rates of addiction and were marginalised and had the shitty school systems and the lack of opportunity.
And kind of interesting in this last recession to see the economy shrug and start to throw white middle-class people into the same boat, so that they became vulnerable to the drug war, say from methamphetamine, or they became unable to qualify for college loans. And all of a sudden a certain faith in the economic engine and the economic authority of Wall Street and market logic started to fall away from people. And they realised it’s not just about race, it’s about something even more terrifying. It’s about class. Are you at the top of the wave or are you at the bottom?
Great article co-authored by RVA’s own Dr. Thad Williamson. In evaluating Nelson Mandela’s work on reducing poverty & creating prosperity he writes that there are good policy options available that show a lot of promise in tackling inequality:
These include but are not limited to the establishment of savings funds for all children (such as the baby bond in the U.K., which gave all British children a state-backed savings account that they would be able to access on reaching adulthood but was abolished by David Cameron’s government in its first days of office), tax incentives and other support for worker-owned and cooperative businesses, support for community-owned firms, matched-savings programs and assistance to first-time homeowners. Given the top-heavy distribution of wealth in countries like the U.S., it is theoretically possible to assure that all households have ownership of a significant bundle of assets through a relatively modest program of wealth redistribution.
"What helped me to continue writing—apart from the ethical imperative to find some truth and meaning in the injustices that I uncovered—was the fact that there are many people today who complain that they are tired of hearing about the Holocaust, simply wish that the history would go away, and assume that we know all there is to know. But we are still uncovering millions of pages and hundreds of thousands of life stories of people who have no voice today and who would be forgotten if not for the work of the scholars in this field. We are still piecing together that puzzle of what happened and trying to understand why."
— Interview with Wendy Lower, author of Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields, 2013 National Book Award Finalist, Nonfiction (via nationalbook)
"Writing, for me, is a compulsion. I write to be in the presence of things that I love and hold dear: the landscape of my home, and my family."
— Amanda Coplin, 5 Under 35, 2013, author of The Orchardist, selected by Louise Erdrich, 2012 National Book Award Winner for The Round House. For Amanda’s interview with novelist Claire Vaye Watkins, click here. (via nationalbook)
"A lot of people think the only way that racism “causes” anything is when one person intentionally discriminates against another because of their color of their skin. But that’s wrong."
— Zack Beauchamp, in his piece “How Racism Caused the Shutdown" on ThinkProgress.org, backed by awesome scholarly research (via oupacademic)