Why Do Bad Things Happen?

I woke up yesterday to sun rays decorating my floor and birds chirping outside my window. On any other day, these small details would have barely registered in my head. But after a week of experiencing the haze in Singapore with the PSI Index reaching up to 400, it was something I truly, truly appreciate.

I found myself tearing.

There was a dark point in my life where I questioned if there was really a God. I remember sitting in a dirty stairwell outside my college, my hands covering my tear-stricken face as my knees shook. All my future plans rested on my A Levels results and I did all I could to ensure it; my results were consistently good, I studied like mad night after night as the exams neared, and I did additional prayers every single night begging for a chance.

Needless to say, when my results came out, I was beyond disappointed. All I got were Cs and Ds. There was no chance I could get into the best local university and course of my dreams – Economics.

I spent the next couple of years aimless, angry and empty as I moved from one job to another. I could not understand how God could have decided this for me. If God is good, how could He do something so bad? How could He have thrown a spanner into my dreams and hopes? All those nights praying for the best, and this was His reply?

My answer came years later in the form of an acceptance letter from another university. An Islamic university, where I would major in Communications and minor in Islamic Studies. A university where I am now enjoying and excelling in my field of studies. Who would have known?

Four years ago, I certainly didn’t. But He knew. And when I prayed for the best results for my life, He knew it was not what I had planned for myself. His plans were infinitely better than mine; I am currently in a place where I am contented with my life.

We think that something is bad only because of our short-sightedness and limited capabilities in assessing the situation. There is always an inherent goodness in every single incident that happens – it may be for now, it may be for the future, it may be for you, or it may be for others. Regardless of how and to whom it is good for, there is always inherent good.

We may think we know that something is best for us, but if we reflect on countless wonderful moments that have happened in our life, we realize that many are incidents beyond our control. Some call it serendipity, some call it coincidence, some call it luck. I call it His plans falling into place.

We may think that when we pray or beg something from God enough, He would fulfill our prayers as is. But if a child were to ask to play with a knife, or with fire, or even to have sweets every single second of the day, would a mother give in to his desires knowing that it was not the best thing for him?

When ‘bad’ things happen to us, when we fall or make mistakes, when we try our best and don’t succeed, there is always an inherent good in it. There is always the wisdom behind every single situation. It is precisely these situations we are in that carve us to be better persons. And in these situations we learn to be more appreciative of all that we have now.

One day, the skies will clear and the haziness of our own judgments will go away. Until then, we have to be patient, and know in our hearts that in everything, there is an inherent good.


Fadhilah Wahid
My name is Nur Fadhilah Wahid. I am a seeker of knowledge, a Muslimah in progress, and a writer. I believe in the magic that can happen when like-hearted and like-minded individuals come together :)

7 thoughts on “Why Do Bad Things Happen?”

  1. Salam.

    Wow. I used to read your blog some time back (I went by “iridescentsplendour” on Tumblr then) but haven’t done so ever since I stopped using Tumblr. Don’t know why but today, I suddenly remembered how I used to read your blog and decided to access it. I was shocked to read your first entry as it mirrored what I’m currently thinking about. I’m currently grappling between choosing the route which I’ve been planning for myself as opposed to seizing a sudden opportunity that Allah presented which would take me down a different path altogether and one that I’ve never wanted to pursue. You mentioned about “Allah’s plan falling into place”. I’ve also been wondering about that as I think through the decision to make.

    1. Waalaikumusalaam Sis!

      I remember you! :) And I totally understand what you mean; there are a lot of times I stumble upon things online which are answers to the questions I seek. I call it Allah’s way of answering hehe..

      About your decision, I guess it’s best to seek advice from your parents, and through istikharah, and listen to your heart. May He make things clear for you, insyaAllah.

      Do update me on your decision :)

      1. Thank you for remembering me.

        I was reading your recent entries. You’ve really come a long way since back then. Not only have you grown as a writer, you’ve also grown as a person in terms of knowledge, clarity and emotionally. Alhamdulillah.

        Yep, I’ve done all three. The parents first but I guess as with all parents, they (especially the mom) wanted me pursue the path that will bring me glory at work but nowhere near my goals. I knew what I want but I wasn’t too sure whether the path I intended to take was right for me. I mean, what if the option that came out of nowhere was God’s way of”saving” me from any potential threats with regards to choice I intend to take? After much thinking and istikharah, I found my answers. Only needed to educate the parents on it which I’d done in recent times. The mom is disappointed cos all dreams of being able to tell people that “my daughter is the head of department in …” but like I explained, holding portfolios at work hasn’t ever been my goal and in doing so, I’ll just be unhappy.

      2. Alhamdulillah ‘ala kulli hal. I interviewed brother Fadzuli, the founder of IslamicEvents.SG over the weekend. He shared that when he dropped out of university and started on his business, his parents were VERY upset with him (naturally). But because he was working very hard at what he was doing in, was giving back to the community, and was doing something for the sake of Allah, word eventually came back to his parents and they couldn’t be more proud of him. May Allah give you the patience, strength and determination sis!

      3. Bro Fadzuli? Wow, that’s a coincidence. I remembered seeing him on campus back when I was in NUS. I think we were in the same batch that came into the NUS but when he left, I did hear people saying how he wanted to focus on his business. Back then, my reaction was “Oooooo, but why? Isn’t getting the degree more important?”. I was so short-sighted back then to define ‘success’ as getting a degree. Nowadays when I read about him in the paper, I praise his courage.

        Thank you Fadhilah for the dua’. May Allah ease your journey through life too.

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