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How do you reconcile suffering with the portrayal of a great and loving God, Why war, why famine, why sorrow?
As full of contradictions my answer might sound like, but GOD Almighty created both peace and war for us. I always say to my friends, if he (Adam) didn't eat that darn apple, we wouldn't be here today. GOD Almighty put us here on earth for trial, because Adam and Eve peace be upon them disobeyed Him, and really because He willed for them to disobey Him to cause us to be here today on earth. There is evil and there is good. You can choose to believe in GOD Almighty as the one and only One True Living GOD and King and do righteousness by avoiding as much as you honestly can the daily sinning, which in turn would help you be a very polite and sensitive person to your fellow humans, or you can choose to be an idol worshiper or a disbeliever, or a hypocrite who believes in GOD but relishes and thrives on doing everything that upsets Him.
GOD Almighty as I said created wars and peace:
Wars - "We sent aforetime Our messengers with clear signs and sent down them the Book and the Balance (of right and wrong), that men may stand forth in justice; and We sent down iron, in which is (material for) Mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allah may test who it is that will help, unseen, Him and His messengers: For Allah is Full of strength, exalted in Might (And able to enforce His Will). (The Noble Quran, 57:25)"
Please visit Iron was indeed sent down to earth through asteroids and wasn't created by earth materials as other metals were.
Peace - "But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things). (The Noble Quran, 8:61)"
He created good and bad. Why did He create them, I don't know for I am only a humble servant to Him. I can't really speak on His behalf. This might sound contradicting and it is indeed, but this is how life is.
Unfortunately, the Western media either completely misunderstood Islam or intentionally tries its best to make Islam look bad. Take the "Jihad" example. Jihad in the West is considered something evil and scary, where in reality Jihad in Islam is fighting for the Cause of GOD Almighty in self-defense:
"Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors. (The Noble Quran, 2:190)"
And Muslims should always praise peace and lean toward it whenever it is possible:
"But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things). (The Noble Quran, 8:61)"
"It may be that God will grant love (and friendship) between you and those whom ye (now) hold as enemies. For God has power (over all things); And God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. God forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for God loveth those who are just. God only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong. (The Noble Quran, 60:7-9)"
Please visit What is Jihad? for more details.
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